Before assessing any parcel of property, the assessor estimates its market value. Market value is how much a property would sell for, in an open market, under normal conditions. To estimate market values, the assessor must be familiar with all aspects of the local real estate market.
A property's value can be estimated in three different ways. First property is compared to other similar property that have sold recently, using only sales where the buyer and seller both acted without undue pressure. This method is called the market approach and is normally used to value residential, vacant, and farm properties.
The second way is to calculate the cost, using today's labor and material prices, to replace the structure with a similar one. If the structure is not new, the assessor determines the depreciation since it was built. The resulting value is added to an estimate of the market value of the land. This method, called the cost approach, is used to value special purpose and utility properties.
The third way is to analyze how much income a property (like an apartment building, store, or factory) will produce if rented. Operating expenses, insurance, maintenance costs, financing terms, and how much money expected to be earned are considered. This method is called the income approach.
Properties in sub optimal uses generally may not be assessed at market value; they must be assessed at their current-use value.
Once the assessor estimates the market value of a property, its assessment is calculated. New York State law provides that all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percent of market value. The Town of Victor assessments are set at 100% of market value. Everyone pays their fair share of taxes as long as every property in a locality is assessed at the same percent of value.
The assessment is multiplied by the tax rate for each taxing jurisdiction - city, town, village, school district, etc. - to determine the tax bills. (For further explanation of this process, see the pamphlet entitled, "How the Property Tax Works.")