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When every property in the Township of West Orange has been revalued, you will receive a letter. Letters will be mailed in the late fall of 2024. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your assessment and review your property description with a representative of the revaluation firm.
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A revaluation is a program undertaken by a municipality to appraise all real estate according to its’ fair market value. Revaluation brings all properties to 100%, thus insuring all property owners pay their fair share of taxes based on the fair market value of the property that they own. Fair market value is the price at which a property would sell for between a willing buyer and a willing seller.
The program began in August 2023 and all work will be completed by December, 2024 in order to use the new assessments for the 2025 Tax Year. Field inspections are expected to run from September 2023 through February, 2024.
Equitable assessments depend on the cooperation of the property owners. Interior inspections, especially, require that residents cooperate with the data collectors. The validity of a market value depends on the collection of accurate data. Property owners have a stake in the outcome of the revaluation program. Any assistance a taxpayer can provide will aid in the total data collection process. If there is information you believe should be considered in the valuation, please inform the data collector. We will make every effort to cause property owners the least possible inconvenience.
Photographs of your property will be taken by the revaluation firm. They will take exterior photos only. Photos will be of the front and rear of the main structure and 1 photo of all accessory structures such as detached garages, inground pools, cabanas etc. The photos will be taken at the same time as the exterior measurements.
The data collectors are not responsible for developing the market value estimate. Their job is to collect pertinent information to be used later as a base to develop the property’s value.
Data collectors will record such items as the type of interior wall construction, the number of bathrooms, type of heat, central air conditioning, size, and the percentage of finished attic and/or basement areas, in ground pools and number of fireplaces. The exterior inspection includes measurements of each structure, such as garages or other accessory buildings, determination of story height, roof structure, and type of foundation and exterior wall construction. The physical condition of the structure is noted to establish depreciation factors. All factors relative to market value are considered. Examples of what would not be noted would be interior decorations, fences, window air conditioners, gas grills, and lawn furniture.
If you’re not at home when the data collector visits your property, an exterior inspection will be completed and a notice will be left asking you to call for an interior inspection appointment. Appointments can be scheduled on weekdays, evenings, as well as Saturdays, if need be. If the representative is unable to inspect your home or if you refuse entry, the interior information will be estimated which may cause your home’s valuation to be at the highest level for your property type, so your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.
Individual values may increase or decrease depending on the market value at the time of the revaluation.
The Revaluation Process is revenue neutral. In other words, no additional taxes overall will be raised for the school, county, or municipality as a result of the completion of this process. The impact of the new assessments will not affect the property owner’s tax bill until the 2025 Tax Year.
A revaluation and a reassessment are synonymous, A licensed revaluation company performs a revaluation and the municipal tax assessor performs a reassessment. The municipality may also elect to perform a hybrid reassessment in which a municipality would hire a licensed revaluation company to assist the tax assessor with certain aspects of the reassessment. The outcome of any of these programs is the same; all properties are assessed at 100% of market value
Revaluations are required by New Jersey State Law and are generally ordered by The County Tax Board. Usually, once a Municipality’s ratio falls below an accepted percentage (or ratio) than the need for a revaluation arises.
A ratio is the relationship between an assessment and sale price. Example: a property on one side of town is currently assessed for $60,000 and that same property sells for $100,000, the ratio would be 60%. A property on the other side of town is currently assessed for $50,000 and it sells for $100,000, the ratio would be 50%. After a revaluation, both properties should be assessed for $100,000 (100% of market value) and essentially paying the same amount in real estate taxes.
NO. A revaluation will result in an increase in the assessed value, but it does not mean that all property taxes will increase. Assessments (or ratables) are a base utilized to apportion the budget (or tax burden). The budget is the amount your Municipality must raise for the operation of County, Local Government and support of the school system. The ratable base is multiplied by a tax rate to equal the budget. EXAMPLE: Prior to Revaluation:Total of all assessments (ratable base): $3 Billion Amount to be raised by Taxation (budget): $150 mil. Tax rate (per $100 of assessed value): $5.00 After Revaluation: Total of all assessments (ratable base): $6 Billion Amount to be raised by Taxation (budget): $150 mil. Tax rate (per $100 of assessed value): $2.50 **When the assessments go up, in contrast the tax rate will drop. If budgets increase than taxes increase.
There are several steps in the revaluation process: Property Owner Notification- PPA will mail each property owner a letter approved by the governing body and municipal tax assessor to notify of the revaluation. Data Collection- a field representative from PPA will visit your property to collect the data necessary to eventually determine the assessment of your property. The representative will have a photo I.D. visible, which is on file with the Police Department along with his vehicle. An interior and exterior inspection are necessary to accurately assess the property. If a property owner is not home at the time of inspection, the field representative will leave a card on the front door and then measure the exterior to determine the square footage of living space, decks, pools, outbuildings, etc. The field representative estimates the interior data until an interior inspection is performed. The property owner will have the opportunity to call PPA (instructions and phone number on the card) and set up an appointment for an interior \inspection at a convenient time for the property owner. Again, to accurately assess the property, an interior inspection should be performed to ensure that all data is correct. Once we complete a section of town, we visit the homes we haven’t inspected once more and leave another card. If a property owner refuses entry to one of the appraisers, which is their right, the property can be assessed at the highest possible value. If appealed to the County, The County Tax Board will require full inspection before hearing the Case. The interior inspection generally takes about five minutes and the exterior inspection takes about ten minutes. After the interior inspection is performed, the field representative will ask the property owner to sign the property record card to verify that we did inspect the property. Analysis- while data collection is in progress, other staff appraisers are setting up the Municipality into sections based on local zoning and neighborhood characteristics. All properties’ lot sizes are obtained from studying the Tax Map. Sales that have occurred over the prior two years are analyzed to determine both residential and commercial values. The representatives in the field will ask questions about the sales to help determine if a sale would be applicable in later analysis. Commercial property owners will receive an Income and Expense statement to be completed and returned to help determine an Income Approach to value. This approach only applies to commercial property. All data collected, sales information, and market trends are utilized in determining the individual property values. Value Notification- prior to the assessments becoming the actual ratable base and public records for the Municipality, PPA will mail the proposed values to individual property owners. This notification is for the assessed value to go on the books for the upcoming tax year. This letter will not and cannot determine what your taxes will be for the upcoming year. The new tax rate will not be determined until approximately June of the tax year, which will based on the new ratables and the new budget. Informal Hearing- In the Value Notification letter, PPA will instruct property owners on how to set up an informal hearing with one of our appraisers. If a property owner is planning to attend an informal hearing, they should be prepared to bring in any documentation to support their disagreement regarding the appraised value of his or her property. For example, recent sales of similar or comparable properties could be an indication of value, and could be discussed. Recent appraisals for lending purposes would not be useful in an informal review due to the fact that they were completed for a different purpose. If any adjustment is necessary after an informal hearing, then a revised value will be sent to the property owner. The revaluation figures are adopted for the tax year after all processes are completed and the new tax bills will be mailed in Spring or early Summer and are retroactive to January 1st. The appeal date is the same as any other year, April 1st