Property taxes in California -- Generally around 1%

Buying Your Home - Property Taxes

Contact a CPA for a detailed overview of your particular situation.  For general tax implications in California, I'll be able to help you; however, I will defer to a CPA or tax attorney at the end of the day.

Are taxes on second homes deductible?
Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on a second home if you itemize. Check with your accountant or tax adviser for specifics.

Do all loans require impound accounts?
If you are taking out a FHA or VA loan, the lender can require an impound account to pay real estate taxes and hazard insurance premiums, as with a standard loan. If you don't have a 80% or less 1st mortgage then you'll probably have PMI and impound account.  Most lenders setup a impound account with 1.25%.  As long as you don't have high mello roos then you should be good.  I've seen in areas such as Lincoln crossing where the mello roos were 250 a month and the impound account wasn't setup sufficiently.  This comes as a rude awakening to new buyer if they have an ignorant agent and lender who overlook this subtle but important detail.  

Are property taxes deductible?
Property taxes on all real estate, including those levied by state and local governments and school districts, are fully deductible against current income taxes.  Be sure to check you last years statement.  Taxes very from year to year.

Where can I learn more about appealing my property taxes?
Before taking time into this, contact me to see if it's worth pursuing.  If you have a legitimate argument then you'll need to appeal to the tax assessors office.  You may be able to appeal your assessment informally.  Mostly likely, however, you will have to go through a formal tax-appeal processes, which begin with an appeal filed with the appropriate assessment appeals board.  

How do property taxes work?
Property taxes are what most homeowners in the United States pay for the privilege of owning a piece of real estate, on average 1.5 percent of the property's current market value. These annual local assessments by county or local authorities help pay for public services and are calculated using a variety of formulas.

What is an impound account?
An impound account is a trust account established by the lender to hold money to pay for real estate taxes, and mortgage and homeowners insurance premiums as they are received each month.  This is your money and come back to you if you refi or sell. 

How is a home's value determined?
You have several ways to determine the value of a home. An appraisal is a professional estimate of a property's market value, based on recent sales of comparable properties, location, square footage and construction quality. This service varies in cost depending on the price of the home, and is only 1 persons opinion of value.  Get 2 different appraisals and I bet you get 2 different values.   On average, an appraisal costs about $300 for a $250,000 house. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent based on similar sales and property attributes. Most agents offer free analyses in the hopes of winning your business. You also can get a comparable sales report for a fee from private companies that specialize in real estate data or find comparable sales information available on various real estate Internet sites.

Value is ultimately determined by what  someone is willing to pay for a property.  Professionals like myself or appraisers simply go by comps and market trends.  Usually we're good at deriving value, but it can be more difficult with unique properties.  Some commercial properties are difficult when trying to determine it's highest and best use, zoning and other factors that don't come into account in residential.

Re/Max Gold - Chad Phillips
Re/Max Gold - Chad Phillips
Broker Associate