Janesville58.9°

Janesville property values up 12 percent

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 12, 2011
— A city revaluation indicates Janesville property values increased an average of 12 percent since the last revaluation in 2002, said Richard Haviza, the city’s assessment operations manager.

Letters containing assessments and other information will be sent to homeowners this week.


The value of residential property increased 6 percent, and commercial property increased 27 percent. The state Department of Revenue has not completed its assessment of manufacturing properties, he said.


The city has 22,326 residential parcels and 1,560 commercial parcels.


The state Department of Revenue required the new valuation after the city fell out of compliance. Taxes are paid based on property value, and the state requires the value to be within 10 percent of fair market value to assure equity.


Janesville commercial properties increased in value more than residential because commercial property had fallen further behind fair market value, Haviza said. In 2010, commercial property was valued at about 80 percent of fair market value, while residential property was at about 91 percent of fair market value.


Haviza answered the following questions about the revaluation:


Q: I’m a homeowner. Does this mean my property taxes will go up 6 percent?
A: No. The affect on your taxes depends on the change in your assessment compared to the change in the average assessment. Generally, you will see a tax increase if the increase in your property value is above the average increase.

Residents will not know the impact on their taxes until the taxing jurisdictions OK their levies later this year. The burden of the tax levies is distributed based on property values.


Q: How could property values increase an average of 12 percent? My neighbor’s home is in foreclosure, and the one down the block was a short sale. My property has been on the market for two years, and I’ve lowered the price twice.
A: The city last did an assessment in January 2002. Values increased 3 to 5 percent a year from 2003 through 2007. The total increase in the good years exceeded the total decline from 2008 forward.

“I would imagine that even if all the available homes in the city were listed at well below their market value, there still wouldn’t be enough buyers,” Haviza said. “That scenario is not unique to Janesville. It’s a national phenomenon right now (that) supply exceeds demand. Even though someone hasn’t been able to sell their property, we’re still required to look at the properties that have sold in order to estimate their market value.”


Q: How does the city determine a home’s value?
A: It uses a combination of comparable sales and your home’s amenities, such as square footage and the number of plumbing fixtures. Under state law, comparable sales cannot include foreclosures or short sales.

The city uses the best information it has on your house. Staff did not do individual property inspections on all residences, but property values are adjusted when building permits are pulled and when homes are sold. New construction also is valued. In a typical year, the city inspects between 1,500 and 2,500 properties. About 70 percent of all property was visited by assessor staff in the last 10 years, the city estimates.


Q: What if I don’t agree with my assessment?
A: Residents can attend open book, which begins Thursday, July 21. To make an appointment, call (608) 755-3045. Residents who still are not satisfied can take their cases to the board of review.
Q: What information should I bring to open book?
A: Residents should make sure all facts about their properties are correct on the city website, ci.janesville.wi.us. Comparable sales also are posted online. If you think the value of your home is too high because you need a new roof, for instance, bring in an estimate of the cost of a new roof. Staff can then determine how that impacts the property value.

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