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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 July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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