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Real Estate How your Property is Assessed. The Assessor creates a Grand List of real and personal property owned and located in the Town of Stratford as of October 1st each year. To compile the Town’s Grand List the Assessor follows these three primary steps: 1. Discover 2. List 3. Value It is the goal of the Assessor to compile a Grand List that is fair and equitable to all property owners, as stipulated by State law. The above steps are taken to ensure that no property owners are assessed more than once for the same property, or omitted from the list in error. The Assessor also makes every attempt to ensure that the correct person or persons are assessed accordingly. The following is a brief description of each step in the assessment process. DISCOVER The first duty of the Assessor is to discover real and personal property located in the Town. The Assessor begins this process with the previous year’s Grand List and utilizes various resources to compile the next year’s Grand List.  Some of these resources include the following: 1. Town Clerk’s records, including deed transfers and trade name certificates 2. Maps, including survey maps and subdivision maps 3. Commercial Records 4. Building permits and demolition permits 5. Town Fire Marshall reports 6. Newspapers and other periodicals 7. Physical inspections of properties 8. Business Personal Property declarations 9. CT DMV listing of registered vehicles 10. Town Health Inspector reports 11. Liquor license applications 12. Secretary of the State 13. Information forwarded from other Town Assessors 14. Other taxpayers 15. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) LIST Once property has been located, the Assessor includes it in the Town’s Grand List. Each year’s Grand List is printed and bound into books, categorized by Real Estate, Motor Vehicle and Personal Property. The list is arranged in alphabetical order, by owner last name or business name. The Assessor also maintains property record cards for each parcel of real estate located in the Town. These cards include owner name(s) and mailing address, parcel size and location, as well as Assessor map number and Assessor parcel or lot number. In addition, each parcel carries a number that uniquely identifies it. Some or all of this information enables identification of a parcel on the Assessor maps. VALUE  All property is valued by the Assessor in a uniform manner and according to the laws of the State of Connecticut. Connecticut General Statutes (12-63) state that the present true and actual value of property must be its fair market value. Fair market value is the amount of money for which property may be exchanged within a reasonable time period, and under conditions in which all parties are willing, able, and reasonably well- informed. General Statute (12-64) states that all nonexempt property shall be included in the grand list of the city or town in which it is located on October 1. Real and personal property (which includes motor vehicles) is assessed at seventy percent of its market value. WHY DO ASSESSMENT PERSONNEL NEED TO VISIT MY PROPERTY? Property Appraisers in the Town of Stratford will inspect property to insure the accuracy of the information that will be used in the assessment of your property. Without accurate information concerning the size, condition and amenities associated with your property, it is highly unlikely that the appraisal of your property will be accurate. While all property owners have the right to refuse this inspection, refusal may result in an inaccurate appraisal and an inappropriate property tax burden imposed on the property owner. Property Appraisers will visit properties that have sold, transferred, have been issued building permits, at the owners request or to insure data is correct. The appraiser will request to measure the exterior of all improvements, and to inspect the interior of the property.  The Assessor’s Office has instituted a program that will allow this office to inspect/review each property at least once every 5 years. If you have various permits open on your property you may see us as at a minimum of once a year.   We do not call ahead to schedule inspections but if you would like to request the inspection at a time convenient to your schedule please call us at 203-385-4025.  If you are not home at the time of the inspection you may find a card on your door requesting you contact us to schedule and appointment.  ASSESSMENT PERCENTAGE The assessment is determined by taking seventy percent of the fair market value of a property, as previously determined by the Assessor. That assessment is multiplied by the fiscal year’s mill rate to arrive at the property tax. For example: Fair market value of a home is $300,000. The mill rate for the Town is 30.36 $300.000 x .70 = $210,000 (the assessment) $210,000 x .03036 = $6,375.60 (the annual tax) ****THIS IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY, AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE CURRENT MILL RATE. REVALUATION The Town of Stratford in accordance with State Law is required to implement a revaluation every 5 years.  The town of Stratford last performed a revaluation in 2014. The State of Connecticut has long required towns to revalue all real estate on a periodic basis – a policy embraced not only by our state, but by nearly every taxing jurisdiction in the nation. According to the Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal (Third Edition) published by the Appraisal Institute, revaluation is the “mass appraisal of all property within an assessment jurisdiction to equalize assessed values.”  The objective of a mass appraisal process is to estimate the fair market value of all real estate (a term that is synonymous with the term real property) as of a common date. Under Connecticut law, the assessment of each parcel of real property represents 70% of its fair market value as of the date of a revaluation.  Unless there is physical change to a property (e.g., the construction of an improvement or a structure’s demolition), its assessment remains unchanged until the next revaluation, when the property’s fair market value is determined again. Black’s Law Dictionary (Fifth Edition) defines fair market value as: “The amount at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.  By fair market value is meant the price in cash, or its equivalent, that the property would have brought at the time of taking, considering its highest and most profitable use, if then offered for sale in the open market, in competition with other similar properties at or near the location of the property taken, with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser.” Demand for property and the available supply are arguably the primary factors influencing the real estate market.  Reaction to supply and demand considerations and to other economic, social and legal factors determines the prices that people pay for real estate. Potential purchasers of different types of real property (e.g., residential, commercial or industrial) react to different market influences.  For example, the reputation of a local school system could play a more important part in determining the choice of a community in which a family with young children chooses to reside than it would for a manufacturer, to whom the availability of skilled labor and access to transportation may be more important.  As a result, changes in the fair market values of real estate of different property classes do not occur at the same rate and inequities in assessment levels develop over time.  Additionally, fair market values of real estate in the same property class may change at a different rate than other property in that class (e.g., residential waterfront property and residential property not located on the waterfront). A revaluation eliminates these inequities in assessment levels and equalizes the tax burden among property owners. Copied from the State of Connecticut Report regarding Revaluation Policies and Procedures dated December 27, 2004