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Property appraisals in New Castle County ahead of schedule, still in data collection phase

Delaware Public Media

The property reassessment in New Castle County is ahead of schedule.

Data collection is just over 43% complete, which is around 7% ahead of where Tyler Technologies, the reappraisal team, anticipated it would be.

Since March, they’ve been assessing almost 500 properties per day.

The county’s first reassessment since 1983 was prompted when Chancery Court ruled the property tax system in all three Delaware counties unconstitutional in a 2020 lawsuit over public education funding.

Senior Project Manager Michael McFarland says there is no comparison data yet, but predicts big changes since some older properties have not been appraised in nearly 40 years.

“I think it's fair to say that assessments that were established in 1983 will not be similar to our assessment estimates or tentative values, as we call them, effective for tax year 2025," McFarland said. "Real estate markets are dynamic by nature, they are ever changing. And I'm not saying whether that is greater than or less than the 1983 assessment, I'm just saying that it's most likely different than what the assessment is from several decades ago. And so, are we seeing large differences in the characteristics or the descriptions of the parcels? In some cases, yes, and in some cases, no.”

Tyler Tech typically gives the county a 7-14 day advance notice for when properties will be assessed when. That information is distributed to constituents through their state representatives.

McFarland says Tyler Technologies is still looking to fill the open spots on its team to stay on schedule. They started with just two team leads in September 2021 and now have a field team of about 24.

“Our process entails an exterior inspection of the home and also an attempted interaction, by way of knocking on the front door, with the homeowner," McFarland said. "If they are willing to provide information about the interior of the home we'll certainly consider it, but there is no requirement for us to enter each and every home.”

McFarland says they ask about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house, the year it was built, and any major renovations or improvements that may affect its value.

If no one is home, the inspectors collect exterior measurements and leave questions for homeowners to complete about the interior. All Tyler Technologies staff wear photo ID badges and vests.

McFarland says assessing commercial properties has proved challenging, especially in cases where the property exceeds 100,000 square feet, or the property is inaccessible by gate or security.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.