Property Tax Bills… Assess, Dispute, Relax!
Who loves taxes? The list isn’t very long, I am sure. When it comes to your Property Tax Bill, however, there may be some hope in easing this stressor. For many, they receive this bill and just file it away to give to their accountant. For others, the sticker shock is too much to handle and they are in amazement that their home could ever be appraised so high. If the latter is your case, here is some insight as well as some relatively simple steps to dispute your Property Tax Bill.
To start, when the tax assessor assigns a property a value, he/she compares homes that have similar square footage and number of bedrooms/bathrooms in the particular neighborhood of your home. Their technique is similar to what a home appraiser would do if you were buying a new home or refinancing your current home, but not always as in depth. All in all, a higher property assessment equals a higher tax bill and a lower property assessment equals a lower tax bill.
Moving along, some homeowners, including myself, have been in the situation where we felt that our home was appraised too low. If this happens to you, consider it a blessing as this will not affect a refinance or a resale of the home. Your Realtor can pull comps from the current market and a lender will have the home appraised, if needed, for a refinance. With that in mind, you want to make sure that the lower assessment was not due to incorrect stats on the home. Make sure that the room count and the square footage is correct on your assessment, therefore County records, to avoid possible future delays or problems when selling or refinancing your home.
On the other hand, if you believe your property has been assessed too high, my utmost advice is to call a reputable Realtor. Gathering the information you need to dispute your tax bill is typically complimentary through any real estate company. A Realtor familiar with your neighborhood will be able to easily collect 3 comps (competitive market analysis) of comparable homes in your area that sold in the specified timeframe. Many people try to do these themselves, but may run into a challenge of timing. The timeframe that these homes need to have been sold for these comps will be stated on your Property Tax Bill. This is usually up to 18-24 months back making it difficult for someone who is not a Realtor to get the proper research completed. Having a Realtor involved will also assist you in getting a more realistic list of comps that will include location within a neighborhood, presence of upgrades within the home, style of home, etc. All of these factors can prove helpful when getting a true assessment of your home’s value.
Finally, once the comps have been collected, you or your Realtor can visit your local government website and follow the protocol to Petition for Abatement or Refund of Taxes. For Denver, the website is http://www.denvergov.org/assessor/AssessorsOffice/Forms/tabid/378177/Default.aspx. You can dispute up to two years at once as long as they are directly prior to the current year.
All in all, property assessors have the capacity as anyone else for error. If you believe, your property was wrongfully assessed too high, by all means dispute it. Call TJC Real Estate and Property Management Services which has several realtors that will walk you through the process at no charge. By working with a Realtor for this course of action, you will have a less painful and more positive experience. The worst that can happen is you will find out that your home is truly worth more than you expected.
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