Owning a home is one of the joys of life but it can also be very expensive. Even once the mortgage is paid off, costs keep adding up from utilities to lawn care to the sleeping elephant in the room: property taxes. Fortunately there are ways to find property tax relief and save large amounts of money.
Here are some important things to know that could help you to legally reduce your property tax burden.
How Much Is Your Property Worth? Check Again
Even if you think you know how much your property is worth it is a smart idea to get reassessed and find out what an authorized real estate appraiser concludes about your land and home value. After analyzing your own and neighboring properties, the appraiser will offer an assessment that could result in significant recalculation of the property tax you have to pay. It is completely possible that your home was initially assessed when property values were higher or that oversights or miscalculations were made the first time, so it is worth paying the fees to hire an appraiser and get reassessed.¹
Property Tax Relief Programs To The Rescue
There are various property tax relief programs available that will typically depend on your state and county. These programs will take into account your income and can make it so that your property taxes stay consistent at one level for a number of years without rising. It is a good idea to contact your municipality or city hall to find out if your county or city has property tax relief programs available.
The savings can be significant. For example, the city of Portsmouth, Virginia offers 100% property tax relief for seniors who have less than $21,000 in pension or income per year. For seniors who earn between $21,001 to $30,000 the relief gradually drops to 10%. The city also offers a tax freeze if you are elderly, disabled, live on agricultural land or are a veteran. Many counties and cities offer similar property tax relief, so it is well worth looking into.²
Another Option: Appeal
In some cases the best option for saving on property taxes is to appeal your bill by hiring a lawyer to help you out. Although it seems like a big step it can save you thousands and end up being an excellent choice. With a lawyer’s assistance, an appeal can be filed on your bill arguing that you are being charged too much property tax. This appeal may include photographic proof of the home and property’s condition, additional reassessments by an appraiser and an explanation of why you believe the property tax being required is too high. If the appeal is approved you can save an enormous amount, so it is often worth a try, especially in a case where a basic reassessment or tax relief program has not resulted in sufficient savings.³
Look For Reductions Online
If you are a senior, disabled or a veteran—or even if you’re not—searching carefully online can turn up some significant discounts on property taxes in your state and county. As mentioned above, there can also be savings if you live on a farm or agricultural property and various other property categories, so it is worth looking into specifically and contacting your local office. The easiest way to start, however, is with an online search for property tax discounts and exemptions in your area. In some cases you can file an application for property tax relief that may take less than an hour to complete but could end up saving you large amounts of money.⁴