Are you finding out ways to save money on your property tax bill? Well, as a homeowner, one of the most common expenses that you just cannot avoid is the property tax. Governments have long used the property tax to offer high-end services throughout the community. Some of the things that might be funded by the property tax that you pay involve community improvements, public schools and local services.
As you know, the amount of property tax that you pay differs from one place to another depending upon the state and local government laws. But the amount of tax that you pay will be based on the assessed value of your property. So, each year, a tax assessor will calculate the value of your real estate in time for the property tax bill to arrive.
It’s important to note that when the value of the property increases in the eyes of the tax assessor, you will see a hike in your property tax bill. But luckily, there are some tricks to help you lower down the property tax bill, and we have covered a few of them.
So, let’s start and explore how to lower the property tax so that you can save money on the upkeep of your house.
1. Research neighbouring home values
Researching the neighbouring home values can pay off quickly. You can even find the value of the homes in your neighbourhood as a free resource available to the public. Once you have all the information in hand, compare the value of your property to the value of homes in your neighbourhood.
Search for any discrepancies that do not pretty add up. For instance, compare the number of bedrooms, square footage, and outdoor features of the neighbouring homes. Let’s say you figure out that your neighbours four-bedroom home is assessed at Rs. 3000000. But your two-bedroom house is assessed at Rs. 31000000. This difference in amount can be a mistake by the assessor.
In case you find anything that seems like an issue, call the assessor to ask. In the worst case, they will ask to stand by their assessment and present their reasoning. In the best case, they will admit to a mistake or error and lower the value of your property and your tax.
2. Limit home improvement projects
Since an increase in the value of your home will lead to a hike in the property tax, it, therefore, makes sense to limit home improvement projects. When you finish certain home improvement projects like improving the home’s curb appeal, revamping a kitchen, adding a pool, your home’s value is sure to increase. And with it, your property tax also increases. Therefore, if you wish to avoid an increase in your property tax bill, avoiding home improvement projects can be a great idea.
3. Check if you qualify for any kind of tax exemptions
Another way to save money on your property tax bill is to check if you qualify for tax exemptions. Many local and state governments offer tax exemptions for a handful of reasons. Some of the common tax exemptions are for veterans, seniors and specific agricultural uses. Check to see if your property qualifies for any exemption. You can easily save a significant amount of money by making a call to figure it out.
4. Check your property tax bill for inaccuracies
Checking out the property tax bill for inaccuracies itself is an easy way to lower the property tax. For this, you can obtain a free copy of your property tax bill from the local government office. Then, with a copy of the bill in hand, check out the details of your bill. For example, make sure that the size of the property and the square footage of the building are correctly mentioned. Also, remember to confirm that any extra features like swimming pools or land improvements are appropriately reflected.
If you locate any issues or inaccuracies, talk to the tax assessor. In most cases, they will make the corrections for you.
5. Participate actively during the assessor’s walkthrough
Rather than allowing the tax assessor to walk through your property alone, take time to walk with them. In many cases, an assessor will be drawn to the highlights of your house, like the recent bedroom renovation. But they miss some of the negative features. When you walk through the home along with the assessor, point out the positive and negative aspects of your home. Share the highlights of the new bedroom, but also point out the minor defects throughout your home. With a crystal clear picture of your house, the tax assessor will provide a more precise estimate of your home’s value.
6. File a tax appeal
Filing a tax appeal is another great option that can lower your property tax bill. Although you cannot argue or fight against the rate of property tax but you could file an appeal with the office of the assessor to change the assessed value of your property.
Unluckily, this can be an expensive process that might often require the assistance of a lawyer. But in some cases, it could really be worth it. In case you pursue this option, you will need to provide the details relating to the condition of your property for review. A board will later determine whether or not you win the appeal to lower the assessed value on your property.
7. Get a second opinion
Getting a second opinion can be a final option for homeowners who want to lower their property tax bills. In case you don’t agree with the valuation of your property as determined by the tax assessor, consider hiring an independent appraiser for the same. Although it may cost you a bit, but it could be worth it.
If the independent appraiser analyses a lower valuation of your property, then you can have the assessed value lowered down. Depending on the location where you live, a lower property valuation could save you a large chunk of money each year.
At last, we would like to say that, as a homeowner, the costs and expenses can add up quickly. Property taxes are one of the expenses that will never go away, but yes, you can lower them down with the tricks mentioned above. If you are anyhow struggling to cover your property taxes, consider applying for tax relief programs, tax deductions etc. We are sure the tricks above will definitely help you save some money on your next property tax bill.