How does a tax assessment typically compare to an actual appraisal?

Asked by Home Shopper, Dietrich, ID Fri Oct 23, 2009

We are putting an offer on a house in Lincoln County. Unsure of the actual value of the house, we checked with the county tax records to get an estimation. They have the market value for the 5 last years being $168,000. For 2009, the market value is assessed at $218,000. Our offer is $250,000 which is $50,000 less than their original asking price. I realize that a tax assessment is typically lower than the appraised value, but is it typical to be that much lower? We want to protect our investment in case we have to resell.

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Brian Brump…, Agent, Boise, ID
Fri Oct 23, 2009
Home Shopper,

This really depends on the area. For certain parts of Ada county, the market value of homes is worth more than the assessed value and in other parts of the county the actual market value is lower.

The tax assessed value has traditionally lagged market value. In Ada county for instances it took them two years to catch up with market values and by that time the market was already moving backwards and they were assessed above market value. Needless to say, I don't envy assessors, they can never win.

Bottom line, your best determination of value is going to be through an appraisal. That is what the lender is going to base their decision off of. If you're a cash buyer, it still may be worth having an appraisal done.

If you're just trying to get an idea of value, your agent can pull the most recent comparable home sales for the area and should be able to give you a pretty good idea of what market value is.
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