6 Tips for Minimizing Real Estate Taxes

Home ownership, while an ingrained part of the American Dream, has its downsides. Apart from maintenance and the inevitable surprise repair, such as a broken sump pump during a downpour, homeowners are also responsible for paying taxes on their property. While taxes are a certainty, there are ways to minimize the impact property taxes can have on your wallet.

1. All homeowners have the right to go to their city or county tax office and request a copy of their property tax card. Some entities provide this information online. This card provides homeowners with all the pertinent information regarding the property and structures or improvements on it. As you review the card, be sure to note any discrepancies between the card and your home.

2. Before you add improvements to your home, contact the tax department. They can provide you with a rough estimate of how the improvement will affect your property value. The building department can provide the same information when you apply for building permits.

3. Most tax assessors do a drive by when assessing your property, which gives the assessment a certain amount of bias. If your home has immaculate landscaping compared to the minimally landscaped but otherwise identical house two doors down, your home could be valued higher than your neighbor. Be sure to beautify after the assessor visits.

4. While you are researching your own home, be sure to look at the property values in your area, particularly those with similar structures. When comparing property values, you need to do an apple to apples comparison. If your property is valued higher than a neighbor’s, it might be wise to ask for a new assessment.

5. After research, if you believe your property taxes are too high, you should request a reassessment. Use the records you culled from the property tax office regarding similar properties. Most tax offices are willing to hear your appeal and in many cases will reduce your property tax burden. Check with your local tax office or their website to find the paperwork to appeal an assessment.

6. Many taxing authorities will do both a drive by and an onsite inspection of your property. Walk through your home with the assessor and point out the good and the bad about your property. Allowing the assessor to walk through prevents them from making assumptions and gives you the best chance of getting a fair assessment of your property.

Real estate taxes are a fact of life, but high taxes don’t have to be. By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure you are paying your taxes without stripping your budget.


4 Ways Hiring A Real Estate Lawyer Will Save You Big Money

Whether you are seeking to buy a new home for investment purposes or wish to sell your home, hiring a real estate lawyer can help you save money. When you are dealing with real estate, there are many unforeseen issues that can arise and end up being extra costly to you. It is in your best interest to receive legal help to prepare for dealing with unforeseen issues. Here are some reasons why hiring a real estate lawyer will help you keep more money in your pocket in the long run.

1. A lawyer can research the quality of title for your potential investment property.

When you are purchasing a home for investment purposes, it is essential to know the quality of title behind your home. If there is an encumbrance on the title of your home, then you will not hold marketable title to the property. An encumbrance refers to a defect on the chain of title. An encumbrance may be a lien, zoning violation or unpaid taxes on the home. A lawyer can perform a thorough title search to ensure that none of these defects are on the title for the home that you wish to purchase.

2. A lawyer can negotiate lower home prices for defects in the home.

Real estate lawyers are experienced in negotiating with sellers. They know how to leverage your bargaining power in the negotiation process. A lawyer who is experienced in real estate transactions may be able to effectively negotiate a lower price for a home that contains defects, such as insect issues, old carpeting or bad piping.

3. A lawyer may detect hidden defects in the home that take away from its value.

Some defects are not obvious to the typical purchaser, such as zoning violations. A real estate lawyer is keen and will keep an eye out for any hidden defects on the property. He or she may even be able to perform a walk-through of the home to look for any hidden defects. Spotting these defects ahead of time will protect you from purchasing a home that could end up costing you more money than you wish to spend.

4. A lawyer can perform multiple professional services for your real estate transaction.

Your real estate lawyer may be able to do showings as well as draft all of the contracts required for your transaction. You can minimize costs for your real estate transaction by hiring a single lawyer to perform all of the required services.

When you hire a real estate lawyer, you can ensure that you will always have a professional to turn to for all of your real estate issues, questions and concerns. He or she may also have more knowledge than the typical real estate agent and can help leverage this knowledge to your advantage.


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