I went to the Public Records for you & took a quick look at some Conrad Weiser homes in your price point, and as a (VERY GENERAL) ballpark figure (and obviously only knowing the square footage and school district for your house), having looked at other assessments in the area, I think you should probably be looking at taxes between $3,000 and $4,000, depending on the condition, age, style, & acreage of your home. (New construction in Berks Co. is being assessed at 65% of sale price, so if you can find good comparables that hold up the $160,000 sale price of your house, you stand a good chance of getting an assessment around $110,000. Then depending on whichever part of Conrad Weiser you are in - i.e. South Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Womelsdorf, Marion, North Heidelberg or Robesonia - your taxes will vary due to the different rates for each district.)
I hope this info helps you out - I know it's a lot, the agent who helped you buy your house certainly ought to be able to help you with good comparables, but if you have any problems, please feel free to contact me and I'll help you as much as I can!
I actually lived in the Conrad Weiser school district for six years, and unfortunately the reason the taxes are so high is that there is very little commercial business located within the district and it's a large, widespread area with some manufactured home parks as well, so the district is dependent on residential homes to pay the majority of the taxes.
However, the good news is that you can appeal your taxes as of July 2009 (just note that the Appeals time runs from July 1 to August 15, 2009), and any tax abatement won't come into effect until 2010 tax year, but it's worth doing.) You'll need to get a Realtor to give you at least 3 Comparable Sales (three houses as closely related to yours as possible, i.e. same style, same square footage, within 1-3 miles) a couple of weeks prior to handing in your appeals form, so that you have the most current Sales from which to draw - since the market is trending downwards, you will want the lowest comparable sales in your neighborhood so that the lower possible market value is placed on your house for the purposes of assessment. Normally they use the sale price if the house has recently been sold, but in the case of a foreclosure, that can be iffy since a foreclosure can artifically depress the market price of a house, so either a formal appraisal or the Comparable Sales are a better bet. I've attached a link for you to click to get more information from the Berk County website, where you can find out lots more on appealing your taxes (I just helped a neighbor reduce her taxes by $5,600, so it's well worth doing!!!)
Good luck - and if you have any further questions, feel free to e-mail me.
I am shocked to learn that taxes on a $160k home are that much! Thank you all for the information too!! I am going to make sure that I find out if you were able to get them reduced, please keep us inofrmed, good luck!
I know what you mean about the taxes being so high. Why????? Conrad Weiser is an up and coming area and school district. I would be very happy to provide you with the form and CMA to submit to appeal the taxes you are paying. Now appealing is a process, I can talk to you more about that as well. I have helped quite a few homeowners with this process. You can contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at