It's that time of year again, to pay your property taxes, at least in the Bay Area counties. I have been getting a lot of questions from friends about how much property taxes are especially given the current market conditions, credit crisis and government bailout that is going on.
Most people I have talked to do not realize that you can request that your property be reassessed by the county tax assessor if you have supporting documentation that a decline in value has occurred.
How do you do this? Let's walk through an example:
Let's say you bought a property in Stockton, CA, a quick glance at Trulia's Market Trends page reinforces what you probably already know, the house market is taking a beating.
If, for example, you purchased this house: 9829 Priscilla Lane, Stockton, CA 95212
for $350,000 on January 2, 2008 and compare it to the current market for similar homes you would see the following:
What this shows is that similar homes recently sold for ~$274k and similar homes that are on the market are listed around $290k. Based on this quick analysis there could be a possible decline in value of approximately $75k.
So how do you get this value adjustment?
It varies by county, but usually it requires filing a form with the county assessor and providing documentation of the decline in value.
For San Mateo County you can go here
For San Joaquin County you can go here
You can use Trulia as a good starting point to find out what the local market conditions are and by just typing in your property address in the search box you can find local comps.
During this time of uncertainty in the housing market, you should make sure you are not overpaying your property taxes.