5 Tricks to lower your property taxes

5 Tricks To Lower Your Property Tax

Property taxes can be extremely burdensome to a homeowner. They tend to rise steadily over time and, even if you pay off your mortgage, the taxes keep coming. The good news, however, is that there are some things homeowners can do to minimize their property tax burden.

Read on to learn some simple tips any homeowner can follow to reduce the pain when tax time turns around.

1. Request your property tax map … and study it

Few homeowners know that they can go to City Hall and request to see (or get a copy of) their tax certificates at the local assessor’s office. The tax map provides the homeowner with information that the city has collected about the property over time.

The map contains information about the size of the lot, the exact dimensions of the rooms, and the number and type of light fixtures located in the home. Other information may include a section on specific features or notes on improvements that have been made.

When reviewing this map, note any discrepancies and contact the tax assessor. The assessor will either make the correction and/or perform a reassessment. This tip sounds ridiculously simple, but mistakes are common. If you can find them, the municipality is obligated to correct them.

2. Do not construct

Structural changes to a home or property increase your tax burden. A deck, pool, large shed or other permanent fixture added to your home will increase your tax burden.

With this in mind, homeowners should investigate how much a new addition could cost in property tax terms prior to construction. Call the local building and tax departments. They can give you an estimate of the game plan.

3. Limit Curb Appeal

Tax assessors are given strict guidelines with regard to the actual valuation process. However, there is still some subjectivity in the valuation process. This means that more attractive homes often receive a higher assessment value than comparable homes that are less physically appealing.

Remember that during the appraisal process, your property is essentially being compared to your neighbors, as well as others in the immediate area. While it can be difficult, resist the urge to prime your property before the assessor arrives (which is usually a planned affair). If possible, don’t take any physical improvements or cosmetic change to the house (new counters, stainless steel appliances, etc.) before until the assessor has done the appraisal. (If you’re selling your home, a little priming goes a long way.

4. Research your neighbors

As mentioned above, information about your home is available at your local city hall. What many people don’t know is that In many cases, information about other housing assessments in the area is also available to the public.

It is important to check comparable homes in the area and general statistics about the city’s assessment results. You can often find discrepancies that could lower your taxes. For example, say you have a four-bedroom home with a one-car garage, and your home was built at 250.000 $ assessed. Your neighbor also owns a four-bedroom home, but this home has a two-car garage, a 150-square-foot shed and a nice swimming pool. Yet, your neighbor’s house has been assessed at 235.000 dollars assessed.

Was there a mistake? There is likely an error – unless your property has other distinguishing characteristics that explain the discrepancy. Given all of these facts, if an error is found, it is worth bringing it to the attention of the assessor as soon as possible so that you can get a reassessment if necessary.

5. Go through the house with the assessor

Many people allow the tax assessor to walk through their homes unapologetically during the evaluation process. This can be a mistake. Some assessors will only see the good points in the house – the new fireplace or the beautiful new fixtures adorning each sink. You’ll overlook the fact that other appliances in the house are outdated, and that the roof is warped and needs to be replaced.

To prevent this, go to the home with the assessor and point out the good points as well as the deficiencies. This will ensure you get the fairest possible assessment for your home.

Bonus tip – Do not terminate the assessor

You do not have to let the tax assessor into your home. However, what typically happens when you don’t allow access to the interior is that the assessor assumes you have made certain improvements (z. B. Additional fixtures or exorbitant renovations). This could lead to a higher tax burden.

Many cities have a policy that if the homeowner does not provide full access to the property, the assessor will automatically assign the highest assessed value for that type of property – fair or not. At this point, it’s up to the individual to dispute the assessment with the city, which is nearly impossible if access to the interior is not ultimately granted. The lesson: Allow the assessor access to the home. If you’ve gotten permits for all the improvements you’ve made to the property, you should be okay.

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