Reassessment Warning: Sheriff’s Office advises how to spot scams

Published 12:01 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

With Charlotte County’s real estate reassessment underway, residents need to know that appraisers conducting it do not need to enter their homes.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert to residents March 29 that they’ve received a report of an individual asking to enter a home indicating that he was conducting the reassessment.

“They will not ask to come in your home,” the sheriff’s office said in a post on its Facebook page.

Pearson’s Appraisal Services based in Richmond has been contracted to conduct the county’s real estate reassessment.

“They will wear picture IDs and their vehicles will be marked Charlotte County Reassessment,” according to the sheriff’s office. “In addition, the names and vehicles of the staff will be on file with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.”

Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt said he is aware of only one incident since the reassessment began. The sheriff’s office did not return calls for additional information.

In its Facebook post, the sheriff’s office asked residents to call the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at 434-542-5141 if this happens to them.

How long will reassessment take?

Witt said the county reassessment is expected to take from 12 to 18 months, noting that Pearson’s is already about six months into the process.

Virginia code section 58.1-3201 requires all counties and cities in Virginia to perform real estate reassessments to represent fair market value.

Witt said that counties typically schedule these reassessments on regular two — to six-year cycles.

“Many larger localities, counties and cities have their own departments and complete the process every two years,” Witt said. “Charlotte County does every five to six years as these reassessments are very expensive.” He said that performing these more often is beneficial because property owners won’t see big jumps in the values of their properties and the counties’ revenue is more accurate. 

“Virginia’s appreciation rate averages 3-6% annually, so waiting six years means citizens could see jumps of 18-36% in values,” Witt explained.

After the new values are in from Pearson’s, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors can then determine whether to adjust its real estate tax rate.

“If the overall reassessed values for the county are in excess of a 1% increase and the board does not ‘equalize’ the rate by lowering the tax rate, the board is required to advertise this as a tax increase,” Witt said. “Equalizing the rate means that while your real estate is valued higher, the taxes paid to the county are the same.”

More about the workers

The Gazette reached out to Pearson’s Appraisal Service Inc. for comment Monday, but did not hear back by deadline.

According to its website, the company has worked with local governments on appraisal for 40 years, providing services in Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas and Delaware.

The company states on its website that it performs equitable revaluations and assisting tax offices with a variety of appraisal services. 

“With our large staff of professional appraisers, we can assure our clients that their reappraisals project is completed promptly by experienced personnel,” according to the company.

All of Pearson’s managers and owners are active members of the International Association of Assessing Officers, the Virginia Association of Assessing Officers and the North Carolina Association of Assessing Officers, the website notes.

If localities fail to perform a general assessment as required, Virginia code directs the state’s comptroller to withhold payment of the localities’ alcohol beverage control funds.