For house search budgeting purposes how much should we plan on paying in property taxes?

Asked by Partyof4, 60502 Tue Nov 25, 2008

We are looking at buying in Amherst, Clarence or Williamsville. I am just looking for a ballpark percentage of the sales price to use as a rule of thumb. Also, are there any limits to how much they can raise property taxes year over year? Do they adjust the next year's taxes to reflect the latest sales price?

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Joe Sorrenti…, , Buffalo, NY
Tue Nov 25, 2008
Unfortunately, it is not easy to give a single answer. The best thing to do is to call the town assessor's office of each town to get a clear answer. I can try to give you a general idea though. Let's start with Amherst. Currently, Amherst properties are assessed at 92% of market value which the town assessor's office has determined. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get a clear answer on some of these but, the next thing that impacts the rate per thousand is the school district. Again, go to the Amherst site for a more detailed picture of what a property is currently being taxed:
There are 4 different school districts within the town of Amherst and the school tax rate varies from district to district as does the fire district. Therefore, your best bet is to call the town Assessors office. If you want a ballpark figure for Amherst, try using $34/thousand. That will give you a true tax estimate without the STAR reduction (avg. $450-550/yr). Williamsville is a Village government within the Town of Amherst but also a postal zone for mail delivery purposes. If the property you are interested in is in the Village (call to find out) there will be additional tax.
Unfortunately the Town of Clarence details are not up on line so you have to call. There are 2 major school districts that service the Town of Clarence those being Williamsville Central and Clarence Central. The town assessor's office will give you the info based on the address (for phone numbers - I believe the rate per thousand for a home in Clarence and in the Williamsville schools is $29/thousand, in Clarence w/Clarence Central Schools $25 or $26/thousand. Regardless of what the assessed value is in either of these towns, your sale price becomes your new market value. Depending on when they do revaluation, you can expect to have the value adjusted within 12-18 months if the sale price is higher than the current market value. To the best of my knowledge, Clarence is still on full value assessment. From what I have seen in recent past, if you purchase a home and the sale price was LOWER than the current established market value, you will most likely have to go through the Assessment Review process of that town to get it adjusted. All of the information and forms are on each of the town's site. If you know before closing that you are purchasing a home where the established market value (not assessed value) is lower that what you are paying, be sure to get a copy of the Bank Appraisal before closing. If you are getting a mortgage, you are generally required to pay for that which the bank keeps. If you are paying cash, I recommend that you have an appraisal done at the time of occupancy. You will need that to challenge the assessment along with your sales contract. If it is a foreclosure and is not habitable at the time of closing, they will take the after-sale improvements in consideration.
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Joe Sorrentino
MJ Peterson Real Estate
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Cameron Piper, Agent, Forest Lake, MN
Tue Nov 25, 2008

I am out of area agent so my answer only speaks to real estate as a general concept, as a whole the business is local so you will want to get an answer from somone in your area as well.

When ballparking taxes for a client we generally shoot high at .5 - 1% of sales price annually. Please keep in mind that this number varies wildly and a more appropriate measure would be to find an area (which you have) and a price range. From this try to develope some sort of average for the area - this will be a much better indicator for you.

Most areas do have caps on how much they can raise your taxes in one year. Call the county where you are looking and ask the same question.

Cameron Piper
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