Property taxes are paid through an account established by a mortgage lender. The borrower is required to pay property taxes and homeowners' insurance through this account. If you are unable to pay property taxes because of financial hardships, the taxing authority will initiate a tax sale, and you stand to lose your house. Here are some ways a real estate attorney can save your home from a tax sale.
Challenging the Property Assessment
One way a real estate attorney can reduce your tax liability is by disputing the property assessment. Your property tax liability is based on a valuation of your property. This estimation is made by a tax assessor.
Your lawyer will try to negotiate the price downwards. First, they can claim that there are errors in the mass appraisal used in many cases for residential areas. Additionally, many properties are assessed at the same time and assessment offices may be overworked or understaffed, which means these assessments are not accurate.
Exemption and Repayment Programs
There are property tax reduction or exemption programs that allow some homeowners to reduce their property tax liability based on income, age, disability, or personal status. Old homeowners qualify for a reduction of property taxes. Your real estate attorney will help you apply for the exemption or abatement programs.
Unfortunately, some jurisdictions don't have abatement programs. In these states, your only options are a deferral or a repayment plan. Some states allow the taxing authority to waive interest and penalties or to reduce the amount of taxes you owe. You should consult your real estate attorney on the property tax laws that apply to your jurisdiction.
Your real estate attorney can help you redeem your property after a tax sale. This means you can reclaim your home after paying the entire sale price, interest, and other additional costs. However, you can only redeem your property within a limited period.
Normally, the one who purchases your home in a tax sale gains interest when you reclaim it. However, if you fail to redeem your property within the statutory period, the purchaser has a clear title to the property.
Losing your home because of defaulting on property taxes can be a devastating experience because of the time and effort you have spent on it. However, the real estate laws in all states have some legal channels you can use to avoid losing your property. A real estate attorney is your best chance of ensuring you keep your home, even after running late on your property tax liabilities. Contact a local attorney near you to learn more.