2020欧洲杯体育平台

When I bought a new house, I didn't anticipate the biggest change to my budget: property taxes

couple painting house couple painting house
The author is not pictured.
Alistair Berg/Getty Images
  • My wife and I moved from California to New York in 2016 and bought a new house. I expected my property taxes to go up by a few thousand dollars, but I was in for a surprise.
  • After we tore down and rebuilt our home, our property taxes went from $10,000 in California to $20,000; I was prepared for an increase of about $4,000 when we moved.
  • Now, I tell prospective home buyers to anticipate rising property taxes if they're planning to make any upgrades to their home, especially if adding square footage.
  • Learn how to get the best mortgage rate »

In mid-2016, my wife, son, and I packed up our lovely home in Glendale, California, a city nestled into the hills just north of Los Angeles, and moved to Port Washington, New York, a town a bit east of New York City. In many ways, the move was lateral. Home prices were about on par between the old neighborhood and the new one, as were prices for groceries, dining, most retail goods, and so forth.

And while our New York house was larger than our California home, the difference wasn't dramatic, and soon enough that extra space would be filled by a new resident — our daughter. 

One other aspect of our New York home seemed, at first, only slightly larger than our Southern California house: property taxes. Our annual property taxes2020欧洲杯体育平台 in Glendale were just under $10,000 the year we left, and would be around $14,000 in our new property; a marked increase, but not a gut punch.

However, about a year after we moved in, the house was re-assessed. We had completed a major renovation — really a tear-down and rebuild — which led to annual property taxes around $20,000 a year. That was a two-fold increase over our house in Glendale, and a full $6,000 more annually than I was even expecting. (That plus the new baby, which didn't exactly decrease our expenses.)

2020欧洲杯体育平台As it happens, the in the US, and we knew that going in. It wasn't the first increase that was the surprise, though, it was the dramatic jump in costs after reassessment. 

My advice for home buyers

Now, when I talk to friends who are thinking about buying homes2020欧洲杯体育平台 I offer some advice: When calculating the total cost of home ownership, you need to consider what your expenses might be after any work you do, even if you don't have plans for renovations or additions at present. 

All permitted work you do on your home can — and likely will — increase your property taxes, and will do so without fail if you add square footage. Look for comps both to the home you are considering buying as well as for those that might resemble a renovated residence later down the line. 

2020欧洲杯体育平台If you can figure out what the home will be worth later, you can calculate the taxes — there's no mystery to it: In Port Washington, for example, property tax rates for residences are at present $23.43 per $1,000. So for example, a $500,000 home would pay $11,715 in property tax annually. 

Here's the catch: What if a new train stop or shopping plaza goes up nearby, causing the value of your entire neighborhood to rise? Or what if an ascendant economy inflates home values nationwide? The fact is, even with careful planning and forecasting, your property taxes still may rise (or fall, of course) without you having anticipated the change.

The value of higher property taxes

There is, though, another side to the property tax story. In many places, property taxes go primarily to fund public schools. That can, in theory, create a strong enough school system for even the most demanding parents to send their children to public school, thus offsetting the cost of a private education. 

Property taxes also fund much of the budgets for police, fire, and rescue, and for roadways and other public works, so areas with higher property taxes are usually safer and in better repair than lesser-taxed places.

2020欧洲杯体育平台And finally, unlike with income tax or sales tax, which are immutable, you can, in most cases, argue that you are paying too much in property tax and request a reassessment. The process is called grieving, and  successful property tax grievance can have the assessed value of your home reduced in the eyes of the town (or city or county, depending on how municipalities around you work), thus taxed less.

 And don't worry, even if you successfully grieve your taxes, which you can do annually, it won't affect the value of your home when you sell it — that will still be based off the market and what you can convince someone to pay.

Personal Finance Insider offers tools and calculators to help you make smart decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to buy or sell stocks or other financial products. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of the recommendations listed in the calculator, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners.

More: Home Ownership Buying a house Buying A Home Property Taxes
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.