Because Realtors are constantly watching trends and changes in market values, they can help sellers decide on the maximum price to ask for their homes. They can also help buyers know when a home is or isn’t worth the asking price.
But the assessed value is different. Because an assessor is only concerned with the value for tax rate purposes, he or she does not need to consider the highest price that a buyer would be willing to pay. Instead, the market value, multiplied by an assessment rate, results in the “assessed value” or taxable value. The assessed value is almost always lower than the market value.
Some homeowners are unhappy when they see that an assessed value is lower than they think their home is worth. But a lower assessed value can actually be a good selling point because it keeps taxes on the lower side.
What Happens During a Property Assessment?
Depending on the location of the property in our region, the assessment is performed by either the St. Louis County assessor or the City of St. Louis assessor. Working with a team of professional appraisers, analysts, and managers, the assessor gathers the following information to come up with an estimated fair property value:
- Prices of comparable area homes that have recently sold.
- Recent improvements to the home, such as bathroom remodels or room additions will boost the value.
- The estimated cost to rebuild the house, using current costs of materials and labor, profit, overhead, and permit fees.
In some cases, the assessor conducts on-site visits but usually does not need to enter the building to perform the estimate. He or she uses computer-generated tools along with current real estate trends and statistics to evaluate how much the property is worth.
How Often are St. Louis Real Estate Assessments Performed?
Real estate property is assessed as of January 1st of each odd-numbered year, so the value stays the same for two years. Reassessments are necessary every other year to reflect home improvements as well as changes in the real estate and building markets. Changes since the previous assessment, such as the addition of a garage, or if there is a hot housing market, are bound to increase the assessed value, and in turn, the real estate taxes. Taxes can also increase if the tax rate for the city or county has gone up.
However, if the market begins to spiral downward or a property has deteriorated since the last assessment, chances are the assessment value will decrease.
Can I Contact the St. Louis County Assessor’s Office?
Residents who disagree with their property tax bill have a right to appeal in hopes that the assessor will lower the assessed value of their home. Appealing involves checking that the size, age, number of rooms, purchase price, and any improvements are accurate. If any of those are found to be wrong and an appeal is won, a reassessment will be performed.
Other issues the assessor’s office can help with are parcel boundaries, ownership data, and eligibility for tax exemptions.
Homeowners in St. Louis County who have questions about their property assessments can contact the St. Louis County Assessor. City residents can contact The City of St. Louis Assessor’s Office.
Real estate terminology can be confusing and even intimidating to buyers and sellers. The agents at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties are here to help. They can explain everything and how it relates to the sale or purchase of your home.