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Five Ways to Lower your Property Taxes

Owning a home is not that easy. Not only the cost of the house matters, but also other incidental expenses that it carries with it. Think about the maintenance, the additions, renovations and the property tax that you have to face head on each year. The value of your property also depends on the area or state where it is located. It may be a similar property, but the location will likely change its value assessment. There are different kinds of value connected to a real estate property; the zonal value is the realistic value of real properties which can be more or less approximate to the present fair market value, fair market value is based on a value that a buyer is willing to buy and a seller is willing to sell who are both knowledgeable, while an imposed value is a set absolute value upon a property by the legal authority.

Property tax is imposed on the market value of the property at the time of purchase multiplied by the current tax rate. However, if there are major improvements like an extension or an additional building, the value of your property will increase proportionately along with your property tax. Payment of property tax is due annually and can be divided in periodic installments like monthly, quarterly or semi annually.

Like any other taxes, you can also strategize and plan on how you can minimize your property taxes. Tax authorities sometimes use different methods in taxing and valuation is usually done once every three years. It is possible that the value of homes in your area has receded due to the weakening real estate climate.

There are five ways to lower your property taxes; all you have to do is to be patient and resourceful as this is quite challenging. First, is to have the value of your property reassessed based on the current market value. You have enough time to complete the requirements prior to the first due date of payment. Second, get your tax assessors basis on how he came up with the figures. Get ready with your property title where details of the size of lot, area floor of the house, number of bathrooms and bedrooms are itemized. Third, make sure that the assessor got the correct description of your house; he may have used picture words comparable to an exclusive village or suburbs. Fourth, time is of the essence. You only have at least 60 days to pursue your reassessment plea, so be ready with all the supporting documents such as comparable sale or assessment of identical houses, the sales prices, the date of purchase and your neighbor's home valuation in the same tax office. Fifth, meet with the assessor informally and discuss the evidences that will support your claim for a lower property tax property assessment. You may meet halfway if an agreement has been reached and the process will be faster. File the appeal and wait for the hearing. It may take some time before that day arrive, in the meantime, you will have time to prepare visuals like photos of your home and other comparable homes, zonal map and the key points that you would like to highlight. Be prepared for possible questions and objections. If you lose, you lodge a tax appeal and may hire a lawyer that specializes in property tax issue and to help you in the trial.

In any battle, we may not win all the time, but the important lesson here is that we have done our best to go the extra mile to point out an opinion and challenge the assessor's judgment. They may have not favored you, but surely, they have taken note.

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