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Landing a Look at Real Estate Taxes


Many people pride themselves on being property owners; but along with that privilege comes the obligation of real estate taxes. Also called property taxes, real estate taxes are based on the value of a piece of land and whatever type of structure that might be built on top of it. By calculating a number of factors together, a certified assessor can proficiently determine the value of a piece of real estate. Once this is done, a local tax rate is applied in the form of a percentage. Tax rates can vary from one area to another and are typically collected on an annual or biannual basis.

Real estate taxes are most often levied by the city or county in which the property is located. Depending on the area, these taxes can be easily reasonably priced or they can be surprisingly steep. Those properties located where the weather is good and has much in the way of commerce or tourism will have higher real estate taxes than unpopulated rural areas. Extensive records monitor any improvements made to real estate that may affect its value. The revenue collected from these taxes provides a number of local public services, programs and facilities such as schools, parks or even city wide trash collection.

Many want to increase the value of their property but know this will also mean an increase in real estate taxes. Nonetheless, the additional rewards for the property owner can be quite advantageous. By simply adding landscaping, one can nicely increase their property's value. As the taxes go higher, so does equity in the property, meaning the chance for a higher home equity loan. Another bonus is that real estate taxes and any other home improvements can be used as legitimate deductions when the owner files his or her annual income tax return. When property values plummet, this can mean lower taxes; however, should an owner decide to sell the piece of real estate, it can mean doing so at a loss.

There are a number of books, articles and internet sites offering advice to property owners on how to lower their real estate taxes. Advice ranges from choosing a state with lower property tax rates to assuring the information about currently owned property is accurate and up to date. Knowing what methods of evaluation are used by local assessors in determining property value is also very necessary. There are also tax breaks offered to those who are veterans or on fixed incomes. Buildings that greatly rely on energy conserving features also receive breaks as do structures of historical importance.

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