Are You Looking at the Right Assessed Value?

April 2, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Buyer Resources

Many home buyers use the assessed value of a property as a guage to determine whether an asking price is reasonable or when trying to determine its market value. And many listing agents are putting remarks in their listings such as, "Priced $90K below assessed value!".

But are they using the right assessed value?

When looking at listing agent's remarks such as that one and then the assessed value of the property, I often find that the agent used the 2008 assessed value in their calculation - not the 2009 assessed value as they should. If you look at the 2009 assessed value (which is, on average, 12 percent less than 2008), you'll see that the property is nowhere near "$90K below assessed value" as the listing agent and seller claim. (Of course the property is priced below its assessed value as of January 1, 2008 – DUH!)

Regardless of whether this was a" simple oversight" by the listing agent and seller or something else, it can be misleading. That's one reason why every buyer (and agent) should verify any such claim. 

Also be careful when looking at assessed values shown on listings on real estate search sites. Many of them pull their data from MLS's and/or public tax records. But the data in those is not necessarily accurate. For example, the tax records that are incorporated into the local MLS in this area do not yet have the 2009 assessed values listed (even though they came out a while back).

If you'd like to see what the 2009 assessed value of properties is, here's where you should go:

Loudoun County real estate tax, assessement and parcel database 

Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration's Real Estate Assessment Information Site

Prince William County Real Property Assessment Site