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Property tax history not what is appears to be on Zillow?

I'm trying to buy this house in Riverside, on Zillow, it shows that the 2012 tax record was about $3500. Yet my agent tells me that the annual tax on it is about $5000. I thought in terms of tax, it's suppose to be fixed percentage? 
  • August 03 2013 - Riverside
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Answers (5)

Best Answer

The best way to check is with your local tax assessor's office. The $3500 might be the current owner's tax bill and the $5000 might be your new tax estimate if your sale price is $500,000. California assess at 1% of the sale price upon sale, plus any special assessments such as fire districts or school assessments. Lenders tend to use 1.15%-1.25% of the sale price to estimate taxes.

Otherwise, the current owner could have asked the tax assessor for a reduction in assessment due to the real estate price decreases we experienced over the last couple of years. The Assessor will lower the assessment if values drop and will increase them when values increase. We are starting to see our Assessor increase assessments because San Diego prices have been increasing.
  • August 03 2013
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Victoria's answer above was excellent, but neither she nor the other posters talked about Mello-Roos assessments.  These are special property taxes that can last for 20-30 years and are assessed against property to help the local government finance many of the infrastructure improvements, such as schools, roads, sewers, parks and fire protection.   The assessments--which can push your annual taxes up to anyway from 1.35% to 2.2% of value--are used pay off the debt that the city had to put out to provide all of those services and amenities.

So, if you are buying a home built since about 1985  in CA be sure to ask your Realtor about these special taxes so that you can weigh the increased payment against the nice new facilites you will be enjoying.
  • September 30 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You can easily google the tax rate for your community, or ask your agent what the best source is for such information so that you can have confidence in the numbers.

  • August 04 2013
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Profile picture for user3162514
okay, got it, but is it normal if I buy a house for 200,000, and then to have tax rate of $5000? because this particular house was built in 2005, so it's not like an old house with new improvements or something? Just wondering if my agent got the numbers right?
  • August 03 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
As you've posted with a CA heading, I'm assuming you are in CA.   Property tax in California is a percentage of the purchase price (read up on Prop 13).   Therefore, if your purchase price is different from the current owner's purchase price, your tax will be a different amount from the previous owners.     For example, if they bought it at $200,000, their tax basis would continue to be $200,000 plus increases as allowed by law each year.   If you then bought at $500,000, your tax basis will be the purchase price.  

The consequence of the CA property tax being based on purchase price (plus adjustments allowed by law) is that you can get a neighborhood with  very similar homes with dramatically different property taxes.   One neighbor may have purchased their home 35 years ago at $50,000 while you may have purchased your home at $700,000.   In a situation like this, you will pay considerably more property taxes annually.   (Not fair, you scream.... yup, a number of people are questioning Prop 13).



  • August 03 2013
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