Even if your home hasn’t increased in value, you may want to lower your existing property taxes. Below are a few ways you might be able to bring the amount down by contesting your tax appraisal.
Correct Any Errors – Look closely at your tax appraisal, as it was probably assessed from a drive-by inspection. Are any of the measurements wrong? Believe it or not, mistakes like this are fairly common. Sometimes, the square footage might be inflated or the appraiser might have been under the impression that you had more rooms or a finished out basement. In any case, those mistakes are easy to prove.
Look at Surrounding Home Values – If your next-door neighbors have houses that are comparable in size and their property is valued much lower, that could be grounds for the county lowering your house’s appraised value. Conduct some thorough research on all the nearby houses in order to back up your claim. Property tax records may be available online in some states.
Contest The Value – It’s Your Right
It is your legal right to contest your house’s appraisal, though very few people do it. This is a shame, as many homeowners would have a valid case and could potentially save a lot of money each year.
If you feel you have adequate proof that your house was overvalued or that the appraiser made a mistake, visit your local assessor’s office or Website.
There, you will find the official forms you need to contest your house’s value. One caveat: there is a deadline for filing a protest, so conduct your research as soon as property values are posted each year.
Editor’s Note: I recently recieved my County’s Propery Tax Statement. My property’s value estimate was slightly below what it was appraised for when we purchased our home 6 months ago.
How about you…Did your value go down or up this year?
Heather Johnson is a regular commentator on the subject of small business.