Property reassessment underway

Published 9:15 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

A reassessment of real estate is underway in Lunenburg County.

“The Code of Virginia states that localities must do a reassessment every 4-6 years,” said Lunenburg County Commissioner of the Revenue Elizabeth Y. “Liz” Hamlett.

According to the Code, localities must reassess property every 4-6 years.

Pearsons Appraisal, of Richmond, has been contracted to conduct the reassessment, Hamlett said.

Appraisers have started their field work.

“They first do a sales study of the sales over the last 1-2 years,” Hamlett said. “They compare the assessed value with the consideration for the property and they figure … where our ratio should be if our assessments are too high or too low.”

Based on the results, the county board of supervisors could increase the real estate tax rate, lower it or keep it the same.

According to Hamlett, in 2014, supervisors switched from assessments every four years to one every six years.

“They have started the field work,” she said. “So, they will be visiting the properties throughout the county. They have several assessors that come and just stay in the county. And several of them worked with us on our last reassessment, so they’re familiar with the county. They will visit each property and confirm the improvements of the property (including) any houses and outbuildings. And if there are any changes that we need to make here in the office, then they’ll bring it back to us to make those changes.”

The reassessment is slated to conclude in November with reassessment notices being mailed to landowners in December.

“And that will alert taxpayers as to whether there was an increase or decrease in their property value,” she said.

Landowners who are not satisfied with their reassessment values can appeal directly to the appraising firm. If they’re still not satisfied, they can address the values with the county’s board of equalization, which is comprised of county residents, then on to the Lunenburg Circuit Court.

The last reassessment was conducted in 2012, Hamlett said, with netted “a net decrease of five percent,” Hamlett said.

“Our reassessment prior to that was in 2008, and then the market crashed,” she said. “So, we saw a five percent decrease in our 2012 reassessment.”

“They will be updating the photos of the main structures,” she said of appraisers taking photos of buildings.

“It’s too early to say,” she said of what increase or decrease the values could net from the ongoing reassessment. “They are still looking at the recent sales, you know, sales from January to current. So, it’s too early to say.”

Appraisers visiting properties will be in vehicles marked “Lunenburg County Reassessment,” Hamlett said. “And all of the reassessors do have badges and name tags showing that they are with the reassessment firm.”

Those with questions on the reassessment process should contact the commissioner of the revenue’s office at (434) 696-2516 or the Lunenburg County Administrator’s Office at (434) 696-2142.