What does the County Assessor do?
The Assessor's main function is to appraise and place a value upon all property within the County. Equalization of value is the most important aspect of the assessment function.
The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing market conditions.
In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. Such changes may include draining and clearing the land, improving the adjacent public streets and installing utilities, and adding to or remodeling buildings. All factors are considered in estimating the value of the property. This requires a physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.
The Assessor also determines the classification, or use, of each parcel. For instance, property may be residential homestead (owner-occupied), residential non-homestead, agricultural, commercial, etc. Each classification is taxed at a different percentage of market value.
Can manufactured homes receive homestead classification?
Yes. The owner/occupant must also apply, and meet the requirement.
How often are properties appraised by the Assessor's office?
Under State law, properties are to be appraised at least once every five years. Values can be changed on an annual basis (based upon changing market conditions), however, an inspection and appraisal review should be conducted every fifth year.
Will I be penalized for keeping my property condition up and for improving it?
The Minnesota Property Tax system is based upon the Ad Valorem system. Ad Valorem utilizes the premise that taxation should be based upon value. Well-maintained property will be commanding more value from buyers, and hence will be paying a higher level of tax than properties that are not maintained.
What is market value?
Minnesota Statute 272.03 defines "market value" as "the usual selling price... at the time of assessment." It is "the price that could be obtained at a private sale or an auction sale, if the assessor determines that the price from an auction sale represents an arms-length transaction. The price obtained at a forced sale shall not be considered." In other words, market value is the most probable price that would prevail under competitive, open-market conditions.
How does the Assessor determine market value?
State law requires that the value and classification of real estate be established as of January 2 each year. The Assessor’s Office works throughout the year to estimate the market value of each property for the following January 2 assessment date.
- Views Property: Approximately every 5th year, an appraiser will view the property. In addition, all new construction, alterations or improvements will be viewed in the current year.
- Gathers Information: The appraiser gathers information on all characteristics of the property that affect market value, such as size, age, quality, basement finish, and also extra features such as fireplaces, extra baths, walkouts, etc.
- Estimates Value: The property characteristics are entered into a computerized system. The computer aids the appraiser in estimating the property value. Information from actual sales is used to update the computer model and set the table schedules which are used to update your market value. The market value estimated by the assessor should be at, or very close to, the amount the property would sell for if placed on the open market.