Lowering Your Property Taxes

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Lowing your property taxes is as simple as understanding how they work. Since property values are estimated by a computer, your assessed value could be wrong, and you could be entitled to a smaller tax bill. How do you go about getting it?

You start with the annual estimate of your assessed value. This is what the powers that be think your property is currently worth. First, check for mistakes: is your lot size correct? How about your square footage? Don’t just assume the county is right.

Then see if the value makes sense. Get comparables by searching your neighborhood for homes that are similar to yours in age, size, and condition. Real estate agents can help.

And when you’re convinced your assessed value is too high, time to get some proof in the form of an appraisal.

“The single most important thing is to get an appraisal on the property. Because that’s a professional giving me his opinion on what the property is as opposed to coming in and just telling me you think property values are lower.” -Joel Greenberg, Property Appraiser, Consolidated Appraisal & Research Inc.

Bottom line? When you get your notice of assessed value, don’t just stuff it a drawer. Look at it. And if you think it’s too high, dig up proof, then talk to the assessor. Worst case scenario? Civics lesson. Best case? You’re going to save some serious cash.

For additional information, check out Appealing Your Property Tax Bill from Bankrate.com

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