Real Estate Assessment vs Appraisal: What Home Buyers Need to Know

Posted on by Lisa Barton to Real Estate News

If you're considering buying a home or if you're already a homeowner in the Jacksonville area, it's important that you understand the difference between the assessed and appraised value of a property. The valuation terms appraisal and assessment are often confused. While both define and measure the worth of a home, each is used in differenct context.

Appraised value is important with regard to the sale or refinance of a property. The goal of a licensed appraiser is to estimate the true market value of a property. Generally this is done on behalf of a lender before a mortgage loan can be approved in order to protect the lender's investment. The appraiser completes a thorough examination of the property to arrive at the value, often conducting a physical inspection of the home and comparing the house to other similar homes in the neighborhood and/or surrounding neighborhoods. This information enables the appraiser to provide an expert opionion regarding the property's value.

In contrast, an assessed value is the valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor for the purpose of property tax evaluations. Municipalities rely on property assessments to structure their tax bases. Each local taxing authority oversees property assessments, which determine the properties' tax bills.

The local jurisdictions also decide how frequently the property will be reassessed, often resulting in a periof of two to four years between assessments. The assessed value of a propety may not provide an accurate correlation to the fair market value of a home. Especially in a changing market, it is not unusual for the tax assessment value to be different than the property's appraised value or the real estate fair market value.

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