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Your Assessment May Not Equal What Your House Is Worth

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By : Paul Escobedo    99 or more times read
Whether you’re buying a new home because of the glut of houses, or still living in your house while those homes around you are losing their value, you might be suffering in a way that you may not have thought much about as it pertains to your property taxes.

It seems that most communities are loathing reassessing properties where values have declined. Every community that has had housing which has gone belly up still needs to collect as much money as they can for services, schools, and anything else that they are supposed to take care of.

What many homeowners across the country are discovering is that, just because the value of their homes has gone down, it doesn’t mean their property taxes have gone down along with them. New home owners are also discovering that the amount of taxes they are supposed to be paying is not consistent with what the town is charging them. This results in a double hit for all homeowners, because some are paying mortgages for homes that aren’t worth as much anymore and still being made to pay taxes on these higher amounts.

Of course, something else you have to worry about is the appraisers that banks and other lenders have been sending out to assess the value of homes without having any real understanding of what real estate is worth in your area. This is because these appraisers being hired may not live in your area, or even your state, and they rely on information they get on the internet to make decisions about your property. Of course, we all know that banks and lenders want your property to be worth more, because they’ll earn more in fees.

What can you do? The answer is different depending on whether you already own a home or are looking to buy a new home.

If you already own a home, your first step is to go to your local housing authority and file an appeal. This is your request that they come out and reassess the value of your home. However, you might find another issue coming out of this. If your home hasn’t been appraised in awhile, and prices haven’t dropped as drastically in your area as you believe, you could end up with even higher assessed rates. And, don’t think they’re going to come rushing out to your house to do this assessment; it could take them some time to get around to you.

If you’re a potential home buyer, it behooves you to spend a little bit of cash to hire your own assessor, someone who will go through town records on your behalf and also do a full assessment of your home. This is separate than a home inspector, who is looking for damages.

You only want to have to pay your fair share, but the way the housing market is these days, you’re going to have to look out for yourself.
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