How To Find the Assessed Value of Real Estate

Learn How Assessed Value Affects Your Property Taxes

A woman sits on the floor with a laptop and paper documents.

Westend61 / Getty Images

Knowing the assessed value of your home is important for several reasons, mainly because it helps you understand how much you will owe your local government in property taxes.

One way to find the assessed value of your property is to check your county or local government’s website, which lists the assessed property values of real estate in the municipality's taxable area. Checking your assessed value is correct helps you ensure that you’re not overpaying in property taxes.

Read on to learn more about what the assessed value is, why it’s important, and more details about how to find it. Also learn how to contest the assessed value of your property, if you believe it’s incorrect.

Key Takeaways

  • An assessed value of a property is used to determine the amount of property taxes the property owner will owe the local government.
  • Real estate’s assessed value is different from its appraised value and its market value.
  • If you disagree with the assessed value of your home, you can contest it.

What Is Assessed Value? 

 The assessed value of real estate is a determination of the fair market value for taxation purposes. It is determined by an assessor who works for the county or local government that collects your property taxes. 

Assessors use different methods to determine an assessed value, but they typically factor in the price at which similar properties have recently sold in the area to get an estimate for what the property could sell for.

The assessed value is based on all or a percentage of what it could sell for, depending on the assessment ratio used by the municipality. It’s then used to determine the property taxes you owe your county or local government. The property tax income is used to fund local projects like roads, parks, and schools. 

A property tax is an ad valorem tax, a Latin phrase that means “according to value” or “in proportion to the value of.” So, the lower your assessed value, the lower your property taxes, and vice versa.  

Now, let’s review how an assessed value compares with a market value or an appraised value.

Assessed Value Vs. Market Value 

The market value is an estimate of what a buyer would pay for a home. Like an assessed value, it can factor in features of the home, recent sales of similar homes, and market conditions. It is not assigned by a municipality.

 The assessed value, which is assigned by a municipality, strictly determines what property taxes will be owed. A county might use a market value in its calculations for an assessed value, which may be a percentage of a market value. 

Municipal assessors do not necessarily update assessed values every year, but they must be updated regularly. For example, in North Carolina, counties are required to reassess property at least every eight years.

Assessed Value Vs. Appraised Value

The appraised value is an estimate of a property’s market value that is determined by a professional appraiser. It’s often used by banks in the lending process to understand the value of your home for underwriting. The appraised value is usually more in depth than an assessed value because an appraiser factors in more details of your home.

An appraised value is not the same as the ultimate selling price of the home. For example, in a seller’s market where there are more buyers than available homes, buyers may be willing to pay more than the appraised value, especially if there’s a bidding war.

Where To Find a Home’s Assessed Value

 Most counties and municipalities list the assessed values of the property in their taxable area on their website. 

Using the websites that you use to pay your property taxes is typically the best way to find your home’s assessed value. You will generally only need a street address or the account number listed on your assessment notice to find your assessed value. 

You can also contact your local taxation department directly, such as by phone or via email, to ask about your property’s assessed value. Find that contact information online or on your property tax notices.  

Once your property is assessed, its assessed value does not necessarily rise in tandem with broader housing prices in your market. States have various laws on how much an assessed value of a property can increase. For example, California caps the growth of a property’s assessed value at 2% per year and Maryland caps it at 10%.

Also, your property’s assessed value does not necessarily change every year. The frequency that your local government reassesses your property varies according to its policies. For example, in Maryland properties are reassessed every three years.

Why Assessed Value Matters

 Knowing the assessed value of your home helps you understand your property taxes so you can make sure they are accurate. 

 If you believe your assessed value is wrong, you can contest the assessment with your municipality. You’ll need to file an appeal at your assessor’s office and submit any supporting documents about the value of your home that relate to correcting the assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you calculate the assessed value of your home?

An assessor who works for your local government officially calculates the assessed value of your home. You can calculate a rough estimate by multiplying the market value by the level your government assesses it. So, a property with a market value of $200,000 that is assessed at 90%, would have an assessed value of $180,000.

How much over assessed value should you pay for a house?

In a seller’s market, buyers may pay more than an assessed value, especially if the assessed value is several years old. An assessed value may not match the market value. The exact amount more you may pay over the assessed amount will vary depending on your market. The more you spend on the home than it is worth, the less you will recoup when it’s time to sell it.

Article Sources

  1. New York State. "How Properties Are Assessed."

  2. Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. "The Revaluation Process."

  3. Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. "Maryland Homestead Tax Credit."

  4. Sonoma County. "How Property Values Are Assessed." Nov. 4, 2021. 

  5. Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. "Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes and Assessments."