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Certificate of
Excellence in

Association of
Assessing Officers) awards offices that utilize best appraisal and assessment practices with a  Certificate of Excellence.
Our office received this distinction in  2012, and we continue to serve property owners in Nashville and Davidson County with a high level of excellence.


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ACRE: A land measure equal to 43,560 square feet.

AD VALOREM TAX: A real estate tax levied in proportion to the value of the property; a property tax based on value.

APPEALS PROCESS: The procedures established by the Tennessee Code for appealing the valuation/classification of properties. Normally the sequence of events starts with an informal appeal to the Assessor, to the local Board of Equalization, the State Board of Equalization and finally the court system.

APPRAISAL (or APPRAISED VALUE): An opinion of value based upon market conditions.

APPROACHES TO VALUE: Valuation methods used in appraisal to determine property value. The three common approaches for real property are the cost approach, income approach and market (comparable sales) approach.

ARMS-LENGTH TRANSACTION: A sale between two unrelated parties with each seeking to maximize his/her/its position from the transactions.

ASSESSED VALUE: A value set on real and personal property by a government as a basis for levying taxes. The appraised value is multiplied by the legal assessment ratio. The legal assessment ratios for Tennessee are: Residential and Farm 25%; Commercial and Industrial 40%; Commercial and Industrial Personal Property 30%; Public Utilities 55%.

ASSESSMENT: The valuation of property for tax purposes. In Tennessee this is the appraised value multiplied by the percentage ratio applied to the classification of the property. (For example: Under Tennessee law, the percentage applied to a Residential classification property is 25% of the appraised value while that applied to a Commercial/Industrial property is 40%. A residential property appraised at $100,000 would be assessed at $25,000 while a commercial property of the same appraisal would be assessed at $40,000.)

ASSESSMENT CHANGE NOTICE: A notice sent normally in May of the tax year to the property owner or agent of any change in assessed value.

ASSESSMENT RATIO: The fractional relationship an assessed value bears to the market value of the property in question. Example: Residential/Farm property is assessed at 25% of the appraised value.

ASSESSMENT ROLL: A listing of all property and its assessed value.

ASSESSED VALUE: The property value determined by the Assessor and used by the Trustee to compute property taxes by applying the applicable tax rate.

ASSESSMENT YEAR: In Tennessee, the effective date of assessment is January 1 of each year and the appraisal represents the value of the property on that date.

ASSESSOR: The publicly elected official whose legal responsibility is to discover, list and appraise all property in the applicable jurisdiction.
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BOARD OF EQUALIZATION (or BOE): A non-judicial, appointed body which attempts to ensure that property under its jurisdiction is appraised equitably and at market value. In Davidson County, the local BOE is appointed by the Metropolitan County Mayor and confirmed by the Metropolitan County Council. On the State Level, the board consists of state officers and appointees of the Governor.
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CAMA: An acronym for Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal, which is the process by which property is appraised utilizing computers, computer models and analytical programs. In Davidson County, a software product named AssessPro from Patriot Properties Inc., is used as a CAMA application.

CLASSIFICATION: Categories of property established by Tennessee Law to distinguish the use of property for purposes of assessment, equalization and taxation.

COMPARABLES (or COMPS): A shortened term for similar property sales, rentals, or operating expenses used for comparison in the valuation process.

COST APPROACH: Estimates property value by determining replacement cost new, less depreciation, plus the land value.

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DEPRECIATION: 1. In appraising, a loss in property value from any cause; the difference between the reproduction or replacement cost of an improvement on the effective date of the appraisal and the market value of the improvement on the same date; 2. In regard to improvements, depreciation encompasses both deterioration and obsolescence.

DETERIORATION: Impairment of condition; a cause of depreciation that reflects the loss in value due to wear and tear, disintegration, use in service, and the action of the elements.
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EQUALIZATION: The process by which an appropriate governmental body attempts to ensure that all property under its jurisdiction is assessed equitably at market value or at a ratio or ratios as required by law.

ESTIMATED TAX: An amount calculated by multiplying the assessed value by the prior year's levy.

EXEMPT PROPERTY: Property used for governmental, charitable, educational or religious purposes and determined by the State Board of Equalization to be exempt from payment of the property tax.
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FLOODPLAIN: The area along the course of a river, stream or other body of water that is subject to overflow or flooding. The floodplain may be altered by re-sculpturing of the land.

