Your property taxes are government-required estate deductions. Local officials set the rates, and you pay for it. In addition, they also consider it ad valorem, meaning they’ll assess your rates according to your property’s value. Income generated from these is funding local services and projects, including education, local public recreation, law enforcement, and fire departments.
Though these will benefit you, paying property taxes can be highly overwhelming to homeowners. Over time, its charges can increase. Even after settling your mortgage, the tax bills will still keep coming. Other states have more reasonable costs, but there are always some tariffs to pay for municipal services.
Owning a house might sound interesting, but you’ll never be free from property taxes. Educate yourself about the simple tricks you can use to lower your monthly bills.
Learn About the Neighborhood
Learning about the property values in your neighborhood might come in handy. You can also find that information in public resources. If you’ve already gathered enough data, start comparing your property’s value to the structures surrounding you. It’s also the best way to look for inaccuracies that you can’t explain — for example, comparing the outdoor features, number of bedrooms, or square footage of the neighboring houses.
If you find inaccuracies, don’t hesitate to call an assessor to discuss that matter. In the worst case, they won’t change their evaluation. In the best case, they’ll admit to making a mistake and lower your property’s value; hence, also reducing your taxes.
Be Present During Inspections
Instead of letting the assessor do the walkthrough independently, find the time to join them. If you do that, your assessor will have to talk about your home’s features, such as the recent bathroom renovations. But they might want to omit negative features. If you join the assessor in their walkthroughs, you can point out both your property’s negative and positive elements. For example, you recently had it renovated.
You can talk about the highlights of the new room while also pointing out the defects throughout the house. Having a clearer picture of your property will force the assessor to provide a more accurate estimate of your home’s value.
Try to Ask For Second Opinions
If you’re not satisfied with the valuation provided by the assessor, you can also consider hiring an independent appraiser. Though it sounds expensive, it’s worthwhile. If they lower your property valuation, you can also reduce the assessed value. Your lower valuation might save you a significant amount of money, depending on your area.
File Tax Appeals for Lower Fees
Filing a tax appeal is the last course of action that you’ll want to take in lowering your property charges. You can’t change the government-issued costs, but you can apply for an appeal and submit that application to the appraiser’s office to have the assessed value of your property lowered. Unfortunately, this process can be quite expensive since it often requires the assistance of residential conveyancing lawyers.
In other cases, it can be worthwhile. If you go with this option, you’ll have to provide a detailed account of your property’s condition for assessment. Then, the local board will decide whether or not you win the appeal to lower the valuation of your property.
Monitor Bills for Discrepancies
Tracking your bills for inaccuracies is the easiest way to lower property charges. You can secure a copy from local government offices to check its content. Be sure that the building’s square footage and the property’s size are accurate. You’ll also have to state the extra features, like swimming pools and land improvements. If you find issues, meet with your appraiser to make the necessary corrections.
See if You Can Get Exemptions
Both local and state officials offer tax exemptions for different reasons. One of the most common exemptions is for specific agricultural purposes, veterans, and seniors, but you can still check if you can get an exemption. Taking the time to contact your government offices might allow you to save thousands on your bills.
Minimize Remodeling Projects
Increasing your property’s value will only lead to higher charges. Hence, you’ll have to minimize home remodeling projects. If you invest in renovations, like renovation your old kitchen, adding a swimming pool, or improving curb appeal, your property’s value will only rise. Then, it’ll also increase your property taxes. If you want to avoid higher bills, hold off your remodeling plans.
Local officials have been using property taxes to fund services throughout your local community, including local services, community improvements, and public schools. If your property’s value rises, you’ll also have to pay higher charges.