JoCo on the Go Podcast: Appraiser‘s office starting valuation process for 2022

On JoCo on the Go, episode #117, the Johnson County Appraiser's Office is about to begin a big project that only happens every six years. Learn why special cars equipped with cameras will be driving through Johnson County neighborhoods gathering video images of your home and find out how this helps with the valuation process. Also hear from the Johnson County Appraiser on anticipated tends in the housing market in 2022.

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Time Subject
00:28 Introduction
01:16 How the county assesses property
04:26 Real estate trends for 2022
07:43 The county's new digital imaging process
10:08 Checking your property's valuation online


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Theresa Freed 00:00

The Johnson County appraiser's office is about to begin a big project that only happens every six years on this episode find out how drive-by digital imaging will give the county a better idea of what your property is worth.

Announcer 00:13

Whether you live in or just love Johnson County Kansas, JoCo on the Go has everything Johnson County. Here's what's happening and what's coming up in the community you call home.

Theresa Freed 00:28

Thanks for joining us for JoCo on the Go, I'm your host Theresa Freed, a Johnson County resident and employee of Johnson County government. Every six years as required by the state Johnson County conducts a digital imaging survey a property the Board of County Commissioners recently approved funding for this project which involves cars equipped with cameras driving through the county collecting video images of properties. Those images will soon be used so the appraisers office can better assess the value of your property. And here to talk more about this project are Johnson County appraiser Beau Boisvert and also the with the appraisers office Kevin Skridulis. Thanks for being here, both of you. Well, just to start off with, we want to talk about some of the basics, both if you can address sort of what the county's role is in assessing the value of property.

Beau Boisvert 01:16

Sure, thank you, Theresa. So, county appraiser is required to actually value all the properties within the county that's taxable. And in order to do that, we need to use one of three approaches either the sales comparison approach, which is using sales of similar properties, and looking at those actual characteristics and determining value for those characteristics. And applying those ratios of value to other properties that didn't sell in order to have all properties paying their fair share property tax by having fair assessments to their property. So that's the one approach and that's used primarily with residential. Commercially, we use a lot of the income approach, which is looking at the income and expense of the operation, because these properties are usually are leased out, the business will lease like an office building or condominium or warehouse, and they'll run their business. And so that lease to the property is what we look at when we're looking at the income and expense to the property owner. And then by making adjustments to that, based on standard appraisal practices, we determine what the values would be for those types of properties, whether it's a warehouse, a restaurant, or, you know, an office building. And the other approach is called a cost approach. It's used a lot of unique properties that aren't very many of them around a good example, a lot of times they like to explain this, like a professional baseball stadiums or football stadiums. They're unique they never sell. And so therefore they usually your value on the cost approach, what it would cost to rebuild that brand new today. And then the depreciation based on how many years it's been in service, and then an adjustment for any remodeling that might have taken place. So those are the three approaches we use. We don't have to meet a special property. So we do mostly sales comparison, which is residential, and then the income approach.

Theresa Freed 03:09

Okay, and there are always a bit of confusion between taxes and the appraisal process. And so can you kind of break down how the information from the appraisals issues?

Beau Boisvert 03:20

Sure, so we establish the market value on all properties. And then based on what type of property it is, it gets a different assessment ratio. So for an example, residential property is 11.1%. So if the property is were valued at $100,000, you're only going to be taxed off of $11,100. If it's a commercial property at $100,000, they're at a rate of 25%. So theirs is going to actually be $25,000. Against the tax rate, the tax rates are the same, no matter what the property type is within the taxing district. But the difference in tax bills will be depend on the type of property. So that's kind of how it works. So the assessed value is really the key value that you'll see on your notices, as relates to what will be applied towards the actual levy rates down the road.

Theresa Freed 04:14

Okay, and just to be clear to the process of collecting taxes is not done through your office, right?

Beau Boisvert 04:19

Correct. I do not touch the money. I don't want to touch the money. We strictly create the values.

Theresa Freed 04:26

Okay, very good. All right. So, you know, the big question on everyone's mind as these valuations are done annually, what are we anticipating for trends for 2022? In terms of, you know, the housing market look the same as it did last year? What sorts of things are we seeing?

Beau Boisvert 04:43

For the residential market, it's actually looking stronger than last year, which we thought was going to be somewhat flat, which ended up being about five to 8% for average increase. This year, you're we're probably looking at closer to 12 to 15%. There's just not a lot of inventory to pick from. And so there are multiple buyers for pretty much every house on the market. And that is pushing the values up on those sale prices, because we have to use the sale prices that actually occur in order to determine the values.

Theresa Freed 05:19

And is that pretty consistent with what's happening like across the country or across the state? Or do you look at those trends as well?

