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Tips to Lower Your Property Taxes

October 29, 2015 — 2 min read

Increasing home values across the country mean that many homeowner's property tax bills will likely increase as well. However, if your tax bill has increased significantly compared to your area's appreciation, you may have reason to challenge your assessment. Property taxes vary by state. Here are some common affecting factors:

Tax Rates

If it's your primary home, make sure you aren't being billed at investment property rates. Some states also allow credits based on income or status, such as senior citizen or veteran. It's important to find out how your county assesses the value. Some base assessments on 100% of market value, while others may only use 60%-80%.

Home Description

If the official assessment indicates your two bedroom, one bath home has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, you can appeal to have the proper size accounted into the assessed value. Make sure you aren't being taxed for more square footage than you actually own.

Comparable Properties

Comparing your home to similar properties in the neighborhood will help you determine any discrepancies in your tax bill. Tax bills are public information and are usually available online. Look up homes close in age, square footage and number of bed and bathrooms to see how you match up. You can use real estate web sites to locate similar, recently sold properties in your area.

Showcase Faults

It's not often you want to highlight your leaky basement or old roof, but if your place has issues that would turn off buyers, now's the time to let them be known. Your assessed value might be higher than a house without issues. Even if your property taxes are paid through an escrow account, be sure to review a copy of the bill for any discrepancies. Many jurisdictions only give you 30-90 days to appeal your assessment. Click here to learn more about how to appeal your property value in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
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