Thursday, November 13, 2008

Property Tax Exemptions

Now you know why your property tax assessment is so high, but did you know what it takes to qualify for a senior tax exemption? Here it is right off the King County website:

RCW 84.36.381 "grants property tax exemptions if your total annual income is $30,000 or less and if you are 61 years of age or older, or you are retired because of physical disability, or if you are a widow or widower at least 57 years of age whose spouse had an exemption at the time of his or her death."

That pretty well narrows it down! Not many of us are going to qualify for senior exemption, but if you do, it is well worth the effort to apply. Just go to:

If you want to dispute your assessment, you may be running out of time, as you have a limited time to appeal. Check out the above website and go to "disputes."

I hope this helps.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The tax assessor must have goofed!

I have had several calls lately from unhappy homeowners who can't understand why their property taxes are so high on their latest assessment notice. I'm sure everyone is unhappy! I am. I have been asked if I can come up with data that will prove their point to the assessor that prices are down, not up. I'm waiting to see if any of these people get any relief from the assessor's office! Unfortunately, the taxing process is a couple of years behind and that is why your assessed value is usually under what it's true value is. That has been a pretty true reflection of values with the houses that I market, or that are listed for sale. At least it WAS true. Now the assessed value is actually at or even above what some houses can sell for. That is thanks to our drop in housing values over the past year.

If you really consider this dilemma, you will see the difficulty that the assessor's office has in establishing value. They can't go out and inspect every house and have appraisals and market analyses. So, we must put up with a flawed system, but that doesn't mean that you can't appeal your case to the assessor and I wish you luck. If you do find that they listen and adjust your value downward, shoot me an email and let me know.

And I have to say that inspite of the discouragement of falling home prices for those trying to sell, it is about time that prices stop jumping up so high that many people are priced right out of home ownership. It looks like things are leveling out a bit, so maybe prices will begin to creep up but let's hope it's not at breakneck speed!