An announcement earlier this week that the town is kicking off a project to update its property records by sending inspectors to all single-family homes in town left some of you with questions. You asked why the inspection was happening, what data was being collected, how the data would be used, and whether allowing the inspection was voluntary or not.
Southborough’s Principal Assessor Paul Cibelli posted a comment on the blog yesterday to answer those questions and provide more information about the project. You can read his full comment on this post, but here is an excerpt:
What is a Measure and List Program? – The Department of Revenue’s Bureau of Local Assessment requires the Board of Assessor in each community to inspect all property located within their community every nine years. The purpose of such a program is to make sure the physical data on each property is accurate. It is this property data along with the annual analysis of arms-length real estate sales and market conditions that is the basis for our valution model which is used to establish assessments each year. Our goal is to produce assessments that are fair and equitable. Accurate data helps tremendously in achieving this goal.
What is the process??? The Board of Assessors has contracted with Real Estate Research Inc (RRC) to assist us with this project. A letter from the Assessors will be mailed to each home owner approximately 1-2 weeks before anybody comes to your home notifying you that the data collectors are in your neighborhood. The Assessors will provide the data collector with a property record card for each home that contains a sketch of the house and various phyisical data componets that need verifying. The data collectors job is simply to verify and update the data we have on file regarding your home. Data collectors do not determine the value of your home, which is the role of the Assessors. After identifying themselves, the data collector will begin by verifying exterior dimensions of the home and take a front and rear photo. Interior inspections are necessary to verify data such as total room count, # of bedrooms, # of baths, type of heat, # of fireplaces, overall condition of the house, etc….
At this point I want to make one issue crystal clear to everyone involved…THESE INSPECTIONS ARE COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY!!!
If you feel uncomfortable in any way participating in this program, please inform the data collector when he identifies himeself to you at your door. Despite rumors, the data collectors will not be kicking in doors and helping themselves to your privacy. All that we can do is hope you have an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish – fair and equitable assessments – and ask for your cooperation in fulfilling our duties.
The inspection project will be broken up over two years. Town Administrator Mark Purple said earlier this week the first half of the project will focus mainly on homes on the south side of town and is expected to last for about five months. Homes on the north side of town will be inspected this time next year.