If you have just received your property tax bill in the mail, you may be shocked at how high your taxes are. House taxes are generally arrived at by multiplying your town's tax rate by your home's assessed value, as determined by the town's tax assessor. Sometimes the town's tax rate has gone up which explains higher tax bills, but there are also times when a house is overvalued. In that case, you would also see an increase in your property tax burden. Luckily for you, if you think your house has been overvalued, you may still be able to lower your taxes by having the assessed value of your property changed. Here are the people you need to meet with in order to have a successful outcome.
The Tax Assessor
While it might seem obvious to dispute your assessment value with the tax assessor, some people overlook this step in favor of securing attorneys and other experts. Sometimes, it is quicker to simply visit your town's assessor for an informal visit to see if you can convince them that the house was overvalued.
Making an appointment with your township's assessor can allow you to get some idea of what went into their valuation of your property. This is especially important if you suspect they have made some simple mistakes. For example, their records may show that your property has three bedrooms, when you only have two. The assessor may not realize that the interior of your home needs significant upgrades in order to be competitive with other homes in the area, which you can point out by providing pictures.
Sometimes this discussion will result in a lower assessment; if not, you may need to file a more formal appeal.
A Real Estate Appraiser
If you do file a more formal appeal, the next person to talk to is a real estate appraiser. A good appraiser can form an independent, professional opinion of the value of your house. They will help you prove that the true worth of your home is not as much as the tax assessor claims.
How do they do this? Typically, an appraiser will compile a list of comparable sales of homes in your neighborhood and compare your home to them. They may make adjustments for difference in size, condition and features. By comparing your house to recent home sales on the current market, they can arrive at an accurate, current value of your house. If the price they arrive at is lower than what the tax assessor claims, you can then present the appraisal to your tax assessor as proof that you deserve a lower home value on your tax bill.
Now that you know who to talk to, set up appointments with the assessor, appraiser and other experts in property tax settlement, like those at Tax Assessment Xperts Inc. You may soon see a lower amount when you look at your tax bill.