Marion County property owners have until April 15 to appeal this year?s valuations, said Cindy Magill, county appraiser.
In most instances, the county had a 2 percent appreciation in values, with Hillsboro at 4 percent appreciation trend.
?That?s a good thing for Hillsboro,? she said, ?reflecting their numbers are tighter (in the appraisal process).?
However, some people in Hillsboro may have seen their appraised value higher than it was a year ago, but there are many variables to why that happened.
For example, in the reinspection phase, which Hillsboro had last year, incorrect data might have been corrected to include something added like a detached garage or more square footage.
?Oftentimes, things may have changed in the six years since the last inspection,? she said.
One couple in Hillsboro said their home was appraised $6,000 higher than the previous year raising its value to $66,000, and they said they hadn?t changed anything.
Magill also said that besides changes in the structure, the appraiser?s office also looks at market value on houses of similar square footage and condition that have sold recently.
In the case of the family whose home was appraised for $6,000 more, Magill said there were five sales ranging from $61,600 to $76,400 in comparable neighborhoods.
The computer, she said, sees the neighborhoods most representative to a home in age, size and other factors and then kicks the two lowest and two highest sells out, leaving a market estimate, which in the case mentioned, meant an increase in value.
With Hillsboro?s reinspection in 2009, the next area scheduled in 2010 is Marion and Ramona. In 2011, Lehigh will be reinspected. Florence and Lost Springs is scheduled for 2012, Lincolnville and Peabody in 2013 and Burns, Goessel and Tampa in 2014.
Hillsboro?s next reinspection won?t be until 2015, unless a building permit is issued for some type of improvements, which will then bring the appraiser?s field employees out sooner.
For many people in the county, though, it?s difficult to understand how the economy can be sluggish in some areas, but valuations are higher in Marion County.
?In rural areas,? Magill said, ?we haven?t seen as big of a downturn in depreciation as in others areas of the country.?
A lot of people will listen to the news, she said, and think their property isn?t going to sell for what they paid for it based on the sluggish economy.
While Magill agrees that she has seen houses sitting on the market longer, she also said that when these houses do sell in Marion County, they typically sell for more than what someone paid for them.
Another way people can access valid sales for 2007-09 is to come to the Marion County Courthouse and view the information outside the appraiser?s office.
In order to get enough sales to do a multiple regression analysis, which gives the appraiser?s office a value, they must look at three past years of sales.
?To come up with our 2010 valuations,? she said, ?we looked at sales that took place in the county in 2007, 2008 and 2009.?
Contrary to some beliefs, the appraiser?s office will not increase valuations based on landscaping, new roofs, more shrubs or whatever is considered routine maintenance.
?Desirability will affect value,? she said. ?An updated kitchen, remodeled bathroom or adding square footage could mean an increase in appraised value,? she said.
Someone might say they haven?t done anything to their home in 10 years, but desirability goes along with updates, even some from a decade earlier.
?There are several reasons why property values may increase, but it?s all due mainly to what the market is doing,? she said.
Sometimes older homes aren?t selling like newer homes, she said.
Maybe older homes, Magill said, are selling because they have more character than a newer home.
?We don?t set the market,? she said, ?the sales transactions set the market.
?We try to listen to taxpayers or property owners and we encourage them to appeal if they think a mistake has been made,? she said.
When appealing valuations, she said it is beneficial to bring in pictures, insurance information (regarding replacement costs), and recent fee appraisals, if those are lower than the county?s valuations.
She also urges people to review their property information by visiting the county Web site: www.marioncoks.net and click ?parcel search? at the top of the page.
Go to ?parcel search public,? and type in the address, which will give detailed information about the property to include items such as whether there is central heat and air conditioning and other relevant facts.
?If this information is wrong, we need to know,? she said.
Another confusing thing for many people is that value is based on how the property is Jan. 1.
?If the house burns down Jan. 2, there is still no pro-ration on real estate taxes by state law,? she said.
In addition, there is only one appeal allowed per year, which is why she urges people who want to file an appeal to do so in the spring.
After April 15, the taxpayer is having to pay taxes under protest and even if documentation warrants a lower valuation, it can?t be used in the analysis for that year.
The appraiser?s office must set values by June 15 for the county tax rolls so that school districts, the county and other taxing entities can get their budgetary needs set, Magill said.