Property Taxes and You

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We just received another statement from our bank, updating us on the house. Since we’ve been paying extra towards the principal, we’ve been looking forward to seeing the balance go down. Looking at our mortgage statement, though, I couldn’t help but notice that a portion of our money in escrow is for mortgage insurance, home owner’s insurance, my personal favorite, property taxes.

Our property taxes for our town home are due by the end of December every year. We get a letter from our county and municipality during the summer to let us know what our tax obligation is. By having a portion of our mortgage payments allocated for the bill, we’re able to have it taken care of painlessly.

What are Property Taxes?

Curious to find out more about property taxes, I decided to check online and dig around a bit. Property taxes are used as a source of revenue for local government.The revenue is used for public services such as fire, police, and school funding. Property tax is determined by the assessed value of your piece of real estate and the current rate in your location.

Most Expensive Places for Property Taxes

CNN had a fascinating piece on some of the most expensive counties in the United States for property taxes. It may come as no surprise to many to see that the Northeast had the highest property taxes in the nation.

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • New Hampshire

Since tax rates can change through the years, it’s helpful to check lists like the one CNN has regularly.

Learning How Much You Owe

If you’re curious to see what your municipality’s current tax rate is or if you want to see what your house is assessed for, go online to your local government’s tax/revenue department’s site. We used the site for the city of Raleigh and we were able to see our past tax bills as well. It’s quickest and easiest way to stop on top of it.

Due to the downturn in real estate with some areas of the country, it doesn’t hurt to check to make sure your assessment is accurate. You may be able to dispute your tax bill and get it lowered if you can prove that property value has decreased since the last assessment.

Your Property Taxes

I’d love to see how much everyone is paying with their property taxes. What is your local property tax rate? Does your escrow account take care of the annual payments or do you take care of it yourself?

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