Pittsylvania County Reassessment
Three-Month Extension Granted for Certification
To account for the influx of concerns and questions from property owners that have stemmed from the sharp increase in prices, Pittsylvania County is extending the 2022 reassessment process. As allowed by State Code 58.1-3257, the Circuit Court granted Pittsylvania County a 90 day extension before the reassessment values are certified. This will allow for the improvement of the customer service experience for County property owners, ensure that every property owner has a chance to meet with Brightminds, and will allow the Virginia Department of Taxation to serve in an advisory capacity.
You can read the full press release about this extension here. Information about availability for appeals meetings with Brightminds will be shared soon.
"There have been many unusual circumstances that have impacted Pittsylvania County's 2022 reassessment process," said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. "With the drastic rise in property values, we believe that this 90-day extension will ensure that adequate review can occur and will allow more property owners to have appeals meetings with Brightminds.”
Brightminds staff conducted over a thousand appeals meetings with Pittsylvania County property owners between December 6 and 17. However, due to the increase in property values that occurred over the past four years, more property owners than was expected have requested to meet with Brightminds. Brightminds was not able to meet with every property owner that requested a meeting; some property owners still have not heard from Brightminds. Extending the reassessment certification deadline will allow for every interested property owner to meet with Brightminds and appeal their property’s assessed value before it goes into the County’s official records. The County is actively working with Brightminds to attempt to schedule additional informal meetings with County property owners in January of 2022.
Remember: the reassessment process only pertains to property values; the Board of Supervisors will set the tax rate in early 2022.
Pittsylvania County has extended the reassessment process by 90 days. This will allow for the improvement of the customer service experience and will allow the Virginia Department of Taxation to serve in an advisory capacity. Read on...
- What do I do if I don't agree with my property's assessment?
Brightminds, Pittsylvania County's reassessment contractor, is holding two weeks of informal meetings with property owners to answer questions, explain the process, and help property owners understand their assessment. Property owners can call or email to schedule an appointment between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday between December 6 and December 17. The Brightminds team will be available until 7:30 on Thursday, December 9. These meetings will take place at the Community Center.
Those who wish to formally dispute their assessment will be able to do so through the Board of Equalization in the spring of 2022. We will be providing additional information about that process after the informal hearing process.
- What is fair market value?
Market value is the amount a typical, informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property with the following conditions:
- The seller and buyer are not related
- The seller is willing, but not under pressure to sell, while the buy is willing but not under obligation to buy
- The property is on the market for a reasonable amount of time
- The payment is in cash or its equivalent and any required financing is typical for that type of property
- How can I tell if my reassessed value is fair and accurate?
If you want to ensure that your property’s assessment is fair you should compare it with other similar properties. These comparable properties should be similar in age, lot, building size, location, construction, improvements, as well as proximity to things like schools. You can view all reassessment values for every Pittsylvania County property on this interactive website.
- Why did my property's assessed value change when no improvements have been done?
Property values fluctuate based on a variety of conditions. While physical improvements, renovations, and additions would all contribute to an increased property value, overall market conditions play just as big of a role in determining a property’s assessed value. The current market is a seller’s market – meaning that there is a limited inventory of available homes compared to the number of people looking to purchase property. This has caused property values across the county – and across the country – to increase.
Another reason that some properties have seen significant changes in value is that Brightminds has standardized the valuation of properties across the county. In addition to collecting as much as possible, Brightminds built out a data model and tables that ultimately drive the calculation of the total assessment. This model brought many properties that were previously undervalued or overvalued to a better, more fair valuation compared to other similar properties.
It is also important to note that Pittsylvania County only completes the reassessment process every four years. So, any change in your property’s assessed value is what took place over the past four years and not what changed between 2020 and 2021.
- Pittsylvania County has always had a Board of Assessors. Why don’t we this year?
In Pittsylvania County’s previous reassessments, a Board of Assessors was utilized as the first step in the appeals process. Typically, the Board of Assessors would serve in an advisory capacity and work as a liaison between the locality, the taxpayers, and the assessment company. The seven-member body is appointed by the Board of Supervisors, with one coming from each district.
As allowed by Virginia Code §§ 58.41-3270–58.1-3278 and confirmed by the Virginia Department of Taxation, a Board of Assessors is just one option that localities can include in the appeals process. For the 2022 reassessment process, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors elected to not utilize a BOA; instead, the first appeals go directly to Brightminds. We believe that establishing this line of communication directly with the assessors allows for more transparency and ultimately will be more productive. Those who leave these meetings unsatisfied will still have the opportunity to appeal through the Board of Equalization.
The County is also utilizing some funds that were budgeted for the Board of Assessors toward a temporary, part-time County point person for all of Brightminds’ reassessment needs. The goal of eliminating the Board of Assessors system is to make the reassessment more cost-effective and efficient, while eliminating inefficiencies, needless expenses, and bureaucracies.
- Will reassessment affect my property taxes?
