By Jon McCreath, NPI Property Inspector, Emerson, Georgia
In the last few years, most property taxes have risen in step with the increase in home values. But it never hurts to find out if your taxes are higher than they should be. Getting them reduced is a chore that’s worth the effort.
* First, look for errors that may be inflating the value of your house. Check the list of factors used to come up with your assessment on the property record card, which is kept at your assessor’s office. Look for obvious errors, such as the incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bathrooms.
* Because many appraisals are done on a drive-by basis, the assessor may have overlooked defects that could lower your tax bill, such as a wet basement or cracked walls. If you can show that the assessment was based on erroneous information, you may be able to get your tax bill reduced without going through the appeals process.
* Check out similar properties. Talk to your neighbors or property owners to see whether their tax bills went up as much as yours did. The homes you check should be of similar size and age as your own. If your assessment is considerably larger than theirs, you have a good shot at winning an appeal.
* Some localities base assessments on the cost of a home replacement plus the value of the land. An amount for depreciation is subtracted. Others use recent sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood. You might be able to challenge the assessment by doing your own research. A real estate agent could provide recent sales prices for comparable properties.
* Check to see if the assessor credited you with all the property tax relief available to you, including credits for senior citizens and veterans, or any local benefits.
Jon McCreath is a professional National Property Inspections home inspector in northwest Georgia.
If you live in the area, call 404.426.3661 to schedule your home inspection with Jon.
NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home.
Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.