Home values have dropped about 30% since their peak in late 2006 — but property taxes across the country have gone up almost 20% from 2005 to 2009.
What are the chances your property taxes are too high?
According to the National Taxpayers Union, close to 60% of the homeowners in the U.S. are paying too much in property taxes.
How do you know if your property taxes are too high?
Review your property tax card — your local assessor’s office can provide you a copy. Review the data on the card — does it have the right dimensions? Number of bathrooms? Bedrooms? Improvements? Any discrepancies can provide the basis for your request for an adjustment or re-evaluation.
Check out your neighbors— good comps are one of the most powerful arguments in a property tax appeal — if you can show that recent sales of similar properties (size, condition, age, etc.) demonstrate a lower average value than your home’s current assessed value. Use the multiple-listing service for your area to identify recent transactions — and then go look at the homes in question in person.
What do you do if you want to appeal your assessment?
Contact your local assessor’s office — the process may vary a bit from county to county, but the first step is to talk to an assessor about the discrepancies you’ve discovered.
Compile documented support — make sure you have documentation of whatever you are using to make your case, such as copies of recent MLS transactions, photos of your home and comparable homes, copy of your purchase transaction, etc.
For more information and resources on lowering your property taxes, see
— How to Lower Your Property Taxes (The Wall Street Journal|Weekend Investor)
— 5 Tricks for Lowering Your Property Tax (Investopedia)
— How to Lower Your Property Taxes (Zillow.com)
— How Three Homeowners Fought Their Property Tax Bills (Fox Business)
— If you want lower property tax rates, you’ve got to ask (Reuters Money)