Reappraisal and reassessment are easily confused terms related to the process of determining the values of properties, such as houses. A reappraisal and reassessment differ in the circumstances, scope, method and purpose of the examination of the property's value. However, the procedures are closely related, and they occasionally overlap. Both also can impact how much money owning a home can cost you.
Your home most likely would be the subject of a reappraisal if you were selling it or if you were seeking to refinance your mortgage. The reappraisal serves to confirm that the value of the home is in line with the sale price or the size of the mortgage. You also might choose a reappraisal if you make improvements to your home and want to record the impact on its value. A reassessment, meanwhile, serves to give a home or other property an official value for property tax calculations. Property taxes are paid based on the value of a home, so a reassessment ensures that home values are being kept current and tax levies are appropriate.
Authority and Scope
Reappraisals and reassessments differ in the entities that dictate them. A reappraisal is a step that banks or other financial institutions that hold the mortgage on a property will require when appropriate. On the other hand, a reassessment is a much more far-reaching process that local governments oversee on a regular basis to keep property values up to date. Instead of the single property that is the subject of a reappraisal, a reassessment involves all of the properties in a community to ensure that property owners are paying taxes based on the same real estate market.
A reappraisal is done on a property based on different factors. The most prominent include the physical condition of the property, how it is used, and the market conditions where it exists. A reappraisal often involves a qualified appraiser visiting your home, inspecting it to judge its upkeep, size and amenities, weighing its age and neighborhood, and then inspecting related real estate market data. Those data typically include the sales prices of nearby, comparable homes that recently sold.
A reappraisal often is used in the reassessment process. A reassessment can be completed through the appraisal and reappraisal of every single property in the area that is being examined. In this case, appraisers visit every property, appraise them, and use the results to complete a wholesale reassessment. An alternative is to use a method called trending, which involves studying sales trends to determine the values that the market has determined for properties. Another approach is to appraise a selection of properties representing different areas, styles and categories, and then combine those results with the results of trending research to draw conclusions.
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.