Before you sell your property to OSU, you might want to go to the County Administration building at 6th and Duck and ask the County Assessor to print out information regarding the updated, 2006, assessed value of your property. You might also be wise to ask about the property around you.
Last summer an individual of the firm, hired by OSU to gather information, went to the County Assessor to get the appraisals for all properties in the proposed acquisition area. It is possible they are making offers according, not only according to the appraisals of Cinnabar, but also from the list provided them last summer giving 2002 valuations.
Properties are assessed in a 4 yr. cycle. This year is the year in the cycle for properties in the proposed acquisition area were scheduled to be revalued. Therefore, it makes sense that property values have increased in the last four years.
An official of OSU stated to me that the County Assessor was “playing games with the assessments” and assesssing the properties much higher than they should be.
However, in a letter to the editor, Stillwater Newspress published on 1/15/06, Cheri Hall, retired Payne County Assessor (12/31/04 and 26 years of serving in that office) said: “In order for the assessor to establish a market value, she must maintain a sales file and verify if the sales are arm’s length transactions between a WILLING seller and a WILLING buyer without duress. Only these sales can be used in establishing market value. To insure that every county in this state is in compliance with the law, the Ad Valorem Division performs several studies in each county every year, including their own sales study.
Cheri assured that valuations in the assessor’s office are based on market value. The assessor is required by law to appraise property at market value. using a recognized procedure for mass appraisal. That procedure is establised in the Rules and Regulations of the Ad Valorem Division of the Oklahoma Tax Commission according to the Oklahoma Statutes and based on the standards of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
Cheri also suggests that everyone in the affected area should ask for a copy of the complete OSU appraisal when OSU makes an offer, to look it over and talk to a local appraiser familiar with the Stillwater market.
A friend of mine who has been a real estate agent in the City of Stillwater for many years, told me that when a house is placed on the market, it is rarely listed at the assessed value. Instead, she said, it is nearly always listed at least 10% higher than the assessed value.
I’m only passing on information that may be of help to you, things I have learned since Nov. 5, 2005. I do not claim to be an expert!