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California Home Values Are Falling: Can There Be an Upside?By Sheryl Landrum
Home Worth Columnist
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In the past two years, most homeowners have watched helplessly as their home values dropped. Those who purchased their homes within the last five years are not only wondering "how much is my home worth?" but are also concerned about high property tax bills they are paying based on home value that is no longer there. Property taxes are calculated from a home's purchase price and subsequent value assessments. Homeowners who bought at the height of the housing bubble have experienced the biggest losses in home value. Homeowners who are paying property taxes on an assessed home value of $800,000 may find their home is now valued at $700,000. If your home's value has dropped is there relief in sight for reducing your property taxes?
A Loss in Home Value May Equate to a Reduction in Property TaxesProperty tax assessments can vary from state to state; however, one thing we can be sure of is that all homeowners pay them. In California, property taxes are approximately 1.125% of the home's purchase price. With home values high, Californians generally pay sizeable property taxes to the assessor's office each year. Taxpayers in other states may want to file the forms to appeal their last property tax assessment -- this option is available in all states and fairly easy to do.
Your Home's Value Is not Determined by the Assessor's OfficeBut its taxable value is -- however, if the government has it wrong you can speak up and many appeals are granted. Californians have until May 30, 2008 to request a review of their home's assessment with their county tax assessor at no charge to the homeowner. You may be asked to support a drop in home value by listing comparable home sales within your area. Remember to get the sales prices, not the asking prices. These can be obtained from title companies, county assessors' Web sites, real estate agents, or private research firms.
Most of us could use a little help reducing expenses in today's slowing economy and reducing our property tax bills can help. If you have any questions about how much your home is worth and valued by the County Assessor's Office, call them today and see what you can learn about lowering your home's property tax bill.
About the Author
Sheryl Landrum is a Senior Loan Officer with First Capital Mortgage of San Diego at the Prudential Realty Office in Bonsall, California.