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Property Taxes


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By Richard in Springfield, TN on 1/15/2004


I bought this house. How do I find out about property taxes? or Where do I go for ask someone about property taxes? Thanks.
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By Dorthy in Muskegon, MI on 1/16/2004


The township/county will know that you have purchased the house and they will send you a property tax bill. The previous owners should have been required at closing to pay a prorated tax amount---they pay a share on the house for the months that they owned it.
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By J in PA on 3/12/2004


What is the best way to appeal my new house tax appraisal? I would like to lower my property tax.
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By Dorthy in Muskegon, MI on 3/12/2004


I know on our property tax bill, it specifically states if you don't agree and would like to fight who to contact. In our county, they have specific days and times that you can go to fight the assessment.
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By Evan in Middleville, MI on 12/30/2004


Well I am an assessor, and I will tell you how I defend values. The best indicator of value is the market. If I had to defend a value on your home I would look for similar homes that have sold recently. This is called a sales comparison approach to value. Keep in mind that no home is going to be exactly like yours. Always make adjustments to the comparable homes, never to the subject. Also surrounding neighborhoods make a difference. Try to keep local homes in your comps.

Now, if all the homes that are comparable to yours are selling for more than two times your assessed value you might not want to appeal. The appeal process can RAISE your taxes too. I would recommend getting a copy of your property record card and see what information the assessors office has on your property. If you do decide to make an appeal, do the work on the appeal yourself, there is no need to spend $300 on an independent appraisal that probably won't carry much weight anyway. Especially when if you do get your taxes lowered it probably won't be for more than $300 anyway.

Also, in Michigan there are two different values relating to homes, there is Assessed Value and Taxable Value, they sound alike but are very different numbers. Assessed value is 50% of the True Cash Value of your home, or TCV. However if your assessment goes up $5,000, thus the TCV of your home went up $10,000 that doesn't mean your taxes went up very much, because you pay taxes on the Taxable Value.

Proposal A back in 1996 put a cap on property taxes so whenever there is a transfer of ownership the property becomes "uncapped" for that year and the Taxable Value and Assessed Value are made equal. Then the property is "capped" again and the Taxable Value can only go up 5% or the CPI whichever is lower, plus any new or additions you might have added that year. I wish you the best of luck, in your tax situation, and home building process. I am 24 and looking to build my first home as well.


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By Tom in Miami, FL on 4/28/2007


How are the property taxes for an owner-built home assessed? Is it by the amount spent for the land plus the construction cost of the home or by the value of the home once it is completed?

Thanks,

Tom


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By Michael Penn in Dripping Springs, TX on 4/28/2007


Probably it's based on the appraised value of "comparable" houses around you, or as much as they can justify by whatever means, whichever is greater. Undoubtedly it varies a lot with different locations and different taxing authorities.

Mark Smith (author of The Owner-Builder Book) talks about his specific case with his Riverbottoms house. He got a higher appraisal probably based on area comparables (probably the most common standard), but he protested based on his lower, well-documented actual construction cost. The tax authority resisted for a year or so, but eventually relented and agreed to a much lower appraisal. He notes that such a protest is well worth doing, because whatever reduction you win will be operative over many years, not just the year you win.

The story about this may not be in The O-B Book, but I know it's in one of his DVD's that I've seen.


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By George in Wharton, TX on 5/1/2007


I do not pretend to know how Miami determines taxable values of homes in your area, but there might be a couple of ways to get a solid answer. First, go to the horse's mouth by meeting the tax assessor in your area. Miami is large, I doubt you can meet with the Chief Assessor, but it is worth a try to get as far up the ladder as you can because the guy/gal with the authority will often times speak more freely about certain exceptions to issues of valuation. From what I know many are not very well liked and get a lot of complaints so if you approach them in an honest and friendly way by explaining your concerns they should be very happy to tell you what they do. That will give you an idea of what you are up against.

If you are lucky, they may give you some insight into factors which they consider are reasonable for a lower valuation than the norm. Remember, they are probably audited by the State of Florida and there is pressure to come in at market value on their appraisals. Too high is OK, but too low will give them headaches with the state. Second, there are a lot of Florida O-B's on this site. Contact the ones who have built and ask them about their experience and how they were treated. A third option would be to look for attorneys that handle cases like this. The first meeting with an attorney is usually free and it does not hurt to ask questions.


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By Mark in Provo, UT on 9/9/2008


Michael is right - it pays to appeal your property tax. O-B's particularly have a special opportunity to get their taxes down because most boards of equalization accept "cost to construct" as a valid argument on appeal. Since your home will be assessed on market value, say $400,000, and your cost to construct was, say, $250,000, you can get your assessed value revised down to $250,000. I did, and have been back several times for later revisions. Our Special Report 13 "How to save on your property taxes" explains the steps to an appeal and how to assemble your documentation.

Mark

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