Information on the property assessment process

The Board of Selectmen has been receiving questions from residents about property assessments and assessor visits. The following information about the process was provided by the assessor. If you have additional questions, you may contact the Board of Selectmen’s office.


The following is a very general explanation of the major phases of a Revaluation Project. There are five major phases that are typical to a municipal revaluation: Data Collection, Market Analysis, Valuation, Field Review, and Informal Hearings. During these phases over 200 tasks will be implemented in order to successfully complete the revaluation.

PHASE 1: DATA COLLECTION

The first phase, Data Collection, is an ongoing phase that never ends if the community has put itself on a rotating cycle. During this on-going phase field personnel visit properties on a cycle to inspect the interior and measure the exterior of each structure. The field personnel note the structures location, size, age, and quality of construction, improvements, topography, utilities, zoning restrictions and easements, if any, and numerous other characteristics both inside and out. The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes. The goal and objective of the Data Collection Phase is to visit each property at least once over a five-year period. A duplicate visit could occur should the property be resold during that period or a permit to alter the property is taken out. All field personnel carry some form of community or company Photo Identification Cards.
If your community is not on a rotating cycle of Data Collection this phase may be completed in as little as one year or less.

PHASE 2: MARKET ANALYSIS

A variety of resources are used to analyze the real estate market. While the physical data is being collected, appraisal personnel will be analyzing recent sales that took place over the last few years to determine which market factors influenced property values. The appraiser(s) will gather and use information from the County Registry of Deeds, property managers, developers, and local real estate professionals. Once all the data is collected and reviewed for accuracy, the appraisers will determine land values and set Neighborhood Indexes that help distinguish locations throughout the Community.

PHASE 3: VALUATION

Valuation is done considering the three most recognized methods, Cost Approach, Income Approach, and Sales Approach (Market Value). The Sales Approach is the most widely used and recognized as it compares recent sales to individual properties. During this phase, individual characteristics of the building are analyzed using information gathered in both phase 1 and 2. Then the market value of the improvements are added to the land value that was previously determined using the same methods. This value is the final estimate for each parcel of property, building and land.

PHASE 4: FIELD REVIEW

Field review is the method of checking and re-checking the data quality of phase 1 and 2 and the values that have been determined during phase 2 and 3. During this review, properties are viewed from the street or driveway in the field by appraisal staff who double-check uniformity and accuracy of information.

PHASE 5: INFORMAL HEARINGS

Once the Field Review is complete, a Notice of New Value will be mailed to each property owner. At this time, anyone with questions concerning the revaluation process or about the data collected on their property has an opportunity to meet with a member of the revaluation team to discuss their property value. After all five phases are complete the local Assessing Department begins annual maintenance and administration of the new values until the next required update.