Do you think you’re paying too much in property taxes, but don’t know where to start in order to prove this? Compare how much other similar properties are paying to what you are paying and double-check several other details about your property, then decide if you have a case for filing for property tax grievance (remember that Grievance Day for NYC falls on March 15, 2016!).
If you don’t want to hire someone specialized to mine the data for you, there are a couple of things you can do on your own. First of all, you need to get on the New York Department of Taxation and Finance’s website and learn as much as you can about the grievance procedures and forms.
Secondly, do some digging to see if the assessment was consistent with reality. Here are a couple of basic things you can double-check:
The description of your home – if there are more rooms recorded or a bigger square footage, then you can choose to pursue a tax appeal;
The assessed value of your property – in certain cases, it may be higher than the price you paid for the property if you recently purchased your property;
What your neighbors with similar homes are paying in taxes – your appraiser might have taken into account other properties which are not similar to yours.
There are several tools on the market which can help you access information on your neighbors’ properties:
1. Consult a tax map
Of course, you don’t have to go knocking on people’s doors to find out how much they pay in taxes. You don’t even have to spend long hours looking up information in public records. Real estate data intelligence website PropertyShark makes a Tax Value per Square Foot Map available to help you get an overview of the area you live in and find out how much tax similar properties in your neighborhood are paying.
2. Use a Comparables tool
The Comparables tool is usually used by appraisers and other real estate professionals to estimate the market value of a property based on prices paid for similar sold homes. However, it’s also a very useful resource for any property owner wanting to find all the homes in an area that are similar in size and characteristics to his or hers.
To use Comps on PropertyShark you need to know your search criteria and be prepared to do some filtering according to location, square footage, or tax class.
Once you identified other homes which are similar to yours, you can also research each of them more in-depth in order to draw more accurate conclusions regarding your own property. Databases like PropertyShark are quite useful when it comes to property research, as they make available almost every piece of information on a property, including its description, assessed value, sales history and tax data – in the form of property reports.