4 Smart Ways To Lower Your Property Tax Bill

You don’t have to sell your home and move in order to pay lower property taxes. Everybody has to remember that a hike in assessment value does not automatically mean your taxes are going up. Solving the property tax assessment mystery is worthwhile: appealing an incorrect valuation could save you thousands of dollars.

Challenging a tax assessment isn’t a difficult process, but you’ll have to approach it carefully. Every year, there is usually a deadline for challenging a tax assessment in each municipality. Be professional, courteous, and have plenty of backing information to present to make your case. While hiring a lawyer isn’t necessary, it could be very helpful. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer to represent your case, a consultation with a real property lawyer may provide insight and give you a clear idea about how solid your case may or may not be.

The property assessment is made up of two parts. The land value, and the “improvement value”. The improvement value is the value of the home that is sitting on the property i.e., the house. The bigger the parcel of land you purchase, the more desirable that location, the more your land is going to be valued. The larger the home you build on that property, the higher the “improvement value” will be.

#1. Review property assessment

Compare your property’s assessed value with similar properties in your neighborhood to determine if it’s overvalued. Begin by checking your home’s assessment report, making sure you know what date and period your assessment is based on and then decide whether the value is fair compared to similar homes in your area. Some jurisdictions will provide free information on comparable properties in your area.

#2. Check the facts

Check the facts that the assessment authority provides in their records and make sure they are correct. Assessments are carried out by provincial agencies or municipalities. You have a very good chance of winning your appeal, since facts are facts. For example, if they claim that you have five bedrooms when you have only four, you may have a valid case for overvaluation.

#3. Compare

Request your home appraisal from your lender and request a report of similar properties that have recently sold from your real estate agent. Find comparable local homes that sold around your assessment date for less than your home’s assessed value or look at the houses on the assessor’s recent-sales list. Are they newer than yours? Much bigger? Recently remodeled? On streets that are much quieter than the noisy thoroughfare you’re living in? This will be evidence that your assessment is too high.

You’ll need to show a minimum 5% difference between your assessed price and the selling price on three comparable houses to have a good chance of winning.

#4. Play down your homes value

When filing your Request for Reconsideration, include compelling reasons and supporting documentation, such as recent home appraisals and photos. You’ll make the best case by proving that the homes on the assessor’s comparable list are much nicer than yours ( the one time you want your house to sound as pathetic as possible), and offering three to six others that are similar to yours but with assessments at least 10 percent lower.


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