Property records, such as assessments and property tax records, probably don't stir up too much excitement in your everyday life. However, property records are incredibly important and you should take them seriously, especially if you are already a homeowner or you are planning on being one in the future. Why? Because these records have a major impact on your bottom line since they are used to determine how much a property is worth and, therefore, how much its owner owes in property tax each year. Below we will take a look at just a few of the reasons why you really need to start caring about your property assessment records.
How much your property is worth
Knowing how much your property is worth or how much a property you are interested in is worth is important for obvious reasons. Obviously, if you are looking to sell your home then knowing the value of your home (or the value of homes in your neighborhood) can be used as a guide for determining how much you should put it on the market for. Alternatively, public property records can give you a good idea of whether or not a property you are interested in is listed at a fair price given its assessment value and the value of nearby properties. While each county/municipality is different, most assess the value of a property by adding the values of the structures (such as the home and garage) to the value of the land itself.
Knowing your property tax
This is the big reason why property assessments are so important, both for homeowners and homebuyers. Property assessments are used to help municipalities determine how much tax revenue they can raise from property taxes. Property taxes are listed as either a percentage (such as 1.3%) or as a decimal (such as 0.013). Thus the property taxes will be 1.3 percent of what the property itself has been valued at. However, things can get complicated depending on where you live. There may be multiple levels of government, such as county and municipality, that both have the power to levy a property tax. Furthermore, some states put restrictions on how often or by how much municipalities and counties can raise property taxes.
Finally, a major reason you will want to keep an eye on property records is to make sure they are accurate. Far too many people fail to look over their assessment notice closely and simply accept the value their local authority has placed on their property. However, an assessment notice can be challenged if it seems too high. For example, the description of the property may be incorrect or the land value may seem too high given the neighborhood. Lowering your assessment value even slightly could lead to significant tax savings over time.
Assessment, tax, and other property records are important for knowing what your property is worth or what a property you are interested in is worth. Knowing the value of a property has significant implications since it is what is used to determine how much you will pay in property taxes. By ensuring that your assessment is accurate, you'll also be ensuring that you're not paying too much in tax.