Ask Adam: Assessed Value and Market Value

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I was a little confused after reading your last article. I always thought that having a higher tax value indicated that my home is worth more money. Your article made it sound like having a lower value is of greater value.

A. Most professionals in the real estate industry realize that tax assessed value (TAV) is a generalization of what a home is worth.

For example, two Colonials built in 1952 may be located right next door to each other. They have the same square footage, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. House “A” has been beautifully updated inside and out. It is the picture perfect home.  House “B” has never been updated and has been poorly maintained for the last 63 years. Their TAV may be identical, but the market value is drastically different.

The above scenario is an example of why TAV is not used in determining market value, by real estate agents or appraisers. As mentioned in my last article, most homeowners and homebuyers would prefer to have a home with high market value and low TAV, because it lowers the amount of money they need to pay Arlington County in property taxes. That is why I make the argument that there is market value in having a low TAV.

The other clarification I will point out is that TAV is not the same as appraisal value. They sound similar and are therefore often confused with each other. Appraisal value is determined by professional appraiser, not by the county.

An appraiser typically performs an in-depth study of a home’s current market value. They take into consideration the home’s condition, size, lot, location and features compared to similar home sales. They also apply the current market conditions. In a perfect world, their analysis should provide a very close indication of market value.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

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