Frequently Asked Questions *

LOGO1What is reassessment?
Reassessment is the process of re-determining the value of property or land for tax purposes.

Why have reassessments?
Reassessments are required by law to insure that each property is valued fairly. As required by the Code of Virginia, the City of Hopewell conducted a general reassessment that will take effect Jan. 1, 2019. The Code of Virginia requires that all property is assessed at fair market value.

What should I expect from reassessment?
A reassessment will result in a new value being established for your property.  This new value will replace the value currently on your property and will be the basis used for taxing property.  An increase or decrease in property value does not automatically mean an increase or decrease in your property taxes.

What is the reassessment process?
The City is divided into smaller neighborhoods for market comparison.  Each property is visited by a field inspector who verifies data and collects additional data.  The field review is done with the homeowner if they are at home.  Data collection is entered into the mass appraisal system and accuracy validated.  Neighborhood sales, land values, yearly appreciation trends and other data are analyzed throughout the process.

How will I know if someone has visited my property?
Field assessors had City-issued identification badges and cars using magnetic signs of the official City Seal. When property owners were not home at the time of the visit by the field assessor, a notice was left on the door saying the property has been inspected.

What causes property values to change?
The most frequent cause of change in value results from a change in the market. When market value changes, so do the assessed values. A property’s value can also change for other reasons, such as additions, garages, remodeling or damage or destruction.

What is “Fair Market Value?”
Fair market value is defined as the amount a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property, under the following conditions:

  • The seller and buyer must be unrelated.
  • The seller must be willing, but not under undue pressure to sell; the buyer must be willing, but not under any obligation to buy.
  • The property must be on the open market for a reasonable length of time.
  • The payment must be in cash or its equivalent, and the financing, if required, must be typical for that type of property.
  • If all these conditions are present, this is considered a market value, or “arm’s length,” sale.

What do my real estate taxes go towards?
Schools, law enforcement, fire protection, libraries and other services are only a few of the amenities property taxes make possible.

How can I tell if my reassessment is fair and accurate?
Compare your property’s value with other comparable properties.  You may look at properties of similar age, lot and building size, construction, improvements, location, proximity to shopping, schools, and other amenities.

What do I do if I disagree with the assessed value?
A property owner has the right to appeal their property tax assessment. The burden of proof, however, is always on the taxpayer to prove why they should have their assessment changed. Simply saying:  “My assessment is too high (or low)” or “My property value went up but my neighbors’ all went down” is not sufficient; an appeal must be substantiated. There may be factors involved of which an owner may be unaware. You may appeal by either submitting a written appeal or by scheduling a face-to-face hearing.

The following may happen on appeal:

  • 1) the assessed value may be raised;
  • 2) it may be lowered; or
  • 3) it may remain the same

Any appeals that are not resolved by the initial appeal hearing may be reviewed by the Board of Equalization.

A new appeal application must be submitted to the Board of Equalization in order for the Board to rule on the appeal.

The final appeal after the Board of Equalization would be to petition the City of Hopewell for judicial review. The Code of Virginia provides all property owners the opportunity to appeal an unfair reassessment through the Circuit Court system.

*This Manual more fully elaborates on this page of “Brief FAQS” and this page should be regarded only in light of the full manual.

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