The SF Bay Area is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. During the boom we all watched as our property values soared and felt a sense of security in knowing we had all that money for the future. When property taxes rose at the same time, nobody cared. Why worry about a few thousand dollars when I'm making hundreds of thousands in appreciation?
Well, the future is upon us and values have collapsed. Unfortunately, the property taxes haven't. To make matters worse, the tax assessor is under no obligation to review your property to see if you're overpaying. How bad can it be? Here's an example...
Let's say you bought a home in Los Altos for $2 million at the peak. It's a nice 4BR/3BA on a quarter acre with upgrades and conveniences. That house is costing you about $22,000 a year in property taxes. That same house now is probably worth about $1.7M, given that the market has dropped about 15%. If the assessor revalues your home at $1.7 million your taxes should be about $18,700. That's a savings of about $3300!
To get this break, all you need to do is call the county tax assessors office and ask for an appraisal. It will take time but the effort is well worth it. You can do it all by yourself, don't fall for scams implying that a company can do it for you. Go save yourself some money and call today!
The website is here: www.scc-assessor.org and their number is 408-299-5500.