Assessments for residential properties (1, 2, or 3-family houses and condominium units) are typically based on the market approach to value. This approach incorporates a statistical analysis of property sales to determine market values as of January 1. This analysis takes into consideration only those transactions that are deemed “arm’s length”, e.g. sales that took place between a willing buyer and a willing seller, when neither party was under any compulsion to make the transaction. This data is incorporated into computerized valuation models, which simulate varying market conditions in each neighborhood and form the basis for residential values.
Assessments for office, retail, apartment and industrial properties are typically derived using the income and cost approaches to value. Under the income approach, fair cash value is derived from the property’s ability to generate income. The Assessors examine the rents generated by office, apartment, retail and other commercial buildings, subtract operating expenses to achieve a net income, then divide net income by an appropriate capitalization rate, in order to derive a market value for each parcel of commercial property.
The cost approach measures the estimated cost of replacing or reproducing the buildings and improvements on a property – less any depreciation – plus the value of the land on which the building stands. The cost approach is mainly employed in determining the value of special purpose properties.
Based on extensive research of Berlin’s real estate market each year, values are adjusted to reflect any changes that have occurred in the market. Assessed values may vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and from property type to property type.
If you have a question on the assessment of your property, contact the Assessors Office during office hours. We will do our best to answer your questions and explain the process to you.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) certifies values every five years. This is done through an extensive statistical analysis and audit of the procedures used by the local Assessors Office.