To arrive at "full and fair" cash value for your property, the assessors must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. The Assessor must collect, record and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value. Some of the things that the Assessor looks at include current construction costs, zoning changes, financing and local economic conditions and neighborhood character changes. The Assessor uses the internationally accepted appraisal approaches, Market, Income and Cost to arrive at the valuation. Massachusetts Assessors and most other states do not assess individual properties. Using Mass Appraisal techniques properties are stratified by neighborhoods, style, age, sale date and selling prices to determine values for all of the similar properties in the community.
The object of an assessment program is to estimate "full and fair" cash value as of January (known as the assessment date) of the year preceding the fiscal year.