TRUCK TALK Episode 33: Understanding Property Assessments with Upton Assessor Valerie Leonardo

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In this episode of TRUCK TALK, we have the pleasure of picking up Valerie Leonardo, the Town Assessor of Upton, at the Town Hall. Valerie is here to shed some light on the often misunderstood world of property assessments. Join us as we dive into the role of the assessor and learn why your assessed value may differ from the price you paid for your house.

The Role of the Assessor

The assessor’s department in Upton is primarily responsible for determining the full and fair cash value of all real and personal property. They play a crucial role in helping property owners understand the value of their properties. By examining sales from the previous calendar year, assessors are able to calculate accurate assessments for the current fiscal year.

Understanding Assessment Differences

One of the most common questions property owners have is why their assessed value may be different from the purchase price of their house. Valerie explains that assessments are retrospective and are based on sales from the previous calendar year. So, if you bought a house in 2022, it will be assessed in 2024 for use in fiscal year 2025. It’s essential to understand that assessments are based on arms-length sales, meaning valid transactions between willing buyers and sellers in the open market.

Furthermore, it is important to note that all sales are certified by the Department of Revenue. This certification requirement has been in place since 1982. As property owners, it is our responsibility to review our property record card every year between January and September. If any discrepancies are found, it is crucial to contact the assessor’s office and make an appointment.

The Importance of Accurate Information

Allowing the assessor access to your property is vital in ensuring accurate assessments. If you deny them entry, they will have to make assumptions about your property, potentially leading to incorrect assessments. While there is no law that obligates property owners to let the assessor in, it is generally recommended and often leads to better outcomes.

When the assessor visits your property, they will verify details such as bedroom counts and confirm the accuracy of the information. This is particularly important if your property hasn’t been visited by an assessor in a while. By allowing them to inspect your property, you can ensure that the information used for assessments is up to date and accurate.

Remember, the law does not force you to let assessors into your home. However, in most cases, it is advisable to make an appointment and let them in. This will help avoid any assumptions about your property and ensure the most accurate assessment possible.


Property assessments can be complex and often leave property owners with many questions. However, by understanding the role of the assessor and the process of assessments, property owners can gain clarity and make informed decisions. It is crucial to review your property record card annually and reach out to the assessor’s office if any discrepancies are found.

Next time you see an assessor’s knocking on your door, remember that they are not there to raise your value but to ensure accurate assessments. By working together with assessors, property owners can help maintain fair and equitable taxation in their community.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of TRUCK TALK, where we had the pleasure of speaking with Upton Assessor Valerie Leonardo. We hope this discussion has shed light on the often complex world of property assessments and provided valuable insights for property owners in Upton and beyond.

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