It’s an odd-numbered year. For property owners, that means it’s again time for property assessments.
According to Colorado law, homes are re-appraised every two years, always on the odd-numbered year. This year, as housing prices reach record highs due to the hot Denver real estate market, homeowners might feel more anxiety than usual. But higher assessments aren’t necessarily cause for worry, and knowing some facts might help ease the pain.
- Your appraisal doesn’t reflect current value. Assessments are based on comparisons to properties that sold during the 24-month period ending on June 30 of the year prior to the reappraisal. (New values for 2015 will be based on properties that sold between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014.)
- Colorado is one of the lowest tax states in the country.
- Residential owners receive much more favorable tax rates than owners of commercial property, paying around one-fourth of what commercial owners pay.
- Property taxes are based on city/county budgets. They generally rise because budgets increase – not necessarily because your property value goes up. When your property values rises, everyone else’s does, too, so your share of the tax stays about the same.
- 60% of Denver’s property taxes go to schools; better schools create stronger neighborhoods and ensure solid property values in the future.
- Denver senior citizens and their surviving spouses are exempted from 50% of the first $200,000 in actual value of their primary residence, provided certain requirements (age 65 and 10-year residency) are met. The same applies to disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. (Deadline for application is July 15, 2015.)
While your instinct upon receiving a higher assessment might be to try get the valuation lowered, these appeals are rarely successful unless the assessment contains factual errors (for example, listing that your home has 3 bedrooms, when, in fact, it has only 2). Best to take a deep breath and appreciate the rising value of your home.
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