Search for property values in five counties

For most people, their homes are their most valuable possessions. Now it's easy to compare the value of your home with others in the Kansas City metro area.

The Kansas City Star is providing an update of home values for Jackson, Johnson, Platte, Clay and Wyandotte counties on one site. The Star obtained the appraised values from county officials, who determine a home's value by examining sales of similar properties and evaluating its location, condition, living space and other factors.

County authorities use a home's appraised value to determine its assessed value, which then is used to compute the homeowner's tax bills. Missouri authorities assess homes at 19 percent of their appraised value, and Kansas authorities assess homes at 11.5 percent of appraised value.

The Star obtained 2009 values for Johnson and Wyandotte counties, where properties are appraised every year, and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri, where properties are reassessed each odd year.

The databases include owners, who often live in the homes. But the listings also include rental properties, so people living in the homes may not be the owners. Some people listed as owners could be acting for the owners, or could represent partnerships that own the properties.

Besides homes, the databases also list some vacant land, farm land and a few commercial properties. Also, some counties provide more detailed information about properties than others.

All of the data is based on public records provided by the counties and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The appraisals reflect home values at specific points in time and may have changed. For example, some homeowners who think their appraisals are too high appeal those appraisals to authorities and may receive a reduction. Appraised values can increase when a property owner builds a home on vacant land. Ownership changes also may not be reflected in the databases.

These county web sites may have more up-to-date information about individual properties:

Clay County: http://www.claycogov.com/county/county.php (click on assessor)

Jackson County: https://ascendweb.jacksongov.org/ascend/(gyoedc55lasvul45hjgsso45)/Login.aspx

Johnson County: http://land.jocogov.org/default.aspx

Platte County: http://maps.co.platte.mo.us/

Wyandotte County: http://appr.wycokck.org/