It is not unusual for there to be discrepancies between the assessed value of a property according to public records such as property tax rolls and the listing price of a property asked by the home seller. Additionally, please note that the assessed value of a property is different than the appraised value of a property provided by a certified appraiser. There are many reasons for the difference between the the assessed value of a property according to public records and the listing price of a for-sale property or the appraised value of the property. The assessed value of a property is based primarily on the past purchase price of the property by the current owner as compared to an appraisal report which provides a fair market value of the property based on numerous factors such as the current condition of the property, amenities and comparable home sales in the area. You typically see greater differences in property values if the property owner has made significant improvements to the property or if property values in the area have increased significantly. In some cases you simply have an aggressive home seller that is seeking a sales price for the property that is far greater than the fair market value of the property.
When you buy a home, you should be focused on the current fair market value of the property which should be supported by the appraisal report ordered by the lender when you get a mortgage. The appraised value of the property as provided by a certified appraiser determines what size mortgage you can attain on the property. For example, if you agree to buy a home for $150,000 but it only appraises for $100,000 then you may not be able to qualify for a large enough mortgage to buy the home. We provide a comprehensive explanation of an appraisal report when you buy a home on FREEandCLEAR that you should review.
If you are concerned about overpaying for a home then you can review estimated values for the property on websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com as a first step. Your best approach to avoid overpaying, however, is to work with a realtor or real estate agent with local knowledge who has experience with the type of property you want to buy. An experienced realtor or real estate agent can save you money and protect your interests when negotiating with the seller.