I appealed my property taxes and saved thousands of dollars, while my neighbor’s appeal failed. here’s why


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This could be the key to a successful property tax appeal.

Key points

  • Appealing your property taxes can save you thousands of dollars a year.
  • A successful appeal requires you to prove the value of your property.
  • My husband and I were able to do this successfully, but not our neighbor.

Property taxes are a huge additional cost associated with owning a home. They must be paid each year with the principal and interest of your mortgage loan. But, the good news is that it may be possible to reduce the amount you pay for property taxes by appealing your assessed value.

You see, property taxes are based on the value of your home as well as the applicable mileage rate for your area. A mileage rate is the taxes you pay for every $1,000 of property value. You can’t change the mileage rate that applies to your home, but if you can lower the assessed value of your property, you can reduce the taxes owed, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

That’s exactly what my husband and I did. And my neighbor tried to do the same, but without success. There was a simple reason for this.

Here’s Why My Property Tax Appeal Succeeded While My Neighbor Failed

When my husband and I appealed our property taxes after moving into our home, we hired a professional appraiser. We pointed out any issues with the house and let the appraiser know that we were getting an appraisal for the purpose of appealing our property taxes. And, we ended up with our house appraised for much less than the amount our township said the house was worth.

We were able to submit this documentation to our appeal board. We were also required to attend a hearing, which we did – and presented our valuation and argued that a qualified professional had said our house was worth less, so it was clearly overvalued for tax purposes.

The appeal board agreed and significantly reduced our assessed value, which saved us a fortune in the decade we lived here and continues to report to this day.

Our neighbor, however, decided to appeal his property taxes, but he didn’t want to pay for an assessment. He submitted simple documents showing that other houses in the area had sold for less than the appraisal of his house and argued his case at the hearing, but the appeal board ruled that the evidence was insufficient and did not reduce its assessment. He has since been tried several times, each time without hiring an assessor – and his appeals have yet to be successful.

Sometimes it pays to hire a professional

The big lesson I learned from this experience is that sometimes it can pay off to hire a professional when trying to do something that will improve your financial situation in the long run.

Whether it’s hiring an assessor to help you appeal your taxes or hiring a lawyer to handle the legal work or a financial adviser to give you advice, it’s important not to be myopic when deciding whether it’s worth paying a fee for advice.

If my husband and I hadn’t paid the appraiser $400, we would have spent thousands more on taxes over the years. It’s a great example of how being wise and crazy can come back to haunt you.

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