FLOODWAY: The area along the course of a river, stream or other body of water that is subject to overflow or flooding and may not be altered or developed.

FORECLOSURE: The legal process in which a mortgagee forces the sale of a property to recover all or part of a loan on which the mortgagor has defaulted.
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GENERAL SERVICES DISTRICT (or GSD): A tax district distinctly identified geographically and comprised of all parcels within the jurisdictional boundaries of Davidson County.

GRANTEE: A person to whom property is transferred by deed or to whom property rights are granted by a trust instrument or other document.

GRANTOR: A person who transfers property by deed or grants property rights through a trust instrument or other document.
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HIGHEST AND BEST USE: The reasonable, probable, and legal use of vacant land or an improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and that results in the highest value. The four criteria the highest and best use must meet are: legal permissibility, physical possibility, financial feasibility, and maximum profitability.

HOMEBELT: A residential property that is zoned commercially and occupied by an owner or their lineal descendants for a period of 25-years at least 9-months of each calendar year. The maximum land size is 5-acres.
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IAAO: International Association of Assessing Officers, a professional organization for Assessors and their employees which promotes the highest standards of conduct, offers training in acceptable methods of appraisal, and provides testing of expertise for purposes of certification.

IMPROVEMENTS: All buildings, structures, pools, fences, etc., fixed to the land. For example, a house built on a vacant lot is considered an improvement of the lot.

INCOME APPROACH: An appraisal method in which the property is valued according to its ability to produce income.

INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY: Land and/or improvements that can be adapted for industrial use; a combination of land, improvements, and machinery integrated into a functioning unit to assemble, process, and manufacture products from raw materials or fabricated parts.

INSTRUMENT: In real estate, a formal, legal document, e.g., a contract, a deed, a lease, a will.
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JURISDICTION: (1)The right and power to interpret and apply the law; also, the power to tax and the power to govern. (2) The territorial range of authority or control.
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LEGAL DESCRIPTION: A statement in words or codes identifying land for all purposes of law.

LESSEE: one that holds real or personal property under a lease.

LESSOR: one that conveys property by lease.

LOT: 1. A distinct piece of land; a piece of land that forms a part of a district, community, city block, etc.; 2. A smaller portion into which a city block or subdivision is divided; described by reference to a recorded plat or by definite boundaries; a piece of land in one ownership, whether platted or not.
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MAPPING: The process of creating maps from recorded documents such as deeds and subdivision plats.

MARKET APPROACH: Estimates property value by comparison to similar properties that have sold in the open market.

MARKET VALUE: The most probable price, as of a specified date, in cash, or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms for which the specified property rights should sell after reasonable exposure in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and for self-interest, and assuming that neither is under undue duress.

MASS APPRAISAL: The process of valuing a universe of properties as of a given date utilizing standard methodology, employing common data, and allowing for statistical testing.

MATERIAL VALUE (Mat Value): An appraisal of the value of materials in place on an incomplete improvement as of January 1 of the tax year.
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Neighborhood: A study of relevant forces that influence property values within the boundaries of a homogeneous area.

NET INCOME AND NET OPERATING INCOME (NOI): The income expected from a property, after deduction of allowable expenses. The net annual income is the amount generated by a property after subtracting vacancy and collection loss, adding secondary income, and subtracting all expenses required to maintain the property for its intended use. (Does not include payments for interest or principal).
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OBSOLESCENCE: One cause of depreciation; an impairment of desirability and usefulness caused by new inventions, changes in design, improved processes for production, or other external factors that make a property less desirable and valuable for a continued use; may be either functional or external.

OWNER (or OWNER OF RECORD): The owner of title to a property as indicated by public records.
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PARCEL: A piece of land of any size in one ownership.

PARCEL NUMBER: A numeric or alphanumeric description of a parcel that identifies it uniquely.

PERSONAL PROPERTY (or PERSONALTY): Identifiable portable and tangible objects that are considered by the general public to be "personal", e.g., furnishings, artwork, antiques, gems and jewelry, collectibles, machinery and equipment; all property that is not classified as real estate. Personal property includes movable items that are not permanently affixed to, and part of, the real estate.

PLAT: 1. A plan, map, or chart of a city, town, section, or subdivision indicating the location and boundaries of individual properties; 2. A map or sketch of an individual property that shows property lines and may include features such as soils, building locations, vegetation, and topography.

