San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor Rising Home Prices Catch the Attention of the Tax Assessor. | The White Oaks Blog
San Carlos Real Estate July 9, 2013

Rising Home Prices Catch the Attention of the Tax Assessor.

by Chuck Gillooley

Upside.

The rapid rise in home prices in San Carlos has been a blessing for homeowners, especially those who have decided to sell their home this year.  As has been well documented on this site, sellers are having an absolute banner year in 2013 as they’ve taken advantage of sparse inventory and insatiable demand for homes in San Carlos.   But even for those who are staying put and not selling, the recent surge in home values has been a blessing as well.

For some homeowners, the rise in home value means that they now have enough equity in their home to refinance their mortgage to take advantage of these unprecedented low interest rates.  This is especially important for those homeowners who had less than 20% equity in their property, and were paying costly private mortgage insurance (PMI) as part of their loan payment.   The sudden surge in equity unshackles them from costly monthly PMI payments — this alone puts several hundred dollars back in their pocket every month.

Higher home values even helps those who plan to remodel their home in the near future, since many of those projects will be funded by home equity lines of credit.  And the higher the equity, the more money homeowners can borrow.

But like with everything else in life, nothing comes for free.    And this case is no different.

Letters in the Mail.

If you think that home buyers and seller are the only ones paying attention to the escalating home prices, think again.  As quite a few San Carlos homeowners have found out the past couple of weeks, the San Mateo County Tax Assessor is also paying very close attention to escalating home prices in San Carlos and elsewhere in San Mateo County, and they want in on the action.  A number of residents informed me that they have received notice from the Assessor has significantly increased the assessed value of their home, and of course, their property taxes will be increased accordingly.    One resident informed me that their assessed value was increased by 24% in just one year.

This action shouldn’t be a total surprise to anyone.  It was only a few years ago that the Assessor’s office proactively lowered the assessed value of over 40,000 in homes in San Mateo County after the credit crash and recession that began 2008.   They made it very clear then that they would reserve the right to reset values back up to pre-recession levels when the market deemed it was time.  It looks like now is indeed that time for some homeowners.

What You Can Do.

Just as it was after the crash, if you feel that the assessed value of your home is too high, you can contest the figure that the County has assigned to your home by simply going to their website and completing a Decline in Value Request Form.   If you’re going to claim that your home is worth less than the County has assigned, you’d better do your homework and have valid comparable sales in hand.  Remember, they have access to the same data that you do, so it’s really all about how well prepared you are with your comps.

Your Realtor should be able to provide you with those comparable sales, or you can just shoot me an email and I’d be happy to do it for you, as I have already done for numerous homeowners.
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