Why are my property taxes so high?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks

Why are my property taxes so high?

This is a question I often hear.  Although many people feel that they can't do anything about it, but that might not be the case.

First, what makes your taxes go up?  Your taxes are based on a mathematical formula that starts with the assessed value of your property, including the land and all improvements.  The assessed value may not equal the market value,
property taxes too high?but it should bear a relationship to it.  Your local tax rate is applied to the assessed value to reach your annual property tax.

Your property taxes might go up when you make certain improvements, particularly those for which a building permit is required.  Improvements that require permits include such things as altering the footprint of the house, changes to the roofline, adding new windows or doors, demolishing a load-bearing wall, moving a sink, adding new electrical wiring, adding a wood deck, building a shed - especially with a concrete floor.

Sometimes simply having a large dumpster in front of your home can trigger a reassessment, but hopefully the improvements you make are ones that make your home more valuable to you, so that a slight rise in your property taxes will be well worth it.

Now for the good news!  It is estimated that somewhere between 30-50% of assessments are inaccurate.  This may be because of the reduction in your property value due to the economy, but many are simply due to inaccurate information.  It might be outdated or the result of typographical error.

You might be able to cut your property tax billYou can contact your assessor's office and ask for a copy of the sheet on which your property is described and which forms the basis for your assessed value.  Check to make sure that the proper amount of baths and bedrooms are listed, that the square footage of the house and the lot are right, and any other features are correctly described. 

It is easy for a clerk to make a typing error once in awhile and type 5 bedrooms instead of 3 or similar slips.  After all, all of us make a typo once in awhile too.

It is a sad fact that even though up to one-half of the assessments are wrong, only about 5% of homeowners ever challenge them.  If you feel your assessment is wrong, challenge it!  You can file an appeal, which is a complaint presented with comparative sales in the area (as close to your own home in location, size and amenities as possible). 

These should be sales that occurred no more than 6 months ago if possible, although you might have to go up to a year back if there have been few sales in your area.  Be ready to explain why you believe your assessment is too high.  Your county will likely have complaint forms for you to use.

Good luck!

**********

Susan Neal
Broker / Realtor
Century 21 Noel David Realty
Fair Oaks, California

Full time real estate services in Fair Oaks CA,
with friendly professionalism, 30+ years experience.

I work hard to give my buyer or seller a low-stress transaction.

"Happy clients make me happy."

For all your real estate needs or questions, call me at (916)
705-8951
or visit my website at www.SusanNealFineProperties.com.

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*******

Thinking of selling your home?  Remember, it costs you nothing for me to come out and discuss your home, the market in your area, and give you a market analysis and presentation so that you will know what you can expect to get for your home.

Call for appointment:  (916) 705-8951


Also Remember, if you are planning to buy a home, I can help you to tour any home for sale in Sacramento County and the surrounding areas, no matter what firm has it listed, and I can help you with your purchase if you find the perfect home for you.

Just give me a call at (916) 705-8951

***********
Susan Neal
Broker / Realtor

Susan Neal Fine Properties
RE/MAX Gold
Fair Oaks, California

Full time real estate services in Fair Oaks CA, with friendly professionalism, 30+ years experience. 
I work hard to give my buyer or seller a low-stress transaction.

"Happy clients make me happy."

For all your real estate needs or questions, call me at (916)705-8951 or visitmy website at www.SusanNealFineProperties.com.    

HUD homes resource            Search HUD Homes

Check out my business page on facebook:  Susan Neal Fine Properties

 

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Rainmaker
919,513
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

It is amazing that people just don't question their property taxes.  This is a good heads up to make sure that you are not paying more than you should be.

Mar 15, 2011 11:27 PM #1
Rainmaker
239,051
Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts - Des Moines, IA
RE/MAX Des Moines

Susan: An effective protest is the most consistently reliable method for reducing taxes. Cheers,

Mar 15, 2011 11:47 PM #2
Ambassador
1,590,084
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Susan, protesting taxes on property on a regular basis is a wise move to keep your assessment as low as possible. Great post.

Mar 15, 2011 11:58 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,060,755
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Susan, this post caught my eye right away.  I went through the process of protesting my taxes because once again they were increased and yet home values have consistently decreased substantially.  I was formally trained as an appraiser so I know a thing or two about the process and I ended up questioning the quality and appropriateness of just about allthe data that the town assessor used to arrive at his assessment. 

The review board ended up splitting the difference between my appraisal and the town assessors...you can be sure that I'll be back next year repeating the process.

