Your comment raises very good point about a widespread misunderstanding by many in the general public about what a city assessment is and what it is not.
A city assessment is not a real estate appraisal. A real estate appraisal is an expert's opinion of a property's estimated value. The estimation is based on very detailed and comprehensive research and documentation established by decades of increasingly stringent trade and industry guidelines. Appraisals include an interior inspection for identification of interior features, improvements, and the overall condition of the home.
A city's assessment efforts is an attempt at estimating the fair-market value of perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of properties by a relatively small number of government-employed tax assessors. An entire neighborhood may be re-assessed each year in an hour or two, when a typical appraisal on a single home may take an appraiser 6-10 hours. Assessors do not perform interior inspections on their routine assessment work and may not even do a curbside look at the property.
I've closed several homes this year that sold for tens of thousands more than the city-assessed value. My own home is under-assessed by $10,000 or $20,000 dollars by my estimate. Alternatively, some homes are priced tens of thousands of dollars under the assessed value and not necessarily because the owners are in a pinch, but because that is the price at which the owner and agent has determined the home is best marketed to attract a buyer. The city assessment has little or no bearing on the pricing decision.
So, a good way to think of assessments is a figure by which the city or county determines the amount of taxes you will pay it each time real-estate taxes are due, or the price at which the city or county would likely compensate you if it chose to condemn your home through eminent domain.
I work hard to find my home buyers the home they want for the best price possible. Feel free to contact me any time with real estate questions or service requests. I am easy to reach and quick to respond.
All the best,
Virginia Commonwealth Realty