The Joy of Home Ownership is certainly one of life’s great highlights, but the joy becomes mixed with questions and concerns when the property tax bill arrives in the mailbox. Homeowner’s understand property taxes provide needed funding for schools, libraries, police & fire departments, road improvements & other infrastructure.
However, what many homeowners do not understand are the factors that may cause their property taxes to increase. If your property tax bill reflects an increase over last year, here are the most common reasons that may be the cause:
Home Improvements are a wonderful way to make your home more enjoyable and more valuable. The increased value may trigger a property tax increase.
Revaluation is a process used by many communities and counties where appraisers are hired to review all real property to determine the current value, and if the value is increased the property tax will increase.
Nearby Home Sales will affect the value of your property, and if they reflect an increase in the value it may result in an increase in your property taxes.
Building New Schools in your community is a wonderful way to increase the desirability of your neighborhood, which in turn will increase the value of your home. This is a benefit which will increase the value upon the time you sell your home, until then, you will likely pay higher taxes during your ownership to help pay for the new school.
Government Budget Increases will impact your property tax bill, but most communities have limits that require voters’ approval to surpass. As an example, Proposition 13 in California limits how much property taxes can increase.
What Can You Do?
Most municipalities provide a method to appeal your tax assessment. Start by reviewing their property records to insure they accurately reflect your property. Does it list the correct amenities such as square footage, number of bedrooms, lot size, and extras like a pool. If you do find an error in your property record details, notify the assessor’s office and they will review your property and correct the records appropriately.
Spend time to research comparable sales in your area to determine if homes similar to yours are selling for less than your assessed value. If you can prove that your property value is higher than the comparable home sales in your neighborhood, most tax agencies provide a method to file an appeal, which can result in a lower taxable value, so a lower tax bill.
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