Are You Paying Too Much for Your Property Taxes?Property taxes are one of the inevitable costs of owning your home in Hendersonville.  How much you pay in taxes is determined by the value the county places on your property.  However, since it is not possible for the county to go out and re-assess every property in its jurisdiction every single year, your property taxes may be based on the value your home was assessed at several years ago.  Because property values have declined so much in the last few years, this could mean that you are paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more than you should.  How do you determine whether you are paying too much for your property taxes?

While North Carolina law requires each county to reassess the property values in their area every eight years, Henderson County passed a law in 1995 to do so every four years instead.  The last reassessment was done in 2007.  Currently, the county is in the process of reassessing properties to current market value.  If you have recently received the reassessed value of your home, make sure to check over the paperwork to make sure that all the information is correct, including square footage, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.  This can have an impact on the value your Hendersonville home is given.

If you feel that the appraised value of your home is incorrect (it’s much higher than what you think your home can realistically sell for or it’s not valued similarly to other homes in your area), you can file an appeal.  The first step is an informal appeal.  Included in your reappraisal notice will be a form that you can fill out to file your informal appeal.  Your area’s appraiser will then review the information you provide to determine whether it supports a change.  If the results of the informal appeal are unsatisfactory to you, you can file an appeal with the Board of Equalization and Review.  After that, you can appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission and, finally, the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

When you decide to file an appeal, make sure you have proper evidence to support the reason for your disagreement with the assessed value.  Keep in mind that you can’t use the sales statistics of Hendersonville homes after January 1, 2011 for current property values.  Some good evidence to provide when appealing your property tax assessment include:

  1. Your own professional appraisal done based on values before January 1, 2011.
  2. Sales report of properties comparable to yours that were sold before January 1, 2011.
  3. Report of comparable listings on the market in your area existing on or before January 1, 2011.
  4. 2010 income and expense statements if the property in question if an income-producing property.
  5. Proof of data errors on the county’s reassessment, including amount of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.

While the Henderson County Tax Assessors office does not have the authority to lower your taxes, getting a correct and up-to-date valuation of your Hendersonville property will give you the information you need to speak to your tax collector about it.  If you feel you are paying too much for your property taxes, follow these steps to get a reassessment of your Hendersonville home.  For more information on the appeal process in Henderson County, please call the Tax Assessor’s office at (828) 697-4870.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Keep Your Home Cool in the Warm Summer MonthsThe winter chill is behind us.  Bring on the beautiful springtime sunshine in Hendersonville!  However, with warmer weather comes higher cooling costs.  That doesn’t have to be the case, though.  Here are a few simple ways to keep your Henderson County home cool in the warm summer months without spending a ton of money.

Thermostat – Turn your programmable thermostat up to 78 degrees.  For an idea on how much energy air conditioning can cost, keeping your thermostat set to 72 rather than 78 will increase your cooling costs by 12-47%.

Ceiling Fans – Easy to install, ceiling fans will help circulate your home’s interior air to help you feel cooler without having the costly air conditioning on.  While it won’t dramatically decrease the ambient temperature of a room, the air circulated by the ceiling fans helps your body cool off better than stagnant air does.  Another option would be to use oscillating floor fans or desk fans in your home office.

Microwave and Grill More – Heating up the oven also heats up the house.  One way to avoid this is to use your microwave more often or embrace the outdoors by cleaning off and using the barbecue.  Grilling can be a fun, healthy way to enjoy family time together as well.

Window and Door Leaks – Check for and plug up any air leaks around windows and doors.  Replace old weatherstripping or add caulking if necessary.

Filters – We don’t worry about these much during the winter months, but during the summer, you should consider changing out your air conditioner’s filters on a monthly basis.  A dirty filter causes an air conditioning unit to use more energy to work properly.  Changing out your filter more often costs mere pennies but will save you many dollars in the end.

Blinds/Drapes – Streaming sunshine through your Hendersonville home’s windows is welcoming, especially after the dreary winter months.  However, that same sunshine can heat up the interior of your home quickly.  Keep your blinds or drapes closed, especially during the hottest part of the days.  An alternative to closing out the sun would be to add a reflective film to the windows, which keeps the heat out while allowing the sunshine in.

You can keep your Hendersonville home cool in the warm summer months without spending a ton of money.  Get out and enjoy the beautiful Western North Carolina weather.  If you need help with buying or selling your Hendersonville home, please contact me today.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate specialist