Assessment Look Up
Vision Government Solutions is web hosting the Property Record Information. You can view property records by going to this link, http://gis.vgsi.com/BerlinMA/
Property Reports are available at the Assessor’s Office, 23 Linden Street. The Assessor’s Office is open Monday – Thursday, from 9 AM – 1 PM and 2nd and 4th Mondays 6 PM – 8 PM. There is a public access computer at the counter for your use to look up property record cards, or ask one our clerks to assist you for field cards and maps.
The term “Revaluation” is a process of determining how accurate and uniform the values used to establish property taxes are. It is actually a “Mass Appraisal” of all properties.
A very simple explanation of the process is that it is done through a detailed statistical analysis of “arms length” sales that have occurred within the year prior to the assessment date, which is January 1st of each year. These sales prices are compared to the current assessed values in order to determine the “assessment level”. The premise being that sales are the most accurate measure of “full and fair market value”.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a revaluation?
A revaluation is an update of all assessments in the town conducted under the direction of the Board of Assessors. The members of the Board of Assessors are state – certified individuals whose duties are to discover, list, and value all real and personal property in the town, in a uniform and equitable manner. The Board of Assessors is not involved in the collection of property taxes.
Why is a revaluation necessary?
State law requires that all property in the town be assessed within ten percent of market value every three years. A revaluation is the most equitable way to accomplish this. It is also necessary for Assessors to maintain current values that are reflective of the real estate market.
Will all property values change?
Most likely, yes. However, not all property values will change at the same rate. Market value may have increased more for some neighborhoods and property types than for others. Some neighborhoods and property types may have decreased in value and others may have remained the same. One purpose of a revaluation is to make sure that the assessed values reflect the changes that have occurred in property values.
Who will do the revaluation?
The Board of Assessors contracted the services of Vision Government Solutions to assist them with the 2017 revaluation project. They have many years of experience in property assessment and are familiar with the marketplace in the town. The Board of Assessors will seek request for Proposals for any future assistance with revaluations.
Is it necessary that you view the inside of my property?
To make a proper assessment on a building, it is necessary that an assessor have accurate information about the inside as well as the outside of the property. We continuously perform data quality control studies of our existing information by conducting inspections of all properties on a regular basis over a nine-year period. If we are unable to enter your property, we will still review your assessment based on the existing records and sales of properties similar to yours.
What if I refuse to let assessment personnel in my property?
All assessing staff and appraisers hired by the town will have an identification card. Our phone number is 838-2256 if you need verification or you may contact the police station. To ensure accurate assessment, it is to your advantage to allow the assessor or data collector inside your property when an inspection is required. You are not required by law to allow an inspection, but you should be aware that by denying an inspection, you might lose some statutory rights if you feel the need to appeal your assessment.
What is market value?
State law requires that your property be assessed at market value. Market value is defined, as the amount a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property. For a sale to be a market value (arm’s- length) sale, the seller and buyer must be unrelated, the buyer and seller must be willing (but under no pressure) to buy or sell, the property must be on the market for a reasonable length of time, the payment must be in cash or its equivalent, and the financing must be typical for that type of property.
What if there hasn’t been a recent arm’s – length sale of my property?
The next best evidence is the arm’s-length sales of reasonably comparable properties. These are properties similar to yours in location, age, style, condition, and other features that affect market value, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and size of garage. Analysis of such sales is the basis of our valuation process.
What if there are no reasonably comparable sales?
We will then consider all other factors that may affect the market value of your property. The cost to replace your building (s), less any depreciation, plus the value of the land could be used to estimate market value. For income properties, the income and expenses will be considered.
I have recently built my home. Will the actual construction costs be considered?
Your construction cost is a historical figure that may or may not reflect the current market value of your property. It is only one element that will be considered. All new construction is assessed at its percentage of completion at June 30th. This date is allowed by Mass General Laws Chapter 653 Section 40, Acts of 1989 and was accepted at town meeting May 4, 1992.
What will happen to my assessment if I improve my property?
Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessment. The following examples are typical items that may increase the assessed value of your property:
- Added rooms or garage
- Substantial modernization of kitchen or baths
- Central air – conditioning
- Extensive remodeling
Will my assessment go up if I repair my property?
Normal maintenance will help retain the market value of your property, but generally will not affect your assessment. Significant repairs of serious structural deficiencies may have an affect on the value.
How can my assessment change when I haven’t done anything to my property?
General economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation rates, and changes in the tax laws will influence the value of real estate. As property values change in the marketplace, those changes must be reflected on the assessment roll.
Do all assessments change at the same rate?
There are differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area, the sales may indicate a substantial increase in value in a given year. In another neighborhood, there may be no change, or even a decrease in property values.
Different types of properties within the same neighborhood may also show different value changes. For example, one-story houses may be more in demand than two story houses or vice versa. Older homes in the same area may be rising in value more slowly than newer homes.
Among the numerous factors to be considered that will cause values to differ are location, condition, size, quality of construction, and the number of baths, basement finish, garages, and many others.
Will the person who inspects my property be able to tell me my new assessment?
No. If an inspection is necessary on your property, we have to analyze all of the information we gathered before placing a value on it. We will then further review this information to ensure that your assessment corresponds fairly to the assessments of other properties.
Will I be notified if there is a change in my assessment?
Upon Preliminary Certification from the Department of Revenue, there will be a Public Disclosure period. The dates and times will be posted to our Website.
What if I don’t agree with my assessment?
Talk with an assessor. During the informal public review period you can learn how your assessment was made, what factors were considered, and what information we have on your property.
What if, after the bill goes out, I still disagree with the assessment?
You have the right to file an abatement application with the Assessing Department by the due date of the first half tax bill. The Board of Assessors has three months on which to act on your application. They will notify you on an approved Department of Revenue form of their decision within that time.
What evidence do I need to present to the Board of Assessors?
State law puts the burden of proof on the property owner to show that the assessment is incorrect. Stating that property taxes are too high is not relevant. You should establish in your mind what you think your property is worth.
The best evidence that could be considered would be a recent sale price of your property. The next best evidence would be recent sales prices of properties that are similar to yours. The closer in similarity and proximity, the better the evidence.
Another type of evidence that could be considered would be a recent appraisal of your property.
How will my taxes change as a result of the new assessment?
Although the value of your property affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by the budgetary needs of the town. The services that will be provided in the coming year and how much money will be needed to provide these services decide this. Once this decision is made, a tax rate is adopted that will generate the needed dollars. Your property taxes are then determined by multiplying the tax rate by your assessment. The tax rate is expressed as dollars per thousand dollars of value.
For example: If the rate is ($14.13) x the value ($275,000) = the tax is $3,885.75