On Jan. 1, 2025, every real property owner in Buncombe County will receive a new assessed value. You’re probably thinking, “Great, you’re telling me my taxes are going up.” We understand that is an initial response to the reappraisal process, but we want to assure you the overall goal is to assure equity and fairness by making assessments more uniform across the County. We know, that might sound like nonsense, but bear with us for a bit and we’ll explain it in a painless and digestible way.
What is Reappraisal anyway?
Reappraisal is the process of updating all of Buncombe County’s real property values to reflect fair market value as of Jan. 1, 2025. In every community, property values increase or decrease at different rates over time. It is a data-driven process that updates the market value of all residential and commercial properties in the county. Why are we telling you now? We want our residents to have access to all the information they need to make informed decisions about their property. We want you to have plenty of time to apply for tax relief if you are eligible, update your property record, or gather information if you need to appeal your assessed value.
What Reappraisal is not
Reappraisal does not set tax rates. Property tax rates are determined by the Board of Commissioners during the county’s annual budget cycle. Reappraisal does not create property values. Property values are determined by the real estate market through the buying and selling of property from the last revaluation to the current.
Didn’t we just do this? Why are we doing it again?
The last reappraisal was Jan. 1, 2021, and this appraisal will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2025, meaning there will be a four-year span between reappraisals. North Carolina law mandates a reappraisal takes place at least every eight years, but external factors can dictate that it’s mandatory or prudent to do so sooner. In our case, County Commissioners approved reappraisal on a four-year cycle in 2017 to help with:
- Projected sales ratio dropping below 85% which would trigger a mandatory reappraisal.
- Inequity in assessments due to appreciating market (like the current sales market in Buncombe County).
- Maintaining public service revenue.
So, what does this mean in plain English? Some of y’all are paying more than your fair share of taxes due to discrepancies between assessed values and current market values. Here’s how that happens:
- Home 1 sells for $320,000 and is assessed at $205,100, meaning Home 1 pays property tax on 64% of market value.
- Home 2 sells for $320,000 and is assessed at $295,300, meaning Home 2 pays property tax on 92% of market value.
Reappraisal is about equalization of assessed value. In the above examples, both homes should be paying the same percentage of property taxes when the district’s rates are equal.
For this example, let’s say the property tax bills for both homes are $1,000 if the home were valued at the market value of $320,000 (sales price). With reappraisal and equalization of value, the first home would be paying $640 in taxes while the second would be paying $920 in taxes. Does that sound fair? If you are the second home, would you want the County to reappraise so you are not having a larger share of the tax burden?
As you can see, not everyone is paying an equitable amount of what their property is worth, especially in a fast-paced housing market like Buncombe County. The reappraisal brings everyone back in line with current market values creating countywide equity.
How do you decide how much my property is worth?
It’s a touchy subject, we know. Your property currently has a value based on the 2021 reappraisal. To arrive at your value for 2025, our highly trained appraisal team uses multiple methods in order to arrive at the fairest market value:
- Desktop review: Appraisers use technology available for review and verification of data. County appraisers will verify the accuracy of characteristics on record for the property. Some of these characteristics include square footage, bedroom and bathroom count, condition of structure and exterior walls.
- Full measure and list: Appraisers measure every improvement on the property and verifies interior data.
- Walk around: Appraisers complete a physical walk around and gather only data that may need updating.
- Street review: The appraiser drives by to take a quick look at the property. Street-level and aerial photography can bolster this method.
In short, we are pairing technology with good old fashioned site visits to determine the current value of your property. Once we have gathered accurate data about your property, we study the sales transactions in and around your neighborhood to help determine your new property value. While the process is more complicated and nuanced, that’s the gist of how we will determine 2025 values.
What happens during a site visit or walk around visit? Do you have to come in my house? Do I have to be there?
Residential Appraisers from the Assessor’s office will conduct site visits throughout 2024, if needed, to verify that property characteristics correspond with property record data. Site visits or inspections are typically conducted to verify all new home construction, additions, and other new buildings such as garages, workshops, studios, barns, and storage buildings. Site visits may also be needed to verify that buildings have been removed, destroyed or to check for any conditions that cannot be determined from the Assessor’s office through other modern technology, owner description or real estate databases that may influence the property’s assessed value. Site visits are not new procedures and have always been an integral part of Buncombe County’s Assessment process. Appraisers do not enter homes.
A site visit entails gathering any information from the owner, (if the owner is present) taking exterior measurements and observations of the home or building and at least one photo of the front of the house and any other permanent buildings. If the owner is not home, the Appraiser still conducts a site visit and will leave a door hanger with information about the site visit and the Appraiser’s contact information.
General Statue 105-317(a) in the Machinery Act of North Carolina requires accurate appraisals of real property including inspection of all characteristics which may affect value. General Statute 105-296(a) authorizes assessors to perform the duties imposed upon them by law and have and exercise all powers reasonably necessary in the performance of duties not inconsistent with the Constitution or the laws of this State.
While the General Statutes do not give specific authority for property appraisers to enter private property, the statutes imply appraisers have the authority and it is reasonably necessary to enter private land for appraisal purposes unless the owner or lawful occupant objects. This objection can be communicated orally, in writing, or by visible placement of a no trespassing sign(s). The appraiser does not have the authority to be on private land after being asked to leave by the owner or lawful occupant.
How are your property appraisers trained?
Our Property Assessment office has earned the Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration from the International Association of Assessing Officers and all property appraisers are certified Level II and III from the North Carolina Department of Revenue. This course outlines some of the training our team receives: Real and Personal Property Appraisal Tax Administration (PDF). Buncombe County uses the methodology and follows the same statutes as all other counties in North Carolina.
OK, you’ve assessed my property but I disagree with your assessed value.
We want to hear from you because you know your property better than anyone else, and that helps make our assessment as accurate as possible. After receiving a new assessment in 2025, you will be able to make informal appeals. The appeal process helps us clarify anything we might have missed concerning your property. Our team is here to help, or you can start the process online at tax.buncombecounty.org. Stay tuned to our website, and during the appeals window, we’ll hold appeal clinics to help you through the process.
- January-December: Establish new assessments for all real property.
- January: If you have made changes, or updates to your property and you receive a new value from our office, the appeals process opens.
- January-June: Applications open for property tax exemptions, exclusions, and deferments, as well as present-use value.
- April-May: Schedule of values, standards, and rules adopted by Board of Commissioners for Reappraisal 2025. This document defines the methodology of reappraisal for the review. This document is available to the public.
- June: County Commissioners will establish the tax rate for FY 25.
- August: Property tax bills (based on current assessment) mailed to all property owners.
- January-December: Community engagement. Schedule a speaker from our office to come to your Homeowners Association or community meeting.
- January-February: New assessments will be mailed to every real property owner.
- February-April: Informal appeals process. Appeal Clinics will be held throughout the County.
- March-April: Estimated taxable value for revenue estimates for all districts delivered to Budget Office. The estimate will be used to help Commissioners and the Budget Director determine the fiscal year 2026 (July 1, 2025-June 30, 2026) tax rate.
- April: The Board of Equalization and Review convenes for formal appeals.
- June: County Commissioners will establish the tax rate.
- August: Property tax bills will be mailed to all property owners.
So what’s next?
The process is just getting underway. As we progress, we will have more in-depth information and resources about:
- Schedule of values
- The appeals process
- Ways to see values of homes in your neighborhood
- Ways to find comparable properties
- Who to contact about your appraisal
- Where to attend information sessions about reappraisal
- How to schedule a speaker for your group
If you have any questions, you can reach the Property Assessor’s Office at (828) 250-4949