For the longest time, the tax lien investment business — in which investors buy property tax liens from cities and counties and then collect on the debt (or foreclose on the homeowner) — primarily consisted of small, local investors looking for a relatively quick profit. But in the last two decades, larger companies have taken to buying up as many liens as possible and then shaking down homeowners for the debt and often thousands of dollars in fees. But just because these lien-buyers are bigger and operate in multiple states doesn’t mean they are any more legitimate. [More]
We’ve written several articles over the years about how a small unpaid property tax or public utility bill can result in homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure, but a new investigative report from the Washington Post shows how systemic ineptitude in Washington, D.C., city offices has repeatedly left homeowners fighting against liens that shouldn’t exist in the first place. [More]
North Dakota has the rare boon of having a state budget that enjoys a nice little reserve, and as such, some of its residents say they shouldn’t have to pay property taxes any more. It’s not unheard of to scale back property taxes — California is one example of a state with lower taxes after passing a voter proposition — but the debate is stirring up emotions nonetheless. [More]
The value of their homes is a major point of pride for many owners, who use the figure to prop up their net worth and justify the money they’ve poured into their dwellings. When the price declines, as it has been doing for most homeowners for years, they tend to overlook the positive side of the drop — one that affects them more immediately. [More]
An 84-year-old widow recently found out she’s been paying too much property tax on her home for more than two decades because of an error by the original assessor. But the city has only offered to pay her back for one year of the overcharge. [More]
Filing an appeal to get your property value reassessed so you can pay less property taxes appears daunting, but this video series from the California State Board Of Equalization is here to helps walk you through the process. It’s designed for California, but there’s things in here that you can learn from regardless of where you live.
Free Money Finance dredged a fascinating statistic from Kiplingers that suggests 60% of homes are overvalued by assessors, and that 33% of tax appeals succeed. The stat comes from a dubious source, the National Taxpayers Union, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as the “the grand-daddy of the tax revolt organizations.” Assessments guide property taxes, which are universally reviled by homeowners. Even politicians, who suckle tax revenue with the vigor of a vampire on a vein, regularly crusade against property taxes during election season.