According to the National Taxpayers Union, between 30 and 60 percent of properties in the U.S. are over-assessed. THEY’RE CHARGING YOU MORE TAX THAN YOU SHOULD PAY. AND YET less than 5 percent of homeowners appeal. the majority of thOSE WHO DO win at least a partial victory!
IT GOES AGAINST THE GRAIN, BUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS MAKE YOUR HOUSE SOUND AS CRAPPY AS POSSIBLE! MY FRIENDS Josh and Alicia Green embraced the concept of trashing their own house WHEN THEY MADE THEIR APPEAL. THEY REMINDED THE CITY THAT THEY LIVED ON A SUPER-BUSY ROAD. THEY WENT ON AND ON ABOUT EXPENSIVE REPAIRS THEIR HOUSE NEEDED, LIKE A NEW ROOF. AND THEY NOTICED THAT THE D.C. GOVERNMENT LISTED THEIR HOUSE AS HAVING 3 BEDROOMS, BUT A PREVIOUS OWNER had knocked out a wall and made it two bedrooms, SO THEY POINTED OUT THAT LOWERED THE VALUE, AS WELL. IT WORKED! The Greens SAY they spent about 5 hours and saved at least $5,000 ON THEIR property taxes OVER THE SEVEN YEARS THEY LIVED IN THAT HOME.
I DID A STORY ON A HOMEOWNER IN NEW JERSEY, WHERE PROPERTY TAXES ARE EVEN HIGHER, AND HIS APPEAL SAVED HIM $5,000 PER YEAR.
SO HERE ARE THE STEPS TO APPEAL YOUR PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT:
FIRST, Meet the deadline. Tax assessments ARRIVE AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, SO FIND OUT WHEN YOUR JURISDICTION MAILS THEM OUT AND BE READY. you typically have just 30 to 120 days to file your appeal.
NUMBER 2, Understand “assessment ratios.” Some jurisdictions tax your house based on 100 percent of its value, but others assign a lower “assessment ratio,” LIKE 60 percent. SO a house with a market value of $100,000 would have an assessed value of $60,000. If you see a number that’s lower than your home’s true value, check the assessment ratio before assuming you don’t have a case.
NUMBER 3, Look for errors on your “property worksheet.” THESE ARE THE nternal notes and data the assessor used when setting a value for your property. CHECK THE lot size, house age and dimensions, number of bedrooms and baths, most recent purchase price and anything else that could BE INFLATING your home’s value. This is the tactic the Greens used when they pointed out their house had two bedrooms, not three.
4TH: See if the “comparables” are really comparable. The government’s internal notes will also include “comparable” properties the assessor used to help determine the value of your house. Look for reasons why the properties the assessor chose are not appropriate. Are they bigger? Newer? Newly remodeled? Do they have watertight roofs, while your house needs a new one, like the Greens’ did? Next, identify three to six alternative comparables that are more favorable to you. You can find them for free using A website like Zillow.
NUMBER 5: Escalate as needed. Some property tax disputes can be settled through informal discussions with the assessor’s office. More commonly, you will be asked to fill out forms and the entire process will be done on paper. If THAT fails, then most jurisdictions offer an in-person hearing as the next step. HERE’S A HOT Tip: Attend somebody else’s hearing first to get a feel for the process.
AND FINALLY, Hire help if you must. If you don’t have time to follow the steps above, you can hire help. Some real estate attorneys take property tax appeals on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay unless you win. If you do WIN, a typical fee is A third to A half of the first year’s savings.
THAT’S IT! MY FRIEND ALICIA SAID APPEALING THEIR PROPERTY TAXES WAS EASIER THAN FILLING OUT HER KIDS SUMMER CAMP FORMS AND FOR THE TIME INVESTED, SHE GOT MONEY BACK INSTEAD OF FORKING IT OVER!
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