Not Sure If That Revaluation Appraiser Is Legit? Check His ID
To help residents verify the identities of appraisers before allowing them into their homes, Lawrence Township has posted on its website copies of the photo identification cards carried by Professional Property Appraisers’ “field representatives.”
Lawrence Township’s property revaluation began in February and, over the course of the next several months, personnel from Professional Property Appraisers will be visiting each and every property in the township to conduct inspections of both the interiors and exteriors of all buildings in order to properly appraise the properties.
To help residents verify the identities of the appraisers before allowing them into their homes, the township has posted on its website copies of the photo identification cards carried by Professional Property Appraisers’ “field representatives.”
Officials from the township and Professional Property Appraisers have stressed that no one should not let an appraiser into his or her homes until first checking the appraiser’s identification or calling the township police department (609-896-1111) or the township tax assessor’s office (609-844-7040) to confirm that Professional Property Appraisers staff are working in that particular neighborhood on that day.
Lawrence Township is one of four Mercer County municipalities that have not conducted a revaluation within the last five years, according to township officials. In fact, Lawrence Township’s last revaluation was performed in 1993 and implemented in 1994. In February 2011, the Mercer County Board of Taxation ordered Lawrence, Ewing, Hamilton and Trenton to conduct revaluations.
Last September, township council awarded a $729,780 contract to Delran-based Professional Property Appraisers to appraise all property in Lawrence except Quaker Bridge Mall and its “anchor” stores (J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Sears). Revaluation of those properties will be handled by Mark T. Kenney of Lansdale, Pa., who was awarded a separate $20,000 professional services contract because the township wanted a firm experienced in assessing such large retail establishments.
Revaluations are ordered when property assessments drop substantially below market value. For 2013 the average Lawrence Township property is assessed at just 50.96 percent of market value, officials have said.
While property assessments will increase due to the revaluation, the municipal tax rate will simultaneously decrease. This is because the amount of money the township needs to raise through taxation to support municipal operations will not change. As a result, some property owners will see the amount they pay in taxes go up, others won’t see much change to their taxes, and still others will actually see their taxes decrease
Representatives of Professional Property Appraisers will visit each property in the township to document its lot and building dimensions, features and amenities – both inside and outside – so the new assessments can be calculated.
If a residential property owner is not home, the Professional Property Appraisers representative will document the exterior features and leave a note advising of the day and time frame when he will visit again to tour the inside. If the owner is away during that second visit, another note will be left asking the owner to call to schedule an appointment – with evenings and Saturdays as options – so that the interior can be viewed.
If the company has not heard back from the owner by August, it will send one final letter asking for an appointment to be scheduled. If the company’s requests go unanswered or if an owner simply refuses to allow an appraiser entry into his or her property, Professional Property Appraisers will use existing information, visual evidence and neighborhood characteristics to make assumptions about the interior features to calculate the new assessment.