Five Steps for Lowering Your Property Taxes

Written by on October 10, 2012 in Money - No comments | Print this page


If you’re unhappy with your property tax bill, you may be able to do something about it. According to studies, up to 60 percent of homes are over-assessed, which means that roughly six out of ten households pay higher property taxes than they should. A very small percentage of people actually contest their property tax bills, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea. Five simple steps for lowering your property taxes are outlined below.

Learn How Your Home is Assessed Homes in various parts of the country are assessed in different ways. In some cases, recent comparable sales are used to determine the value of a home. If such data isn’t readily available, which is often the case in rural areas, the estimated cost to rebuild a house may be used instead. There’s no need to be in the dark about this. Simply call your local assessor’s office and find out which method they use. While you’re at it, find out the percentage that is used when calculating tax bills.

Check Out the Evidence Yourself As a homeowner, you have every right to look at the evidence that was used to assess your home. At your local assessor’s office, you can examine the property card, which includes things like the size of the lot, the square footage of the home, the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms. Make copies because you may need them later.

Look for Errors It’s not unusual at all for property cards to contain errors. For example, your card may say that your home has two bathrooms when it actually only has one. It may say your home has a fireplace when it doesn’t. If comparable sales were used to assess your home, they may not actually be homes that are similar to yours. They may be way newer, or they may be considerably larger. Errors like these can result in the over-assessment of your property, which means that you pay more taxes than you should.   Meet Deadlines Like most people, your tax assessment probably arrives sometime in the spring or summer.

In most jurisdictions, there are strict deadlines. If you’ve followed these steps, you should already have a lot of evidence and documentation. If possible, hire a real estate agent to help you develop your case. It should include as much evidence as possible.   File Your Appeal You’ll probably have to file your appeal at the county board. Bring it yourself to ensure that it arrives before the deadline.

Your hearing probably won’t be held for quite a while. In the meantime, attend at least one other hearing to see what it’s like. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared when your hearing rolls around. As long as you have strong evidence, you should end up with a better assessment and a lower property tax bill.

Although lowering your property taxes isn’t a walk in the park, it is well worth it when your home is over-assessed. After all, you will have more reasonable property tax bills when it’s all said and done.

This is a guest post.  When it comes to property taxes, consulting a professional should be your first step for the best information. Propel Tax specialize in Texas property tax loans and the property tax process. 


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