Homeowners like to see their home increase in value — it means you made a good decision purchasing this property. Kudos to you! But before you start high-fiving about how much your home is worth, you might want to take a closer look at your property tax assessment.
In California, your home value is not reassessed annually. Rather it is reassessed when there is a change or addition to your property. However, in times when market value drops, you may want to take a look at your assessment and make sure it is in line with current values.
Remember … the higher the assessment, the higher your tax bill.
1. What happens if you’re not happy with the property tax assessment and think it’s too high?
2. How do you prove that the true market value of your home is less than the assessor’s estimate?
Review Your Property Tax Assessment Carefully
Whether you’re a new homeowner or not, you should carefully look at your assessment each year to look out for mistakes and understand the process. That way, you’ll know what steps you need to take if you want to appeal it in order to lower it.
This is why you are receiving a copy of your bill when your mortgage lender is actually the one paying it—because you, as the homeowner, are actually responsible for any mistakes.
So when you receive this copy, take the time to make sure everything is accurate before your lender pays it.
Depending on home prices in your area, it could be an accurate reflection of your current home’s value. Or, maybe not.
It’s up to YOU to find out since most local governments aren’t in any rush to reduce tax revenue on their own.
Many times you have a limited time to appeal, so know the deadline and the process in your jurisdiction! Become familiar with it now, so you’re prepared when you get that letter in the mail. Deadlines are very strict and must be met.
Must-Do Steps for the Appeals Process
Here are four steps you need to take to see if you should appeal your assessment.
1. Do Some Research
- Records are kept at your tax assessor’s office and can be seen any time to find out what your assessment value is for your property.
- Assessors use either replacement value or comparable sales prices to determine a home’s fair market value, which is considered the estimated price a home would fetch on the open market.
2. Correct Errors
- Make sure the description of your home is accurate. Verify the lot size, the number and type of rooms, and the square footage. This is very important, so look closely.
- Look for mistakes, such as a half-bath recorded as full bath or a screened-porch that’s included in your year-round living space. It happens more than you think, so double check.
- Make sure you are receiving a homestead deduction if you are an owner-occupant of your home. Make sure your bill says you are receiving this deduction if you qualify and take immediate steps to correct this if you should be receiving it and your bill does not say this.
3. Compare to Other Homes
- If prices have dropped significantly, look at public records at the assessor’s office to see how your home stacks up to comparable homes in the neighborhood. “Comparable” means homes of the same size, age, and general location. For example, homes near a busy road are valued less than those next to a quiet park or wooded area.
- Hire a realtor or an appraiser if you can’t do the legwork yourself.
- Determine if your tax savings warrants a challenge … will the payoff be worth the effort?
4. Seek the Appeal
- If your property tax assessment seems high and unfair, make sure you have the proof and the paperwork to back up any claims. You can’t just cry wolf so be prepared.
- The appeals procedure will vary by jurisdiction and it is critical to understand the system — deadlines vary. Again, you may want to seek the assistance of a tax professional, appraiser, attorney, or real estate agent to help you out.
- Visit the San Diego County Assessor’s Office website for detailed information:
Don’t feel like you have to do this on your own, please reach out to me! I’ll make sure you have the correct forms to send for your appeal. I can help you with calculating your home’s values by sending you a market analysis report.
HI, I’M LISA HINKLEY AND I HELP PEOPLE LIVE THE HARBOR LIFE IN PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA
200 W. Marion Street
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
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