• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

Assessed Value Versus Appraised Values in Williamsburg James City County VA

Most of the home buyers I work with in the Williamsburg Area will typically use the James City County, Williamsburg or York County Va assessed value as a basis when determining an offer price on a home. While you would think its an accurate indicator the recent sales numbers will disagree. ( SEE THE CHART BELOW FOR PROOF)

Many consumers confuse assessments and appraisals. An assessment is the value placed on a property by the county or city’s assessor’s office for the purpose of determining the property tax due. The county determines your assessed value and an appraiser determines your appraised value.

An appraisal is a report done by an appraiser to determine value.  The appraiser will use recently sold prices ( going back a maximum of six months or less in some cases) of similar properties making adjustments for differences between the subject property and the comparable.

Assessed value and appraised value will usually not be exactly the same on a property as the appraised value takes a snapshot in time and will be impacted by market activity.

In James City County property is assessed biannually by the Real Estate Assessments Division . Virginia State law requires that assessments be at 100 percent of fair market value.

The Virginia Supreme Court has provided the following definition of fair market value: "The fair market value of a property is the price which it will bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires, but is not obliged to sell it, and is bought by one who is under no necessity of having it." Real estate assessments are also required to be uniform across the same class of property.

TAX RATES IN JAMES CITY COUNTY 2010-2011  .77 per $100

Example: $300,000 home  x .0077 [tax rate] = $2310.00 property tax per year .

Below is a report for home sales in Governors Land, Williamsburg VA. ( August 2009-2010) It shows both the sold price and the James City County Assessed Value. You can see that sale prices ranged from 34% below assessed value to 34% above assessed value. With no rhyme, reason or formula between them.

One thing to consider, the James City County assessor has most likely NEVER been inside the home. A home in the upper price range could have drastic differences in trim, finish levels and upgrades. In many instances homes were sold with unfinished bonus rooms or basements. If homeowners finished then off later without permits the county will not factor that in to assessed value. Its common to see square footage errors in county records as well.





Sold Price 2010 Assessed Value Difference Percent Difference between Sales Price and Assessed Value
$400,000 $536,800 -$136,800 -34.20%
$490,000 $656,400 -$166,400

$700,000 $876,500 -$176,500 -25.21%
$802,000 $986,500 -$184,500 -23.00%
$649,392 $783,500 -$134,108 -20.65%
$730,000 $849,500 -$119,500 -16.37%
$431,000 $499,500 -$68,500 -15.89%
$449,000 $510,600 -$61,600 -13.72%
$620,000 $686,800 -$66,800 -10.77%
$970,000 $1,025,100 -$55,100 -5.68%
$1,300,000 $1,363,000 -$63,000 -4.85%
$400,000 $418,100 -$18,100 -4.53%
$759,500 $785,400 -$25,900 -3.41%
$575,000 $574,900 $100 0.02%
$530,000 $520,700 $9,300 1.75%
$635,000 $616,100 $18,900 2.98%
$555,000 $536,700 $18,300 3.30%
$592,500 $568,100 $24,400 4.12%
$710,000 $662,600 $47,400 6.68%
$590,000 $548,100 $41,900 7.10%
$819,000 $755,300 $63,700 7.78%
$850,000 $783,200 $66,800 7.86%
$930,000 $844,700 $85,300 9.17%
$1,800,000 $1,602,800 $197,200

$1,220,000 $1,083,100 $136,900 11.22%
$675,000 $593,200 $81,800 12.12%
$550,000 $443,700 $106,300 19.33%
$1,225,000 $985,100 $239,900 19.58%
$899,000 $668,300 $230,700 25.66%
$1,080,000 $709,600 $370,400 34.30%

Before buying (or selling) it is wise to do some homework and look at what similar homes in the neighborhood sold for . A real estate agent ( ME) can supply you with detailed information on comparable sales and can give you a pretty good idea what homes are worth in your area.

Of course, the ultimate solution is to have an appraisal done by a professional appraiser. If you purchase a home  the lender will require one. Our company orders them for all of our listings to insure we don’t have appraisal issues at closing. ( a common occurrence these days)

But what about the Zestimates? Are the numbers accurate? Here’s how the Appraisal Journal study approached the question:

The article compares Zillow.com’s estimates of home values and the actual sale prices of 2045 single-family residential properties sold in Arlington, Texas, in 2006. Zillow indicates that this market is one where its data has its highest accuracy rating.

Their conclusion was that Zillow’s Zestimates were too far off to be useful. Which is funny, because Zillow concluded the same thing about the Appraisal Journal’s own article. Contacted for comment by Housing Wire magazine, Zillow spokesperson Jill Simmons had this to say: “In addition to being limited to only one city in the US, the study does not compare sales and Zestimate values during the same time period…it’s unfortunate that this study has been structured in such a misleading, and limited fashion.”


Zillow.com is careful to state that the Zestimates are not appraisals and should be used as one estimate of market value. In fact, they encourage obtaining an appraisal from a professional appraiser. (Hmmm , what a novel idea !  )

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