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BC property owners received their annual assessment notice in early January from BC Assessment (BCA).

 This is the valuation on which your property taxes are based. You will receive your local tax notice in June each year. Property owners take note: you have until January 31 of each year to appeal your current assessment.

Typically, there is a difference between the property value assessment on the assessment notice and the market value determined by a REALTOR®. Home owners often want to know why. What accounts for this difference?

Timing

The assessment notice is BCA’s estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1 of any given year.

 

A REALTORS® market value assessment is typically current. In our active local market, six months can mean thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars difference.

Every Property is Unique

BCA has a database of 1.8 million properties. When a new property is created through zoning or construction, or an existing property changes, a BCA appraiser visits the site and reviews lot size, structure and other factors including whether the property is on a quiet street with backyard lanes or on a busy boulevard.

 

BCA appraisers do not visit each property annually to update the database. Instead, they use what is called a mass appraisal system, calculating values by evaluating prices for homes sold in each neighbourhood, or of similar units in a strata complex as of July 1 and then applying the information to arrive at an assessed value.

BCA analyzes a range of factors for each property including house type, square footage, age, heating, and even outbuildings such as garages, sheds and gazebos, as well as pools and spas.

 

REALTORS® determine the value of a property by scrutinizing the most recent comparable data for homes sold in a neighbourhood on the MLS®. REALTORS® also examine the exterior and interior of a property in detail, noting alterations and major renovations, such as new kitchens or bathrooms that affect the value of a home. They also take into account view lines, architectural styles and landscaping.

 

Where every lot and every home on the street are generally the same, both BCA’s value and the REALTOR’S® value will be similar, assuming a stable market.

 

Differences will likely occur in neighbourhoods where every lot on every street is different, every home’s architecture is unique and every view is distinct. Differences also occur when property owners make changes such as renovations that BCA does not know about.

 Property assessment appeals

Property owners who disagree with their property assessment must file a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by January 31 of any given year. There is a formal appeal process. Details are on the back page of each assessment notice.

For this and more information visit www.bcassessment.bc.ca

 

Don't hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions about assessed versus market value.

 

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Yes, I confess--even though I have been selling homes for over 20 years, there are still times when I have an opportunity to sell a home to one of my buyers and I can't close the deal. All the buying signals are there--the home meets many of their criteria, they can see themselves living there and they start to talk about writing an offer... and then their "salesman" (me) turns around and says “NO, this isn't the right home for you.”

 

I also confess that, sometimes, it's fun to see the expression on their faces when I say "No, we need to keep looking". They don't expect a salesperson to try to talk them out of buying and, in fact, they often have their defenses up to repel any potential hard sell closing techniques that may cause them to buy the wrong home. So while a lot of "good" salesmen might go for the close, I as their professional real estate advisor remind them of the issues that were so important to them when we started the buying process and that this property doesn't address (good pun!).

 

Several years ago, I actually was fired by my own buyers because I wouldn't sell them a condo in a particular hi-rise in downtown Vancouver. This building had all the signs of being a leaky condo. I tried to convince them that we weren't able to get it at a low enough price to justify the risk and potential special assessments that would be levied within a year or two. Although I had been highly-recommended to them by another client, they ignored my professional judgment and honesty. They were very upset that I would not prepare their offer and informed me that they had a family friend who would happily sell it to them. I had no other professional choice than to wish them well. I don't know if they ever did proceed with that purchase but I do know that, only 18 months later, that downtown concrete hi-rise was covered in blue tarps!!

 

My style has always been to work a little harder to find my buyers the right home as opposed to what a lot of salespeople are taught--work hard at learning good closing  techniques to sell them one that is good enough so you can move on to the next customer! I have learned that when I say “No” enough times, when we do finally find the right home, my “YES” carries a lot more weight. When the home is right for them, I don't need to close them on the sale. When you are buying your next home, would you rather work with a professional real estate advisor--or end up buying with a salesperson who has really honed their closing techniques?

 

Dan Morrison

December, 2011

 

 

 

 

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