Property taxes are part of owning a home regardless of whether you have a mortgage. Property tax is calculated by taking the assessed value of the home and multiplying by the tax rate of your city. Some tax rates are higher than others and if your assessed value goes up, your property tax will go up as well. If you’re planning on buying a new home, it’s important to understand the property tax. However, you shouldn’t just look at the current property tax but the property tax history as well and here’s why.

When you take a look at a listing you should be able to access the last property tax bill as well as the history. Why does it matter what the property tax was two or three years ago? A property tax history can reveal two important pieces of information, how often it has increased and to what extent. If you notice a dramatic increase from one year to another that may be cause for concern. Large increases in property tax bills are assigned that homes in the area are subject to frequent assessments, which could be an issue.

The property tax history will also give a buyer insight into the home’s assessed value and how that has changed throughout the year. Obviously, we want our homes to increase in value but if the assessed value has gone down it could be a sign that the neighborhood is on the decline.

Can you change your property tax?

Yes! You don’t necessarily have to resign yourself to the bill that you are charged but you can appeal your property taxes in an attempt to lower them. You’ll need to prove that the homes assessed value is too high but you can’t argue the tax rate. You may need to submit a certain form and wait or complain to the town’s tax assessor in a Municipal Court.

However, never buy a home with the assumption that you’re going to file a complaint and win because you need proof that the home in question is over-assessed and that might be difficult to prove. Instead, look at the home you’re planning on buying, its history, and if you’re willing to live with the results.

For information on any property in Bellevue, Seattle or the Eastside contact me anytime