For buyers in many parts of the country, the cost of buying a home began to climb in the middle of 2022. They experienced relentless pressure not only from an increase in home prices but also from a 2 percent elevation in mortgage rates that added hundreds of dollars to the average monthly mortgage payment. These trends tend to hurt first-time homebuyers the most, people who tend to have smaller incomes and savings. But there is one additional area of inflation that they often neglect to pay attention to when planning a home purchase: increased property taxes.
Homeowners across the country saw their property tax bills go up about 10 percent between 2019 and 2021, and they could go even higher in the future. The conclusion of federal stimulus programs is among the reasons why local governments and municipalities need to raise property taxes. If you fear the possibility of a higher-than-expected property tax bill, you don’t need to take it lying down. You could appeal such a bill.
If the idea of filing an appeal on your property tax assessment feels doable, it’s important to start the process early. You don’t want to wait until your property tax bill lands on your doorstep. You need to appeal the moment you receive your property tax assessment. How do you file an appeal, however?
Check for mistakes
Property tax calculations are often riddled with errors. They may exaggerate your square footage, make up the presence of amenities on your property such as a pool, and so on. These mistakes can greatly increase your property taxes. If you can go over your tax assessment and catch out these errors, you could bring them to the attention of the tax assessor before they actually prepare your property tax bill and send it out.
Get an independent value assessment of your property
Home values have risen as much as 35 percent nationwide since 2022, but your location could be an exception. If you can prove to the property taxation authority that the value of your home is less impressive than they think it is, you could lower your property taxes.
To do this, you would need to hire a licensed appraiser to perform a value appraisal of your property. The assessment could cost around $500, and it could take time to put your case together and present it to the taxation authority, but if you manage to find that the local government has significantly overvalued your home, you could lower your bill by much more than that.
Every state has a property reassessment cycle that ranges between two and three years. In general, if your county last performed property assessments in the preceding year, you’re unlikely to catch out a significant overassessment and save money on your property tax bill. If the last county assessment was two or three years ago, however, hiring a licensed appraiser could be worthwhile.
Look for exemptions
It is possible to save on your property tax bills by taking advantage of tax relief programs or exemptions. Every county tends to offer its own plans, but most offer programs for seniors and for the families of veterans or those who work in the Armed Forces. It can help to check out the comprehensive property tax exemption program list published by the Lincoln Institute.
Finding ways to put a dent in your property tax bill could bring you significant savings. With these ideas, you could begin to work out how to get there.