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Are You Considering Grieving Your Property Taxes

 You May Be Paying Too Much In Property Taxes

They are supposed to be based on current market values. When you buy a home in any of the Westchester County cities, towns and villages, the tax base resets at the value you paid, whether it is higher or lower than the previous owner's tax bill.

Local laws put a cap on how much property taxes can be raised each year, regardless of market values. Most municipalities in Westchester County don't have the manpower or the resources to assess each and every property individually, so taxes can be assessed on general averages, drive-by appraisals or automatic increases based on your home's sale price. Many areas don't assess annually, so your home's value can be overvalued in a hot market. Which means you could be paying too much in property taxes.

Representing Yourself

The appeal process doesn't have to be intimidating. The appraisers and appeal boards are well aware that the appraisal system isn't perfect, so they are prepared for challenges.

Depending upon your municipality's appeals process, you can represent yourself. You don't need your CPA, attorney or real estate professional. 

Print out a full copy of your property's tax appraisal from your city/county website. Check it over carefully for errors number of bedrooms, baths, stories, parking spaces, lot size, and other details. 

Take pictures of your exterior and be sure to include anything that can lower the value of the property such as a busy street, telephone poles, looming water towers, peeling paint, sagging roof, etc.. Condition matters in appraisals.

Appraisers use the same Multiple Listing Service that real estate professionals do, so if you know an agent or broker who can get recent comparables for you, bring those to the appraisal appointment. 

During your appointment, you'll be meeting with an individual appraiser or perhaps an appraisal board comprised of volunteers, real estate professionals, appraisers, or city officials.

Don't Be Intimidated -- You Are Not On Trial. It's only A Hearing That You Have Requested.

An appraiser can show you the values of nearby comparable homes to illustrate why the district arrived at your appraisal price. Bring a map so you can illustrate zoning changes, construction, road expansion that may affect the area's value, as well as your home. Your data will be compared with the findings of the reviewer. You may need to defend your appraisal several times throughout the appeal, so know your neighborhood well.

Usually, the answer will be immediate. If the tax assessor agrees with you, he or she will adjust your appraisal right on screen right in front of you and print out a new assessment for you to take home.

If the assessment stands as it is, you haven't lost anything but a little time.


Mortgage News Daily

  • Mortgage Rates Highest in a Week Ahead of Fed

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates rose to the highest levels in more than a week today, but that's the most dramatic way to put it. In terms of outright movement, today was fairly average. It only earns the "highest in a week" distinction due to the incredibly flat trend that persisted from Tuesday through yesterday afternoon. More simply put, most borrowers would still be quoted the same rate as yesterday with the only difference being slightly higher upfront costs (or lower upfront credit, depending on the scenario). All the recent stability in rates begs the question: what might come along to shake things up again? Enter tomorrow's policy announcement from the Federal Reserve (the Fed) . While the Fed doesn't directly dictate mortgage rates or even longer term rates like US Treasury yields, the Fed Funds Rate...(read more)

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  • Despite Downward GDP Revisions, Fannie Sees Housing Holding Steady

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Fannie Mae has lowered its forecast for first quarter 2018 growth from 2.9 to 2.8 percent due to " lackluster consumer spending and nonresidential and residential investment. The second report of 4 th Q GDP downgraded real growth by one-tenth to 2.5 percent annualized. Incoming data has shown weaker domestic demand, with real consumer spending down 0.1 percent in January, the biggest monthly drop in a year. Based on this, Fannie also lowered its real consumer spending growth forecast for the first quarter to 2.2 percent annualized from 2.7 percent in the February forecast. FY 2019 looks brighter, and the company's economists have raised their full-year 2019 GDP forecast to 2.5 percent and lowered their outlook for unemployment to 3.6 percent. They stress that more rapid wage and inflationary...(read more)

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  • MBS Day Ahead: Still In The Range, But Defensive Trend Continues

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    While there have been a few pockets of decent gains in the past week (Thursday afternoon and yesterday morning), the general trend has been toward weaker levels since last Wednesday. That marked the 2nd time in March that 10yr yields bounced at 2.80% in a clearly-delineated sort of way. Each bounce has given way to fairly linear selling trends (i.e. rates moving higher). Yields are currently riding that trend into tomorrow's FOMC announcement. There are several pivot points (or "technical levels") in 10yr yields that serve as a backdrop for the recent breakout attempts and subsequent trends. Naturally, with the 2 big bounces both happening at 2.80%, that's an obvious choice for the bottom of the recent range. The high end is a bit more subjective, but 2.91% is a good first...(read more)

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  • State Changes Impacting Lenders and Banks; Business Opportunities

