The Skinny on Lowering Property Taxes (Sacramento Region)

houseHave you received a letter? My household has been mailed two so far claiming that XYZ Company will help me lower my property taxes if I send them some money. Fellow residents, may I offer some advice? If you feel that the Assessor’s Office did not get your home value right, then don’t waste your money on out-of-area companies like this? If you need to contest your property tax levels, use a local specialist who knows your neighborhood very well and can personally talk you through the entire property tax appeal process.

Here is what you need to do:

1. First off, wait to see what the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office says your home is worth. They should have this data available around May 2009 (hopefully). Figures for 2009 property taxes aren’t even out yet, so be leery of companies that promise to be able to “lower your taxes” if they don’t even know what your home is assessed at?

2. If you are not satisfied with your property tax assessment, you can contact the Assessor’s Office and fill out a “Decline-in-Value Reassessment Application” between July 2, 2009 and November 30, 2009 (NOTE: Some other local counties besides Sacramento have a filing date of September 15, 2009). Basically, the application asks you to provide two similar properties that sold in 2009 between January 1 and March 31. Honestly though, this step is not an appeal and the best use of your time is to go straight to step 3. If you do want to do this step and you are unable to provide the needed information, I am capable of doing so for a very reasonable fee.

3. You can file an “Application for Changed Assessment” with the Assessment Appeals Board by November 30, 2009 for Sacramento County. This application basically asks you to provide evidence for your opinion of value. If you can supply this evidence through your own knowledge and research, that’s great. If not, this is where we can work together. As a local and reputable licensed real estate appraiser in the Sacramento area, I can act as a consultant on your behalf and provide detailed evidence of the true value of your property. With my detailed knowledge of how the appeals system works and what they look at to justify lowering property values, I can be a crucial asset for your property tax situation.

4. Don’t wait until the end of November to do Step 3. Make sure you have enough time to get your appeal in (or I can do that for you). After the November 30 deadline for Sacramento County, there is nothing more you can do to contest your property taxes if you miss the deadline.

Please contact me with any questions at 916-595-3735. I look forward to helping you understand the tax appeal process and working together if it is relevant for your needs.

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