Understanding Your BC Assessment in 2016

BC Assessments are out!

BC Property Assessments are out for 2016 - what do they mean for you and your home?

You should have received your property assessment in the mail already. You can also look at it online here.

Why pay attention to your property assessment?

Knowing how your property value compares to the average can help you better predict what your property taxes will be this coming year.

Here’s how it works.

On the website, enter your address to see what your home’s assessment is this year.

Compare it to last year, and you can see what percentage of increase (or decrease) there was to your home’s value.

The calculation is pretty straight forward. Find the difference between this year and last year, then divide that difference by last year.

So, if you have a value of 310,000 in 2016 and you had a value of $300,000 in 2015, the difference is $10,000.
$10,000 divided by $300,000 = 0.033, which amounts to a 3.3% increase.

Average changes in assessment values in Okanagan communities in 2016.Next you’ll want to compare your increase percentage to the average in your area. In the City of Vernon, non-strata home values went up by a factor of 5.43%, so that fictitious 3.3% increase is quite a bit lower than average.

Click here to see the detailed information for assessments in Okanagan communities.

This will give you a good sense of whether your property tax bill will go up or not, depending on whether your property increased by a lower or higher percentage than the average.

If your local government is working to keep their tax base the same, they adjust the millrate in such a way that the average home won’t see an increase. If your home increased by a lower percentage than the average, that may mean a reduction in property taxes for you.

Of course, if your home increased by a higher percentage than the average, you may be paying more this year.

You still need to watch what your local government is planning to do with their budget, so that you can prepare to have enough cash on hand to pay your taxes when July rolls around.

Do you need to appeal?

The BC Assessment authority gives you the chance to appeal your assessment. If you think they have something wrong with your assessment, have a look at these things before launching your appeal:

On the left, below the photo of your home, click where it says +Show more. You’ll be able to see finished square footage on each floor, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. If any of that is incorrect, you’ll want to let them know.

You can also click where it says Neighbouring Properties to see how your home compares in assessed values to the other homes on your street. If your home has a vastly different value and you don’t know why, it may be worth investigating.

Generally speaking, if your assessment is higher than you think it should be, check to see if they need corrected information. While paying property taxes is one of the ways we help keep our cities and provinces great places to live, you don’t want to be paying more than your share for no reason.

In our local market, there isn’t a strong connection between the BC Assessment value and market value in most neighbourhoods. Your REALTOR® will look at a lot of factors during your comparable market assessment, so don’t worry if your BC Assessment seems low.

It never hurts to be ready for what’s coming.

Look at your assessment now to be better prepared in July when it’s time to hand over those property taxes!

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