The dollar figure on your provincial property assessment notice should not be taken as your home’s market value

BC Assessment notices have arrived in the mail two weeks ago, giving some of our clients who are looking to buy a bit more spring in their step, while leaving our sellers confused at the decrease in assessed value. 

But hold on a second. This assessment document is not tied to the current true market value. In fact, provincial property assessments can be significantly too high or too low for a number of reasons:

  • Properties are rarely visited in person by provincial appraisers. For example - You could have two exact same condo units, on the same floor, side by side, same size. One just had a $100,000 renovation and the other is in original condition. These will both be tax assessed at the exact same amount, however if you were to sell these - The renovated unit would sell for approximately $100,000 more. 

  • Location. Let’s say you have two detached homes, same size house, same lot size, built the same year. One home is on a T-intersection with a Feng Shui issue and the other is next door with no issue. Both homes could be assessed at the same value, however the home on the T- intersection is almost always going to sell for quite a bit less.

  • Values are determined in July of the previous year.

  • They don't take into consideration view corridors, location within the building, etc.

For these reasons, provincial property assessments should never be solely relied upon as any sort of relevant indicator of true market value for the purposes of purchase, sale or financing.

What's my home really worth?

Market value is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for a home, and what the seller is willing to accept.

A quick survey of recent sales and their relation to assessed values will often demonstrate no clear relationship between sale price and assessed value. Some properties selling below assessment, and others well above. In Vancouver homes generally sell above assessed value majority of the time.

You want an experienced and local REALTOR to help you determine the selling price of your home. A good agent will have a far better handle on what is happening in your area for prices than does a government document, and in many instances will save you from yourself.

In summary, rather than relying on your out-of-date BC Assessment for your home’s value, you should gather professional opinions from a real estate agent and an appraiser – these are the people with their feet on the ground and their heads in the game.