Peabody property owners should expect a knock on their door in the coming weeks and months from an outside appraisal firm the city has hired to conduct a citywide property revaluation.
Every 10 years, cities and towns are required by the state to do a complete site inspection on each property within their borders to ensure values and assessments are accurate. Much smaller scale revaluation efforts are required every three years, although Peabody updates that information annually based on sales.
The forthcoming project will take about a year to complete and will pick up any alterations made to properties, specifically homes, in the last decade – not an easy task with 15,088 residential properties in Peabody.
The updated valuations will be in effect for the next fiscal year, FY13, and when the tax rates are set again a year from now.
And if property owners neglected to obtain the proper permits for those changes, they could be faced with fines. City officials, however, are urging homeowners to pay a visit to the inspector’s office if they did some interior renovations, remodeled the kitchen or finished the basement in the past 10 years and never got a permit for it.
“We realize times are tough and people are doing things themselves, but we need building inspectors to protect [for safety reasons],” Mayor Michael Bonfanti said, noting that he is considering an amnesty program for people who come in of their own volition.
“There’s no threat, just a suggestion,” he said.
City officials say appraisers from Tyler Technologies will begin their site visits within the coming days and will canvas one neighborhood at a time. Bonfanti said public notices will be issued on cable, local news outlets and by other means once that schedule is finalized, letting residents know where and when to generally expect a visit.
Appraisers are also required to show proper identification.
The city is paying the firm $569,400, which was appropriated by the City Council last month from city real estate sales, for the entire project. City officials said it cost $510,000 to do 10 years ago.