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Dawn Ruete's Blog

By Dawn Ruete | Agent in Bridgewater, NJ

Basic Information on NJ Property Taxes for Home Buyers

You want to buy a home but you are unsure of what your property taxes could be? Location can have an impact on the bulk of your property-tax bill, the quality of schools, and probably how long you will stay in that house. The quality of the neighborhood is the most important factor my buyers in terms of upkeep and appeal. Its convenience to work is second most important to buyers, and affordability and convenience to family and friends.

It will certainly make a difference in whether you profit from selling it in the future!

What Controls Real-Estate Taxes?

Property tax is the primary source of revenue for the American municipality, whether it is a city of millions or a small rural community. The integrity of the community's real estate has always been a large factor in determining the tax structure.

Everyone pays property taxes in some form. Tenants pay in their rent and homeowners and condominium owners pay taxes directly to the local government or through their mortgage lender. Co-op owners pay in their maintenance fees. 

Condominium owners actually pay two property taxes:

1.     the tax on their own unit

2.     a portion of the real-estate tax for the common areas of the complex (paid through their monthly maintenance fee).

All taxable property is allocated “a value” assessed by a local licensed appraiser in each municipality.

There are two factors used in formulating the amount you will pay in property taxes: mill rate and assessed valuation. A mill is one-tenth of one cent. You pay the actual dollar figure on each $1,000 of the assessed value of your property. Therefore, if your home’s assessment is at $400,000 and your town's mill rate is 15.7, then you must pay $15.70 for each $1,000 of assessed value. Multiply 400 by 15.7 to give you a tax bill of $6280.

Searching for the town with the lowest mill rate will not bring you the lowest property taxes. Not every town bases its mill rate on an assessment of 100 percent of fair market value. Town A might have a mill rate of 15.7 on 60 percent of fair market value assessment, while Town B has the same mill rate on 100 percent of fair market value. Thus, you will pay considerably lower taxes for the same amount of house in Town A.

I refer to this website: http://www.njslom.org/property-tax-history/index.html just to keep up to date on the local municipalities here in NJ. You may find it helpful.

In addition, http://www.yourmoney.nj.gov/transparency/property/ is another great website, which was designed for Governor Christie who believes the tools on this site will help taxpayers better understand New Jersey’s public finances.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. My area of expertise is Central New Jersey. 

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