Assessed value versus market value

Dear Jan: We are buyers, shopping for a home in this crazy market. The prices are going up right before our eyes. We think of ourselves as savvy buyers and do the research when a home comes on the market. We are finding that prices of the homes are above the tax assessed values of the homes. How can we justify paying more for the home than even the county thinks it is worth? — SBS

Dear SBS: ”Crazy market” describes this market well. Welcome to my world! This happened in the last hot market as well. In fact, I had an appraiser buddy call me and ask just where in the world agents were coming up with these numbers. The bottom line was that the sellers were asking the prices and the buyers were willing to pay those prices, so the appraisers needed to adjust their numbers to meet the new market.

At the January Kingston Chamber of Commerce meeting, our Kitsap County assessor was a guest speaker. He and I chatted after the meeting about this very thing. The assessor’s numbers come out ahead of the market, so the numbers we are seeing on this newest tax statement are nowhere close to today’s market value. Regarding justifying the price, like anything in life, if you want it bad enough you will pay the price or at least negotiate to a number that you are comfortable with in the end. A local broker can help you determine value by running a comparable sales report as to what has sold in the area recently.

Best wishes, Jan

— Jan Zufelt is a broker for John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston. Contact her at