Mar 16, 2011 09:55 PM #4
Rainmaker
583,442
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

People are wise to the idea that they should check their personal credit reports, but they pay no attention to their property assessment.  Both credit reports and property assessments can have errors.

Mar 16, 2011 10:34 PM #5
Rainer
85,914
Michael-Edward Cruz
Surterre Properties - Monarch Beach, CA
Michael-Edward Cruz - Beach Cities Realtor

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for sharing this info. As well I like how you put together your AR page.

Mar 16, 2011 11:01 PM #6
Anonymous
Dave Braga

To explain that property taxes go up because they're calculated on some millage rate is like explaining that you got robbed because you have jewelry. Lets be honest. There are two worlds: Private enterprise, where everything is at risk (your job, your income, your retirement, etc) while struggling to create value in the real world and an increasingly competitive economy. Government is a group of public service employees that by agreement have no risk and have guaranteed jobs and retirement plans and a monopoly on the services they charge you for. At their option, government can reduce services and increase the fees charged to cover their salaries, overtime, merit raises, pensions and other benefits. It is up to those in private enterprise to very comfortably compensate those in government, whether there's a good economy or a bad one. By design, government has isolated itself from the real world and doesn't care about bad economic conditions. Their contracts call for raises based upon time served - provided the sun rises. Bad economies, like what we will now have for the next 15 years, are Private Enterprises' problem. Private enterprises must pay for government salaries, overtime, retirement and other benefits. Then, if there's any money left over, you get to start paying yourself dollar one. Property taxes are levied because by owning a home, you create a new, guaranteed revenue stream for the government. You and your neighbors on your block have teamed up to collectively pay the salary, benefits and retirement for someone you don't know, for services you don't get. Life isn't fair. We should all just join the government. Those of us who chose to work for a living should have our heads examined.

Jul 27, 2011 08:50 PM #7
Anonymous
Dave Braga

To explain that property taxes go up because they're calculated on some millage rate is like explaining that you got robbed because you have jewelry. Lets be honest. There are two worlds: Private enterprise, where everything is at risk (your job, your income, your retirement, etc) while struggling to create value in the real world and an increasingly competitive economy. Government is a group of public service employees that by agreement have no risk and have guaranteed jobs and retirement plans and a monopoly on the services they charge you for. At their option, government can reduce services and increase the fees charged to cover their salaries, overtime, merit raises, pensions and other benefits. It is up to those in private enterprise to very comfortably compensate those in government, whether there's a good economy or a bad one. By design, government has isolated itself from the real world and doesn't care about bad economic conditions. Their contracts call for raises based upon time served - provided the sun rises. Bad economies, like what we will now have for the next 15 years, are Private Enterprises' problem. Private enterprises must pay for government salaries, overtime, retirement and other benefits. Then, if there's any money left over, you get to start paying yourself dollar one. Property taxes are levied because by owning a home, you create a new, guaranteed revenue stream for the government. You and your neighbors on your block have teamed up to collectively pay the salary, benefits and retirement for someone you don't know, for services you don't get. Life isn't fair. We should all just join the government. Those of us who chose to work for a living should have our heads examined.

Jul 27, 2011 08:53 PM #8
Anonymous
Dave Braga

To explain that property taxes go up because they're calculated on some millage rate is like explaining that you got robbed because you have jewelry. Lets be honest. There are two worlds:

1 Private enterprise, where everything is at risk (your job, your income, your retirement, etc) while struggling to create value in the real world and an increasingly competitive economy.

2 Government.  A group of public service employees that by agreement have no risk and have guaranteed jobs and retirement plans and a monopoly on the services they charge you for. At their option, government can reduce services and increase the fees (like property taxes) charged to cover their salaries, overtime, merit raises, pensions and other benefits.

It is up to those in private enterprise to very comfortably compensate those in government, whether there's a good economy or a bad one. By design, government has isolated itself from the real world and doesn't care about bad economic conditions. Their contracts call for raises based upon time served - provided the sun rises. Bad economies, like what we will now have for the next 15 years, are Private Enterprises' problem. Private enterprises must pay for government salaries, overtime, retirement and other benefits. Then, if there's any money left over, you get to start paying yourself dollar one. Property taxes are levied because by owning a home, you create a new, guaranteed revenue stream for the government. You and your neighbors on your block have teamed up to collectively pay the salary, benefits and retirement for someone you don't know, for services you don't get. Life isn't fair. We should all just join the government. Those of us who chose to work for a living should have our heads examined.

Jul 27, 2011 08:55 PM #9
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Rainmaker
583,442

Susan Neal

Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker
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