Jun 232020
 

Braintree Summary of Changes in Real Property Values

 

Braintree’s 2020 Town-Wide Reappraisal

The town has just completed a full, town-wide reappraisal. The last town-wide reappraisal was completed in 2010. Over the course of the ten since our last reappraisal, a great deal has changed: the real estate market has gone up and down…and up again; properties have depreciated or were improved. The town-wide reappraisal has provided the opportunity to take a current, much needed snapshot of real estate in Braintree.

 

The tax rate will be set after the completion of formal hearings and after the State finalizes the statewide education property tax rates. Do not equate a change in assessment with a change in tax amounts.

 

Every effort has been made to equitably assess property in Braintree.  We encourage you to compare your property with similar properties, and with properties that have sold over the past three years.

 

A summary list all properties showing old and new values available on the Town of Braintree website: Braintree Summary of Changes in Real Property Values and at the Braintree Town Office

 

In a normal year, a town-wide reappraisal suchs as this is a massive undertaking – in the midst of a pandemic, it has been all the more challenging. Given these circumstances, there are a few items we would like to address to supplement the notices that were mailed to all property owners on June 22, 2020.

 

Combined date of value and onset of COVID-19.

In Vermont, Listers and reappraisal companies are responsible to set values every year as of April 1st.  As mentioned above, the last reappraisal was conducted ten years ago, creating the base on which all subsequent tax assessments were built upon. We have updated this base with new, current national building cost tables, updated depreciation and a new land schedule as of April 1, 2020.  Part of the process was inspections.  We completed nearly all of the field based inspection work on this project last fall with two appraisers visiting properties in the summer and through the fall.  All buildings were carefully measured and evaluated for the quality, condition and utility each contributes to the value.  Land was reviewed using tools such as the surveys and parcel maps, aerial photographs, the GIS ortho layers and any other available information.  Through the winter and into the spring the Listers and appraisers completed the data entry and review.

 

The State of Vermont, like other states and areas in the world were impacted late winter by the novel coronavirus.  We were ordered to stay at home, except for essential travel on March 25th.  This is a week prior to the date of value (April 1) on our project.  The travel, visitation and business restrictions have been slowly relaxed since that time and a few of the outstanding inspections for the reappraisal were made in a responsible and safe manner as needed.  Throughout the project we attempted not to jeopardize the health or safety of any property owners or ourselves.

 

Long-term and present economic situation.

Real estate values are impacted in large part by local, regional and national economic situations. For instance, the middle of the first decade of this millennium saw a tremendous growth in property values. Some property values were increasing by as much as one-percent per month from 2003 through 2007 in most parts of Vermont.  Although robust that increase was not as great as some other parts of the county such as California, Virginia and Florida.  The market collapse and economic downturn in late 2007 and 2008 had an equally devastating impact on property values in these states just listed and, to a lesser extent, parts of Vermont.

 

Early in the last decade, there were signs of the national recession in the central Vermont real estate market.  There were more foreclosures, properties “under water”, longer marketing periods and greater inventory of properties for sale.  During this period the Braintree Grand List was fixed on the values set in the last reappraisal at the 2010 level.

 

The Braintree real estate market seems to have recovered almost to the pre-recessionary period.  We have observed recent sales at or above these levels.  There are fewer properties for sale, especially at the most active price level.  The real estate market appears to be both more healthy and stable, immediately preceding the recent pandemic.

 

The recent virus outbreak has had a mixed impact on real estate values in Braintree.  For a while sales activity, like many other businesses, was frozen.  For roughly a month, people in Vermont were not permitted to travel for the purpose of buying or selling real estate as that was not considered essential.  People became more creative in marketing with the use of technology.  Vermont’s (best state in the nation) track record of low outbreaks forced new sales by folks from other places purchasing site-unseen at times with cash and no conditions.

