5 Ways to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 6:27am.

Prime Edmonton Real Estate - Property taxes tend to rise steadily over time and, even once you pay off your mortgage, the taxes keep on coming. They can be extremely burdensome for a homeowner. If you ever want to get a homeowner all riled up, just ask them about their latest tax assessment and what they think of it. Who has ever responded by saying 'I love my tax assessment and think that I get good value for it!'.

Whenever values of homes rise, the property taxes also go up at the same time. But, if your property tax bill has increased significantly, you can certainly make an appeal, particularly if the increase seems out of line with overall appreciation in your area.

Here are some tips that homeowners can follow to minimize the property tax bills:

  1. Appeal Your Assessment:

If you see an error in property card, or you think your assessment is too high, you have the right to file an appeal, and should certainly exercise it. The card includes information about the size of the lot, the precise dimensions of the rooms, and the number and type of fixtures located within the home. The way that the City of Edmonton assesses your home is done on an aggregate scale, not taking into account many of the individual aspects of your property.

As you review this card, note any differences and then raise those issues with the tax assessor. Tax assessors don't always get it right. The assessor will either make the correction or conduct a re-evaluation.

2. Walk the Home With the Assessor:

Do not make a mistake of letting the tax assessor wander about in your house unguided during the evaluation process. Some assessors will only notice the good things in your house that they tax you with - such as the new fireplace, beautiful expensive faucets, etc. They usually overlook the fact that other appliances in the home are out of date, like your house roof, doors, etc.

Be sure that you walk the home with the assessor and point out the good points as well as the deficiencies. This way, there are high chances that you will receive the fairest possible valuation for your home.

3. Don't Build Unnecessarily:

A deck, a pool, a large shed, or any other permanent fixture that is added to your home will increase your tax burden. Just so you know, any structural changes to your property will increase your tax bill. With all this in mind, homeowners should investigate how much a new addition might cost in terms or property tax prior to construction. You may increase the resale value of the home, but keep in mind that it also means that you will be raising your tax assessment. Call the tax departments or local building, as they will be able to give you a rough approximation.

4. Research Your Neighbors Property:

You get a fair idea about any raise in your tax property bill when you review comparable homes in your neighborhood. You can often find discrepancies that could lower your taxes. What many individuals don't realize is that in many cases, information about other home assessments in the area is available to the public. So, for example, you have a three-bedroom house with a single garage and your home was assessed at $220,000. Your neighbor also owns a three-bedroom house with a two-car garage and despite this your neighbor's house was assessed at $210,000. This needs to be investigated to find out if there has been an error evaluating your house or your neighbor's house. The city of Edmonton has a great trool that will show you for free all of your neighborhood's homes' tax assessments in an easy map format. Simply go to https://maps.edmonton.ca/ and plug in your address!

5. Limit Curb Appeal:

Tax assessors have a strict set of guidelines while they go about evaluating houses. The assessment consists of a certain amount of subjectivity. This means that more attractive homes often receive a higher assessed value than comparable houses that are physically less appealing. 

Always keep in mind that your property is significantly being compared to your neighbor's house during the evaluation process, as well as other houses in the general vicinity. Consequently, if possible, do not make any physical improvements or cosmetic transformations to your home until the assessor has conducted the evaluation.

So the bottom line is, avoid making any improvements right before your house is due to be assessed. It can be hard to balance the desire for a beautiful home and at the same time desire to pay as little tax as possible. However, there are a few things that can be done to reduce property tax without resorting to living in a dump. Always check your neighbors, if they are paying less tax than you even when their homes are similar and quite comparable, you can claim for a re-evaluation.

1 Response to "5 Ways to Lower Your Property Tax Bill"

Property tax Goes up in Edmonton wrote: [...][...]

Posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2015 at 11:27pm.

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