Frequently Asked Questions
How are values determined?
The “True and Full Value” of a property is determined utilizing mass appraisal techniques. The basis for the “True and Full Value” is generally sales that occurred the previous year between willing buyers and sellers; including unpaid special assessment balances as per North Dakota Tax Department guidelines. This office analyzes all sales that occur within the city in an effort to determine if the sale is reflective of the local real estate market and not influenced by atypical forces.
It is important to remember the assessor does not create assessed value, but rather interprets what is happening in the market place through real estate sales.
Why do you need to come into my property?
Generally, we wish to review and verify the physical characteristics of the property, which includes the building area (size), interior and exterior finishes, basement area (and finished basement area), quality (grade) of construction, etc. and the overall property condition as these factors influence and relate to the market value of a property. The only way to ensure accuracy and uniformity (our ultimate goal) in the mass appraisal process is to maintain current data on each property.
Please be assured no records of a personal nature are gathered or maintained by this office. Generally, this office maintains exterior photographs (taken from the street or curb) of your property for reference.
Do all values change at the same rate?
No, not necessarily. Generally, our office does not adjust every property by the same percentage. Our goal is to value each parcel as close to market value as possible. Thus, we follow market trends when adjusting our values. We tend to group property into “classes” or “criteria groups” based on their characteristics. We then study the market activity that corresponds to those groups and adjust values accordingly.
From time to time, we may revalue an entire neighborhood from scratch. When we do this, the year-to-year changes in market value can be more unpredictable. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:
- Our records for one property may have been incorrect during the prior year. The value change resulting from the subsequent correction may be different from neighboring properties.
- A prior appeal may have resulted in a temporary reduction in market value for a specific parcel in a prior year.
- Market conditions for a specific property class may change at different rates than others.
The overall change (increase or decrease) in value should not be the focus of any comparison; the focus of the comparison should be the value itself. Is the new value accurate?
If my value changes, will my taxes change?
The Assessor’s Office does not set property taxes or mill levies. The various taxing entities (city, school, park, county, etc.) set the mill levy based on their budgetary requirements in the fall of each year whereas property values are set as of February 1st each year.
The impact on your property taxes, of any property value changes, are unknown until the consolidated mill levy is set. However, an estimate of taxes (based on the current mill levy) is available from this office or the county treasurer.
I purchased my home for less than the assessed value. Does that mean the assessed value is automatically lowered?
No. It is important to understand the difference between market value and purchase price. The purchase price is the actual amount agreed upon to complete a sale. The purchase price is a fact. Market value is a concept that is a bit complex. Market value represents what typically motivated and well-informed parties agree to; with neither party under duress; and acting in their own best interested; and with the property reasonably exposed to a competitive and open market.
With all of this in mind, there are times when a purchase price may indicate an inaccurate assessed value. If you suspect your property is not valued correctly, please contact our office.