Why Did My Property Taxes Go Up?

Filed under: Real Estate Law

Most homeowners have to juggle not only their mortgage, but also mortgage insurance premiums, homeowner’s insurance premiums, and property taxes. Generally speaking, all of these items might be included in one easy monthly payment, unless you’ve chosen to separate them. But when something changes, like your property’s assessed value or your taxes due, you will receive a separate notice in the mail.

And that’s when you might notice something strange: According to your county tax assessor, your property taxes have risen this year. Is that correct?

Understanding how property taxes work. To answer this question, it’s important to understand that property taxes aren’t simply based on your home’s actual market value. Property taxes pay for our community services, like schools, fire departments, libraries, police protection, and so on. Even when the real estate market slumps, or your house is aging and needs repairs, the county still needs the same amount of money to operate. In fact, public budgets actually tend to increase over the years.

Understanding how houses are valued. Real estate is actually valued in different ways, according to the purpose of the assessment. When the county assessor comes around to assign a value to your home, he is strictly assigning a taxable value to the property. It might differ significantly from the appraised value, which is determined by a certified appraiser who bases his assessment on the current real estate market. Market value simply refers to what you can actually get for your house on the open market. It’s often close to the appraised value, but can vary according to a variety of factors.

The bottom line is that your taxes are computed based upon your “assessed value”, performed by the county assessor. This value may or may not be in line with your home’s real market value or an appraised value. It is even possible for your taxes to go up when the value of your home says the same or even decreases slightly.

But you’re not stuck with high property taxes. You can appeal your assessed value if you believe your property taxes are unfairly high. In most cases, you will need to submit a property appraisal from a professional, along with certain other evidence depending upon the situation. For more information on appealing your property tax assessment, call us to schedule an appointment.

And there’s one more thing you can do…. Because taxes are based on the county’s budget, pay attention to community politics. On election days, get out there and vote!

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