PRORATE: An appraisal that reflects any changes made to improvements located on a property due to new construction or demolition that occurs after January 1 and before September 1 of the tax year.

PRORATE NOTICE: A notice sent by the assessor's office notifying the property owner of the change in value resulting to the improvements that have occurred between January 1 and September 1 of the tax year.
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QUITCLAIM DEED: A form of conveyance in which any interest the grantor possesses in the property described in the deed is conveyed to the grantee without warranty of title.
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REAPPRAISAL: The mass appraisal of all property within an assessment jurisdiction normally accomplished within a given time period, also called revaluation or reassessment. In Davidson County, all property is reappraised at least every four years.

REAL PROPERTY: Land and improvements to the land.
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SALES RATIO: The ratio of an appraised value to the sale price or adjusted sale price of a property. The appraised value is divided by the sale price to determine the individual ratio.

SATELLITE CITIES: Municipalities that lie outside the Urban Services District, but entirely or partially within the General Services District and which may levy an ad valorem tax that is based upon the assessments established for Davidson County; These jurisdictions also may establish their own zoning codes or provide additional services above those normally available to property owners of the General Services District outside the Urban Services District.
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TAXABLE VALUE: Taxable value is the value of property as determined by the Assessor using methods proscribed by Tennessee Statute and Board of Equalization rules. Generally speaking, taxable value of real property is the appraised value of the land and the current replacement cost of improvements less statutory depreciation.

TAX BASE: Total assessed value in a given tax district.

TAX CODE: Indicates which taxing entities will receive revenues generated from property taxes levied against this property.

TAX EXEMPTIONS: Those qualified individuals, as stipulated in Tennessee State Code, entitled to an exemption of a specified amount of Assessed Value. Those who are blind, disabled, widows or widowers and disabled veterans may be eligible for this assistance.

TAX EXEMPT PARCELS: Tennessee law exempts all property owned by federal, state and local governments from taxation. This includes property for schools, parks, libraries, government buildings, roads, airports, military installations and other public areas. The law also exempts churches and some other charitable organizations.

TAX RELIEF: Elderly and Disabled citizens and Disabled Veterans may qualify for tax relief. Elderly is considered to be persons 65 or older prior to the end of a tax year; Disabled is considered to be totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or other qualified agency before the end of the tax year. In either case, the combined income for all owners of the property must not exceed $12,210. Disabled veterans for this purpose also must be considered 100% disabled.

TAX ROLL: A listing of real property parcels which includes information about parcel ownership and mailing address, property location, land use and valuation.

TITLE: All of the elements that constitute the legal right to own, possess, use control, enjoy and dispose of real estate.

TITLE COMPANY: The entity that ensures the title for the owner of the property.
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UNIFORM STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL APPRAISAL PRACTICE (or USPAP): Current standards of the appraisal profession, developed for appraisers and the users of appraisal services by the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation. The Uniform Standards set forth the procedures to be followed in developing an appraisal, analysis, or opinion and the manner in which an appraisal, analysis, or opinion is communicated. They are endorsed by the Appraisal Institute and by other professional appraisal organizations, such as the IAAO.

URBAN SERVICES DISTRICT (or USD): A tax district distinctly identified geographically and comprised of parcels emanating from the downtown Nashville area which has more concentrated or unique governmental services provided by the Metropolitan Government when compared with the General Services District, which includes all parcels within the jurisdictional boundaries of Davidson County.
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VALUATION: The process of estimating the market value, insurable value, investment value, or some other properly defined value of an identified interest or interests in a specific parcel or parcels of real estate as of a given date. Valuation is a term used interchangeably with appraisal.

VALUE: 1. The monetary worth of a property, good, or service to buyers and sellers at a given time; 2. The present worth of the future benefits that accrue to real property ownership.
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Weighted Mean: Sum of the appraised values divided by the sum of the sale prices which weights each value in proportion to its sale price.
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ZONING: The categorizing of property for permitted use and the allowed characteristics of use by a government body, such as the Metropolitan Planning Commission, subject to the approval of the Metropolitan County Council.
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Assessor of Property for Davidson County, TN  *  P.O. Box 196305  *  Nashville, TN 37219-6305
Physical Address:  700 2nd Ave S, Suite 210 * Nashville, TN 37210

Phone (Main Line):  (615) 862-6080;  Fax: (615) 862-6057 
Open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday