White vans mark beginning of property reappraisal work

8:35 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Xenia
Greene County residents may see people taking pictures of their homes while sitting in white vans in the coming weeks. The activity is part of the county’s reappraisal process that will be finished in 2020. Look for the emblem on the side of the van that says “Greene County Auditor Imaging & Address Verification Project 937-562-5065. (Contributed)

Over the next several weeks, residents in Greene County may see white vans parked on their streets with people inside taking photos of homes.

The photographers are employees of Tyler Technologies, Inc., which was awarded the $1.5 million contract for property reappraisals through the county auditor’s office. The white vans are expected to be traveling throughout the county for the next eight to 12 weeks.

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The six-year cycle for property reappraisals in Greene County is not due until 2020, but the process of collecting images, data and other information begins early to cover the county’s approximately 75,000 parcels, said Auditor David Graham.

Graham said usually the driver or passenger of the van can take a photo of your home without exiting the vehicle or approaching your property. The photo’s metadata includes the location where it was taken and that can be linked to parcel numbers on record with the county.

“Instead of boots on the ground at the beginning of this project, we’re sending out vans to take pictures,” Graham said. “The condition assessment of a property is based on that photograph.”

In addition, aerial photography and a measuring tool available on the auditor’s website, enables appraisers to measure the dimensions of “a new deck for instance,” Graham said.

The auditor’s website was recently revamped with a mapping system that lets users gather more information about real estate across the county in a more interactive way.

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In some cases, where tall bushes or trees obscure the view of the whole property, an appraiser may need to contact property owners either by mail or knocking on the door, Graham said.

“With all of the data that we have, we are able to get a better understanding of the conditions of properties than we ever have without sending people out,” Graham said. “Back in the day, the reappraisal process involved sending appraisers into the field, assess conditions, maybe remeasure property lines, and talk to as many people as possible to determine if the property owner has made any changes. Personnel costs are so high now, that is a very expensive way to do it.”

A Tyler Technologies spokesperson said the company’s “mass appraisal business,” CLT Appraisal Services, is “the country’s oldest and only national” one and has been providing services in Greene County since the company began in the 1930s.

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“The county was also one of CLT’s first software installations back in 1976, and they remain a software client (iasWorld) even today. Over its 80 year history, CLT has worked with nearly 40 percent of the counties in Ohio,” the spokesperson said in a prepared statement.

This reappraisal cycle will include three years worth of new residential and commercial construction, much of which is occuring in the city and township of Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Sugarcreek Twp. and Xenia.

The three-year appraisal update occurred last year, and residential properties across the county increased by 5 percent from the reappraisals in 2014. The biggest increases in values, from 9 to 11 percent, occurred in Beavercreek Twp., Cedarville, Yellow Springs and Bellbrook.

Final assessments in this cycle are expected to be finished by late summer, early fall of 2020. Property owners will have an opportunity at that time to ask questions and challenge the valuations, which are used to determine how much property taxes are assessed.