Beau Boisvert 05:26

We do. And most of this country is gone positive. But there are maybe some price small pocket areas where that may not be true. Some of maybe are in bigger cities where there's an inner city area may not. But you know, in Texas, Arizona, California, Iowa, Missouri, we haven't seen a downward trend at this point in time, there's just there's a lot of need for people and their desire to move into homes. And there's a lot of people building them. The problem that slowing it down now is the fact that the materials are hard to get, and the materials cost, of course, going up. So that may slow down the market going forward by virtue of the fact that it's going to cost more than it cost before to build that house.

Theresa Freed 06:11

So I know that you don't handle the taxes portion of this, but what does this mean to like the typical homeowner? Or are they should they start to prepare for that that possible increase?

Beau Boisvert 06:21

Um, I would, I would always tell property owners, the best thing to do is look at last year's bill, which they just got in December, which is when we're filming now. But look at that bill, look at that tax rate and do a calculation from that tax rate onto the new assessed value. And you'll get a general picture of what potentially could happen going up. Think of it as a teeter totter. So there's a value side, and then there's a tax side. And a lot of times, what is theoretically supposed to happen is as the values go up, if those cities in schools don't need more money, then the tax levy would go down, because the dollars required are the same. But a lot of times costs will go up. So of course cities are having to increase to cover their own costs of maintenance. And whenever schools are having a costs go up, because they're still paying for electricity, and you know, other projects. So but that's the theory behind how the property assessment works.

Theresa Freed 07:24

Gotcha. Okay. Very good information there. And those notices of appraised value will hit mailboxes around when

Beau Boisvert 07:30

Yeah, no later than March 1, we tried to mail out a week or two before that deadline date. And that's still our goal this year. But for sure, they have to be in the mail by March one.

Theresa Freed 07:43

Okay. Also good to know. All right. So one, one aspect of assessing the value of property is getting accurate images of the property. And so we're about to begin a new a new efforts, or one that is done every six years to gather that data. So Kevin, do you want to tell us a little bit about what's about to happen?

Kevin Skridulis 08:04

Sure, Theresa, thanks. Like, you were saying every six years as required by the state, we need to take new images of all residential commercial parcels. And in the past, we would hire a vendor that would have a van with a driver and someone sitting in the back with the camera and they would go to each parcel, stop, take the picture, stripe it with a parcel ID and the time the date, and then move on to the next parcel. Well, 2022 is the next time we have to do that. We'll probably be starting some time actually this this month. But we'll be using new technology with our vendor. Well, they'll have an instrument package on top of a car with multiple cameras. And they will just drive down the county streets taking pictures continually as they go. And when they're done, we'll have what they call like a panorama Street View images of the county, kind of like Google Streetview. And so in the office, we'll be able to sit in front of software, move down the street pan from side to side, zoom in and measure off the imagery so that that type of imagery is new for us, because the static JPEG images that we used to get in past projects is still important. A lot of our business processes, the vendors are going to pick JPEG cutouts from the Street View images, and we'll have that imagery as well going forward.

Theresa Freed 09:21

All right, that's pretty impressive. And it is amazing how the technology has changed and how that can be used to the benefit of not just your office, but homeowners too. So they, you know, have a better idea of what their property looks like, and also how it's being assessed. So can you talk about how those images or that panoramic view will be used, or can be accessed by property owners at some point.

Kevin Skridulis 09:46

Since that's new technology, we're not actually sure when the panoramic view will be available to the public. It will be available obviously internally to county, not just the appraisal office, other county departments in the city. We will try and get that out as soon as we can. We don't have a timeframe for that the JPEG images that we usually get from the project will start appearing probably on our websites first quarter of next year.

Theresa Freed 10:08

Okay. And if people haven't been to that property data section of, they should really check it out, especially if you own commercial or residential property. Because it's very, very helpful, you get lots of great information. I know when, when I was looking for properties to move here from Topeka, that was really helpful to me, because I was able to get a little bit of history on the property, and I was able to see how the property has changed over time improvements that have been made. And so talk a little bit more about why that that web page is so important for property owners.

Beau Boisvert 10:42

The reason why that's important is because it allows property owners to do some comparison of theirs with their neighbors. A lot of times property owners think every house down the street is actually the same. But that's not actually true. Every house is unique in some aspect. Sometimes it's a finished basement, sometimes it's an unfinished basement. Sometimes the square footage may be you know, 10 2% larger or smaller than that than their neighbor. But they're always differences, different patios, or whatever. So what that does is it allows property owners to kind of get a visual picture of what they're comparison, comparing their property to, on our website, it also allows you to look at comparables that we looked at as related to establishing the values for the property. So they can actually look at the ones we are system picked through valuation and determination. And they can see that comparability by looking at the web for that. So that's a big help as well. And then it's always good information about who the owners are, you know, different aspects of the property.

Theresa Freed 11:47

Yeah. And you can even get information about like the school districts, the utilities, it's helpful to to see just the property layout and you know, where your fencing is, you know, or shouldn't be things like that. So, yes, it's a tremendous place to visit if you are wanting to gather information about property in Jones, Johnson County, for sure. And back to talking a little bit about this digital imaging project, so that this is expected to get started in December, but it's not a quick project. Right. So can you talk about the the timeline of that in, in when people can expect a vehicle in their neighborhood? Or how they'll know?

