Did you buy a house this past year? Congratulations on your big move! Being a homeowner is an exciting step, but in addition to the fun decorating and landscaping, there are also more adult things to consider, like property taxes. Not to be a drag, but property taxes are one of those things that continue to accrue even after all your mortgage payments are settled. However, there are a few tips and tricks to consider to help alleviate the property tax burden and minimize its impact on your day to day life. No need to feel overwhelmed, either, as there are tax relief companies like www.communitytax.com who can offer helpful advice and solutions when it comes to preventing or resolving property tax debt.
For starters, it’s important to evaluate any remodeling as structural changes will cause your property tax to increase. Property add-ons such as a deck, pool, or guest home all put an additional tax burden on you as well. Before you decide to renovate your home, research how much the new addition would cost, not only to build and maintain, but in terms of property tax as well. You can get an estimate from your local building and tax departments.
Second, it may sound simple, but you should closely review your bill for any mistakes. You can request a copy of your property tax card from your city hall. This card lists information about your property, including the size of the lot and room dimensions. There may be a separate section with any renovations or improvements made to the home as well. If there are any obvious discrepancies, bring this up with your tax assessor to evaluate further. You don’t want to be overbilled due to a mistake that you didn’t take time to review.
A third factor to keep in mind is that homes that have higher curb appeal may also receive a higher assessed value. Of course, you want your home looking its best at all times, but when compared to other homes on your street, if you’re the best of the block, you may be evaluated as such. Prior to your scheduled tax evaluation, don’t take this time to update your property or make any cosmetic improvements to your home. If you are in the process of remodeling or upgrading your home, keep in mind that your property tax will increase as well. Actions like these are better suited when you have your home up for sale.
One of the most important things you can do is to walk with the tax assessor as he or she evaluates your home. Even if the two of you are looking at the same thing, you might see its value very differently. For example, the tax assessor may look only at the fine attributes of your home like the newly painted kitchen cabinets or updated fireplace, but may not take into account the old, leaky roof or bathroom faucets in various states of disrepair.
All of these tips and tricks may go against what your initial reaction is when it comes to your home, which is to make it the best living space it can be. However, when it comes to your property taxes, you want it to be assessed fairly and in a way that minimizes the level of burden placed on you. Again, always keep in mind that changes to your home are not just a one-time cost. It can create property tax increases for you for years to come and you will want to incorporate that into your budget.
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