The reassessed value of your property will not have an impact on the current tax rate of $.62 for every $100 in assessed value. If the assessment team finds that your home or property is worth more than it was four years ago then your bill would increase, but if your property is deemed to be equal in value than your tax bill would remain unchanged.
- What is reassessment?
Legally required by the Commonwealth of Virginia, reassessment is when up-to-date property values are determined for an entire locality or municipality. Updated values are determined through photographs, aerial images, and observations from a trained crew of property assessors. There are many complicated formulas and factors involved in determining and updating property values, which are kept by the Commissioner of the Revenue. Here is more detailed information about reassessment.
- What is the purpose of reassessment?
Required by law, periodic reassessments ensure that every property has an accurate and current fair market value. This value is used to calculate property taxes, which are the product of the assessed value and the tax rate.
The important thing to remember is why reassessment is both required by state law and important for local government and the taxpayers: The reassessment process ensures that the tax burden is distributed equitably and fairly. We want to make sure that some citizens don’t have a higher share of the tax burden than their property actually warrants, and we also don’t want to see citizens "fly under the radar" and avoid paying taxes on the actual value of their property. We will be sharing lots more information about the reassessment process in the coming weeks and months.
- How often does reassessment occur?
Virginia Code § 58.1-3252 dictates that all Virginia counties with 50,000 or more residents must complete periodic reassessment of property values on a four year cycle. Those localities with less than 50,000 residents can operate on a six-year cycle, but since Pittsylvania County has more than 60,000 it completes the reassessment process every four years.
- What real property is taxable?
All real property in Pittsylvania County is subject to taxation except for properties that are specifically exempt through Article X § 6 of the Constitution of Virginia or property classified or designated as exempt under Section 58.1-3600. For example, property owned by the County, the State, or the Federal governments and property are non-taxable, and many properties used for religious, charitable, educational, cultural, or recreational uses are non-taxable.
- I own property in the County but didn't get a reassessment notice. What should I do?
If you own property in the County but did not receive a reassessment notice with an updated value, please fill out our online form to request a notice be sent to you via email and/or a paper copy. If you have more than two properties, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name and the name and GPIN of every property you own. (If you are unsure of your property's GPIN number, search your address with this tool.)
Brightminds, Pittsylvania County's Reassessment Contractor
Work for Pittsylvania County's 2022 reassessment began in late 2020. Pittsylvania County does not complete the reassessment process itself, as some larger localities do; instead, the Board of Supervisors has elected to hire appraisal companies to complete the process, ensuring more transparency.
Skip to the two and a half minute mark of the top podcast to hear from Brightminds' Managing Partner William Cole about reassessment and the company's methods that differentiate them from other reassessment companies.
Process: Market Value and Assumptions
During a Work Session for the Board of Supervisors in March, William Cole, the Managing Partner of Pittsylvania County's assessment contractor, Brightminds, LLC, explained his team's valuation process and provided some demonstrations and example homes and how they would be valued. For instance, Cole explained the quality grading system - which ranges from A at best to E at worst - and showed where different homes would fit into that system. Cole also explained the difference between quality and condition: condition is the current state of the materials, whereas quality is the material's overall grade.
The reassessment team considers all types of information, including quality and condition, list price versus sold price over the four year period, construction cost comparison, and year over years statistics, when determining what the fair market value for a property is. Fair market value is the amount a typical, informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property with the following conditions:
The reassessment team will always aim to value a property at 100% of the fair market value.
The letter sent out to property owners regarding the reassessment process stated that if the reassessment team could not see the interior of a home or building, then assumptions would need to be applied.
Assumptions simply means that the reassessment team will have to assume that the interior of your home is similar in condition and quality to its exterior, which is how the reassessment process has always worked.
Again, the reassessment process has always involved assumptions about things - such as the interior of a home - that the reassessment team cannot see. Pittsylvania County staff opened communication with the public by sending letters to encourage residents who wanted the reassessment team to view the condition or quality of their home's interior to fill out the information form or even request an in-person visit. This would have been beneficial for someone who's home appears or is nicer on the outside than the inside.
Methods: Technology and Aerial Photography
“This reassessment process is extremely important for ensuring that all of our property owners pay their fair share of taxes. We have gone with a completely different reassessment process this year to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible.” - Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors
December Work Session Updates
Brightminds utilizes three UAV (drone pilots). These pilots possess the following FAA Part 107 Certificates:
- Certificate # 4390777 (issued 5/29/20);
- Certificate # 4228967 (issued 2/23/19); and
- Certificate # 3959936 (issued 4/15/18).
March Work Session Updates
State Laws about Reassessment
Virginia State Codes § 58.1-3250 through § 58.1-3355 governs the reassessment of real property for Virginia localities. The State Code includes sections regarding general information about reassessment cycles, who can perform a reassessment, reassessment valuation procedures and practices, the involvement of the Commissioner of the Revenue, the levy of taxes, public disclosure and access to records, tax to constitute lien, and administrative and judicial review.