An appraisal is the method established by Kansas statute to determine a property owner’s share of the taxes that support schools, roads, health and human service programs, parks, and police and fire protection. The county appraiser is responsible for listing and valuing property in a uniform and equal manner.
The state closely monitors counties for their accuracy in valuing the property. Johnson County has consistently been found to be in compliance with the state requirements since 1992 when the state directive was issued.
Remember, the Appraiser's Office does not set taxes. The amount of taxes you pay depends on the budgets set by your governing bodies - such as the state, county, cities, and school districts.
How is an appraisal done?
The county appraiser is required to visit your property at least once every six years. First, the appraiser will attempt to interview the property owner. Then an exterior inspection is done. The appraiser will look for changes such as a room addition or the construction of a deck, verify the dimensions, check for structural damage, and determine the property’s general condition.
Back in the office, the appraiser uses computer-generated data to analyze the property based upon its age, size, style of construction and replacement costs. Sales data is also reviewed and analyzed.
What determines value for tax purposes?
By law, your property is appraised at “fair market value” as it exists on January 1. The state’s definition: “Fair market value means the amount in terms of money that a well informed buyer is justified in paying and a well informed seller is justified in accepting for property in an open and competitive market, assuming that the parties are acting without undue compulsion.”
Why does the value change?
The value of your property could change from year to year, depending on several things. If you made improvements, such as adding a room, finishing a basement, or building a garage, the value will probably go up.
If a major structural problem develops, such as a foundation crack, the value will probably go down. The value may also go up or down because of recent sales in your neighborhood. The county appraiser continually monitors sale prices and other information on homes all over the county.
Remember, the healthy local economy means many people want to live and work in Johnson County, so property values in nearly every neighborhood continue to increase each year.
Johnson County now represents more than 30 percent of the total property valuation in the state of Kansas, and the state monitors us closely to make sure our valuations stay near “fair market value.” For more stats on Johnson County, see the state perspective.
When are owners notified?
The first of March each year, the county appraiser mails Notices of Appraised Value to the owners of real estate (see calendar). You will receive an “Notice of Appraised Value” form that provides the current year and previous two-year history of your property’s valuation.
Since 2000 the state has allowed counties to include sales data on homes that have actually sold in your area. Johnson County was the first county in the state to include this information on the notices of appraised value. Sales data is one of the factors that was used in determining the value of your home.
What are the Annual Notices of Appraised Value?
The annual “Notice of Appraised Value” shows actual sales data on property that was considered in the valuation of property. This information is located about halfway down on the front of the sheet. Johnson County was the first county in the state to provide this information on the “Notice of Value” since the Kansas Legislature gave counties the option to do so.
How do I decipher the Sales data?
Actual sale price represents the amount that was reported on the “sales questionnaire,” as required by law to be submitted on each sale.
Adjusted Selling Price represents an attempt to adjust the selling price of one parcel to reflect the characteristics of the property being appraised. (see next question)
No two parcels of real estate are identical, which makes direct comparisons of “sold” to “unsold parcels” difficult. Appraisers analyze a large number of sales to find patterns that indicate the amount each property characteristic contributes to the total selling price.
After reviewing thousands of sales, appraisers are able to assign dollar amounts to the major differences. They use those dollar amounts to adjust raw (or actual) selling prices to account for the differences in property characteristics.
Assume, for example, your neighbor’s house sold recently for $125,000. Assume also that your house is identical to that house in every respect except for the fact that your neighbor’s house has an attached garage and your house has none. If sales in your market area indicated that an attached garage added $5,000 to the selling prices of homes, your neighbor’s selling price of $125,000 would have to be reduced by $5,000 to reflect the characteristics of your house. Therefore, that sale would indicate your home to be worth $120,000, representing the “adjusted sales price.”
Other characteristics for which adjustments would be made include:
- age of the home
- square footage of living area
- number of bathrooms
- quality of construction
- general upkeep of the home
- and the type of basement finish
What is "Adjusted Sales Price?"
The adjusted sales price is an attempt to adjust the selling price of a property to match the characteristics of your property. Since no two parcels are identical, the appraisers analyze a large number of sales to find patterns. Then they are able to assign dollar amounts to the major differences and "adjust" actual selling prices for the differences.
For example: assume your house is identical to the neighbor's house, except your neighbor has an attached garage. Let's say the sales in your area indicate that an attached garage adds $5,000 to the selling price. If your neighbor's house sold recently for $125,000, your home would be worth $120,000 dollars. The $120,000 would reflect the "adjusted sales price."
What else should I check?
Review the “classification” on the Notice Appraised of Value to make sure the use of your property is correct — residential, commercial, vacant land or agricultural. Then compare the current and previous year’s valuation. Does the appraised value appear to be close to the price you would consider reasonable if you were to list your property for sale? If so, the appraiser has done the job that the state requires.
Consider whether there have been changes in the property. Have there been improvements that increase its value? Or are there major structural problems that might not be apparent from an outside inspection? Remember, general maintenance problems usually do not affect value.
Also, check data collected on your home. Measurements, date of construction, number of rooms, etc. are available on our website under "Land Records Search" or by contacting the Appraiser’s Office. Then review the sales data included on the Notice of Value to see what the real estate market is doing in your area.