Appraiser's Office

Property Appraisals

The county appraiser’s only function is the assessment of property. The appraiser’s office does not set your tax rate or collect taxes.

The tax rates are calculated by the county clerk’s office and are dependant on the financial needs and budgets submitted and approved by your city, county government, and school districts.

The county treasurer’s office is responsible for the collection of all taxes.

The Sedgwick County Appraiser's Office values property for local ad valorem tax purposes. The office also determines taxable situs (location), ownership, and eligibility for exemptions or special valuation (such as farm land appraised on its agricultural productivity). Within the time period set by law, a property owner may appeal the appraised value or classification of their property.

Kansas law requires that property be appraised at its market value on January 1. The law defines market value as the cash price a property would sell for when it is on the market for a reasonable time; neither party is under pressure to sell or buy; both parties know all the relevant facts about the property; and each party seeks to make the best possible deal.

An appraisal is simply a statement of opinion. The appraiser’s office does not create the value. People establish value by their transactions in the market place. The appraisal office has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly. The appraiser’s office arrives at its opinion of market value through the use of generally accepted appraisal methods.

The actual value of most residential property is calculated by the use of a computer-assisted mass appraisal system into which specific information about each property is entered. The computer compares each property with similar properties and analyzes recent sales.

Each property owner pays no more or less than his fair share of the cost of providing local government services. The actual amount of tax depends not only on the appraised value of a property, but also on the assessment rate as set by the Kansas legislature, and the tax rate/ mill levy set by the county commissioners and apportioned to the local taxing authorities in which the property has taxable situs.

A property’s value can change from year to year for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. A change in market can also cause a change in the property values.

Re-inspections

The Sedgwick County Appraiser’s Office is mandated by K.S.A.79-1476 to re-inspect real property in Sedgwick County every six years. The purpose of this inspection is to verify our data is current and represents the property accurately. The Appraiser’s Office physically inspects approximately 17% of the real property located in Sedgwick County each year. The inspection areas are done by property type.

Three Approaches to Value

Not every approach is pertinent to the property being assessed. In real estate the type and use of the property determines which approach is best suited to help the Appraiser arrive at fair market value.

Cost

The cost approach to value is based on the concept that the value of a property can be estimated or appraised by adding the value of the land (as if vacant) to the value of the improvement.

The cost approach is a way to value your property based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the appraisal office must also determine how much it has depreciated. In addition, the appraisal office must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant.

The cost approach is primarily used when sales or income data for properties is not available or scarce.

Income

The income approach to value is the concept that the value of a property is related to how much income the property will produce over a duration of time. Also the certainty of the income is taken into consideration. This approach is best used for properties that produce income, such as, apartment complexes, office buildings and other rent producing property. Within the income approach are several different ways or techniques that appraisers use to value property.

For the income approach to be valid the appraiser must have accurate and current information on market rents/leases, vacancy rates, interest rates on mortgages, expenses that the property accrues, investor expectations, and other economic factors and trends that affect income generating property.

Market

The market approach to value, also referred to as comparative sales approach, compares the property being appraised (subject) with other properties with similar characteristics (comparables) which have been sold within certain time limitations. The comparable sales must be valid sales: that is, they are arms-length transactions, with a willing and knowledgeable buyer/seller, sold on an open and competitive market with sufficient time for sale.

The market approach involves making adjustments to the comparable properties. These adjustments allow the differences between the subject and the comparable to be accounted for. The value for the adjustments or components (bedrooms, fireplaces, living area, and other characteristics) come from the local market. Through research and collection of sales data the Appraiser tracks and updates what buyers/sellers (the market) are saying the component is worth.

The use of computers has made the selection of comparables and the use of valid sales more systematic and accurate. The sales comparison method is the most reliable method for the Appraiser’s Office to use in the mass appraisal of residential property.

Why do appraised values change from year to year?

A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. A change in market can also cause a change in the property values.

Why do we have a property tax?

Properties are appraised so those of us who want the advantages of having schools, fire and police protection, and other civil services can absorb our fair share of the cost, in proportion to the amount of money our individual properties are worth.

The property tax is part of a well-balanced revenue system. It is more stable than sales and income taxes because it rarely fluctuates.

How is property appraised?

To find the value of any piece of property, the appraisal office must first know what properties similar to it are selling for, what it would cost today to replace it, how much it takes to operate or keep it in repair, what rent it may earn, and many other factors affecting its value.

Building on Leased Ground (BLG)

What is a BLG?

Does my building on leased ground have to be listed separately from the land parcel?

Is there a law that governs buildings on leased ground?

What do I do if I want my BLG listed separately from the land parcel?

Can I file a memorandum of lease for this purpose?

What benefit is there to listing the land and building separately?

Where can I go to get more information on BLGs?