What Are Property Taxes & Do I Have To Pay Them?

It is said that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. Once again it is tax season. Questions arise like do I have to pay property taxes? What is the purpose? And what happens in the event that I do not pay the taxes? Those are all good questions that should be asked prior to purchasing a home, as it is an additional cost to the mortgage.

But what are property taxes? Simply put, they're a tax levied by local municipalities on any property you own.

Is it Necessary for a Homeowner to Pay Property Tax?   The short answer here is yes. A homeowner can opt to not pay property taxes, but that generally results in a lien on the property, making it difficult for the homeowner to sell the property or purchase other properties. A lien is a restriction on the property that encumbers the homeowner. Thus, if a homeowner wants to make future purchases and sell the home quickly, it is necessary to free the property from liens and pay the appropriate taxes and fees associated with owning property.

What is the Purpose of Property Tax?  Believe it or not, property taxes serve an important and justified purpose. Assessing property taxes helps communities enjoy public services by defraying the costs of those services to the public. The income resulting from property taxes can fund city services, including sanitation, schools, government, local infrastructure, recreation such as parks and zoos, emergency services, museums, and a host of other public services.

How are property taxes calculated?  Not only are property taxes found to be frustrating, but there is confusion surrounding how the number is determined. Generally, the jurisdiction enacting the tax will send an appraiser to determine the value of the property based on several factors, including the amount of maintenance for improvements, depreciation of the property, market factors. The tax is generally a percentage of the home’s total value as set by the appraiser.

Tips   The best resource for learning exactly how property tax is assessed is the County Commissioner’s office where the home is located. Each county has its own formula for calculating the property tax. The county and location within the county can have a large impact on the amount of property taxes a homeowner must pay. For example, North Fulton Atlanta properties assess higher property taxes than South Fulton Properties.

No one wants to pay high taxes. One way to lower your property tax is to remain vigilant. A volatile real estate market greatly influences the value of a home. If a home’s appraisal falls below market value, the homeowner can often dispute the amount of the property tax and the authorities will sometimes accordingly adjust the tax based on the current market value of that home.

Another way to keep taxes from sneaking up is to pay the taxes through the mortgage’s escrow. Many mortgage companies will allow the homeowner to roll the tax payments in with the mortgage. This is important to remember during the purchase of a new home.

With so many homes for sell in the Atlanta market, it is important that a homeowner do his or her research prior to purchasing a home. Factor in the property taxes when considering mortgage payments.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the greater Atlanta area, the experts with Atlanta Real Estate Brokers are ready to help. With over 20 years in the business, we have gained invaluable industry knowledge and experience. From buying, selling, or building a new home in Atlanta, we’ve got you covered. If you’d like to find out more information on how we can help you today, please visit www.AtlantaRealEstateBrokers.com.

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