Bastrop County is currently divided into five appraisal areas, known as regions. We have an appraiser assigned to each region. There are a total of 63,130 properties that require an appraiser to visit and review these properties at least once every three years in accordance with Texas Law. During that visit, the appraiser reviews property characteristics and records any changes from the last review cycle. (For example, if you added or removed a barn, shed or swimming pool). The appraiser also looks closely at your improvements (houses or buildings) to see if there is any change in the exterior condition of your property.
Appraisal district appraisers never ask to inspect your home’s interior. Typically, an appraiser will validate the size, construction quality, and physical condition of your improvements.
Bastrop County appraises all properties every year due to the constant change in the market. Market value appraisals are performed pursuant to Article VIII, Sec.1., of the Texas Constitution, which provides that property must be taxed in proportion to its value as determined by law, Sec. 23.-011, Texas Property Tax Code. Except as otherwise provided by the Texas Property Tax Code (hereafter “Tax Code”), all taxable property is appraised at its “market value” as of January 1. Under the tax code, “market value” means the price at which a property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions if:
- Exposed for sale in the open market with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser.
- Both the seller and the buyer know of all the uses and purposes to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used and of the enforceable restrictions on its use, and
- Both the seller and buyer seek to maximize their gains, and neither is in a position to take advantage of the other.
The appraisal district will determine the market value of your property as of January 1 considering one of the three methods of appraisal:
- Sales/market approach
- Cost approach, or the
- Income approach
And because the appraisal district is placing a value on a large number of properties annually, the appraisal district must utilize applicable features of each method and apply them uniformly to similar properties in a process known as mass appraisal.
In order to determine the value of your property, the appraisal district must first know what properties have sold, and how much they are selling for in today’s market. By maintaining a database of real estate transactions, we can arrive at the property value by studying sales of comparable properties.
This method of appraising property is based on how much it would cost today to build an identical structure on the property. If the property is not new, we must also determine how much value the building has lost over time (depreciation).
This method is preferred when appraising an income-producing property. This approach determines value through analysis of income and expenses to determine market value. Consideration is given for operating expenses, maintenance costs, and the return (or profit) that could be reasonably expected on the property.
There are basically only two kinds of appraisal: fee appraisal and mass appraisal. Both types of appraisals utilize the same basic appraisal principles and theories. A fee appraisal utilizes the three methods discussed above but with only one parcel of property being valued. Mass appraisal values the entire county where market areas, neighborhoods, subdivisions, and large groupings of similar properties are appraised at one time by adopted standards.