Understanding Property Taxes:
What Homeowners Need to Know


Property taxes are a necessary expense for homeowners, but they can be confusing and difficult to understand. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help homeowners understand property taxes and what they need to know about them.


What are property taxes?

Property taxes are taxes levied by the government on the value of real estate property. This tax is based on the assessed value of the property, which is determined by the local government. Property taxes are used to fund various government services such as schools, roads, and public safety.


How are property taxes calculated?

The calculation of property taxes can vary depending on the location and local government regulations. In general, property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the local tax rate.

The assessed value of the property is determined by the local government assessor's office. The assessor will take into account various factors such as the property's location, size, age, and condition to determine its value. It is important to note that the assessed value of the property can change over time due to changes in the property's condition, renovations, or changes in the local real estate market.

The local tax rate is determined by the local government and is usually expressed as a percentage of the assessed value of the property. The tax rate can vary depending on the location, the local government's budget needs, and other factors.


What factors can affect property taxes?

Several factors can affect property taxes, including:

  1. Property value: The assessed value of the property is the most significant factor in determining property taxes. The higher the value of the property, the higher the property taxes.
  2. Location: The location of the property can affect property taxes. Properties located in areas with higher tax rates or higher property values will have higher property taxes.
  3. Home improvements: Any improvements made to the property, such as adding a pool or remodeling the kitchen, can increase the property's assessed value, resulting in higher property taxes.
  4. Tax exemptions: Some homeowners may qualify for tax exemptions or deductions, such as a homestead exemption for primary residences. These exemptions can lower the property taxes for eligible homeowners.
  5. Tax rates: Local government tax rates can change from year to year, resulting in changes in property taxes for homeowners.


peson using a laptop


How are property taxes paid?

Property taxes are usually paid qualterly or twice a year, and the due dates can vary depending on the location. Homeowners can choose to pay property taxes through escrow accounts with their mortgage lenders or directly to the local government.

If a homeowner chooses to pay property taxes through an escrow account, the mortgage lender will collect the property tax payments along with the monthly mortgage payments. The mortgage lender will then make the property tax payments to the local government on behalf of the homeowner.

If a homeowner chooses to pay property taxes directly to the local government, they will receive a tax bill with the amount due and the due date. Homeowners can usually pay their property taxes online, by mail, or in-person at the local government's tax office.


What happens if property taxes are not paid?

If property taxes are not paid, the local government can take various actions to collect the unpaid taxes. These actions can include placing a lien on the property, seizing and selling the property, or taking legal action against the homeowner.

It is important for homeowners to pay their property taxes on time to avoid these consequences. If a homeowner is unable to pay their property taxes, they should contact their local government's tax office to discuss payment options or potential tax relief programs.



Understanding property taxes is essential for homeowners to manage their finances effectively. By understanding how property taxes are calculated, the factors that can affect property taxes, and how property taxes are paid, homeowners can plan and budget accordingly. If homeowners have questions about their property taxes, they should contact their local government's tax office for more information and assistance. While property taxes may seem like a burden, they are a necessary expense that helps fund essential government services. By staying informed and up-to-date on their property taxes, homeowners can ensure they are paying their fair share while also taking advantage of any available tax exemptions or relief programs.