How to lower your property taxes in four easy steps

Paying property taxes is not one of the joys of homeownership.

Those necessary — but often hefty — payments cost the average American household $2,127 a year, and helps to fund local governments and schools.

That annual levy is even higher in states such as New Jersey or Illinois, which are among the highest average tax rates.

No matter where you live, you likely wish you paid less. Here are a few steps you can take to cut your property taxes.

1. Contact your local tax office

Ask the tax man what steps you need to take in order to appeal your current bill. Remember, you’re going to be arguing for a lower assessed value, not a lower tax rate, so ask for a copy of your property’s current assessment.

2. Review your home’s assessment

Once you have that document, look for discrepancies. Check the basics first, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or square footage. From there, look over other items such as finished basement, pool or notes on your home’s structural condition and take notes on any differences.

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