Regina P. Brown Real Estate Agent San Luis Obispo, CA (888) 550-9340 Contact Profile
Any homeowner who has purchased property in the last 5 years can probably get a reduction in their annual County Property Taxes! Which is terrific news, I know of many homeowners here in California, struggling under the weight of $500+ per month property taxes.
You SHOULD be able to your taxes reduced. You can simply go to your county tax assessor's web site, print out the form called " Decline in Value Application ".
You'll need to complete the form correctly, including at least 3 comps (comparables) that have sold within a specific time frame in your neighborhood (refer to your form), and note any adjustments for value . You'll be asked to calculate the fair market value . It's a time-consuming task -- I know, I've completed several of these forms.
After you submit it, don't get too excited . Remember that your county does NOT want to lower your property value, because it means they will collect LESS money. The county tax assessor is NOT your friend. Don't be confused.
I have seen some of these approved and some identical houses NOT approved -- both in the same neighborhood. In this case, you need to appeal it . Some counties have sent out the notices (cleverly) so that the homeowners miss the appeal deadline . So that means they have to wait another year.
Notice that you'll still have to pay your property taxes on time. Even if you're approved for a lower value, it won't be applied to your account until later.
But how do you make sure you get this form completed correctly ? And unless you're a real estate agent, and have access to the MLS or county property
sold data, how are you to locate these comps? You don't want to miss this opportunity to save money on your property taxes -- the savings could be $100 to $1,200 per year, depending on your property.
So some homeowners are paying a company to complete these forms for them.
1. One company called " Property Tax Reassessment " will complete your form correctly, including comps. All you have to do is sign and submit the completed form. Their service is $179 which is well worth it if you save hundreds of dollars every year on your taxes. But what if the County still doesn't lower your taxes? They offer a money-back guarantee. I have not personally used this company, but would be interested in getting some feedback about them. It seems like a good value, considering the work involved and the potential savings.
2. Some real estate agents are charging a fee to complete these forms for homeowners. Some charge a flat fee and some charge an hourly consulting fee. Once again, probably a good deal, because who knows the neighbhood property values better than your community Realtor?
3. What about a web site that calculates the value and completes your form instantly? And you can even select the comps if you prefer? WOW. I must say that I'm impressed by this progressive use of technology for only $49. Easy Tax Fix was recommended in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of California Real Estate (from the California Assn. of Realtors). SUPER COOL - but caution, they don't serve all counties. It appears that they only service New Jersey and 2 California counties. Wish it was offered in more locations!
www.EasyTaxFix.com I watched their really neat-o little demo here:
Comments and feedback appreciated!