Lowering Property Tax
As you look to 2015, you may very well be looking at ways to trim the budget to increase savings or to allow for additional expense that will soon be reality. One ares to consider is your Property Tax bill.
As you may know, the Property Tax is based on given dollar per thousand of "Property Tax Assessment". The Property Tax Assessment is the county or city estimate of fair market value for a home.
This value doesn't equate to the market value or the appraisal value in a fair market in an arm lenght real estate transaction. It is though the value of your home as relates to your property tax.
Did you know you can fight for a lower Property Tax Assessment? Every jurisdiction in Hampton Roads(and most areas of the country) have a defined process for disputing one's Propety Tax Assessment. You can find this today by simply assessing the city's or county's website!!! Simple!
Maybe. As noted in the article below, courtesy of Al Clark's Home Again Newsletter, there is data to collect to prep for this meeting.
One of the key information needed is the recent sale prices in your neighborhood. Your Realtor can provide this information in quick and easy format for you to present to the City/County accessor's office. Having provided this information multiple times, I know that it will make or break one's request for lower Property Tax Assessment which will provide the lower tax bill.
Read and be aware! If in Hampton Roads, I am here to help!
How To Fight For A Lower Property Tax Assessment
These days, it's not unusual for property taxes to rise steeply. In many areas, real estate prices are rising at the same time that local governments are seeking more money for schools, law enforcement, fire protection and other needs.
While some increase in your property tax assessment might be expected, it’s worth a closer look to see if your tax bill has increased fairly.
To determine the value of a property, assessors generally look at:
- The size of your home.
- Your home's condition.
- Your lot size.
- Renovations and improvements you've made.
- Recent sale prices in the neighborhood.
If you disagree with the value of your property, here are a few items to check:
Simple errors: It's possible the assessor made errors in the physical description of your property. He might list a property as being 2,900 square feet when it is actually 1,900. Records may say your home has four bathrooms when it only has three. Transposition of numbers is another common mistake when recording data.
Improvements: The bill may include assessments for improvements that were never made or are not completed. If you're adding a room to your house but it's not yet habitable, your property bill should take that into account.
Comparable properties: How does your assessment compare to recent sales prices of similar homes? Contact me for a list of recent sales to find out.
Unusual conditions: Some properties have features that lower their value, such as a cracked foundation or proximity to a noisy interstate highway.
Don't assume that any errors you might find are new. The former owner may have been overpaying as well. Just because your rates are unchanged from previous years doesn't mean they're right.
How To Appeal
Different jurisdictions have different systems for tax assessments and appeals. If you think you have a legitimate claim, act quickly. Many municipalities only let you challenge your assessment for a specific period of time.
You can generally pursue tax relief in one of two ways:
1. The most common remedy is to ask for a negotiation with your local tax authority. Be sure you have documentation for your claims, such as photographs, a list of comparable sales and property records that show discrepancies.
2. Some jurisdictions hear property tax appeals or protests based on a comparative analysis. A successful appeal can lower your current and future tax bill. You may also be able to appeal past property tax bills and get refunds.
As a last resort, if you have substantial proof of an incorrect property valuation but are unable to succeed through negotiation or appeal and there is a large amount of money at stake, you may want to take your case to court.
Pay While You Appeal
You might have a good case and an excellent chance of successfully lowering your tax bill. But unless otherwise advised in writing by the taxing authority, be sure to pay your assessed taxes on time.