Do you have contact information for a property owner?
Our office keeps a record of the mailing address where the owner requested assessment notices and tax statements be sent, however we are not able to provide any other contact information (such as phone numbers or email addresses).
How do I find out what a property sold for?
If you know the address or parcel number of the property, you may use our Beacon Property Search page to look up sales information. Simply enter the information in the appropriate search box, and then hit “Search”. The sales information will be located in the “Sales” section of the property record page. Sales that occurred before 1995 will not display because they occurred before the city went to a computerized system, however you may contact our office and we would be happy to find that information on our paper property records.
How do I find out what the parcel number is for a property?
If you know the address the property, you may use our Beacon Property Search page to look up the parcel number. Simply enter the address in the address search box, and then hit “Search”. The parcel number will be located in the “Summary” section of the property record page.
How do I find out where my property lines are?
Our office provides a map of all property lines within the county. Simply go to our Beacon Property Search page and enter your address. Once your property has loaded, click the “Map” button at the top of the page. In order to see your lot lines, you will need to have a few layers turned on. Look to the “Layers” list on the left side of the page, and make sure the box next to “Parcels” is checked. In order to see lot dimensions, click the plus sign (+) next to “Annotation” at the top of the “Layers” list, and make sure the boxes next to “Lot Dim 100” and “Lot Dim 400” are checked.
Please be aware that, while our maps are very accurate and will give you a good idea where you lot lines are, they are not the same as a survey. If you are unable to locate you parcel pins by reviewing our map, you may need to hire a licensed land surveyor to locate your property lines for you. Names of licensed surveyors can be found under “surveyors-land” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book. Most licensed surveyors will provide you with an estimate of cost for performing the survey.
How do I find out who owns a property?
If you know the address or parcel number of the property, you may use our Beacon Property Search page to look up who currently owns the property. Simply enter the information in the appropriate search box, and then hit “Search”. The owner information will be located in the “Owner” section of the property record page.
How do I locate my parcel pins?
When a lot is platted, pins are placed at all corners of the property. Parcel pins are usually a piece of rebar driven into the ground, and then capped at ground level with a colored plastic cap that includes the name of the surveyor who platted the land. Over time, these pins tend to get pushed underground, but there are several ways to locate them. Review the map on our Beacon Property Search page, and either use a metal detector, or dig at the corners indicated on the map. If you are unable to locate your pins, you will need to hire a licensed land surveyor. Names of licensed surveyors can be found under “surveyors-land” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book. Most licensed surveyors will provide you with an estimate of cost for performing the survey.
How does the Assessor determine my property value?
Depending on the classification of the property, the assessment is to represent the market value of the property unless otherwise provided by Iowa Code. Residential, agricultural dwellings, commercial, and industrial classed properties are to be assessed at market value. Changes in market value as indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry are used in determining your assessment. Agricultural land and buildings are valued on productivity and net earning capacity.
How often is my property reassessed?
State law requires all properties to be reassessed every two years. Current law requires the reassessment to occur in odd numbered years. If necessary, assessors may reassess property every year.
My assessment has not changed, why have my property taxes increased?
Each year, assessed values are subject to a rollback factor determined by the Director of Revenue creating a taxable value. Property tax is calculated by applying a levy rate to the taxable value. Levy rates and rollbacks change from year to year therefore adjusting the amount of property tax.
What do I do if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?
If you disagree with the assessment of a property, you have two basic options. One option is to have an informal review with the assessor’s office. If an agreement can be reached between April 2 through April 25, a signed document will change the assessment to the mutually agreed to value or classification. The second option is to file a formal appeal with the Board of Review between April 2 and April 30. Appeal forms are available on the Board of Review page.
What is a levy rate?
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with a different levy rate. Each year the county auditor determines for that district a levy rate that will yield enough money to fund the different entities in that district. The entities include local schools, counties, cities, townships, community colleges, local assessors, and others. Since more than one taxing authority is calculating a tax rate for the property, all the rates are added together, resulting in a single tax levy called a consolidated levy. This consolidated levy is always the result of two or more tax rates established by different government entities.
What is a rollback?
The rollback rate is a statewide rate set annually for each property class by the Iowa Department of Revenue. More than 20 years ago, residential property values were rising quickly. To help cushion the impact of high inflation, the Legislature passed an assessment limitation law called rollback. Increases in assessed values for residential and agricultural property are subject to this assessment limitation formula. If the statewide increase in values of homes and farms exceeds 3 percent due to revaluation, their values are "rolled back" so that the total increase statewide is 3 percent. Rollback is also available for industrial and commercial property when necessary. This does not mean that the assessment on your home will increase by only 3 percent. The rollback is applied on a class of property, not an individual property. This means that the statewide total taxable value can increase by only 3 percent due to revaluation.
What is Classification?
Real estate parcels are annually assigned a property classification by the assessor. This classification is to be consistent with the primary use of the property. There are five classifications of property in Iowa. These classes are agricultural, residential, multi-residential, commercial, and industrial. Classification may not necessarily be the same as the zoning of the property.
What is Corn Suitability Rating (CSR)?
Over the years, the term CSR has become a household word among farmland owners and tenants in Iowa. CSR (corn suitability rating) is a soil productivity rating for Iowa soils that ranges from a low of 5 to a high of 100. It was introduced in 1971 by Thomas Fenton from Iowa State University and has gained in popularity ever since. CSR values are often used when figuring farmland indexes such as land values and cash rents. The index has also been correlated to crop yields although part of the intent of the index was to establish a system for equitable tax assessment, a way to level the playing field by measuring a soil’s productivity and not how well the operator was doing yield-wise with the land. All Iowa counties presently use the CSR rating when figuring individual real estate property taxes.
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****Agricultural Land in Cerro Gordo has been updated with the new Corn Stability Rating (CSR2) map soils and adjustments have been made for tillable/non-tillable ground. CSR2 and land adjustments are mandated by the Iowa Department of Revenue and must be implemented by the 2017 year in all counties.
What is Market Value?
Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on January 1st of the year of assessment. This is sometimes referred to as the 'arms-length transaction' or 'willing buyer/willing seller' concept.
When are Assessment Notices mailed?
Assessment notices are mailed on or before April 1st whenever there is a change in assessment to a taxpayer’s property.