Did you know that nationally about 1/3 of the people who challenge their property taxes actually win? It’s very possible for you to do the exact same thing. If you have found that your home has been assessed at a value far above its current market value then you need to seriously consider challenging the assessment.
This has a lot of positive effects
none more significant than you saving money immediately on your taxes.
Since you are reading this article I’ll assume that you are either in
the real estate or related industry OR you are contemplating challenging
your property tax assessment and are looking for ideas to support your
case. You will find a lot of similar articles on the Internet so we
will work hard to dig a little deeper and get you off to at least a good
start on a winning strategy.
Tip 1 – First take a step back and analyze how far
off of the real market value you think the assessment might be. If you
feel like it is 10% or more higher than what the true value of your home
is then it is probably worth pursuing a challenge. If you think it is
off by less than that given your chances of winning (1/3) along with the
total tax savings will most likely not be worth your time and may
actually end up costing you in the end.
Tip 2 – When determining the actual market value of
your property you need to find comparable homes that were sold in your
surrounding community. There are several ways you can do that including
taking advantage of some online services. One that is super easy and a
quick reality check is from Realtor.com and is located here: http://www.realestate.com/homepricecheck/.
You can also contact a local realtor and get exact comps from them
which is actually the ideal answer plus it’s possible that they have
been in the comp homes making it easier for them to help you compare
them to your house.
Tip 3 – Take a good look at the tax assessment for
any errors about your home. You would be surprised what they might have
wrong. Maybe they listed your home as having a pool and it doesn’t, or
the wrong size, number of bedrooms, etc. This is extremely common and
is also an easier way to get your assessment reduced (because it’s
painfully clear it should be). This should be seen as something you
HAVE to do rather than just a tip.
Tip 4 – Find out who the tax assessor is and who can
help you get the assessment changed. Be courteous and setup an
appointment to visit with them in person. Don’t suck up to them too
much as they have heard every complement a thousand times. You just
want to be courteous and respectful and if you are lucky they will help
you understand the best way to combat the assessment. So when in doubt,
Tip 5 – Either in person, over the phone, via email,
or any other way of communication with the assessor make sure you sell
the needed improvement and/or problems you are having with your home.
Yeah we have a pool but the pump is broken, the drain doesn’t work, the
concrete is all cracked, etc. Be descriptive and let them know that the
house isn’t worth the current valuation they have in mind.
Tip 6 – Talk to your neighbors to see if they have
any issues with their assessments and if any of them have been
successful at getting their property taxes reduced. It’s very likely
that they will either be in a similar situation or will have already won
an appeal or lost one. Either way you can get some invaluable advice.
In the worst case you will either get them thinking or at least get
some sympathy/empathy going. It’s true that with property taxes misery
Tip 7 – Hire a real estate professional or attorney
that focuses on fighting property taxes. This only makes sense if you
think the assessment is way off (greater than 10%) otherwise it ‘s very
possible that the costs of fighting the assessment is more than the
savings. With that said, another reason to consider is that even if it
costs you more this year to fight an assessment you could reap benefits
for years to come making it potentially still viable.
Finally, one of the most important tips that we can give you is
really more of an encouragement. If over 1/3 of the people are
successful at getting their property taxes reduced nation-wide, you
really do have an excellent chance of making it happen if you get
informed and stick to your guns/take a stand.
Here are some other great resources on the web that may help you: