Save Money By Protesting Your Property Assessment, Part 1


As a homeowner there are certain things I thought were just part of, well, owning a home.  Property Tax for example was one of the things I just accepted.  That is until one of my first jobs found me being driving a lot between job sites and on my commute.  With not much to do while driving, as no co-worker was with me, I listened to the radio.  Not wanting to hear the same songs over and over, I usually had it on talk radio.

The programs included names like Dave Ramsey.  This show was followed by the Real Estate Investor, one of my favorite.  Not because I had the means to do this, I had just gotten out of college after all, but because I loved hearing the stories and the process they took to turn owning properties or buying/selling into a viable business.

Then it came to the season that would change my view of property taxes forever.  The radio talk show host started speaking about property taxes and how easy it was to argue their value.  He went on to explain how a property’s value was figured out and the steps to take to try and lower your value.  He also talked about how having a high property value did not mean your home was worth more, only that you were paying more taxes.

At first I was not sure what to think of this, “Surely it is too hard and won’t save you any money.  Why would they waste their time doing this?”  Curiosity finally got me and I did some research on my own.  Turns out I was wrong; it really was not that hard to do and it would save you money, especially over time.  Left alone, your property values will be raised at regular intervals as the years go past.  While not a bad thing necessarily, it does mean that you will pay more and more taxes.

At first, when I mentioned to my husband that we needed to protest the value of our property tax, he was hesitant.  So I showed him the county’s website, where they detail what to do.  I followed the steps, printed out the paperwork and did all the initial ‘leg work’.  Thankfully, at that time we lived in a place where I could do all the ‘leg work’ in front of my computer from the comfort of my home.  The county had all the information needed.  The radio show also helped me find the information I was looking for without having to search from the very beginning.

My husband agreed to go to the meeting with the Appraisal Review Board, as I could not get off work.  He was still doubtful they would agree that our house was not worth as much as they said, even though we had bought it just that year. He was not sure what to expect, but I assured him it would be easy. Turns out he was wrong; they actually came back with a lower number than he had in mind.  Guess my homework paid off, literally.  Our home value was reduced several thousand dollars, thereby automatically saving us money.

And so began a change in our lifestyle.  While we no longer live in that particular state, we have taken this tip with us as we have moved (several times).

In a second state he had the same results. Again I made up the packet and he went to the meeting.

In both states the dispute was resolved that day with a fair number being agreed upon by all.

Then we bought a house in our current state and things got a bit harder.

To be continued …

Once these are posted:

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Linked up at:

The Deliberate Mom
  Prudent Living on the Homefront