Your home and B.C. Assessment*

If you own your home then you’ve received your property assessment in the mail recently. Did your value go up or down?

If you own your home then you’ve received your property assessment in the mail recently. Did your value go up or down? Don’t forget to check the top right corner of your assessment notice to see the last four years of value displayed in a chart, along with your current value.

Are you curious as to how they get that number and whether it’s an accurate reflection of current market value?

The short answer is B.C. Assessment has many sources of information when arriving at your home’s assessed value and the assessed value is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the current market value.

B.C. Assessment has local offices throughout B.C. and their mission of “creating uniform assessments and trusted property information to support economic and social prosperity in B.C.” is not an easy task with around two million properties, reaching approximately 1.3 trillion dollars in value province-wide.

With such a vast array of properties, there can be errors, but it’s not like there’s a big giant head throwing out values without consideration. They dig, and their sources of property information include building permits, comparable sales data, age, use and features of a property, information from land titles and even site visits to name a few.

To understand your value, you first have to realize that the number they’re giving you is the market value of your home as of July 1st the previous year. A lot can happen between July 1st and when you receive your notice about six months later. Changes in market value happen extremely fast, especially in a small market like Invermere and many of our rural communities. While assessed value provides a fair basis for taxation, it does not tell you with certainty what your house is worth today.

If you think your assessed value is not accurate, then follow the process of disputing your value as outlined on your assessment notice. If you want to know the current market value of your home, then contact your Realtor and ask them for an opinion on the current value. Often there is no cost for this.

If you want to know the property features that B.C. Assessment used to arrive at your value, or are curious what houses in your neighbourhood are valued at, go to their site and use their e-valueBC tool (http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca).

E-valueBC will tell you the details of your property so you can confirm the features they believe you have. You can update the features of your home through a request form on this page as well.

E-valueBC also lets you see the assessed value of your neighbour’s home, or any home in the province for that matter. As well, it shows you recent sales. It’s a pretty neat tool and definitely worth a look.

The value of your home is much more dynamic than an assessment that comes to you once a year for the purposes of taxation. While it’s a great starting point, it’s important to consider all the other information before being confident in a value. A marketing plan for any property should include regular updates on the market, and that’s because your Realtor is working to stay up on trends and make sure your home’s marketing efforts are as well.

Geoff Hill is a licensed Realtor with MaxWell Realty Invermere, holding a trading services licence since May 2008. Originating from West Vancouver, he came to the valley for the snow and stayed for the people and lifestyle. Geoff enjoys volunteering with the local fire department and roller derby team as well as playing roller derby and many other sports himself.

*This column is for entertainment only and not intended to be construed as advice in any way. Information should be independently verified and all sellers and buyers are encouraged to contact their Realtor for help with buying and selling. This is not intended to solicit business. No chipmunks were harmed in the writing of this column.

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