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Appraisals and Inspections

What is an assessor/property appraiser?

Assessors are professional County, Township or City employees licensed by the State of Minnesota to review all real property within a jurisdiction. All assessors are required to be certified by the State Board of Assessors. This certification requires work experience and ongoing educational requirements. Continuing education is provided by the University of Minnesota, assessing organizations such as the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), the Minnesota Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO) and other appraisal organizations.

How often must an appraiser view my property?

Minnesota Statute 273.08 requires that all appraisers physically review each property at least every five years. The appraisal interval may be shorter due to review appraisals requested by the owner, ongoing new construction or if the appraiser feels there may be an error in the property information for a particular property.

Why must an appraiser view the interior of my property?

Each property has unique characteristics that affect it's market value. Appraisers need to gather as much information as possible in order to arrive at a fair and equitable value. Typically, the older a structure the more variations in characteristics exist for that property.

What if I don't let the appraiser inspect my home?

The appraiser will then be forced to make an arbitrary appraisal of the property. This will include assuming that the interior is as appealing as possible or is typical for that type of property, (i.e. recently remodeled, finished basement, added bath, etc.). Appraisers want to view as many properties as possible in order to have the best possible information on all property since the quality of the assessment is a measure of the quality of their work. Not allowing an interior inspection will result in the loss of the right to appeal your market value at the Board of Review. MS 273.20 and 274.01. sub 1.

How will I identify an appraiser?

Appraisers working in Benton County will be carrying a photo identification, Assessor's license and/or business card. Information can be verified by calling the County Assessor's Office @ 320-968-5019.

Am I notified if my property is going to be appraised?

In almost all cases, if no previous request for an appointment has been arranged for an interior inspection of the property, the appraiser will stop at the property when he/she is in the area. If no one is home when the appraiser arrives, he/she may leave a door tag asking that you call for an appointment for the interior inspection. If there is still no response, an arbitrary appraisal will be made, in effect an educated guess at the interior features and condition of the home.

How long does an appraisal take?

The appraisal normally takes 10-20 minutes, depending on the number of buildings and complexity of the property. Appointments are scheduled far enough apart to allow time for property owners to ask any questions that they may have.

When will I find out what value the appraiser has put on my property?

You will receive a valuation notice sometime in March/April informing you of your value and classification for that assessment year, taxes payable the following year. Even though an appraiser may have visited your property the previous summer, valuations require accumulation of sales data through the end of the year, then time during the winter to view new construction, to analyze the market and to perform model calculations.

How do I know if my valuation is correct?

If there is a question in the property owners mind as to the accurateness of the value the owner should first make an attempt to find out what the property is worth. This can be done by checking sales of property in the area, checking values of similar properties and talking to Realtors and Real Estate Appraisers. Sales information is available during working hours in the Assessor's Office for public viewing.