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4 Actionable Tips On How You Can Lower Your Property Taxes

4 Actionable Tips On How You Can Lower Your Property Taxes

The value of real estate properties have been increasing again and as a result, the assessments on properties are also increasing. As a result, property taxes are also on the rise. High property taxes is not one of the best benefits of owning a home, so homeowners are constantly finding ways to make it appear that their house does not deserve a high assessment value.

There are various ways that you can do to ensure that you would pay a lower property tax, no matter where you are.

1. Present an Unpresentable House

This might sound like a weird advice, but if you are planning on improving your home, it should be done after the assessment for the improvement of your house might have the assessor believe that these improvements have added value to your house.

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Moreover, your property is being assessed based on your neighborhood and if you are living in a house that is considerably better than the other homes located in your area, your property would have a higher assessed value.

Remember that you are trying to reduce the assessed value and not the actual property tax, since your tax rate will be computed based on the assessed value. If you haven’t found a home yet, it might be better to begin your quest with properties that are sold below market value since they would equate to lower property taxes. One site that specializes in finding properties nationwide that are below market value is assetcolumn.com.

2. Request for the Property Tax Card and Review it

The property tax card is held by your local assessor’s office and it contains the essential information that has been gathered on your property. It holds data on the size of the property, the number of rooms and its corresponding dimension, and any material fixtures and improvements done on the home.

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However, homeowner’s do not take advantage of this informational device that probably holds discrepancies that can allow them to apply for re-assessment. No matter how small the mistake is, it is still the duty of the local assessor to correct them and to charge you for the right amount of property tax.

3. Investigate Comparable Assessments

If you want to appeal your property tax, it is better if you back up you case with concrete evidence. Your case will be easier to attend to since you have proof of your argument. All you would need to do is submit photos of comparable homes around your area that were sold recently and the details about the sales. If you are trying to sell your house, you can also submit a copy of the offers you have received on your home as proof of your appeal. If your appeal is based on your gut feel, it is highly likely that it will be ignored. However, if you present an appeal with complete documentations and written support, the re-evaluation would most likely be granted.

One way to find out about the possible offer that I can receive on my property is by using needtosellmyhousefast.com. I have tried using it myself and they called me almost immediately with a direct offer.

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4. Know the Assessment Process

The assessment process begins with the sending out of assessment notice. Since the homeowner would be notified of the arrival of the assessor, it is the homeowner’s duty to be present during assessment so they can point out the problem areas of the home.  If the assessor goes about the assessment on their own, it is more than likely that they will focus on the things that can increase the assessment of the house.

The notice would also carry details on who to discuss their issues with if they complaints, the process on how to make an appeal, and the allowed time to make an appeal. These details can vary per state so you have to be more careful when it comes to reading the assessment notice. According to Vera Gibbons, “You will also be given a specific time frame in which to make your case. Take note because while in some areas you may have a full six weeks to appeal (from the time you receive the assessment in the mail), in other areas, you’ll have as little as two weeks.

Moreover, once an appeal has been granted, it is important that you know the process and present your evidence in a professional manner. It is essential that you show the assessor that you know what you are talking about and you have done thorough research on the matter.

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Finally, when arguing for a lower tax rate, it is vital that you have all the details regarding your argument since the only way to get better results is by having evidence that rest on cold hard facts. The government needs money and they get money from taxes, but it does not always mean that they do not allow the taxpayer to correct their tax rate. Several homeowners have overpriced taxes because they assume their property taxes are final, but if you know the process, you will realize that are capable of changing the amount you pay if you have done sufficient research on the topic.

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Abhay Jeet Mishra

Writer at Lifehack & Enterested.com

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

Reference

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