The City of Bath is completing a city-wide revaluation of all real property in Bath, to be effective as of April 1, 2019. In order to ensure that the City’s tax burden is shared fairly among all property owners, it’s necessary to update our descriptions and valuations of properties throughout the City.
On average, Bath’s current valuations are approximately 100% of market value, and that will be our goal upon completion of the revaluation. Bath’s last revaluation was completed in 2005, and many properties have changed significantly since then. That creates the potential that some Bath properties are either over-assessed or under-assessed, relative to others. The goal in the revaluation is to improve the fairness of our property values, so that all Bath taxpayers are treated similarly.
The appraisal firm of Vision Government Solutions has been hired by the City of Bath to complete the revaluation project. Vision’s Appraisal division will be working with the Assessor’s Office to make the process a successful one. The following is a general outline and explanation of each phase of the project.
There are five major phases to a municipal revaluation: Data Collection, Market Analysis, Valuation, Field Review and Informal Hearings.
The first phase, Data Collection, will begin July, 2018 and last for approximately 7-8 months. During this phase data collectors, also known as “Listers," go to each property and physically inspect the interior and verify the measurements of the exterior of each building. These Listers note the building’s location, size, age, quality of construction, improvements, topography, utilities, zoning restrictions, if any, and numerous other characteristics both inside and out.
To ensure that a home was inspected, the homeowner is asked to sign the data collection form to verify that the inspection took place. The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes. If a homeowner is not home during the initial visit, or the data collector visits at an inconvenient time, a letter will be mailed to the property owner asking them to call and set up an appointment for an inspection.
Listers will also be taking photographs of the exterior of each property as they visit them. These photos are added to the Assessor’s database and will be printed on the property record card. No interior photos are collected.
All Vision representatives will carry identification cards and have their cars listed with both the Assessor’s Office and the Police Department.
A variety of resources are used to analyze the real estate market. While the physical data is being collected by Vision Listers, appraisal personnel will be analyzing recent sales that took place over the last two years to determine which market factors influenced property values. Once all the data is collected and reviewed for accuracy, the appraiser will determine land values and set neighborhood site indexes that indicate the market desirability of various Bath neighborhoods.
Valuation is done using one or more of the three recognized methods, Replacement Cost, the Income Approach and Market Value. Market Value is the most widely used approach, particularly for residential properties. Replacement cost estimates are developed for each property. The Income Approach to valuation is particularly appropriate for commercial buildings.
During this phase, individual characteristics of buildings are analyzed using information gathered in phases 1 and 2. Each property is compared to other comparable properties with similar characteristics. Then the market value of the improvements are added to the land value that was previously determined. This value is the final estimate for each parcel of property, building and land.
Field Review is the method of checking and re-checking both the values that have been determined and the data that has been collected. During this review, properties are viewed in the field by experienced appraisers and the City’s Assessor, who double check uniformity and accuracy of information.
Once the Field Review is completed, a Notice of New Values and an initial revised property record card will be mailed to each property owner. Anyone with questions concerning the revaluation process or about the data collected on their property has an opportunity to meet with a member of Vision's staff to discuss their property value and correct any errors found in the data collection or property valuation process.
Once the informal hearings have been completed, the City Assessor will commit the new values and tax bills will be sent out in September of 2019 that reflect the 2019 property valuations.
Whether the revaluation affects your property’s valuation or tax bill will depend on how accurate our current assessment is for your property. Some taxpayers may see a decrease in their tax bill, while others may see a increase. Many property owners will likely see their tax bill remain about the same. Because Bath’s assessments are already, on average, 100% of market value, the City’s revaluation is unlikely to change the overall City valuation substantially.
The best way to ensure that your property is correctly valued, and that Bath’s tax burden is fairly distributed, is to ensure our information on your property is as accurate as possible. Please contact the Assessor’s Office if you have any questions or concerns about the process as we proceed.
Thank you very much for your help!
For more information on revaluation, and answers to common questions about the process, you may want to check out the following brochures: