Property taxes, especially in some states like New Jersey, are out of control. Even states that are considered “fair” when it comes to property taxes can sometimes charge too much and, if you feel that your property taxes are too high, the tips below will help you to check and, possibly, lower them. Enjoy.
First, make sure you know the exact square footage of your home. If the field record of the square footage doesn’t match the current square footage of your property exactly, and the error is in your favor, there’s a good chance that any case you bring for having your property taxes lowered will be won.
Interestingly, although most homeowners believe that the number of bedrooms makes a difference in the assessment of their property taxes, the 2 rooms that make the most difference are kitchens and bathrooms. In other words, the rooms that have running water. Many cities and towns will value a home’s bathroom based on how many fixtures it contains, including whether it’s a full bathroom, three-quarter bathroom or half bathroom. Each of these different types has its different assessment value.
Kitchens are also important to evaluate, especially if you have an in-law suite or a finished basement. For example, you might be paying more property taxes if your wet bar in the basement has been assessed like a kitchen.
Another important factor in the assessment of your property taxes ii the type and/or style of your home. For example, colonial homes are often valued higher than ranches. If you believe that your home has been incorrectly categorized, you might want to speak with your assessor to have its classification changed, which could possibly lower your property taxes.
The condition of your home is also a big factor in the assessment of your property taxes. The lower the condition, the lower your taxes usually will be and, if you feel that your home has been graded too highly, you may want to try and get this knocked down a bit. For example, although the difference between an “excellent” home and a “very good” home might be minimal to the casual observer, it may well make a large difference in the amount of property taxes that you are forced to pay.
Keep in mind that if you’re going to argue any of these points with your tax assessor, you should do your best to have all documentation prepared before you sit down to talk with them. Any glaring errors that can be found on your field card will probably be fixed without a formal procedure being necessary but, if that isn’t possible, you may need to file an abatement to send along with your tax bill until the change is made.
Also, since an inspection will no doubt be needed in most cases to ascertain whether or not of mistake has been made and your taxes should be lowered, it’s also possible that your valuation could rise and that you’ll end up paying higher taxes.
Nevertheless, if you feel strongly that you’re paying too much in property taxes, and you’ve done your research so that you can present your case with all of the necessary documentations, there’s a good chance that you will be successful. It might take some time and effort but, if you can save a significant amount of money every year, it will be well worth the time and effort that you put in.