To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must first know: ------ the selling price of similar properties ------ the cost to replace it today ------ how much it takes to operate and keep it in repair ------ what rent it may earn ------ and many other economic factors affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charged for borrowing the money to buy or build similar properties.
Using these facts, the assessor can then go about finding the property’s value in three different ways.
Sale Comparison Approach:
The first method compares your property to others that have sold recently. These prices, however, must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry and would pay any price. Another may have sold for less money than it was actually worth because the owner needed cash right away. The property was sold to the first person who made an offer.
When using the Sales Comparison Approach, the assessor must always consider such over pricing or under pricing and analyze many sales to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, location, and time of sale are also important factors to consider.
Cost Comparison Approach:
A second way to value your property is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the assessor must also determine how much it has depreciated. In addition, the assessor must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant
Income Comparison Approach:
The third way is to evaluate how much income your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, or a factory. The assessor must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return most people would expect on your type of property.
Each year between August 15th and September 15th, the Assessor must open the assessment rolls for a two week peiod during this time frame. The assessment rolls are open for public inspection and for discussion of the assessment with the assessor’s office. This is the time to discuss your assessment. It also is the time that a taxpayer can legally file a protest to the assessment if a settlement with the assessor cannot be reached. Many taxpayers wait until the tax bills are sent each year to discuss their assessment. The assessor will discuss your assessment at that time but a property owner cannot legally file a protest at that time. Check Assessor's calendar for the date of the inspection.
A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of change in value is a change in the market. If a city’s major industry leaves, property values can collapse. As decaying neighborhoods with good housing stock are discovered by young homebuyers, prices gradually rise, and then may soar as the neighborhood becomes fashionable. A shortage of detached houses in a desirable city neighborhood can send prices to ridiculous level. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a long time, but more affordable homes are in demand, so their prices rise. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value.
Every four (4) years the assessor must reassess properties within his/her respected parish. The purpose is to insure that properties are assessed at present fair market value.
When a market value changes, naturally so does assessed value. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the assessed value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the assessed value would decrease. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transactions in the market place. The assessor simply has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
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