Property rates valuations: how are they calculated? How do you check them?

2008-02-19 00:00

“How can I check that my house has been fairly valued?” was a frequently asked question yesterday, after The Witness announced that the city’s new property valuation roll will be released on Thursday.

According to valuation expert Llewellyn Louw, interviewed by Property Magazine, the valuation process takes into consideration both physical data and subjective environmental data within the neighbourhood.

The physical data includes the size of the house, the size of the erf, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen/s, garage/s and so on.

Also considered are additions to the home, like granny cottages, swimming pools and tennis courts.

A first step in verifying the valuation is to ensure that this basic information is accurate.

Environmental data include whether the property has uninterrupted views, topography, informal settlements in the vicinity, the amenities in the area.

“Security, how busy the street is and noise levels in the area could also be relevant, and so could finishes and fixtures in the home.”

Louw said it is important to check factors such as roof covering and building materials, as different categories can be used to place properties in predetermined bands of value.

“For instance, if the valuation roll has your property down as one with a face brick finish, when in actual fact beneath the exterior paint there are normal plaster bricks or cement blocks, it would make a significant difference to the valuation of your home.”

He added that bad cracks, for example, also decrease the value of a property. However, to use this information in lodging an objection it is important to substantiate with photographs.

Louw said ratepayers can ask for the sales data the municipal valuer used for the area and check it against the prices of recent property sales in the area.

He said the Property Rates Act stipulates that objections must be substantiated by professional opinion, must be properly motivated and must relate to the market value.

He believes that in light of this, home owners whose properties have been assessed by a registered valuer would have an advantage.

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