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State law requires valuation at full and fair cash value. To permit full operation of Cities and Town’s municipal activities, revenue needs to be collected in a fair and equitable manner from the property owners.
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This is determined mainly by analyzing sales of similar properties in similar areas of the municipality. Other factors include age and condition of the real estate.
Changes in housing market trends can impact property assessments positively or negatively. Assessments are primarily based on the estimated market value of a property.
Examples of improvements that can increase property value include: renovations to kitchens and baths, finishing basements, or adding rooms.
Your assessment is likely to change annually due to market trends or any alterations made to the property record card during the year. It's essential to view your assessment from the perspective of "What could I sell my property for?"
Not necessarily. Taxes can fluctuate depending on several factors such as housing market, overrides or fluctuation of tax rate. A raise in assessment does not automatically indicate a similar rise in taxes.
See ‘How do I get an abatement.’
Once you see the final value which appears on the fiscal third quarter bill which comes out late December, you may contest the value by requesting an abatement. This application is available on the Assessor website https://www.bedfordma.gov/158/Assessor-Forms and must be filed during the month of January and is due February 1. You must still pay your taxes to have the application considered by the Board of Assessors. Any abatement granted will be reflected in future bills.
Yes, an abatement will be denied if tax payments are not current.
Yes. This this has happened at times over the last couple of decades as the real estate market has had corrections.
Assess real and personal property at market value and apply factors across the municipality to make sure all properties are assessed fairly and equitably. Assessors also administer abatements for real property, business personal property and motor vehicle excise taxes.
They do not conduct ‘Appraisals’ of individual properties. They do not set the amount of taxes collected (the ‘Levy’ which is determined by the amount budgeted at Town Meeting).
This is a joint effort between the Select Board and the Board of Assessors. The Assessors are responsible for setting full and fair cash values for the properties. The tax rate is determined by dividing the total tax levy by the total value of all property. The Select Board determines any shift of burden to the commercial class from the residential class. The total tax levy is determined by spending as voted on in Town Meeting.
Revaluation is a process conducted by the Town in collaboration with the state to ensure that the valuation of real property is fair and equitable across the municipality. This involves examining the methods of assessment, data collection, and analysis, and granting approval if all qualifications are met. Revaluation is carried out every 5 years in Massachusetts.
Revaluation serves as an oversight mechanism to ensure that all properties are fairly and equitably assessed in accordance with state law.
No, assessments do not change simultaneously for all properties. Changes are based on various factors such as geographic region, neighborhood, condition, age, and grade of each dwelling. Generally, with the concept of 'Mass Appraisal,' houses are not individually assessed; rather, they are assessed within a group of similar properties. The final assessed value of a property will be indicated on the third-quarter tax bill at the end of the calendar year.
The year’s tax rate is determined by the amount of the tax levy (overall number of tax dollars needed to balance the town budget) and the total value of all real property. The Assessor has no control over the tax levy, that is determined by the level of spending chosen and voted at Town Meeting.
No, only Board of Assessor action may reduce assessment. That said, if you are applying for an abatement, an appraisal will help your case.
Yes, there are Personal Exemptions available to these people, information may be found on our web page. Applications must be submitted annually. Please see our website for more information.
Proposition 2 ½ allows the towns tax levy (total amount to be collected in taxes) to increase no more than 2 ½ percent annually. Within the population of properties, some tax burdens may increase more than 2 ½ percent while others may decrease. Market factors enable this to occur.
Assessors inspect properties when there is an arms-length sale and when renovation/addition permits are pulled by the property owner or contractor. Assessors also must by law inspect all properties on a 10-year interval if not visited for the other mentioned reasons. If no one is home, we will leave a tag for you to call in to arrange an inspection. The inspections are interior and exterior, and typically take 10-15 minutes. Assessors confirm room counts and evaluate the overall condition of the fit and finishes of interior and exterior features.
Properties are classed according to use, such as single family, condominium or commercial. For example, single family homes are classified 101, condominiums 102.
In general, finished living space is valued equally among various types of dwellings. Basement finished space is costed at lower rate than would be first and second floors. Finished attics are also valued lower than first or second floor space.
● Explicit question for exemptions categories: ○ Seniors ○ Veterans ○ Charitable, fraternal, veterans’ and religious organizations ○ Financial hardship ○ Etc.
The most common reason would be errors in the Property Record Card. Over time, depreciation may not be correctly captured for instance.
No, the assessments are kept current each year according to sales activity.
Generally any changes granted for an abatement carry through to the following years, however you may apply each year if you have evidence that your assessment is too high.
See "Do I have to apply for an abatement every year?"
You may contact the Bedford Council on Aging for information on the Senior Work-off program. https://www.bedfordma.gov/518/Council-on-Aging
A sale of a home that is significantly higher than its assessment will trigger an increase if there are other sales that are similarly exceeding their assessments. We use what is called ‘Mass Appraisal’ which means a sample of sales will affect other valuations in each neighborhood.
That depends on several factors, such as location, quality, size, and grade of construction. Market factors will make a difference, such as the desirability of a single-family home versus a duplex in each neighborhood.
Town of Bedford10 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
Town Main Directory: 781-918-4000
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