Post written by Jason Edmister
Real Estate Loan Officer / AVP
Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase a home!
There’s nothing more exciting than buying a home, especially when it’s your first home. There’s also much to consider.
What type and size of house do you want and in what neighborhood? How much can you afford? What about a down payment? And, what are the property taxes?
Property taxes – what?
Yes, you read it correctly. No one likes talking about taxes, but it’s an important consideration when you’re exploring the purchase of a home.
What are property taxes?
Collected by the local government, property taxes are usually based on the value of a property, including land. The money generally funds education, road and highway construction, public servants such as law enforcement and fire services, as well as other services that benefit the community.
Knowing and understanding what the property taxes will be on a house is important because, if you escrow the property taxes, it becomes part of your monthly house payment. (With an escrow account, funds are set aside to make payments for your homeowner’s insurance and your property taxes.)
In addition, property taxes can rise based on a reassessment of value after a home is purchased.
How do you find property tax information?
Property taxes are public domain so you can view the taxes assessed to any home either by:
(1) accessing the county treasurer’s website and locating the tax bill utilizing such services as Tyler Technologies or whatever database used by the county to which the property is located.
(2) If the specific county does not report the tax assessments online, then you may need to acquire the information directly from the county treasurer/assessor’s office.
It’s important to note that property taxes can be a bit tricky as the current assessment may be lower due to Tax Relief Programs, such as the current owner’s veteran status or an elderly credit.
In other words, what you see may be a tax bill that is less than the tax bill that you will receive.
Please have your real estate professional review the current property taxes and look at the Tax Relief programs in the county to see if any pertain to you.
Once you purchase the home, the county will most likely reach out to you to attain information regarding your purchase. This information will be used to update the assessment of your property.
If you feel the assessment is too high, you can appeal, so please read your assessment letter and contact your county assessor to start the process if that is the case.
Each county may use different formulas to assess your taxes and your assessment letter shows you the breakdown of your tax bill.
The best way to find your county tax assessment is to simply Google your county name and property tax. Another site that can be helpful is https://svc.mt.gov/dor/property.
Become aware and knowledgeable of legislation and proposals that affect your property taxes such as school levies and bonds. If it affects your property taxes, you have the right to vote.
Last thing to remember…
If your mortgage loan contains an escrow account set aside to collect for property taxes and most likely home insurance (hazard insurance) as well, you will still receive the property tax statement from the county. Your mortgage servicer also receives a copy as well.
Please remember that it’s included in your monthly payment so the mortgage servicer will pay it. In the rare circumstance you receive a delinquency notice, contact your mortgage servicer immediately.
Buying and owning a home is fun and exciting. But we know, at times, it can feel confusing and complex too.
At Stockman Bank, our goal is to make the process simple and easy. Our real estate lending officers are ready to guide you, step by step, through the process – including a review of property taxes!