By: Scott Johnson

I have had the privilege to work in many states over the last couple of decades, and even though each state requires the assessor to set the value of a property at market value, each one seems to find a way to do it differently than their neighboring state. (To clarify that, I will exclude Agricultural values from this statement, because no one does agricultural land and/or buildings the same.)

What is your plan for the future of residential values in your jurisdiction? I always tell people that “I live and die by statistics.” The numbers on the reports tell me a story of your jurisdiction. What will the stats tell you about your jurisdiction? Will the story have a good ending? That’s up to you!

Recently, I was asked to look at some statistical reports for a jurisdiction. The Median was good for state requirements, in their case at 94.41, the COD was 16.80 and their PRD was 1.02. That looks really good until I dug deeper and found that their land-to-building ratios or allocation was greater than 1-to-10, and at the extremes the ratio was 1-to-30 and 1-to-50 at the very high end. The assessor was using map area factors greater than 1.40, which indicates that they are much too low in their manual level. It is so important that you reset the system on a regular basis. If you don’t, you will get to a point where there will be very large swings in value differences between the upper – and lower-end valued properties. You don’t like to see that, the public doesn’t like to see it, and it is avoidable if you just follow the steps.

The steps are as follows: 1) Land values, 2) Manual Level, 3) Depreciation and 4) Map Area factors. Once you have completed these 4 steps in this order, you can make individual parcel adjustments as needed for Functional and Economic Obsolescence.

The tools are in CAMAvision. If you need assistance, please don’t be afraid to ask! I was a new assessor many years ago and learned very quickly that I didn’t know everything. I learned by asking questions! Don’t waste time or money doing the wrong thing or heading down the wrong path, only to find out that you have to backup and redo months or years of work. Ask for help!

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