This article first appeared in the July 31, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
In part to put the value of homes back in line with their assessed value, the Woodstock Board of Listers has announced it will be doing a full reappraisal within the next two years.
“Lower priced homes are selling for less than their assessment,” said Lister Paul Wildasin about the necessity of the reappraisal. “Higher valued homes are selling for more than their assessment.”
Woodstock homes have been selling for up to 30 percent less than what they’re assessed for and some are selling for up to 30 percent more than what they’re assessed at, he said.
The last town wide reappraisal was done in 2001. It was updated in 2006 when the listers changed construction costs to reflect market conditions.
“Property values went up significantly,” Wildasin said.
The state recommends reappraisals every 10 years and requires them when the common level of appraisal falls below 80 percent. Because Woodstock’s is currently at about 98 percent fair market value, the town deferred reappraisal to 15 years.
“We don’t have to do it from a CLA standpoint,” Wildasin said.
But he mentioned historic buildings might be undervalued since more homeowners are improving thier homes with granite countertops in the kitchens and other fixtures, he said.
“Generally what happens in a reappraisal is if the property values go up, the tax bills go down,” he said.
The listers will establish an age, the condition and the wear and tear of a building and make sure measurements and square footage are correct starting July 30 and continuing through the fall of 2015. The reappraisal will become effective April 1, 2016.
The town will work with the New England Municipal Resource Center to take outside measurements and photographs and then do an interior inspection.
“The reappraisal will be conducted with as little interruption or intrusion as possible, but is necessary in order to ensure equity across all levels of property classes in Vermont,” the listers wrote in a press release.
The reappraisal will be covered by the Reappraisal Fund from the State of Vermont, Property Tax Division and there will be no cost to taxpayers.
The listers have sent postcards to the people whose homes will be reappraised first. Those who disagree with their assessment will be able to meet with the listers. There will also be a grievance period so property owners can appeal their assessment before the Grand List is finalized.
“All things being equal, which we all know they never are, the tax bills should stay about the same,” Wildasin said.