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How to Save Money by Appealing Property Taxes

Year after year, millions of homeowners fail to seize the opportunity to lower their property taxes. Despite the fact that 60% of properties are overvalued by tax assessors, only 2% of homeowners appeal their assessments to reduce their annual tax obligation. While it may seem like a daunting process, lowering your property tax commitment is actually a lot simpler than you might think.

If you’re looking to save money by appealing your property taxes, follow some of the tips outlined below. When you need further assistance in understanding the tax assessment process, Coakley Realty has the expert team available to answer all of your questions. Let’s get started!

Understand Your Tax Bill & Property Description

First things first, it will help you to understand how your property taxes are assessed in the first place. Property taxes are calculated using two key figures: the tax rate and the current market value of your property. In large part, municipalities set these rates based on what they feel is needed to pay for essential services.

Tax assessors are hired by local governmental bodies to estimate your property’s market value. This is why it’s important for homeowners to know their property description: If the tax assessor has the home marked down as a three-bedroom property but you have only two, you have the opportunity to correct them. Just this simple correction can help reduce your property tax obligation.

See If You Qualify for Exemptions

All homeowners automatically receive a “homestead” exemption simply by occupying the home without renting it out to others. However, there are other exemptions that you may qualify for, including the following:

  • Senior citizens
  • Veterans
  • People with certain disabilities
  • Agricultural properties

See if you qualify for exemptions in your municipality by checking with your local taxing authority.

Refrain from Building on Your Land

More living space equals — you guessed it — higher property taxes. Even small structural changes, such as building a deck or adding a large shed, may result in an increase in your tax obligation.

Before beginning any home improvement projects, be sure to check with your local building and tax departments to see what they estimate such a project will mean for your property taxes. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises on your annual mortgage escrow notice.

Limit Your Curb Appeal

Some tax assessment guidelines lend themselves to a certain degree of subjectivity, meaning more attractive homes will receive a higher value assessment than those that have less curb appeal. In short, the physical appearance of your home — especially as it compares to your neighbors’ — will ultimately impact the amount you owe in taxes each year.

Tax assessors usually schedule their visits ahead of time, so this will give you ample notice to refrain from sprucing up the place prior to their arrival. Resist the temptation to install new cabinets, countertops, and other physical home improvements until your tax assessor has performed their evaluation. This can help you save big time on your annual obligation.

Consult with Coakley Realty’s Tax Assessment Team

If you’re a current homeowner looking to reduce your property tax obligation, the first thing you’ll need to do is ensure you understand the tax assessment process. Coakley Realty’s team of tax assessment experts are happy to answer any questions you may have related to your property tax obligation. And when you’re ready, we’ll schedule a visit to assess your property value and get you the best rate on your annual mortgage escrow notice available. Contact our team to get started with your property tax assessment today!