How-To: Challenge Your Property Taxes

It’s been tough to post here and at Rain City Guide because of work and family obligations, but here is some helpful information about petitioning to reduce your property taxes:

In escrow, now is the time we start seeing some (not all) 2009 property tax assessments show up in title reports when working on transactions.   Do not be confused.  These are in fact 2009 assessments that were formulated in 2008.   The new assessments for 2010 are what this post is about.  What?  2010?  But I need relief now!  Sound odd?  That’s how taxes are done.

And, a snippet from the Snohomish County Assessors office:

Snohomish County updates all taxable real and personal property assessed values annually as of Jan. 1st of each year. The next update will be mailed for most properties in June of 2009 and the assessment date will be as of Jan. 1st of 2009. The 2009 assessments will be used to calculate property taxes owed in 2010.

Since real estate market values have been dropping, it’s high time to put some change back into your wallet where it belongs.   The links below are for the assessor’s offices and the forms needed to submit to challenge/petition your property tax bill.

There have been very few conversations I’ve had with recent clients that have not circled back to “the market.”  I don’t bring up “the real estate market,” the client does.  A few times I have mentioned that they may want to take the time to fill out the forms and petition the property tax bill.   Cool, they say.  How do I do it?  Here’s how:

  • Find out what property type you have:  is it a rambler?  How about a Tudor?  Two story with basement?  Or, a garage house like The Tim’s (couldn’t resist Mr. Ellis)
  • Go to Redfin, or Estately website or any other website that posts sales data that is searchable by your zip code, neighborhood or any other mechanism.  Or, call your Realtor and have them pull comps (comparable) to see if they can find a few homes that have sold that would be a good case to show the assessors that they need to humbly reconsider the property tax valuation, downward.
  • Always spy on what sales comps are in your neighborhood.
  • When valuations drop, get moving and petition your tax valuation.

Being complacent will cost you money.  Take the time to do this.   Typically (check your own county assessor rules & regulations) you must file your appeal/petition by July 1st or within 60 days after receiving your tax assessor notice (see your county petition rules).

I did this and saved $1,000 per year for the 2009 tax year.   That’s nearly $100 off my monthly mortgage payment (for those that include tax impounds in your monthly mortgage payment).

On a side note, it is pretty tough for anyone to not be personally impacted by this difficult economic and employment environment we find ourselves in, either by knowing of someone or a family member with job loss or equivalent (or impending job loss), but it is important to keep in mind that if you have the means to reach out and support them, do it.   The smallest thing can help reduce someone’s stress.  It could be me or you that needs it next.

-S Crow

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

About S-Crow

"S-Crow" (Tim Kane) is co-owner (with spouse Lynlee, LPO-Designated escrow Officer) of Legacy Escrow Service, Inc., an authentic independent escrow firm closing residential purchase/sale and refinance transactions.