With depressed property values still evident in some areas, buyers are scooping up properties at a fraction of what they cost a few years ago.
Interestingly, property taxes seemed to have held their own (or in some instances increased) even as these property values flattened or dropped.
This shouldn't come as a surprise, as the tax revenue base in many communities has decreased because foreclosed properties are no longer contributing to the tax revenues. This gap needs to be made up somewhere, and mostly it's being offset by increasing the tax burden on those who are able to pay.
There is little a prospective buyer can do about this tax burden before going to closing; their debt-to-income ratios will be based on current assessments. However, there is plenty buyers can do afterward.
The first step is to contact the taxing body to find out what process to follow to protest property taxes. It may take time and effort, but it can be done.
In many areas, there are companies that assist homeowners by providing the taxing body with supporting data to show that properties are worth less than the taxing body believes. These companies will either charge a flat fee or work for a percentage of the savings realized by the homeowner.
If you have refinanced in the past few years and the appraisal value is lower than the tax assessed value, you can use the appraisal as grounds for your argument to lower your assessed value - and lower your tax burden.
Please feel free to contact Brad@FirstAmericanMortgage.net if you have questions about this process.