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Home Appraisal vs Assessment

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in LawMarch 17, 2023

In recent years, the practice of investors purchasing houses, renovating them, and then reselling them for a profit, commonly known as "flipping houses," has grown in popularity. For both buyers and sellers, appropriately valuing a property is essential. There are two ways to do this: appraisal and assessment. To be sufficiently prepared to succeed in this growing business, it is critical to develop a deep understanding of the distinctions between a house’s assessed value and appraised value, the procedures used to determine each, and how to contest both.

what is an appraisal

What is an Appraisal Value?

An appraisal definition is just an estimation of a property's market value based on its condition, location, and recent sales of comparable properties in the area. The appraisal process is carried out by a licensed appraiser, who conducts a physical inspection of the property and creates a detailed report that provides information on the property's size, number of rooms, and overall condition. Lenders utilize appraisal values to decide how much money to lend when refinancing or buying a property, and sellers can use them to appropriately market their properties.

Since it considers the unique qualities of the property as well as current sales information of nearby similar properties, an appraisal value is often a more accurate picture of the current market value of a property. An address lookup is a great way to compare the value of your property to similar houses in your neighborhood. 

what is assessed value

What is an Assessed Value?

Simply put, an assessed value definition is the value of a property as decided by a local authority for taxation. The evaluation procedure takes the property's market worth into account, but it also takes location, age, and condition into account. Property taxes are calculated using the assessed value, which is often less than the appraised value. Property owners may benefit when the assessed value is less than the appraised value since it lowers their property taxes.

For instance, if a home is appraised for $300,000 but only has a $250,000 assessed value, the owner would pay property taxes based on the $250,000 assessed value, which might result in sizable savings.

It's crucial to keep in mind, though, that the assessed value isn't necessarily a reliable indicator of the property's market value. When determining the assessed value, local governments could employ out-of-date data or neglect to take recent improvements to the property into account. Also, particularly in locations where house values are quickly increasing or decreasing, the assessed value may not accurately reflect current market realities.

Differences in the Processes of Appraisal and Assessment

The primary difference between appraisal and assessment is the purpose. A property's fair market value is established by an appraisal, whereas the amount of its annual property taxes is established through assessment. There are several methods for figuring out a property's value.

The process of appraisal includes a qualified appraiser physically inspecting the property and estimating its value based on recent sales data of nearby similar properties. The appraiser determines the property's market worth by taking into account elements, including the property's size, location, features, and condition. The appraiser then compiles a thorough report detailing the property's attributes and the formula used to calculate its value.

On the other hand, the local government makes the decisions about assessment. The assessment procedure takes the property's market worth into consideration, but it also takes other aspects like the property's age, condition, and location into account. The local government uses the assessed value to determine the property tax amount.

How to Dispute Both

If you disagree with the appraised value of your property, you can dispute it by providing evidence that the appraiser made a mistake or overlooked certain features of the property. For example, if the appraiser did not consider recent renovations or upgrades to the property, you can provide documentation to support your claim. If you think the appraiser utilized inaccurate or out-of-date information to determine the value of the property, you can also contest the value of the appraisal.

When challenging appraisal values, it's crucial to remember that appraisals are normally needed when you're purchasing or refinancing a house, and lenders frequently hire their own appraisers. You can ask your lender to obtain a second appraisal if you're not satisfied with the determined value, or you can hire your own appraiser to give you a second opinion. But, bear in mind that any subsequent evaluations will cost money out of pocket.

For an assessment, you must formally appeal to your local government in order to contest it. It is crucial to check with your local government to learn the particular steps involved in submitting an appeal because the appeals process differs from state to state. In general, you'll need to provide proof that the assessed value is incorrect. This proof can take the form of recent sales information for nearby properties that are comparable to yours, records of recent improvements or renovations to the property, or proof that the local government used inaccurate information in calculating the assessed value.

It's important to remember that contesting an assessed value could have an impact on your property tax bill. Your property tax payment will decrease if the local authority lowers the assessed value as a result of your successful appeal. On the other hand, if you're unsuccessful in disputing the assessed value, your property tax bill may increase.


When it comes to purchasing, selling, or refinancing a house, a property's price is crucial. Understanding the distinction between appraisal and assessment values will always be paramount since it may help ensure that the price is right. When diving deeper into these two methods of home valuation, it will quickly become clear that they each serve different functions. While assessed values are used to determine property taxes, appraisal values are used by lenders and offer a more accurate depiction of a property's market worth. Both figures may be challenged if you think they are incorrect, but the methods for doing so vary. When it comes to pricing their property and arguing its worth, property owners and flippers may make more educated judgments if they use property records and are aware of the distinction between appraisal and assessment values. 

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