How Land is Assessed

Land assessment is a difficult process to explain to help taxpayers understand it. Many people think that you just take the total land assessment, divided by the land area and come up with either a per acre price or a per square-foot price. Then they, very often, compare their property to properties that are bigger than theirs and complain that their per acre or per square-foot price is too high. The following is an explanation of how land is assessed. We hope it helps people understand the process:
  1. First you must look at land sales for a particular time frame. Example: for FY2013 assessments, we used 2011 sales.
  2. Adjustments are then made to rates in all neighborhoods, if needed. In Revaluation years (every 3rd), all the neighborhood codes on all streets are reviewed and changed if needed and all the prices are adjusted. In Interim years the neighborhoods may increase in value or decrease, but usually neighborhood codes on streets do not get changed.
  3. The way that the land schedule works is as follows: These figures used are not actual figures. They are made up for the following examples.


Example:  Neighborhood EG, Standard lot size 45,000 sf.
        Lot size 3 AC
        Primary Lot – 45,000 SF X (price/SF) $7.50 = (value) $337,500
        Excess Acres- 1.97 AC X (price/AC) $25,000 = (value) $49,250
        Total Land Value                                =$386,800 (rounded)

        Lot size 45,000 SF
        Primary Lot – 45,000 SF X (price/SF) $7.50 = (value) $337,500

That is a difference of only $49,300 between a lot that is 45,000 SF and one that is 3 AC, in the same neighborhood.  People think that is crazy.  Well, that information is based on the sales that are analyzed.

There is a sliding scale that is used.  Someone buying a lot is not going to pay twice the amount for a lot of 3 AC then they are for a lot of 45,000 SF.  “A lot is a lot”.  If you can have only one house on it, it doesn’t matter very much what size it is (according to sales).

If there are two lots in the same neighborhood and one lot is smaller than the standard lot size the smaller lot will pay more per SF.


 Example:  Neighborhood EG, Standard lot size 45,000 SF.

                        Lot one – 45,000 SF X (price/SF) $7.50 = (value) $337,500
                        Lot two – 31,885 SF X (price/SF) $9.50 = (value) $302,900
Difference of $34,600           Less SF = more per SF

As stated before, these are not actual prices and values.  They are just used for examples.

There are many different neighborhoods but this was just an example.  We hope this helps people to better understand the land assessment process.

Additional Information

Please look for next weeks article on the personal property tax and as always, if you have any questions, please call the Assessors’ Office or visit our homepage.