 

These phenomena (the outbreak and sales to in-migrants) are noted but not conclusive evidence of changes to the real estate market for different reasons.  Both the virus outbreak and resulting “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order issued by Governor Phil Scott are extraordinary circumstances.  There are few times in our nation’s history we have been asked to stay at home, business activities closed and economic incentives developed by the national and state governments to the extent we recently experienced.  Although we saw some random spike in panic-type purchases after 9-11, the recent Vermont transfers due to the epidemic also seem generally unprecedented.  Finally, both the virus and any relocation sales have occurred very close and since the date of value.  As of the date the current reappraisal values were published, there was insufficient evidence of either positive or negative market changes to support the longer-term sales period studied and used as a basis for the new values.  As your Listers we are duty-bound to keep track of the real estate market in Braintree and will make adjustments to the base in the future, as warranted on a town-wide basis.

 

 

Grievance Format: The grievance process this year will offer an optional, informal pre-grievance hearing portion in order to allow time for the listers and appraisers to help property owners understand the changes made to their property assessment as well as an statutory grievance hearing period.

 

Informal Hearings/Question & Answer: The Listers and Appraisers who prepared the assessments will be available to answer any questions you may have or to provide you with additional information. Due to the health threat caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations based on public health and safety, these informal hearings will be conducted over the phone.

  • DATES FOR INFORMAL HEARINGS:
    • Tuesday June 30 from 9:00am to 3:00pm
    • Wednesday July 1 from 9:00am to 3:00pm
    • Thursday July 2 from 9:00am to 3:00pm
    • Appointments will last 15 – 20 minutes.
  • To schedule a time for an informal hearing, email braintreelister@gmail.com or call (802)728-9787 extension 5 and leave a message. You will receive an email or call back from the listers to schedule your appointment.
  • You will be called at the phone number you provide on the day and time of your appointment to discuss your assessment.

 

Formal Grievance Hearings: It is your statutory right to appeal this assessment. Due to the health threat caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations based on public health and safety, we will not be holding face-to-face grievance hearings. All hearings will be held over the phone.

 

  • If you wish to grieve, you MUST SUBMIT AN APPEAL IN WRITING by July 6, 2020. (You may wish to use the Grievance Appeal Form available on the town website LINK TO APPEAL APPLICATION.).
  • DATES FOR GRIEVANCE HEARINGS:
    • Tuesday July 7 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
    • Wednesday July 8 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
    • Thursday July 9 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
    • Saturday July 11 from 9:00am to noon
    • Appointments will last 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Appeals may be mailed to 932 VT Route 12A, Braintree, VT 05060 or hand delivered to the town office drop box. Please include contact information in your written appeal including a phone number.
  • Following the receipt of your written appeal, you will be contacted to schedule a phone grievance hearing.
  • On the date and time of your grievance hearing you will need to call the Town of Braintree’s Conference Line Number: 802-210-4472. If you have issues getting through, please call the listers at 802-728-9878 extension 5.
  • If we are unable to reach you on grievance day, and you do not return our call by the end of grievance hearings, your grievance will be decided based upon the materials provided with your written appeal.
  • The Listers and Appraisers will carefully read every document submitted on behalf of a property owner. Types of documents you may wish to submit:
    • Clear, informative, accurate comments based on an opinion of the owner or qualified professional.
    • Pictures are helpful, in lieu of or to supplement narrative descriptions.
    • A recent certified market analysis, current real estate appraisal and up to date home inspection reports.
  • SITE VISITS DURING GRIEVANCE HEARINGS: The Listers and Appraisers will do our best to complete any field work necessary to better understand properties as part of this project. We were successful in inspecting a majority of the interior spaces and all exterior unless prevented from doing so by the owner.  We stand prepared to complete any necessary additional inspections as needed.  Please contact the Listers Office if we did not inspect previously and there is now a safe and mutually convenient time to complete this part of the appraisal.  This is particularly important if we have overstated the size, quality, utility or condition of the finished space(s).
  • RESULT OF GRIEVANCE: Within seven (7) days following the close of grievance hearings, you will be notified in writing by the listers of the result of your grievance hearing. This notice will outline the method and timeline to appeal to the Board of Civil Authority, in the event you are unsatisfied with the outcome.

 

We would like to thank all property owners and the Town Officers and staff for your support though the project.  We have found people as a rule to be cooperative and understanding of our goal and we appreciate that approach.

 

Respectfully,

 

Braintree Board of Listers &

Vermont Appraisal Company