Letter – Reassessment insight given

Published 3:58 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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To the Editor:

Isle of Wight Commissioner of the Revenue Gerald Gwalthey did an admirable job of explaining what had taken place in updated property assessments, but folks are having difficulty getting their “appeal act” together to go before the Board of Equalization.  

This board consists of our fellow county citizens, elected by our supervisors to represent each district. They are NOT county employees.

Here’s an explanation and advice to residential property owners who want to better understand the general assessment process in order to appeal their reassessment with even a modicum of possibly succeeding in reducing their increase in assessed value. 

Reassessments are ideally based on “certified sales” in their “particular neighborhood” as precisely defined by the assessor during the one-year reassessment period. Note: IF there were not enough sales in your neighborhood to establish a market, the assessor broadened the sales pool to include “similar” neighborhoods.

Generally speaking, if the “median sales” to the 2019 assessment ratio is, for example, 125%, then all housing values in that neighborhood are multiplied by 125% to obtain the 2023 housing value. Also, improvements and depreciation over the last four years of the assessment period are added and subtracted. So in appealing, to say there have been no improvements matters little because the neighborhood “median sale” to 2019’s assessment ratio governs!

Market adjustment is an important consideration when comparing properties on appeal. The same identical house built by the same contractor in different county neighborhoods will in all likelihood reassess differently because of “market demand in the particular neighborhood.” For example; the same $500,000 Gatling Pointe North house in Founders Pointe is $475,000 and in

Gatling Pointe South is $565,000.

In appealing, it is absolutely necessary to find comparable “neighborhood” properties with the same market adjustment. In the above example, anyone appealing using the Gatling Pointe North $565,000 house would lose appeal for reassessment reduction by comparing with the identical Founders Pointe $475,000 house because of difference in particular neighborhood markets.

Rest assured, your fellow citizens on our Board of Equalization will assist concerned citizens with the technical details in finding fair market and equitable reassessment in making a determination in your case. Note: The last several years, explosion in the value of real estate and homebuilding costs has added significantly to the surge in values, too. Some call it inflation!

Herb De Groft