Can assessment for tax purpose be used to find which of the listings are relatively better priced ?

Asked by Sak, 08830 Sun Feb 1, 2009

Let's say I am looking at 2 listings in the same zip code as follows...

1. Listed price = 450K Assessment for tax purpose=250K ratio=450k/250k = 1.8
2. Listed price = 400K Assessment for tax purpose=200K ratio=400k/200k = 2

Does it mean listing 1 is better deal because asking price is 1.8 times the assessed value as compared to 2 for second listing ?

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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Sun Feb 1, 2009
Sak: Not really. Tax assessment is generated for the purpose of collecting taxes. They too have formulae and "rules." For example, if an assessor does not get into the property, it is assumed that the kitchen is modern. It may well be 40-50 years old and worn out. It's only a vague way of comparison.

The real answer to your quest for relative worth is, what's it worth to you? A home with a pool, for example can be anything from a hazard to a maintenance chore to a can't live without. The price of the property with or without one may be just about the same! You are going to have to look at the property and decide if you want it badly enough to pay that price (Fill in any negotiated amount) for it.
1 vote
Kenneth Verb…, Agent, PRINCETON, NJ
Mon Feb 2, 2009
Sak, the problems with using assessment values as a guage are numerous.
1. I have a home that was assessed for $780K in Hopewell Twp. The assessment was way off. I appealed this and had it reduced to $535K (when prices were much higher than they are now) . Basically assessments can be way off.
2. In different municipalities revaluations may be done different years so again these shouldnt be used as equalisation factors are different.
3. Assessments are increased by things which may not actually add value ie pools.
4. true market value is what a willing buyer will pay and willing seller accept and this can change drastically in a relatively short time frame. (such as when a large company closes down and leaves many people with out work in an area)
my advice to you is look at the homes and consider them relative to each other and have an agent who can show you their relative value.
0 votes
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Mon Feb 2, 2009
Great posts from all of my colleagues. The ratio you talk about can, and should only, be used as a guideline for a range in a particular area. As previous posters mentioned, each house has it's own worth to you, but purchase price should be based on previous sales of comparable properties, location, upgrades, and amenities (as William said, a pool can be a must have or an unwanted chore).

I had a potential client who crunched the tax assessment numbers himself, and insisted that his house should be listed almost 50K over what the comparables clearly showed. In this case, although the home was in a great location, and had a nice piece of property, he was comparing tax assessments of 4 and 5 bedroom colonials to his 3 bedroom split level. He listed with another agency at the higher price, and the house lingered and expired.

A qualified agent can and should present you with all the relevent numbers to help you agree on a recommended offer price . Remember they (we) do this for a lving, and sell homes many more times than an individual sells or buys one. Our insight into the current market, access to the current sales stats and trends is an invaluable tool. Good luck !!!
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sun Feb 1, 2009
Hi Sak,

No, it does not. Assessed value is pretty much useless in relation to estimating market value. You should ignore the assessments and concentrate on recent very similar closed sales to measure the value of any home.


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Sun Feb 1, 2009
Hi Sak, reflecting on the assessment to price is one way to compare properties, but as pointed out by prior posters, you can't draw hard conclusions. What I do find is that generally, the relationship or ratio between assesed and asking price, or assessed value and sale price, is fairly consistent within a community. It can certainly be used as a way of identifying outliers or as a way for a potential - and I stress potential, bargain.

I had a listing in Warren Township and we adjusted our asking price at a point because we realized that for a buyer who was evaluating consistence within the neighborhood, we were standing out as outside of the acceptable band.

Certainly you can reflect on this ratio, and it may be that the home with the 1.8 ratio is a better value, but it is just as possible that it is not, for all the reasons mentioned in prior posts. But take it for what it is worth, and use it as a catalyst to see both homes to compare for yourself.

Your goal is to buy the home at the best possible market price. To evaluate that you need the asisstance of an agent to crunch the numbers - a good pricing analysis uses past sales data to establish a trend and applies that trend to current comparables to arrive at a recommended pricing range. This analysis can guide you and will support the offer you make.An offer that can be substantiated has a far greater chance of success than one that can not.

Good luck Sak!

Jeannie Feenick
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Laura Gianno…, Agent, Manahawkin, NJ
Sun Feb 1, 2009
As William said, what's it worth to you. I think a more important question is when was the last revaluation?

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
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