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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What is an accurate property assessment?

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 12:00:00 am Comments (2)

Ideally, homes are assessed at 100% of their market values. That’s what happens immediately after a countywide reassessment.

But assessment values become inaccurate over time as the real estate market changes. To keep new assessments in line with old ones, the PA Department of Revenue sets a Common Level Ratio factor for each county every July.  

For example, Montgomery County has a 2021-2022 common level ratio factor of 2.24, meaning market value should equal 2.24 times the assessment.  Doing the math in reverse, Montco assessments should equal about 44.643% of market value.  So, a home with a market value of $100,000 would be assessed at about $44,643, and that assessed value would be used to calculate local property tax bills.

Here’s the math behind that percentage:


Market Value



(Common Level Ratio factor)



If you want to figure out the market value that the county is using — meaning, you want to know what the county thinks a property is worth — multiply the assessed value by the common level ratio factor.  Using the Montgomery County example above: $44,643 (assessed value) x 2.24 (ratio) = $100,000 (market value as determined by county).

Here are the Common Level Ratio factors and assessment value percentages* for Greater Philadelphia counties:

Bucks County
Common Level Ratio factor = 12.05
Last assessment in 1972
Chester County
Common Level Ratio factor = 2.22
Last assessment in 1998
Delaware County*
Common Level Ratio factor = 1
Last assessment in 2021
Montgomery County
Common Level Ratio factor = 2.24
Last assessment in 1996
Philadelphia County
Common Level Ratio factor = 1.07
Ongoing assessments (AVI)
*Percentages rounded to three decimal places.

This Philadelphia Inquirer article provides more explanation on assessments and appeals in the Greater Philadelphia region.

 * Delaware County just completed a court-ordered countywide reassessment, the values of took effect in 2021. Learn more about that in our blog post:  Delco reassessment project: an overview.



Thursday, July 1, 2021

Webinar: What Realtors should know about Act 133

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 11:00:00 am Comments (0)

Update: Watch a recording of the webinar below:


Jump to a section:

0:00 Introduction

3:18 What is Act 133?

5:18 Why did the old law (MCOCA) need to be amended in 2016?

6:58 Did the revisions in Act 133 'do the trick'? Are there still issues with U&Os?

8:38 Why are some municipalities slow to implement Act 133?

10:48 Glenolden Borough lawsuit

15:08 Are there situations in which municipalities can still withhold permits?

20:43 What should a Realtor do if they think a municipality is not following Act 133?

23:53 How is Act 133 and U&O inspections playing out in the current market?

31:33 What are the commercial implications of Act 133?

32:28 Are there penalties for violations?

34:08 Are you seeing municipalities requiring repairs in less than 12 months?

35:28 Is there a link that can be shared with municipalities regarding Act 133?

36:58 Can sellers set up these municipal inspections prior to putting a property on the market?

38:58 What can be done with municipalities that refuse to work within Act 133?

41:28 If a property was already sold and the municipality didn't inspect, can they come back to inspect later?

46:08 If a buyer feels forced to sign a 30-day affidavit, is it enforceable?

48:18 When are municipalities allowed to prevent occupancy? What are the differences between the three types of resale permits described in Act 133?


Original post continues below. 

The SRA will host a webinar about Act 133 on Wednesday, July 14, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Act 133, also known as the Municipal Code and Ordinance Compliance Act, was amended in 2016 to better protect sellers and buyers in municipalities that require resale use and occupancy inspections. Hank Lerner, general counsel at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, and SRA president Jamie Ridge will review the basics of the law and how it has been applied, and answer audience questions. 

The webinar will help Realtors understand this important law, which requires municipalities to issue use and occupancy certificates after resale inspections. 

Here's an example of how Act 133 can be helpful:

Just last week, we had an agent facing a tough situation in Norristown — the municipality was refusing to issue a temporary access certificate after a U&O inspection to allow the settlement to move forward. Luckily, the Realtor was aware of Act 133 and knew she should contact us in such situations. After a quick conversation about the details, SRA staff were able to help her draft a letter to the municipality that resolved her situation the next day. 

Registration for the webinar is free and open to Realtors. For more information and to register, click here.


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