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    The first day of Spring! Converting empty warehouses, grain elevators, under-utilized shopping malls, or Toys-R-Us stores to new housing? Perhaps. There is certainly a lack of buildable land in many areas and builders, recognizing that lots of people want to own their own home, are utilizing land as much as possible. How much cleverness can you put into a “tiny home,” agency approved if there are comps? It turns out, quite a bit . Am I missing the point if I wonder where I would put all my stuff? State News It is expensive to be a multi-state lender , and potentially doing business in different ways and using different policies in various states. And different states have different demographics. Last year IL was the state where the most residents moved out, followed by NJ, NY, CT...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Stock Losses Helped But Bonds Had Their Own Limits

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Bonds entered the domestic session feeling a bit down on their luck. There was some general weakness early in the overnight session, but just before 8am, European Central Bank (ECB) sources were quoted (anonymously) as generally approving of the market's consensus for policy tightening. Specifically, the sources didn't push back on the view that the ECB should stop buying bonds later this year or that it should execute its first rate hike of this cycle some time in 2019. Granted, that wasn't huge news (after all, it was the market's "consensus" that the ECB sources were responding to in the first place), but it was enough of a development to leave 10yr yields several bps weaker to begin the day. Relief came from heavy losses in stocks which pulled bond yields lower...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Maintain Flat Trajectory Ahead of Fed

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates have been on a tear recently , moving sideways with reckless abandon. Since the middle of February, the "effective rate" (based on actual rate sheet offerings and upfront costs) has held inside a narrow range of 4.52% and 4.58%. This lies in stark contrast to the persistent move higher during the first month and a half of 2018 which saw the same effective rate rise from roughly 4.0% into the 4.5% range. When rates are as flat as they are on the approach to a key market event like this Wednesday's Fed announcement. We often see a break in that narrow range after the key event. For now, there's no reason to believe Wednesday WON'T be such a day this time around. Even if Wednesday turns out to be a dud in terms of its impact on rates, it's always safest to plan for the risk (or...(read more)

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  • Future Housing Market at Mercy of Young Adults

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Freddie Mac's economists headlined their March Outlook economic report "Adulting is Hard." The newest crop of young adults may find this to be truer than others. They have been slow to reach life's milestones like getting married, starting families and living independently, but with some valid reasons. Many came of age in the midst of recession ; wage growth has been weak, and housing, education, and healthcare costs have risen rapidly. Average annual expenditures for adults aged 25 to 34 in 2016 are 36 percent higher than those faced by those the same age in 2000, while costs for health care and education have more than doubled. The U.S. Census Bureau says the 25-to-34-year age group contained 45 million people in 2016, 4 million more than the next older age group (35 to 44). But instead of...(read more)

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  • MBS Week Ahead: Absolutely No Significant Data Ahead of The Fed

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    If it weren't for the Fed Announcement on Wednesday, this would look like a prime vacation week for market participants as there is a distinct lack of relevant economic data. In fact, there's only one top tier report: Friday's Durable Goods. Making the dearth of data even more striking is the fact that there aren't even any 2nd tier reports on the first 2 days of the week. It's not until Fed day (Wednesday) that we get our first sniff of econ data in the form of February Existing Home Sales, and that's not a report that tends to be much of a market mover. All of the above places an inordinate amount of market movement potential with Wednesday afternoon's Fed festivities. There are 8 Fed meetings/announcements on the schedule every year. 4 of them are limited strictly...(read more)

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  • Tax and Sales Products; Mergers Continue; Fed Meeting This Week

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    For me the last seven days included California, Texas, Nevada, and Illinois. What am I seeing? Some companies are doing well. Others aren’t, and unfortunately, probably more fall into this latter category due to margins and volumes both dropping. Here’s a note from a warehouse rep in the Southeast. “Rob, everyone knew, at some point, rates were going to head higher, and that refis were going to slow. We’re seeing plenty of independent mortgage bank owners who seem to be eternally optimistic, talk about how technology will change their business, believe their profits will rebound, believe they will outlast their competition. Those same people are lousy at knowing when to sell their company. But we’ll see plenty of that this year, I think, more than in 2017.”...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Typically Boring Consolidation Ahead of The Fed

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    There were quite a few economic reports on tap today, and that made for some entertaining market watching! Reason being, every time a report came out, bonds were in the middle of one of their periodic sideways plateaus that followed what little market movement we actually witnessed. That actual market movement was almost entirely a byproduct of traders cleaning up their positions for the end of the week. The preceding paragraph is the sort of thing I might have read 15 years ago and incredulously wondered "sure buddy, but how do you know such things and why would I take your word for it?!" Don't take my word for it. Just look at this chart of 10yr yields and the yield curve. It doesn't really matter which line is which (yellow line is 10s) because we're focused on the...(read more)

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Bonnie Koff  |  Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker  |  William Raveis Legends Realty Group  | Tarrytown Office 
914-332-6300  |  37 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York 10591  |  Email