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Kansas law establishes the method of appraisal used to determine a property owner's share of taxes needed to support schools, roads and bridges, noxious weed eradication, our hospital, fair, soil conservation, airport, elections, extension work, mental health, library, fire department, sheriff's department, health office, council on aging, ambulance, and historical society to name just a few. The county appraiser's office is responsible for listing and valuing property in a uniform and equal manner to help share the cost of these services. But the amount of taxes you pay depends on the budgets set by your governing bodies, such as those set by the state cities, county entities, and schools.
The county appraiser's staff is required to visit your real estate property at least once every four years. First, they will try to visit with the owner to review the current information. Then an exterior inspection is done where they will look for changes, such as, adding on a room, a garage or a deck. They will verify the dimensions, checking for structural damage, and the property's current condition.
Back in the office, the appraiser's office uses computer-generated data to analyze the property based upon its age, size, and style of construction and replacement costs. Sale prices of similar properties are also analyzed.
State law says your property will be appraised at "fair market value" as it exists on January 1st of each year. Market value is the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay a well-informed seller in an open and competitive market.
The value of your property can change each year depending on several things. If you made any improvements, such as adding a room or garage, the value will probably go up.
If a major structural problem develops, such as a foundation crack that is visible from the outside or pointed out at the time of the appraiser's visit, the value may go down.
A downtrend in sales of similar properties can also affect your value. If sales are rising, property values will also rise. The appraiser's office monitors sales within the county continually throughout the year.
The first of March each year, the appraiser's office mails valuation notices to the owners of all real property (real estate). This valuation notice lists current and previous year's values.
Begin by checking the "classification" on your valuation notice to make sure the use of your property is correct (ex: RU or FR for residential, CU or CR for commercial, AR for agriculture ect.) Next, compare the current and previous year's values. Does the appraised value appear to be close to the price you would consider reasonable if you were to sell your property? If so, the appraiser has done the job the state requires.
You should also consider whether you have made any changes to the property. Have there been any improvements that could increase the value of your property if you were to sell it? Are there any major structural problems that might not be easily seen from the exterior? Remember, however, general maintenance usually does not affect value.
According to Kansas State Law, farmland is valued according to its current use. Yearly, the Property Valuation Department in Topeka issues values for each soil mapping unit in the county and these values are applied to your land by the county appraiser. The county appraiser does the yearly review to see if you have made any changes in your farming practices (ex: Flood has one to sprinkled or dry land to irrigated, etc...). The operator or owner of the land is requested to fill out an agriculture use form whenever there is a change.
All property owners have the right to appeal the valuation of their property. By law, however, you must notify the appraiser's office within 30 days of the mailing of the valuation notice.
You may also contact the appraiser's office for a list of properties similar to yours along with the data about your own property for comparison. If you are considering an appeal, you can review the sales book of properties in the same class as your own by visiting the appraiser's office.