How is my Baltimore County house assessed for taxes?

How does Baltimore County determine my house assessment?

These are two very good questions which determine how much you pay in property taxes each year.

First, tax assessments are done as mass appraisals. This means there are many homes being valuated at the same time.

The Baltimore County tax assessors are trained as appraisers and have a number of ways they come up with your assessed value. There is a homeowner’s guide to property taxes and assessments on their website, which gives some details about the process.

Recently, I was able to listen to the heads of both the Baltimore County and Baltimore City departments, as they explained more in detail what they do.

They use a cost approach and land value. The cost value is how much the house would cost to be built today minus depreciation based on age and condition of the house. Any finished heated space is included in the valuation of the house.

They do not come into your home, so they make assumptions on things based on County permits pulled by contractors doing work on your home.

Often, when a homeowner appeals, they will point out deficits, which is how they know what problems there may be with your home.

They use the multiple listing system that real estate agents use as well, called MRIS.

Short sales and foreclosures are removed from consideration, as they consider them “bad sales”.

Neighborhoods, as determined by the Baltimore County Department of Taxation and Assessments, are not the same as the neighborhoods established.

Neighborhoods are graded on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. An assessor I spoke with said that a well known and established neighborhood, Ruxton in Towson is graded as a 10. There are neighborhood sets and subsets, for example, Old Lutherville is a subset of Lutherville. And even within subsets, the type of house will be assessed at different “rates.”

Because these assessments are done every three years and on a mass basis, that is why there is an appeals process. Especially with higher priced homes such as those in Ruxton, the homes tend to be unique, and the mass valuation may not be correct.

Learn more about different Baltimore County tax appeal processes so you can understand if an appeal may be right for you and your home.