If you’re new to home ownership, you may not fully understand how property taxes are assessed and collected. When renting, your only concern is your first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. You don’t need to worry where each penny is going and making sure that the taxes, homeowner association dues, and principal and interest all go to the right place. When owning a home, it’s important to understand how your taxes are both assessed and collected.

Property Taxes – Property taxes can be confusing because the city, county and state charge taxes on each piece of real estate within its borders. The tax is considered an ad valorem levy on the value of the property, and the owner is required to pay it each year in addition to their mortgage and homeowner’s insurance. Most lenders will require you to pay your taxes as you go, and they will hold this money in escrow for the large annual payment, instead of allowing you to pay it as it comes up. This helps them protect their interest in your property, since tax liens can lead to foreclosure. There are three types of property: land, improvements to land, and personal property. The state requires an appraisal of these items, and then the tax is assessed in proportion to the value. In most states, the state governs property taxes, but are collected and assessed by the county.

Direct Assessments – A direct assessment, or bond, is a flat fee imposed on each parcel of land, as opposed to a proportion of its value. These assessments are imposed after a city- or district-wide vote, and help fund the services not covered by property tax revenue. These revenues typically fund new street lighting, public transportation, libraries and parks, violence prevention programs or anything else the community will benefit from.

Special Assessments Special Assessments are a more recent tax requirement and are typically for subdivision developers to help ensure funding for parks, schools and emergency services that will benefit the entire community.

When you’re looking to buy a home, make sure your Baker Real Estate helps you research the ad valorem tax rate, bonds, and assessments that you may be facing, so you can truly understand what your final monthly payment will be and whether you are comfortable with it.

About PorchLight Real Estate: PorchLight Real Estate Group has the most experienced and knowledgeable Denver real estate agents in Colorado. For more information about homes for sale in Denver CO or specific neighborhood homes please visit www.porchlightgroup.com.

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