Appraiser Field Visits
From time to time, an appraiser from the Assessor’s Office may field visit your property. Colorado law, and the procedures and standards under which the Assessor’s Office operates, require us to do that. In fact, one of the goals that we have set for ourselves in Delta County is to field-visit each property at least every five years. At this time we have over 23,000 properties so we do have a big job to accomplish each year.
Under Colorado Statute, it is the duty of the County Assessor to “discover, list, classify and value all taxable real and personal property within the county”. It is also the duty of the Assessor to fairly and equitably distribute the tax burden under the law. While it is not the duty of the Assessor to actually levy taxes, equitable valuation under the law is necessary to distribute the tax burden in a fair and equitable manner. An integral part of the appraisal process is assuring that the inventory and characteristics of each property in the county are reflected in the Assessor’s records accurately. To do this requires an appraiser from our office to field visit properties in the county on a periodic basis.
Appraisers employed by the Delta County Assessor’s Office are required by law to be licensed by the Colorado Board of Real Estate Appraisers. As such, they are required to abide by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), published by the National Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation. The Appraisal Foundation was authorized by the United States Congress to be the source for appraisal standards and qualifications. Standard 6 of the USPAP specifically speaks to the need for physical inspections of property to produce credible “mass” appraisals.
The Division of Property Taxation Regulation, as directed in the Assessor’s Reference Library, Volume 3, directs county assessment personnel to perform the following tasks when physically inspecting a property:
Visually survey the property site.
Make careful inspection of structures on the property, noting characteristics, condition, amenities, etc.
Measure all structures and make a “sketch” of the “footprint” of each level of a building.
Calculate the square footage of all structures.
Photograph the major structures, along with anything else that may aid in the correct valuation of the property.
The Delta County Assessor’s Office has the following guidelines/policy for field-visiting property within the County: These are designed to insure that the appraisers perform their functions in the most expeditious, accurate, and efficient manner, while, at the same time, insure that they respect the citizen’s right to privacy:
When visiting a property, please attempt to contact the owner or occupant of the property, identify yourself to the owner or occupant as an employee of the Assessor’s office and show your official identification. Indicate your purpose for the visit, and secure permission to photograph, measure and document the characteristics of the property. If possible, the appraiser may attempt to schedule the visit in advance.
If the owner/occupant objects to your presence on the property, it is the policy of this office that you should leave the property at once without objection. Contact should then be made by telephone or mail to secure permission to visit the property. Remain professional and do not argue or make comments to the owner/occupant. We do not have the right to trespass when told to leave. If such permission is continually denied, refer the information to your supervisor.
After introducing yourself and receiving permission, (or after placing your business card in the door if no one is home), gather all data as necessary and practical to value the property during the visit. Please do this in an efficient, courteous manner with a minimum of intrusion or inconvenience to the owner. Be efficient with your time and information to avoid having to make a return trip.
While measuring and inspecting the property, please always avoid damaging, soiling, or defacing any property, both real and personal, and always respect the owner’s privacy. Be aware of open curtains as you pass by windows or in taking pictures of the property. The Assessor’s information is public record – avoid having any individuals, pets or other circumstances in your pictures that may be harmful or embarrassing to the owner(s)/occupant(s).
Appraisers should always attempt to accurately answer appraisal questions posed by the owner during or subsequent to an inspection. Follow through on any information you receive from the owner and, absolutely, return any phone call to answer a question in a prompt and efficient manner. Keep notes of your visits to refer to at a later date.
All taxpayers and landowners are entitled to equitable, fair and respectful treatment. As an appraiser you are required under your licensure, as well as by our office policy, to execute your duties in an unbiased manner. Cooperation in this effort benefits everyone.