Revaluation FAQ: Who are these people coming to my door?

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/21/19

The Chatham County government is in the midst of a property revaluation, which has led to some confused and concerned phone calls to the county’s tax office.

Karen Jones, the county’s …

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Revaluation FAQ: Who are these people coming to my door?

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Posted

The Chatham County government is in the midst of a property revaluation, which has led to some confused and concerned phone calls to the county’s tax office.

Karen Jones, the county’s assistant tax administrator, said she’s received several calls from citizens wondering who the people are coming up to their doors, knocking and asking questions about how many bedrooms they have and if there have been any renovations in recent years.

Odds are they’re with Vincent Valuations, a company hired by the county to perform a door-to-door analysis of the thousands of properties in Chatham County.

The News + Record sat down with Jones, Vincent Valuations Owner Ryan Vincent and Field Supervisor B.J. Keaton to get some clarity on what’s happening.

What is the revaluation?

KJ: The county has contracted with Vincent Valuations to view all the properties in the county. They are going door-to-door, knocking on doors. We want (citizens) to know that what we’re doing is in their best interest. We want our data to be accurate, and it’s better for them if it is accurate. We want everybody to pay the taxes, but we want the values to be fair and equitable. The only way we can do that is to make sure that our date is accurate, and the only way to do that is to make sure that the measurements are accurate. It’s really in everybody’s best interest to allow us to do this.

BK: As a data collection team, we will visit every single parcel in the county. We look at every single thing and treat them all the same. We want to be fair and we want to be accurate.

Why is the county reappraising properties?

KJ: This is state (law). This is something that has to be done every eight years. The last time we did a revaluation was in 2017, but they did not do a door-to-door. They did go out and look at everything, but they did not do a listed measure, which is required every eight years.

What is your process for doing the revaluation?

RV: We take the property record cards, which is all the information that the county has on file for every piece of property in the county, and from there, we go in the field and knock on the door. If anybody’s home, we ask them some questions about how many bedrooms, bathrooms, any renovations, do they have a basement, anything like that about the inside of the house. And then from there, they walk around the outside of the house and take measurements of the outside of the house and any out-buildings — garages, sheds, chicken houses, anything like that that may be on the property. And then we also take pictures of everything too. We just start in one part of the county and just work our way down through the tax neighborhoods.

How do people know appraisers are with the county?

BK: Whenever we arrive, we have our county ID tag, we have the door hangars that have the contact information for the county and explaining a summary of what we’re doing. We also have our safety vest with all the county markings on there, on the front and on the back as well. And every car we have is tagged with the county seal.

RV: If anyone wants to verify who we are, they can call the Tax Office. They can talk to Karen, they can talk to anybody in here. They’ll go through a series of questions — Did they have a county ID? Did they have a vest on? Did they have county magnets on their car? We try to do everything we can to represent the county in a good light and make sure people know we’re not out there to do anything nefarious.

If someone is not home when you come by, what’s the protocol?

RV: We knock on the door at least twice, just to make sure if somebody is there we try to make contact with them. From there, we’ll leave a door hangar and we’ll proceed to measure the outside of the house as if they were there. One thing is, if there’s fences or gates or anything, we don’t go through (them). We’ll measure everything that we can.

How do you determine the value of property?

RV: This is the first stage of a reappraisal, to make sure the data is correct. At a later date, we will analyze all the sales that occurred in the county. It ends up being thousands of sales. We’ll build a land valuation model to say, in this neighborhood or in this area, based on this particular sales, this is what land is worth. Then we’ll take that and break down the buildings and their characteristics and generate building models from there. Then we’ll review our values and make sure they’re in line with where they should be.

Vincent said his company is currently using 11 appraisers viewing 20-25 homes a day. It requires long hours, he said, sometimes in difficult weather conditions, but it has its upsides.

“Not every day is the same,” he said. “It’s always changing. The people you get to meet and the people you get to interact with. It’s a very niche job, and a lot of people don’t really think about it.”

For more information, or if you want to confirm an appraiser’s identity with the county, call the Chatham County Tax Administration Office and the appraisal department at 919-542-8211. The office’s address is 12 East Street, Pittsboro, in the courthouse annex.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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