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what is the difference between an appraisal and an assessment?

i am asking about selling a home, side buildings and property.
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February 09 2011 - New Shoreham
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Good Evening!
You have already received some very thorough answers here, so I will make my answeras brief as I can!  An assessment as you may already know is a valuation of what the town feels yoru property is worth that you pay your yearly property tax on.  Most towns do not update these valuations as the market changes, they are set to a certain schedule on their updates of property valuations.  An appraisal is done to establish the CURRENT fair market value based on similar sales with similar ameneties, similar style / size home, similar lot size, and close proximity to your property.  An appraisal is a service you pay for by a licensed appraiser to receive this information.  I know you didn't ask about a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), but I figured I may as well through it in!  A CMA is done by a real estate agent to also establish a CURRENT fair market value for your home.  A CMA is ONLY similar to an appraisal.  This in many cases is a FREE service to establish the value of your property!  If you choose to have a CMA done, be sure the agent you choose is familair with your area as that is one of the very important factors of a CMA!  I hope this helps clarify and answer your question!

Have a fabulous evening!
Erin Diaz, Broker ~ Owner
Beaches & Backroads Realty
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February 10 2011

The tax assessor's office hires a professional company that uses a special appraisal technique called "mass appraisal".  It is specifically used for determining value for tax assessment purposes.  It is only good for tax assessment purposes, and not very useful for setting an asking price for your property. 

The reason is that the tax assessor is mainly interested in making sure that everybody pays their "fair share" of the town's budget.  It is not so important to arrive at a market value that will attract qualified buyers to your pproperty.  For that you need the services of a qualified real estate agent or a licensed appraiser.  Great question and I hear it often!  Judith

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February 10 2011
Quite simply, an assessment is means of assigning "value" by which the town or city raises revenue through taxation. 

An appraisal is a determination of the property's "fair market value". 

The two could correlate closely or be very different. 

There is an funny email that circulates from time to time that illustrates the way various entities "see" your house.  The buyer may see it as a "shack", the seller may see it as something much more, but the tax assessor sees it as .......A MANSION! 

Of course, this is a humorous illustration.  The best thing to do in evaluating your home for sale is to have a professional analysis, be it by a realtor or an actual appraiser.

Hope that helps!

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February 10 2011
Dwayne & Maryann have said it as clear as anyone. And just realize the two will be sometimes extremely different.  A true market value of what your house might sell for at a given time can be supplied by a Realtor who understands home sale pricing and amenities, location and condition of home.  You have some good answers to reference below.  best, ginny
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February 10 2011
An appraisal is a real time market snap shot of the current value of your home. It is based off several factors including but not limited to: Recent sales within your community, square footage of your home, finished upgrades, land value, number of bedrooms, and overall condition of a home. Value is based off finished square footage above grade, while basements (finished & unfinished) are considered to have a fixed dollar value added to the bottom line of the appraisal.
 
An assessment is a percentage value which is determined by individual governing bodies (such as towns, cities, counties, etc.). The assessment rate determines the amount of property taxes you will pay each year. The assessment formulas are based on average market values when they are conducted. But local governments can conduct updated assessments when market conditions, or revenue needs change.

It's easy for the average homeowner to confuse them.
Take care,
Dwayne & Maryanne
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February 10 2011
HI YMCA45,

An appraisal is a professional opinion of fair market value by a licensed appraiser while an assessment is the city or town's version of tax valuation on a real estate.

The major difference in my opinion is that an appraisal takes into account some of the features(upgrades) that a home may have over others that have recently sold in the area and an assessment is basically a formula that is used based solely on the square feet, # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, lot size and other physical characteristics of a piece of real estate and most of the time does not take into account the individual characteristics that may differentiate a home from other similar homes.

This is why you will see a large run down home's assessed value the same as a well kept same style home next door.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting,
Chris
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February 10 2011
An appraisal is an estimate of value and an assessment is the tax based on fair market value.
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February 09 2011
 
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