Market Value

What Is Market Value, and How Is It Determined?

Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market or did sell for during the year of assessment. This is sometimes referred to as the "arms-length transaction" or "willing buyer/willing seller" concept. To estimate the market value of a property, the assessor generally uses one of three approaches.

The first approach is to find properties that are comparable to the parcel in question which have sold recently. Local conditions peculiar to the parcel being assessed are taken into consideration. The assessor also uses sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessments in a community, in order to adjust for local conditions. This is method is generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH and usually considered the most important in determining the value of residential property.

The second approach is the COST APPROACH and is an estimate of how many current dollars worth of labor and materials it would take to replace the property in question with one similar to it. In the event improvement is not new, appropriate amounts of depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from the replacement value. The value of the land then would be added to arrive the total estimate of value.

The INCOME APPROACH is the third method used if the property produces income such as an apartment or office building. In that case, the property could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management. In other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income. The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value. This method requires a thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any development trends in the area. This affects the subject property being appraised, since errors or inaccurate information can seriously effect the final estimate of value.

If you disagree with the assessor's estimate of value,
please consider these two questions before proceeding:


1. What is the actual market value of my property?

2. How does the value compare to similar properties in the neighborhood?

If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, feel free to come in and discuss it with the assessor. If by chance an agreement can not be made during the discussion with the assessor's office, a written protest can be filed with the Washington County Board of Equalization which is composed of three members from various areas of the assessing jurisdiction. The board operates independently of the assessor's office and has the power to confirm or to adjust either upward or downward of any assessment.

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