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which is usually higher assessed value or appraisal value of home

  • August 18 2014 - US
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for Blue Nile
Really, it mostly depends on "which county".  In some counties, the county tax assessed value is about 1/10 of present market value.  In all California counties, it is fixed at sold price plus up to 2% increase per year due to "proposition-13", which doesn't compensate for inflation.  If purchased prior to prop-13, then it is the estimated market value at time that proposition 13 was passed that is used.

For other locations in the country?  It can be up to 100% higher than present market value, depending on tax rules and tax needs.

And changes in value?  The tax assessment changes at most once per year.  And most people don't get an appraisal except when refinancing or when it is being purchased, or when someone died.  The "market" changes more often than both those.  The appraisal is likely supposed to represent the "present market value", but it still often has a wide tolerance margin.  Often the tax assessed value doesn't even pretend to be the present market value, but it depends on the tax rules for the area.

When people challenge their property taxes, they often provide a list of comparables that recently sold.  An appraiser typically uses a similar list.

Zillow does use the tax assessor history as part of the variables used in the modeling, but they model each county in the U.S. separately, and apply the local property tax rules for that modeling.

3144 counties in the U.S.  2892 counties have Zestimates.  (262 counties do not).

Best solution?  Look up the recently sold in area of interest, and then look up the tax assessed value.  But may need to wait awhile as many counties re-assess upon sale, and it is not posted immediately.
  • August 18 2014
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This is a bit of a loaded question, but I will do my best to help :)

I will touch on how these two values relate in my area, the Inland Empire area of Southern California, but things may definitely vary in different areas and/or states.

An appraised value is merely an opinion of value given by a qualified appraiser. The appraiser will go out to the site, take pictures, determine condition, etc and look subjectively at recent, comparable sales in the area. Two different appraisers can arrive at two different opinions of value and, for that matter, one appraiser's opinion of value can vary depending on what side of the bed he/she woke up on that morning.

A property tax assessment is typically based on a specified percentage of the home's value, which is typically based on the tax assessor's office's opinion. The assessor's office will rarely, but most likely never, visit the site to perform an individual valuation. Besides the base tax assessment, there are typically several other special assessments, such as school bonds, vector control, etc. There are also special assessments that may apply in certain developments or areas, such as Mello Roos, that typically add a substantial amount to your property taxes.

The only time these 2 "values" are really ever in line with each other, is when the property sells. Once the property sells, it will trigger the assessor's office to re-assess the property taxes based on the sales price.

Any future re-assessments, typically annually, will be based on a desk review by the assessor's office, which often times are not very accurate. Sometimes this works in your favor...and sometimes it does not. In the cases when it does not, you can typically appeal the assessment in order to bring it back down closer to it's "market value".

I apologize for the lengthy read haha, but as you can see, the answer to your question is: it depends :)
  • August 18 2014
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It depends on the area. Agree usually the appraisal value. 
  • August 18 2014
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It really all depends on the location but in the majority of cases it is the appraised value. If the assessed value is higher it would mean you're paying unnecessarily high property taxes.
  • August 18 2014
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