When you're trying to find the value for a piece of land, check local government records to see the value that local tax assessors place on the property. Assessed value often lags behind current market value (in both directions, up or down), but it gives you a base property value to work from. Property tax records can also tell you how the value has changed over time.
- Skill level:
Get the address or identification numbers of the property. If the lot is vacant land, it may not have a numbered street address. You may need its parcel and map numbers, or some other numerical ID. If you only know the street name, contact your real estate agent or the office of the local assessors to obtain the full address you'll need to search the records.
Go to the local assessors' website if one is available. Some local governments list property values online. Enter the address into the property search page to view the records for the property and see its assessed value. If there are any structures on the land, look to see if the assessors show separate values for the land and structures.
If the local government doesn't make property records available online, call or visit the office of the assessors. Depending on the state, it can be a county office or a town office. Request the property tax records for the property. A phone call often isn't enough. Assessors may tell you that you must file a written request or visit the office in person to view the record.
Tips and warnings
- If the local assessors don't have a website that shows property values, you can sometimes find the assessed value for a specific lot by checking other online real estate listings.
- Some county and town websites allow you to search property information by street name, without a specific address. This allows you to look at values for other property in the same neighbourhood.
- Some areas use a percentage of value, not full value, for the assessed value. Check to see whether the local assessors use the full value or a percentage. That information isn't always displayed on the website. Also ask how often values are updated.
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