By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Homeowners have started to receive letters in the mail telling them what their property is worth – but what does it all mean?
The evaluation, done every four years, details the values of homes across the province, which municipalities then use to calculate property taxes. But with millions of homeowners across Ontario, how does the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), the non-profit entity responsible for these evaluations, come to the final figure?
A lot of it has to do with the other homes around you.
“In order to assess the value of a property, what we do is we analyze the residential sales within the community. So we look at what properties are selling for in an area, and that gives us an understanding of what the value of the properties are in that particular neighbourhood,” Carmelo Lipsi, MPAC’s director of evaluations and customer relations, tells The Oshawa Express.
According to Lipsi, evaluations are predominantly based off of five different criteria: the neighbourhood you live in, the size of the home, the size of the lot (“A bigger lot typically means that the value’s going to be higher because of it,” Lipsi says), the quality of the home’s construction and the age and/or condition of the home.
For the last facet, Lipsi says MPAC is looking to see whether the house has been brought up to date, or if it is still the same as when it was originally constructed. And even though MPAC has not visited a home, it often knows when renovations have been done.
“We would know as a result of any permits that were taken out,” he says.
“All permits that are taken out through the City of Oshawa would come our way, and then we would react accordingly and make sure our records are up to date.”
So what do residents do if they believe the evaluation they receive is too high or too low? Lipsi says there are a few steps to take.
“One of the first things that we ask someone to do is ask themselves whether or not they could have sold their property for the amount that it’s assessed for back in January 2016,” he says.
“Think back a few months, think what the real estate market was like in your area.”
After that, Lipsi says to check out MPAC’s website, which includes a tool to see what other properties in your area are evaluated at, and what comparable homes in the neighbourhood have sold for.
If after all that, you believe the assessment is not right, you can file a request of reconsideration with MPAC.
“They have 120 days from the issue date that’s on their property assessment notice, and what we ask when they file for reconsideration – which is free of charge – they just identify for us some features or some things that they believe is incorrect about their property or a reason they think their value is incorrect,” Lisi says.
Property owners interested in seeing the value of their home and the homes around them can visit MPAC’s site at aboutmyproperty.ca.