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How to Find the Assessed Property Value for the Real Estate License Exam

Among some other math questions on the Real Estate License Exam, you will be expected to find the assessed property value. The word assessed really means to assign or give a value to something. The assessed value is not necessarily the actual dollar value of the property. A municipality may, for example, assess property at 50 percent of its market value.

Market value is the price the property would bring in a fair and open sale on the real estate market. The assessed value is the value of the property that is used for real estate tax purposes. The percentage that is used to calculate the assessed value is called an assessment ratio.

To find the assessed value of any given property, you simply use this formula:

Market value x assessment ratio (expressed as a decimal) = assessed value

Say that the market value of a property is $200,000. In the community that assesses at 50 percent of market value, the assessed value is $100,000.

$200,000 (market value) x 0.50 (50 percent assessment ratio) = $100,000 (assessed value)

If you take the same property in a community that assesses at 70 percent of market value, the assessed value is $140,000. And if you go to a community that assesses at 100 percent of market value, the assessed value obviously is $200,000.

To apply this fairly on a purely mechanical or mathematical basis, the key is that each municipality uses the same assessment ratio for all the properties within its jurisdiction. To fully appreciate how this works, you need to understand that the taxation of property is about equity and not objective value.

If you and your friend own property that has the same market value, you should both be paying the same amount of taxes. And because taxes are based on assessed value, the assessed values of each of your properties should be the same. And if your properties have different market values, then the assessed values should be proportionally different, and so should your taxes.

Calculating the assessed value of a property based on its market value and the assessment ratio is one of the types of calculations you may have to do on your state’s real estate exam.

Property Market Value Assessed Value
A $200,000 $100,000
B $300,000 $150,000
C $400,000 ?

Properties A and B are being assessed fairly, because each of them is being assessed at the same assessment ratio of 50 percent. Remember the assessment ratio is calculated by dividing the assessed value by the market value. For Property C to be fairly assessed, you multiply the assessment ratio times the market value.

$400,000 x 0.50 (50 percent) = $200,000 assessed value

As you see, for the assessed values to be proportionally fair, it doesn’t matter what the market values are for properties in a given municipality as long as the assessed value is calculated using the same percentage.

Going one step further, as you look at the assessed values in the example, because taxes are based on assessed value, Property C will pay twice as much in taxes as Property A. And that’s fair because Property C is worth twice as much as Property A.

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