Lowering the tax liability on your Milwaukee rental property is absolutely worth the effort if you get the opportunity. Regardless if you are new to rental property investment or a seasoned pro, analyzing your Milwaukee property value assessment to determine whether it’s correct is time well spent.
At Real Property Management Greater Milwaukee, we advise all of our landlords to take the time to do this as they might discover that the assessment is too high, which can lead to lower property taxes once re-evaluated. There are many ways to determine the accuracy of your current property assessment.
How a Property Should be Assessed
Properties are usually assessed annually by a town or city’s assessor. In many cases, the assessor examines the current status of your property and any improvements done and the current market conditions for similar homes in your area, and then they multiply that by the area’s level of assessment as decided by the municipality. If you have a multi-family building, the assessor will include in the valuation the income earned from the property over the past year minus maintenance costs. The cost of replacing the home is also considered in determining its assessment.
If you open your annual property tax bill and almost collapse from shock at the figures, take some deep breaths and then carefully think of the options you have to reduce the tax bill. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there is a deadline to dispute the assessment. Most municipalities will offer 30 to 60 days after receiving the assessment to challenge it.
How to Understand an Assessment
Observe what the assessment says about your property. You may find that you’ve suddenly become the owner of a Milwaukee property that is nothing like the one you actually have. For example, the assessment might incorrectly give your house four bedrooms when it only has three or places your address in an upscale neighborhood near your actual location. In one case, a homeowner’s one-story home with vaulted ceilings was wrongly listed as a two-story house and charged twice the actual square footage because the assessor viewed it from outside rather than doing a more detailed inspection.
The value of similar properties in your neighborhood can tell you a lot about your own property’s assessment. If you are friends with your neighbors, you might be able to learn from their assessment. Otherwise, it’s wise to compare your property with four or five in your general location that have the same amount of square footage and the same property size.
Look into Exemptions
While you’re taking the time to make sure the valuation of the property is accurate, also look into whether you’re getting any exemptions to which you’re entitled. Some states and many municipalities offer breaks to owners who are senior citizens or veterans, homes located in certain areas, and other exemptions. Your local tax assessor might be able to help you find any tax breaks to which you’re allowed.
If the first tax bill after you purchased your property shows that its tax assessment value went up by nearly 50 percent in one year, as what happened to an owner in Georgia, you’ll want to request for a review to help you understand any changes. Most tax assessors are willing to informally explain your assessment. If you’re not happy with the informal explanation, you can make a formal appeal. Property owners who went this route say they’ve been able to lower their assessments substantially.
When you work with Real Property Management Greater Milwaukee, we help you get the most out of your property and navigate it to success. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us online or call us at 262-309-6961 today.
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