Assessing & the Fair Market Value

Annual Adjustments

The General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts require that each city and town keep all real estate assessments current. The State now requires that adjustments to assessments be made on an annual basis. An annual adjustment process should control some of the large changes in your assessment that could have occurred when using a triennial update process. The laws still require that the Department of Revenue inspect the town’s revaluation process every five years.

The process of setting your property assessment involves studying sales of property in Andover that occurred within specific time periods. As an example, the fiscal year 2018 assessments are calculated to reflect the value of your property as of January 1, 2017. The sales used in the analysis for FY2018 are the sales that occurred in 2016.

Home Assessments

The assessment of your home is based upon the factors involved in the sales of all homes in general and homes like yours in particular. “Like” yours generally refers to style and location of the home. If your home is a colonial, the major sales used to generate your assessment are other colonials. The value of your home is then refined for location, the number of baths and bedrooms, other buildings (garages, pools, etc.), and any other factor that might enhance or detract from value.

Past Sales Activity

It is important to remember that the assessment is based on past events. The Board of Assessors looks back on the past sales activity. Conversely, a realtor looks forward to forecast what events will take place. The assessors’ value is an opinion based on market analysis of past events. The actual sale price of a home will not be set by the assessor or the realtor. It will be set by both the buyer and the seller and their perception of the value of the property.