Kevin Skridulis 12:23

Sure. So yeah, hopefully, with the new technology, we will be done before the leaves come back on. You know, in the spring, if we're not done, we'll have to stop the project. If the leaves are too heavy and continue backup in the fall of 2022. Another thing that can kind of slow the process down is we do have a no snow clause. So we're a little more lenient than we were in the past, if there's a little bit of snow on the yard, that's okay. But what we don't want is enough snow that you're, you know, on the roofs, folks, we can't see the characteristics or the you know, the roof lines and things like that, or berms kind of obscuring the property. So basically, not a lot of snow, and no leaf, and we'll be done fairly quickly.

Theresa Freed 13:05

And your goal, I'm sure is just to get an accurate assessment of the property. And that's why that's being done. Are there things that homeowners should keep in mind about making sure also that they get that accurate assessment? So, you know, like, removing junk from their yards or, you know, any kind of advice like that that might be helpful to homeowners?

Beau Boisvert 13:29

Yeah, I mean, that's something that I think most homeowners worry about or concerned about is, what is my yard look like to the neighbors, you know, when they drive down the street? I think most cities also have their own ordinances about how much your yard could be cluttered. So I think the biggest fan one of the biggest advantages is things change over time, they repaint or they fix up the front for a extend the porch, or they do different things. So the picture that the house looked like the year it was built, let's say 1970 It probably doesn't look like 1970 anymore in the 2000s. So those pictures every six years help us keep a more realistic perspective of what does the house look like during those valuations cycles, then try to use a picture that was 40 years old to determine what the value and what the property looks like today.

Theresa Freed 14:24

So compared to just just six years ago, you know, we talked about the technology advancements there. Will this creates some efficiencies within your department to be able to assess values.

Beau Boisvert 14:36

Absolutely. We calculated it out there without using this actual process and we use the old process which was the stopping shoe with whether we hired a company or we did it internally. It would cost us a significantly more money. So this is efficient as relates to timeframe and as efficient as relates to the cost hos, we calculate if our staff had to do it, I'd have to hire eight people just to do the project, they'd have 120 days to get it done, that would cost us close to $2 million. Well, that's $2 million is not very well spent, when there's, there's systems out there that are much more efficient. So a car driving down the road, taking a you know, the video, and then cutting out the pictures that are what we need is a much faster process and a much more economically, sound and better stewardship of the money.

Theresa Freed 15:35

So that's great. And I think the board approved was at just under $800,000, or somewhere in that neighborhood.

Beau Boisvert 15:41

Correct. It was 706,000 for the two years of that, but then we get the pictures for six years.

Theresa Freed 15:50

Okay. Okay. So yeah, that's a substantial savings there, if you compare it to doing it the old fashioned way, I guess. And so we talked a little bit about the timing of of this project. But, you know, people may be curious about what kinds of images are going to be allowed. And so there are some restrictions in addition to those things related to weather. So people and license plates, can you talk about how those are going to be handled?

Kevin Skridulis 16:18

Sure. And in the past, when it was a stop frame, shoot, basically, the van was stopping, we would just kind of avoid those, you know, people and things like that, this will be a continual shoot, the vendor will be able to blur license plates and faces. So you will see people in the imagery, but you won't be able to recognize

Theresa Freed 16:36

them. Okay, that's good information to have. And I think the last question, there is a dashboard that that the county will have access to, at least, to be able to see which neighborhoods have been videoed, and which happens. And so you'll be able to follow along there. Can you talk about that, that's another area of improved technology, I'm sure where you can track.

Kevin Skridulis 16:59

Sure. And we are still actually working with our vendor before they get out there on how all this will work. So we do know what, at least internally we will have access to a dashboard, that will be updated weekly, we're going to try and make that public facing so people can sign on and see where they've been and where they're planning to be for the next week. If we can't actually make the dashboard publicly facing that we're viewing we might just take a static image of it and post it out on website. Okay, so

Theresa Freed 17:25

people can follow along with the process all year long. That's terrific. All right. Anything else you want to share about the the appraisers office and your processes?

Beau Boisvert 17:34

We're, we're just here to do the job we're required to do. We do want to have fair and equitable values. And the staff here is very good. Very talented, and we like serving the public.

Theresa Freed 17:49

Alright, that's great. And so where can our listeners go to get more information about the appraisal process?

Beau Boisvert 17:54

Our website is actually And then you can do a slash appraiser and that should take you right to our site.

Theresa Freed 18:08

Yeah. All right. Terrific. Well, thank you both for being here today and sharing this great information. I'm sure our listeners will benefit knowing a little bit more about how the appraisals work and then also about this new project coming up. So thank you.

Announcer 18:21

You just heard JoCo on the Go. Join us next time for more everything Johnson County. Have a topic you want to discuss? We want to hear from you. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at JoCoGov. For more on this podcast visit Thanks for listening.

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