“Why does Citrus County have to hire an outside property appraiser for the property in Ozello when they have an entire Property Appraisers department?” — question from a citizen in the Citrus County Chronicle on March 13.
Recently, the Board of County Commissioners requested an appraisal on a piece of property that the county was considering purchasing. Several days after the BOCC’s request, a resident wrote to the Chronicle asking, “Why hire outside help?” and “Why does Citrus County have to hire an outside property appraiser for the property in Ozello when they have an entire property appraiser’s department?”
I truly enjoy that citizens ask questions! During my election, I promised to educate the public on the duties of the Citrus County Property Appraiser’s Office. Providing private appraisals for a fee and for the intent to purchase a property is not one of the duties of the property appraiser’s office.
Citrus County Property Appraiser
The elected county property appraiser (and his/her staff) is responsible for recognizing, locating, and fairly evaluating all property, both real and personal, within the county for tax purposes. The property appraiser’s office does not generate the property value. Property values are generated by people buying and selling real estate in the market. The county property appraiser’s office inspects every property in the county at least once every five years. Additionally, our office accepts and approves applications from individuals eligible for exemptions and other forms of property tax relief. We track ownership changes and maintain maps of parcel boundaries while keeping descriptions of buildings and property characteristics up to date. Using the Geographic Information System (G.I.S.), we deliver comprehensive and up-to-date property ownership maps for field inspections.
In estimating value for any property, Florida Statutes 193.011 requires the property appraiser’s office to consider 8 factors — those include the present cash value; the highest and best use of the property; the location of the property; the quantity or size of the property; the cost of the property; the condition of the property; the income of said property; and the net proceeds of the sale of the property.
A fee appraiser is responsible for performing appraisals when a property is being purchased (or for the intent to purchase a piece of property — like the BOCC’s request above). A fee appraiser’s evaluation is an independent and unbiased opinion that is prepared for the purchasing/selling parties to assure that the sales price of the property is adequate at the time of the transaction and to signify that a reasonably equivalent value was exchanged by the parties.
Citizens and businesses must use fee appraisers to determine the property value when obtaining mortgages, refinancing loans, or acquiring equity loans. Fee appraisers also determine the current value of a property for divorce settlements, estate planning, and eminent domain purposes. They establish a fair market value from similar properties that have sold in the area. Fee appraisers evaluate a property in its entirety — the inside of the property and the outside of the property — every square inch. Fee appraisers conduct a room-by-room walk-through to appraise the condition of the property’s interior; walk the length of the property for an appraisal of the condition of the property’s exterior; appraise the value of any amenities, such as a swimming pool, finished basement, or built-in bar; record the layout of the property, inspect the square footage, and determine whether it’s a single-family dwelling. Off-site, the fee appraiser may also evaluate the current real estate market, considering comparable properties in the neighborhood, to help evaluate the home’s value or fair market value of the property. If you are buying commercial real estate, a fee appraiser may conduct a business valuation to determine market value in much the same way.
The Citrus County Property Appraiser’s Office looks forward to educating our citizens. Our customer service staff is always available to answer questions in both offices. In Inverness, please call 352-341-6600 and in Crystal River, please call 352-564-7130. You can also visit the property appraiser’s website www.citruspa.org or Facebook page @citruscountyflpropertyappr.
Cregg Dalton is the Citrus County Property Appraiser.