There’s more the cost of buying and owning a home than the mortgage payments you’ll make each month. You will also have several other annual expenses. One of these, which can be fairly substantial depending on several factors, is property taxes. Your property taxes are critical to your community and directly affect the cost of owning a home, so you need some understanding of just what they are and what they are for. With that in mind, we offer this home buyer’s guide to property taxes in Delaware.
What Are Property Taxes?
Property taxes in Delaware and anywhere else in the US, is an amount of money property owners pay annually to their local government or municipality. These are used to cover the costs of providing services needed for ordered and civilized life, such things as public schools, roads, libraries, and more.
The tax is assessed by the local government on tangible real estate. The exact amount you pay is a percentage of your home’s value, which, of course, varies from area to area.
It’s important to keep in mind that property taxes can affect your home-buying power and can impact the home-buying process itself. You can contact a Delaware agent at 302-285-9988 for a fuller explanation of this.
What Are They For?
Property taxes are most often payable to the county you live and are used to provide . . .
- Roads and road maintenance
- Treatment of roads during winter
- Emergency services such as fire and police departments
- Public schools and community colleges
- Libraries and community centers
- Parks and other recreation
Basically, your property taxes in Delaware serve to make your community a better place to live. No one likes to pay taxes, but what you get for your money makes it worth it.
How Are They Calculated?
What is known as a property tax assessment determines how much you have to pay. This assessment is a professionally conducted estimation of your property’s value and is arrived at by the use of several criteria including data for comparable homes in your neighborhood. The assessor will also factor in the number of beds and baths, age and condition of your home, square footage, and so on.
Here are two points to keep in mind about this…
- The assessed value of your home for tax purposes may not match its actual value.
- Property taxes aren’t fixed. They can change up or down as your home increases or decreases in value, and they may increase if your local government needs to raise funds for some project.
What Affects the Amount of Property Taxes You’ll Pay?
Several things can affect how much property tax you’ll have to pay. The major factors include…
- The quality of the neighborhood (older and less desirable vs. newer and more affluent)
- Condition and desirability of nearby homes
- Proximity to amenities and commercial areas
What If There’s an Error?
Now it may turn out that you receive an assessment that seems too high based on your home’s current market value. In such a case, you do have recourse – you can in fact dispute the assessment. To dispute it, you’ll have to prove that your home should be valued at less than what it is in the assessment.
Begin by getting a copy of your property’s worksheet from the county assessor’s office. This worksheet lists everything used to value your property, for example, the number of beds and baths, square footage, age, and amenities and upgrades. Go over all this and make sure it is accurate. It may contain items that you don’t actually have in your home, such as a pool, that were used in the assessment. If you find errors, talk to the appropriate county office to determine your next step.
Your Delaware Agent Can Help
Before buying a home, you need to have a fairly accurate idea of what your property taxes will be. They can, as we pointed out early, put a potential home out of your financial reach. Your Delaware agent can help you gain a clear understanding of the property taxes so that you can plan accordingly. Make sure you understand property taxes in Delaware and buy the right home: contact us today at 302-285-9988!