Fight Your Property Taxes

What if we told you that you could save thousands on your home, all because it’s worth less than it was two years ago?

It comes down to fighting your property taxes. Tax expert Tracy Coenen did just that. She was the original owner of a townhouse in one of the most highly desired neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Last year, she got a letter saying that the assessed value of her home was being increased astronomically. The market was already in a decline and she could tell this was being done across the board in the hope that people would not object. But she pushed back, writing her own letter disputing the assessment. Within a few weeks, an assessor was at her home where she gave him her own price and he agreed.

This is an important lesson, Carmen stresses. Our property taxes are based on the value of our homes, which were worth a whole lot more a couple years ago.

You also need to present proof of your position to the assessor. After all, you can’t expect them to take you at your word that you think your taxes are too high. Present either a sale document if the home has been recently purchased or an appraisal if you’ve recently refinanced. You should also obtain real estate listings for the area and actual sale prices for properties in your neighborhood.

Coenen went through this process on her own, armed with some online research of property values and local assessors. The average homeowner can do it themselves as well, she says, although if you’re prepared to battle over the property taxes of something bigger than just your house – say, a commercial building – then consider hiring a professional.