Over the last several years, we’ve been quietly testing new functionality within the Avitar Assessing system that provides more tools with which to maintain, analyze, and assess the contributory values of views and waterfrontage. At this point we’re pleased with the results and we want to make these new tools available to any of you that wish to use them.
Originally (i.e. ten or more years ago) any contributory values of views and waterfrontage were typically accounted for by adjusting the condition on the parcel’s site – e.g. the first land line was simply conditioned at, for example, 300 for a parcel with a view or waterfrontage and 100 for a parcel without. But it was a fairly blunt instrument and, beyond perhaps adding a “VU” or “WF” note to the land line, there was no straightforward method by which sales and assessments for parcels with views or waterfrontage could be analyzed.
To address this, years ago we added the ability within the software to add a separate land line within the existing grid of land records for a parcel, on which you could separately indicate the existence and value of a view or waterfrontage by selecting “VU” or “WF” within the “Units” column. (Remember the uproar about the “view tax”?!?) This provided a method by which you could isolate and analyze parcels with views or waterfrontage separately, but the only factors you could adjust were the base value of the view or waterfrontage and the condition – there was no method by which you could attempt to describe views and/or waterfrontage differently and unwind the various factors that might lead to individual views and/or waterfrontages having different contributory values. Furthermore, there was no obvious way to describe to a taxpayer why the contributory value of one view or waterfrontage was different from that of another – e.g. why the condition of one view was 100 and the condition of another was 150.
Now, with these new tools, you have the ability to categorize and analyze a number of new characteristics unique to views and/or waterfrontage and assign factors to each. By doing so you are better able to describe and value individual views and waterfrontages more consistently and equitably.
New Tools and Factors for Views
Under this new scenario, the base value for a view is still associated with the parcel’s zone. However, you can also add numerous descriptions, each with its own factor, for the following characteristics of each individual view:
Subject: What can you see? (e.g. mountains, hills, valley, etc.)
Width: How much of the subject, from left to right, can you see? (e.g. panoramic, average, tunnel, etc.)
Depth: How much of the subject, from top to bottom, can you see? (e.g. only the top 25% (i.e. above the trees), full (i.e. no restriction), etc.)
Distance: How far can you see? (e.g. close (i.e. only across a valley), distant (i.e. miles of visibility), etc.)
The categories of Subject, Width, Depth, and Distance are predefined. But within each category, you can define and weight your own descriptions and factors within your municipality based on your sales and experience. In addition, each individual view still has a condition factor if additional adjustment is still needed.
New Tools and Factors for Waterfrontage
Under this new scenario, the base value for waterfrontage is now associated with a water body, versus a particular zone. You might configure a unique water body for each lake, pond, and/or river in your municipality. Additionally, for each water body you can configure size adjustment factors for the number of feet of waterfrontage. For example, if most of your waterfrontages on a particular water body are 250 feet, you might set the base value for the waterfrontage for 250 feet but your sales may indicate that 150 foot waterfrontages with comparable characteristics seem to contribute 90% of the value of 250 foot base value. In this case you would set the factor at 250 feet to be 100, and you would set the factor at 150 feet to be 90.
Similar to views, you can also add numerous descriptions, each with its own factor, for the following characteristics of each individual waterfrontage:
Water Body: On which body of water is the waterfrontage located? (e.g. specific lake or pond, each with its own base value.)
Front Footage: How many feet of waterfrontage are there? (This will be adjusted based on the front footage factors you associate with the water body.)
Access: What sort of access is there to the waterfrontage? (e.g. excellent, beach, undeveloped, shared, across road, etc.)
Location: Where is the waterfrontage located on the water body? (e.g. main body, cove, shallow, etc.)
Topography: What is the topography of the waterfrontage? (e.g. level, steep, rocky, etc.)
The categories of Water Body, Front Footage, Access, Location, and Distance are predefined. But within each category, you can define and weight your own descriptions and factors within your municipality based on your sales and experience. In addition, each individual waterfrontage still has a condition factor if additional adjustment is still needed.
If you would like to utilize these new methods to maintain, analyze, and assess the contributory values of views and waterfrontage you should contact us to convert any existing views or waterfrontages. Note, however, ideally you should only be implementing the new methodologies in a year in which you’re performing a town-wide update/revaluation. During the process we will run several scripts to establish some default descriptions and factors that will preserve your existing values but which you can modify going forward.
Let us know if you would like to discuss this further or if you wish to have us configure and convert your existing database.