At $1.3 million

At $1.3 million

Is property assessment a reflection of its value?

Some property owners are elated to see that their property value has escalated, others are disappointed if it has devalued

For some, being a property appraiser for B.C. Assessment must be a difficult job.

When that government-brown envelope addressed to homeowners arrives in the mail in January, reactions generally are mixed.

Some property owners are elated to see that their property value has escalated, others are disappointed if it has devalued, and still others are in strong disagreement if the spike in the assessed value is too high.

Every year, this results in a flurry of complaints from homeowners who fear that the assessment is a reflection of what they will have to pay in property taxes that year.

According to its’ website, B.C. Assessment estimates the value of most properties as of July 1 each year, based on market values. The description of how an appraiser estimates the value of a home reads as follows:

“An appraiser considers factors such as size, age, shape, quality, condition and location. Views, local services, supply and demand and current sales in the area may also influence your property’s value.”

Local Lake Cowichan realtors Wendy Klyne of Re-Max and Sharon Kelly of Countrywide Village Realty both disagree with that fact based on some of the current listings in the Cowichan Lake area.

“The tax assessment is not a good indicator of the market value,” Klyne told the Gazette. “It should be, but it isn’t. That’s what (realtors) think.”

Klyne indicated several properties currently on the Multiple Listing Services in the Cowichan Lake area where the assessed value doesn’t reflect the market value.

“If we look at the most expensive piece of property on the market in this area right now,” she added, “it is an acreage on Marble Bay Road listed for $2.2 million (188 acres), and the tax assessment on it is $1.469 million.”

Usually out here Klyne says the listing price is higher than the tax assessment.

Kelly says she feels there is no reason for concern regarding the assessment, as ultimately it doesn’t impact what price a home will sell for.

“As realtors we don’t consider an adjustment of assessed value to be significant in terms of the real estate industry,” commented Kelly. “There will always be adjustments based upon market trends, and it doesn’t reflect what the home is really like.”

B.C. Assessment gives property owners ample opportunity to register an appeal if they believe their home or land or business has been unfairly valued. But before doing so, they recommend that owners first compare their property with others in the area. This can be done by checking e-valueBC on the web.

Owners can also contact B.C. Assessment appraisers to discuss how their property’s value was determined. If the owners and appraiser agree there was an error, the assessment can be altered.

Anyone who decides to go ahead with an appeal must file a complaint including your reason for seeking a review by Jan. 31 at midnight. The complaint form is available on their website and can be mailed, faxed, hand delivered, or emailed to the local office.

Find the B.C. Assessment appeal guide at www.bcassessment.ca/public/Pages/AppealGuide.asp.