Written by guest, Jane Blanchard
The desire to own a home is a fundamental part of many families’ plans for living in Cumming, GA, but there are a number of factors to take into account, especially over the life of the home. One aspect of home ownership that can come as a surprise is paying a higher than expected property tax bill. The property tax rate in a neighborhood is an important detail to know, and there are a lot of resources available to find out how much the family next door is paying.
Property Taxes Tell the Status of a Neighborhood
It’s easy to think of the property tax value of a neighborhood as an inherently bad thing, but there is some benefit to higher property taxes. Areas that have high rates are typically affluent and have access to better public services and schools. The poorest county in a state is likely to have a number of properties that pay low tax rates, but the neighborhoods in that county are also likely to have higher crime rates and lower achievement rates for students. Property taxes are a meaningful signal regarding the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood.
Total Cost of Ownership
Once you’ve paid off a mortgage (or two) and fixed everything that could possibly be repaired in a house, the property taxes on the location will quickly become one of the biggest continuing costs of home homeownership. In most cases, this is a cost that’s likely to go up over time, so it’s important that families anticipate these costs well in advance. By checking out the records for other properties in an area and the history of tax rate increases, you can develop a better idea of how much it might cost to live in a place for multiple decades. These costs are especially important to know if you’re planning to move to an area and retire on a fixed income.
Finding Out More
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Property tax records are a matter of public record, and that means that it’s very easy for homeowners and prospective buyers to find out what the rates are in a particular neighborhood. Many counties and states have property tax information online, and a simple Google search for a state or county’s property tax works as well. Forsyth County, GA offers a search system that's available here. If you’re having trouble locating information regarding property taxes in your region, there are also a number of non-government and commercial websites that track property tax values.
Home ownership means having to pay taxes, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. Property tax values tell a lot about the neighborhood, and they are often the first sign that an area is on the rise. It’s important to balance out a fair property tax rate against the expected services and schools that a family wants to see in a neighborhood. With some advance planning, you can form a better view of how property taxes will shape your time occupying a particular home.
For more information and other home ideas, head to Modernize.com.