Real Property Appraisal
The Real Property Appraisal Department is responsible for field inspecting properties, verifying sales data and analyzing this data to determine market value. We employ the common appraisal methodologies to assist us in determining market value and apply that data to the population of parcels. This is known as mass appraisal. Mass appraisal is the systematic appraisal of groups of properties as of a given date using standardized procedures and statistical methods. This differs from single property or fee appraisal which is the typical means of determining value in the private sector.
Real property is defined as the rights, interests and benefits connected with real estate. Real estate is the physical parts which are permanently attached to it. These are commonly referred to as the land, buildings and miscellaneous improvements that have been placed on the property. Types of real property include vacant land, single-family homes, condominiums, mobile homes and commercial properties, just to name a few.
State law requires the Property Appraiser’s Office to value every property annually. Periodically, field appraisers from our office will visit your property to conduct a physical inspection. In most cases, inspections are limited to the exterior of the property.
Inspections can result from, but are not limited to the following:
- Sale of the property
- Permits (new construction or demolition)
- Damage (i.e. hurricane, flood, fire, etc.)
- 5-year inspection cycle
- The owner’s request
Allowing access to your property during these field visits assists us in obtaining the most accurate data possible. We are able to more accurately reflect the salient features and condition of your property. In turn, we will have a more reliable basis to evaluate your property to estimate a value. In cases where we are denied access or cannot obtain access, we may be forced to come to conclusions of value which may not be valid.
When we cannot access a property to confirm features and condition, a door hanger will be left at your door, or we will mail an access letter explaining the need for our visit. These items will include contact information so we may arrange a follow-up inspection at a more convenient time.
Each field appraiser will be wearing a name badge to identify themselves as a member of the Property Appraiser’s Office. He/she will always knock at the door of the property to introduce themselves and notify the owner or resident of the property the purpose of the visit. Most inspections require a brief amount of time to be completed. A field appraiser will always vacate a property when asked by the homeowner or resident of the property to leave. As representatives of the Property Appraiser’s Office, field appraisers will always conduct themselves professionally.
We enjoy having the opportunity to speak with homeowners or residents, as it is another source of information we can rely on to assist us in better-estimating property values.
Aside from inspecting properties, one of the most important tasks we have to complete is sales verification or “qualification”. The purpose of sales verification is to determine whether a transaction is arms-length or not. An arms-length transaction is a sale between two unrelated parties, each of whom is reasonably knowledgeable of market conditions and under no undue pressure to buy or sell. In addition, we analyze marketing and exposure time of the property, as well as, the listing price history. The reason we would want to know whether a sale is arms-length or not is to aid us in establishing whether a sale reflects market value. If a sale meets all the criteria of an arms-length transaction, it is considered qualified and can be used as part of the data set utilized to set market value.
To assist us in the sales verification process, we send out a Confidential Grantee Sales Information Questionnaire. Completing it is voluntary and all information shared with Property Appraiser’s Office via this questionnaire is not open to public inspection per F.S. 195.027 and Administrative Rule 12D-1.05(3). The purpose of this form is to collect additional data which will aid us in more accurately assessing your property by verifying the conditions of sale of the property you purchased.
Determining Fair Market Value
Each year as of January 1st, the Property Appraiser determines a fair market value for each parcel on the Tax Roll. This is accomplished by analyzing the qualified sales which occurred during the prior calendar year. For example, sales which occurred during 2014 will be used for the 2015 Tax Roll. This sales data, once analyzed, is applied to all similar properties.
Three approaches to value are also utilized depending on the type of property being valued. Not all approaches are applicable to every type of property.
The three approaches are:
- Sales Comparison Approach – compares properties similar to your property by reviewing property sales in your neighborhood. Adjustments are made to account for differences between the properties such as size and extra features including fences and swimming pools.
- Cost Approach – considers how much it would cost, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property and takes into account any applicable depreciation.
- Income Approach – considers the income derived from income-producing properties such as rental apartments and warehouses. Specific facts evaluated are operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, the degree of financial risk taken in earning income from the property, and the return on the investment.