Generally, if somebody knocks on the door and asks to come in, most people would be pretty skeptical. But if it happens within the next six months and the person has the proper identification, do not be alarmed.
“They are not required to let us in,” Vision Appraisal District Manager Steve Ferreira said. “It’s their choice. We only ask that they let us in because the more accurate the information, the more accurate the assessment will be. And if we have to estimate the data, the chances of not being correct are greater when we aren't allowed in to collect the data and get it right the first time.”
The process is part of the once-a-decade state-mandated full re-evaluation done by the town. It is set to be completed by Oct. 1, 2012. Starting this week and until October, crews from Vision Appraisal will go to every property in town (with one major exception), collecting data to re-evaluate the homes.
The crews going door-to-door are not responsible for assessing the property, Town Assessor Mike Bekech said. They are just there to collect the data to make the most accurate assessment possible later, he said.
Each crew member (all pictured) will have a badge from Vision Appraisal and an introduction letter signed by Bekech. Additionally, all crew members and their vehicles will be registered with the town assessor’s office and the police department, so if anybody has any question they can call either place for verification, Ferreira said.
Most of the door-to-door work will be done within the first six months, although Vision Appraisal crews might have to come back to get properties they missed, Bekech said.
If somebody isn’t home, the crew member will try again, either after 5 p.m. or on a weekend, Ferreira said. If they aren’t home again, a letter will be sent to the person, and they schedule an appointment with a crew member through the assessor’s office, Ferreira said.
Assessments are based off of the real market value between a willing buyer and a willing seller, Bekech said. The numbers will be based on sales in Waterford, Ferreira said.
Compared to 2007, house vales are down, Bekech said. That could change by 2012, he said.
“Our statistics show it right now going (down),” he said. “But again, we are still a year-plus from the date of re-evaluation. Could the market make a resounding change in either direction? Certainly.”
Ferreira said he didn’t want to make any predictions. Also, while some trends have emerged in other communities for which properties retain value and which don’t, it really changes in every town, he said.
The crews will check every property aside from the most complicated assessment, the one property that makes up 30 percent of the tax roll: Millstone Power Station, owned by Dominion.
Instead, specialty assessors are used to assess that property, as they always have in the past, Bekech said.