New Jersey is well-known for its bedroom communities outside the cities of New York and Philadelphia. Less celebrated are the many businesses and workplaces inside the state. Whether homeowners cross a river to get to work or not, however, they all feel the pinch of rising property taxes.
In Jersey City alone assessments have soared following a mandatory revaluation ordered by the state. Between 2017 and 2018 the total of assessed residential values jumped from over three-million to over fourteen-million dollars. The resulting tax bills take a toll on cash flow and quality of life.
Here’s what you can do as a homeowner about skyrocketing property taxes:
Talk to the Revaluation Appraiser
Jersey City and other municipalities make their contracted appraisers available to speak with homeowners who have questions. Those who avail themselves of such appointments are wise. They offer a chance to understand how the city appraisers come to their conclusions — what assumptions they make, what methods they adopt etc. While this kind of meeting rarely changes the revaluation finding, it helps the homeowner understand what he or she is up against.
Order Your Own Appraisal
Appraisals are obtained for any number of purposes. For homeowners, nevertheless, appraisals measure value with the intent of determining a sales price, a mortgage amount or — as already demonstrated — a tax assessment. After a revaluation, when the number most often goes up, an independent appraiser can go behind the reval company to get an honest measure of market value.
Do the Math
Market value is based on numerous factors like external appearance, dimensions and conditions of rooms; comparable sales; supply and demand; as well as the location. Assessed value, on the other hand, looks at similar sales; income from property (e.g. rented rooms) and insurance replacement value.
Combining land value with that of improvements — while subtracting out any exemptions — assessors then divide the figure by $100 and multiply that by the current tax rate. The assessed value should be a percentage of the market value based on that tax rate.
File an Appeal
If the comparisons between the two appraisals do not make sense, the homeowner can file an appeal with the county board of taxation. Hudson County, NJ is the appropriate jurisdiction for Jersey City residents. There are all kinds of deadlines and waiting periods to be observed and, very importantly, taxes must be paid in full during the appeal period. Should the appeal be denied, the case can be further argued at the Tax Court of New Jersey. In many cases, the deck is stacked against the appellant.
Consider Getting Out
Poorer residents of Jersey City have long contended that the more affluent sections of town were under-taxed, hence the revaluation and higher assessments. For those getting hit with more burdensome levies, Jersey City might now be a cost-prohibitive hometown.
The good news is that there is a robust market for houses in good (or not) condition that are saddled with high assessments. Call us to talk sale.