I am interested in buying a house in Radford Va (Zip 24141). The tax assessment is $86,300, but the owners

Asked by Helen Crigger, 24368 Fri Apr 4, 2008

want $104,900. Should the tax assessment and the market value of property be the same thing? The owner is hoping to have a $40,000 profit over what they paid in 2003 for the house and the Real Estate Agent told us this is a fair price for this property (under 1000 sq. feet, one bath). Help?

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Paul DiMaio, Agent, Blacksburg, VA
Fri Apr 29, 2011
Hi Helen, I live in Radford and I can tell you that the tax assessments and actual home values are not the same.
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Fri Apr 4, 2008
There's no connection between the tax assessment and the market value. None. Nada. Zip.

Market value can be approximated by looking at the comps--the comparable sales. Your agent should provide you with a CMA, showing recent sales. She may have done this, though you only say that she's "told us this is a fair price." She's got to do more than that. Get a CMA.

There's nothing inherently wrong in the owner making a $40,000 profit over his 2003 purchase. However, prices in many areas of Virginia are back down to 2002-2003 levels. So, if the owner paid fair market value in 2003, it's unlikely it's appreciated 50% since then. That's also why you need the CMA. (On the other hand, the owner may have gotten a terrific bargain back in 2003. It's impossible to say.)

What you do say, to your agent, is: "We'd like a CMA on the property." Then you'll have a place to begin.

Hope that helps.
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