Your property taxes are assessed every year, based on such elements as your property’s market value, your neighborhood, schools and parks near you, and your curb appeal. In a perfect world, you’d have a beautiful home with a very high property value, great curb appeal, and a safe and welcoming neighborhood, and you’d have low property taxes, too.
Some things are out of your control, but you can actually work to get a property tax reduction on your home. Here are a few simple tricks to keep your property value up and your taxes down.
Don’t Add On If You’re Staying
If you’re concerned about rising taxes, don’t add that extra wing onto your house. Adding square footage to your home will add value to the property, which will add to the property tax, as well.
If, on the other hand, you’re planning on selling your house within the year, start building after your home has been appraised by the tax assessor’s office. Get the construction done quickly, and put your house on the market. If you sell it before January 1st of next year, you’ll never pay taxes on that new garage, extra bedroom, or patio.
If you need more space for yourself and your family, it might behoove you to sell your home without adding onto it and purchase a new home in an area with a lower millage rate, so that you’re not paying as much in taxes on that extra space.
If you’re staying in your home, and you find that you just don’t need that garage or you can live in a smaller space, you can reduce the taxable value of your home by reducing its size. This is a pretty extreme measure, though. Make sure that your construction (or destruction) project doesn’t cost more than your property tax reduction.
Don’t Have the Prettiest House on the Block
The appraiser from the tax assessor’s office will be looking at your home and giving it value based on the area where you live, but also based on how attractive it is. Curb appeal matters. Look at your neighbors’ homes. Does yours stand out as the most attractive on the block? You’re going to have higher property taxes than anyone else on the block.
Save your lawn manicuring and gardening for the backyard. Let your front yard blend in with the neighbors. In fact, you might want to talk with your neighbors about banding together to look bland for the tax assessor.
Take a Walk With the Appraiser
If you’re home when the appraiser comes by, you might be able to get a property tax reduction by spending a little bit of time with the appraiser. Step outside with them and make some small talk. Walk the property with them, talking about the weather and little things like that. While you’re at it, you might want to point out that moldy drain pipe you’ve been meaning to change forever, the grass you can’t seem to keep up with, etc. Reminding the appraiser that your home isn’t perfect could get you a bit of a property tax reduction.