Home Buying in Los Altos>Question Details

James Yang, Home Owner in Los Altos, CA

Los Altos remodeling, adding 700 sf on a 2100 sf house. how much will be property tax increase?

Asked by James Yang, Los Altos, CA Sun Jan 26, 2014

I am considering remodeling my house in los altos. My house is 2100 sf. I am considering to add a master bed room suite, remodel the kitchen and change the internal layout. It will add ~700 sf . I heard some people say the property tax will be increased using the old house square feet value. Other people told me the additional space will be calculated using the current market price.
How do I figure out the ballpark of the property tax increase?
In addition, how do include the tax impact for the internal changes (not square footage addtion)

Help the community by answering this question:


If your home is in a flood zone your addition is getting close to the percentage which requires the whole house to be brought up to current requirements to avoid/minimize flood damage. You may also be required to make energy efficiency changes which usually aren't too costly but may limit the number and size of windows you can add. Your addition and remodeling may trigger additional work which will also increase the assessed valuation. In general the Santa Clara County Assessor is usually realistic about the increased value to your home and bases your tax increase on that value. My experience with cities has been that they might try to justify the highest possible value for the work, resulting in higher permit fees and a chance of higher property taxes. I would select an architect based on the quality and effectiveness of his work rather than the tax consequences. I've seen architects propose changes which provide little value. John Barton based in Fremont did an excellent job designing my home. http://julianalee.com/diary.htm You might find my statistics showing the increased values from knocking down and building a new Los Altos home useful and interesting http://julianalee.com/los-altos/new-los-altos-homes.htm ...
Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
Web Reference: http://julianalee.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 9, 2014
I have heard that some people in Los Altos obtained the county permits for home remodeling and increase the living area space, but after the constructions were completed, they didn't have to report the completed projects to the county assessor to avoid paying additional property taxes. There are homes up for sale with public record of much less in sq ft of living areas vs. the actual areas of the homes placed on the market at open houses. Is this possible and legal?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 30, 2014
Thanks for everyone's replies. I called the county tax assessor this morning. The answers were vague.
Basically, there are two ways to assess the improvement: assess it as an incremental improvement, or assess it as a new construction.

The assessor said they need to see a finished project, before they can make assessment. They can't give me the rule of thumb/formula right now. It all depends...
I am hoping for a ballpark figure with a 90% confidence level before starting the project.

Does anyone have recommended architects that having good experience in designing for minimizing property tax? I was told that some architects can design the improvement in a way that minimizing the property tax increase.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
My experience with my own additions was that only new square footage was assessed for the tax increase. I would recommend you contact County Assessor's Office to get an official answer.
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
No way to tell for sure unless you contact your county assessor's office. You can estimate it by finding the taxes per square foot you are at now and adding the additional ones.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
I suggest you contact the county tax assessors. They are the ones that will be valuing the addition.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014

I did exactly the same type of remodel in 2004. The increase in my property tax was based on the market value of the addition. We added 704 sf and my increase in prop tax was about $200.00/month.
Flag Mon Jan 27, 2014
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