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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Miami Herald: For homeowners, property tax news is a little better this time around

Property tax notices are being delivered this week, and homeowners who object have less than a month to appeal their property assessment.

tolorunnipa@MiamiHerald.com

Preliminary property tax notices are hitting 1.8 million mailboxes across South Florida this week, but most owners of residential and commercial property don’t need to be as anxious this time around.

Overall property value declines have slowed considerably — with some cities seeing increases — and elected officials have held tax rates steady or cut them, signaling that property owners can expect fewer surprises than in the past couple of years.

Property values declined 2.8 percent in Miami-Dade County and 1.6 percent in Broward County in 2010, after sinking double-digits the year before. However, changes in individual property assessments will vary based on where you live and when you bought your house, said Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia.

“You have areas that the influence of the foreclosures is very heavy — like Florida City and the Homestead area — and some of those values are way down,” he said. “Then you have areas like Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Miami Beach, where the values have increased a little bit.”

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted last month to do away with last year’s unpopular tax rate increase, rolling the county’s preliminary millage rate back to 2009 levels. For property owners, the reduced rate could translate to savings of 12 percent or more. However, in cities like Sunny Isles Beach, where average values rose 3.9 percent in 2010, some of the rollback might be offset by higher assessments.

In Broward County, where property tax notices went out last week, the County Administrator has indicated that rates will remain flat. But in cities like Weston, where the average property value increased by 1.5 percent, taxes could increase for some homeowners.

City and county commissioners will meet in September to settle on the final tax rates, which can be lower, but not higher, than the preliminary rates. Final tax bills will be sent in November.

In the meantime, homeowners can choose to challenge the assessed value of their property before Sept. 19.
Those who disagree with the property appraiser’s assessment can file a petition with the county value adjustment board and pay a $15 filing fee.

Property appraisers for both counties acknowledged that the assessment process is not an exact science, and homeowners know the details of their property best. About 40 percent of appellants are able to successfully challenge property assessments.

“When you use a mass appraisal system, we get as close as we can get,” said Lori Parrish, Broward County’s property appraiser. “We don’t [assess] 900,000 properties individually, so it’s not an exact science for every single home.”

Although appeals fell considerably last year, property tax consultants are encouraging more homeowners to challenge their assessments this year, as the market seems to be at or near a bottom.

“Because values are at an all-time low, [property owners] should take advantage of this and try to reset the bar even lower, so that for years to come, they’re at a lower rate,” said Barry Sharpe, president of the Property Tax Appeal Group, a Hialeah-based property tax appeal company.

Florida’s 1992 Save Our Homes law stipulates that assessed values can only increase by 3 percent each year, so setting a low bar this year could provide tax savings for many years to come, Sharpe said.

For longtime homeowners, a side effect of that 3-percent cap is that property assessments continue to go up until they catch up with market values. That means some property owners will see their taxes increase even as home prices slide.

There are a few new rules that homeowners should keep in mind this year:

People appealing property assessments are required to pay at least 75 percent of their tax bill before April 1, or the appeal will be rejected. The state Legislature enacted the rule earlier this year to prevent people from using the appeals process to game the system.

Military personnel deployed overseas are eligible for a new exemption this year. Those who were stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan during 2010 will received a tax exemption based on the length of their deployment. For example, someone deployed for six months during 2010 would receive a 50-percent exemption of Ad Valorem taxes this year.

“We’re going to give them an additional exemption,” said Garcia. “We understand some of them are currently deployed, so anybody in their family can come to our office and apply for that exemption.”
For the next three weeks, the property appraisers offices in Broward and Miami-Dade counties will devote additional resources to fielding questions from property owners about taxes, exemptions and assessments, Garcia and Parrish said.

“We have 25 days that people can come to our office with questions,” said Garcia. “They don’t have to make any appointment. They can just show up.”

For Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/24/2373921/for-homeowners-property-tax-news.html#ixzz1W37y2RB1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time to Appeal Your Real Estate Property Taxes in Broward

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 is the deadline date to appeal your real estate property taxes in Broward County


For over 30 years, the Property Tax Appeal Group ("P-TAG") and its principals have appealed the real estate (ad valorem) property tax assessment for many properties located in Broward County.

The Property Tax Appeal Group can handle your Broward property tax appeal for the following types of properties:
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Houses
  • Industrial Warehouses
  • Land
  • Offices
  • Retail Shopping Centers
Because Broward County recently mailed out their proposed tax rates (called a "Truth In Millage Notice" or TRIM Notice) to all property owners, any owner of real estate property located in Broward County now has until September 19, 2011 to file petitions to appeal their real estate property tax assessment.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:




STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com


Time to Appeal Your Real Estate Property Taxes in Miami Dade

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 is the deadline date to appeal your real estate property taxes in Miami Dade County


For over 30 years, the Property Tax Appeal Group ("P-TAG") and its principals have appealed the real estate (ad valorem) property tax assessment for many properties located in Miami Dade County.

The Property Tax Appeal Group can handle your Miami Dade property tax appeal for the following types of properties:
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Houses
  • Industrial Warehouses
  • Land
  • Offices
  • Retail Shopping Centers
Because Miami Dade County recently mailed out their proposed tax rates (called a "Truth In Millage Notice" or TRIM Notice) to all property owners, any owner of real estate property located in Miami Dade County now has until September 19, 2011 to file petitions to appeal their real estate property tax assessment.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:




STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Market May Lead Home Prices in Recovery


By Mike Colpitts 
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Home and condominium prices soared higher for the first time in more than five years in Miami

as existing sales in the metropolitan region rose at a rapid pace in July, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The spike in average home prices may signal a major turn around for the market, which has been one of the hardest hit in the U.S.
The average sales price for homes in Miami-Dade County increased 9.3% in July from a year ago, and condos soared an average of 17.9% during the month as foreign buyers took advantage of discount priced foreclosures and near record low mortgage rates.
Sales of existing homes rose 47% in July and condominiums increased 33% in what may be developing as one of the first major transitions from the real estate crash to a home price recovery. The Miami market has idled from a housing downturn that led the nation in deflation for more than three years, but the increase in home and condo prices may show the first signs of a major home price recovery with higher prices in July.
The Florida housing market has a long way to go to recover from its downturn, but Miami could lead the turn around. Statewide sales rose 12% in July, but home prices are still declining in most of the state. Miami may lead the state’s recovery. More than half or 59% of transactions were paid in cash during the month.

“Miami is a hotspot for tourists, the entertainment industry, and global corporations, generating attention from around the world and boosting the local real estate market,” said Jack Levine, Miami Realtor Association chairman. “While local housing inventory has declined dramatically over the last three years, the local market still offers opportunities for all types buyers and competitive pricing compared to many U.S. and international markets.”
Condominium developments are still idled in Miami Beach, fenced off and awaiting a rebirth as a result of lenders pulling financing during the crash, but are slowly receiving new financing programs after developers settle with banks in court and often times hedge funds that once backed the financing on their projects.
The effect of short sales and foreclosures on home prices has dropped in some areas of the greater Miami region. In June, 57% of all closed residential sales in Miami-Dade County were distressed, including foreclosures and short sales compared to 65% a year earlier.
Published August 19, 2011 Story Link