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Cyclical Inspection Program
Did you receive a letter in the mail regarding the Assessors inspecting your house? Please read below for frequently asked questions. As always, any questions or concerns please reach out to our office at 508-647-6420.
Why do the assessors inspect properties?
Assessors inspect the property for a number of reasons. Reason number one is that it is the law. According to the Massachusetts DOR we must inspect each property every 10 years and that inspection should be a full measure of the exterior and an attempt at gaining entry for interior information. Secondly, by inspecting property, we are keeping our data accurate which helps us calculate assessed values that are fair and equitable.
What does the inspection consist of?
First, a letter is mailed to homeowners who are part of the neighborhood inspection cycle. If your neighbor did not receive a letter it is most likely because we have visited their house more recently, generally as a result of a permit application or other reason.
Our Assessors will visit each house and knock on the door. Each Assessor will be wearing an identification badge issued by the police department and will be driving a town vehicle. If no one is home, we will measure the exterior of the property to verify our information. We will leave a door tag with our phone number to let you know we visited and again offer the opportunity to call us and set up an appointment for an interior inspection.
If someone is home or has setup an appointment with us, the interior walk-through takes about 10-15 minutes. We verify information such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms and distinguish finished from unfinished areas, such as basements and attics.
Please be advised that we will never go through a home unaccompanied and must be with an adult at all times (no minors).
Do I have to let the assessors into my home?
You do not need to let the assessors in. We respect your privacy. We also understand that our visit may be at “not a good time.” That is why we mail a letter and leave a door tag to allow homeowners to set up an appointment at a time more convenient for them.
If you do not allow entry into the home, we are forced to estimate your interior information. We do not necessarily estimate that you have had major renovations done, but we do have to make a judgement call on the condition of your property. Our goal again is to make sure all assessed values are fair.
Note if you refuse to allow entry to your home, any formal appeals will be denied.
What is the benefit to me to let the assessors in?
There are benefits to allowing the assessors interior access to your home. First, you know that your assessment is based on the correct data.
Second, as our information is already accurate, our inspections mostly result in no changes or only minor changes that have little to no effect on the value.
Finally, our data becomes the public record. Public record data is utilized by websites such as Redfin, Zillow, and MLS. If you want your public record data to be accurate, setting up an inspection with our office is the first step.
Are you trying to raise taxes?
This program is not an effort to raise taxes. The amount the Town can tax is regulated by Proposition 2 ½ and the budget is voted annually at Town Meeting. The goal of Property Assessment is to ensure that we are treating all property owners fairly and equitably. If we are doing that, then each taxpayer is paying his or her “fair share” of the tax burden.
If you are struggling with your taxes, please reach out to our office. Our property tax exemption programs assist disabled veterans, blind individuals, and senior citizens.
Thank you for your cooperation!