Property Taxes - Can someone explain?

I was looking on Zillow and came across a home that is over 4200 sq ft, 6 bd and 6ba and the property taxes are only $16000. My house is not even half the size and I pay more. I truly don't understand how such a discrepancy can exist without some backdoor deals. What am I missing?


Where is it? If it's in Newark, East Orange, or Irvington, lower taxes would be the expectation as similar properties are devalued in those towns (relative to SOMSD and further west) due to segregation by race and socioeconomic status.


In the same town, assessments are typically grouped into three levels of condition.  If homeowners don’t make the effort to be home for the walkthrough, their homes are automatically assessed as being highly renovated (happened to us, thanks to previous owners).  Renovations can also add to assessments, without expanding square footage.


sprout said:

Where is it? If it's in Newark, East Orange, or Irvington, lower taxes would be the expectation as similar properties are devalued in those towns (relative to SOMSD and further west) due to segregation by race and socioeconomic status.

 Maplewood. What is strange is that the home used to be taxed at $21K+ and then went down to below $16K. I can see that the house was renovated in the past few years, so perhaps that is why the taxes were so low. The house is being sold for over 1.5M now.


I'm aware of a house in Maplewood that had taxes in the $20k range, was sold cheap to a flipper, taxes dropped to $11k during the contractor's renovations, and is now in the $30k's after the $1m+ sale.  Perhaps it is something along these lines.


SINYC said:

sprout said:

Where is it? If it's in Newark, East Orange, or Irvington, lower taxes would be the expectation as similar properties are devalued in those towns (relative to SOMSD and further west) due to segregation by race and socioeconomic status.

 Maplewood. What is strange is that the home used to be taxed at $21K+ and then went down to below $16K. I can see that the house was renovated in the past few years, so perhaps that is why the taxes were so low. The house is being sold for over 1.5M now.

Out of curiosity  I looked up that house yesterday. It was empty for many years and in poor repair. Whoever did the renovation took a long time and from the looks of the photos did a spectacular job. The listing I looked at said the tax history was unavailable. That seems realistic. Taxes in the future will be based on the sale price and the rate for that location.


SINYC said:

 Maplewood. What is strange is that the home used to be taxed at $21K+ and then went down to below $16K. I can see that the house was renovated in the past few years, so perhaps that is why the taxes were so low. The house is being sold for over 1.5M now.

 If an error was made in the owner's favor, chances are they would not appeal it.  Or perhaps there was some unusual circumstance as others posited above.  But I'm pretty sure that when it sells, the new owners will likely get a new assessment and it may come as a shock. (I would hope that happens anyway.)

If you think yours is assessed too high based on realistic comps (not that one probably), then you can appeal it.


Please be careful about accusing the town of backdoor deals.  Both of our towns have a lot of hard working people doing good work, both paid and volunteers.  


when my home was supposed to be re assessed, no one ever showed up.  they guessed at the assessment based on similar properties and put the mid level amount.....which is actually accurate, but next door has high end, and another is un renovated, but all were assessed as mid level condition.


SINYC said:

sprout said:

Where is it? If it's in Newark, East Orange, or Irvington, lower taxes would be the expectation as similar properties are devalued in those towns (relative to SOMSD and further west) due to segregation by race and socioeconomic status.

 Maplewood. What is strange is that the home used to be taxed at $21K+ and then went down to below $16K. I can see that the house was renovated in the past few years, so perhaps that is why the taxes were so low. The house is being sold for over 1.5M now.

As soon as it sells at a much higher price, the property taxes will go up significantly.

The new owners will be in for a rude surprise.


SINYC said:

I was looking on Zillow and came across a home that is over 4200 sq ft, 6 bd and 6ba and the property taxes are only $16000. My house is not even half the size and I pay more. I truly don't understand how such a discrepancy can exist without some backdoor deals. What am I missing?

 I would be careful using Zillow as a reliable source for real property taxes since the information there may be out of date.  If you want to know the current real property taxes on a given property ask at the tax collector's office.  In Maplewood for example, the budget for 2021 was approved just recently resulting in everyone getting a significant tax increase to cover revenue shortfalls in 2020.


yahooyahoo said:

As soon as it sells at a much higher price, the property taxes will go up significantly.

The new owners will be in for a rude surprise.

 Not until the next revaluation.


I believe that the OP is referring to the home on Oakland road which has been under complete MAJOR renovation for almost six years since it was bought in derelict condition. I suspect that the property taxes on that home will be perhaps doubled after it is reevaluated based on those renovations and its new worth.

In other words as others have indicated above, the present amount of $16k is a number from the past and now a bit delusional, soon to change. PS: From the pictures, the workmanship seems incredible.


jimmurphy said:

yahooyahoo said:

As soon as it sells at a much higher price, the property taxes will go up significantly.

The new owners will be in for a rude surprise.

 Not until the next revaluation.

It will get adjusted after the house is sold. If the house is renovated and sold, the property taxes will be adjusted. They don't wait until the next reval.


Homes that pay very high taxes occasionally sell way below assessment and the new owner will benefit from the reduced price and newly lowered taxes. That is a pity. The home owner paid huge taxes, had to sell below value and the new owner gets the bargain and low taxes. It happened on my street to one of the biggest houses in town. (South Orange)


joan_crystal said:

 I would be careful using Zillow as a reliable source for real property taxes since the information there may be out of date.  If you want to know the current real property taxes on a given property ask at the tax collector's office.  In Maplewood for example, the budget for 2021 was approved just recently resulting in everyone getting a significant tax increase to cover revenue shortfalls in 2020.

 yay


I may be wrong, but

I do not believe that maplewood makes any interim adjustments to assessed values based on sales data (only during the reval process)

the tax assessor will add to the "assesed value based on the value of the work done-then there is a calculation that brings it( the value of the work done) back to the date of the prev revaluation. some ratio or current to prior date(reval)

so if $800k worth of improvements were worth $650k dueing the last reval -$650 would be added -something along those lines.


FilmCarp said:

Please be careful about accusing the town of backdoor deals.  Both of our towns have a lot of hard working people doing good work, both paid and volunteers.  

I am skeptical of the tax people a bit. When I first moved to Maplewood, our taxes increased 42% in the first year. That simply should never happen. Our eighty year old house mysteriously expanded by 300 sq ft (there were no additions) and there were no renovations to the house which would prompt an increase. It's possible it was an honest mistake, but even after stating there were no additions and having them correct their mistake with the square footage, they still didn't lower the taxes. It still irritates me to this day as that was our welcome to Maplewood. When the town reassessed a couple years ago by an outside consulting services, there was a correction to what was more in line with the area and size of our house.


joan_crystal said:

 I would be careful using Zillow as a reliable source for real property taxes since the information there may be out of date.  If you want to know the current real property taxes on a given property ask at the tax collector's office.  In Maplewood for example, the budget for 2021 was approved just recently resulting in everyone getting a significant tax increase to cover revenue shortfalls in 2020.

 I checked with the township website.


SINYC said:

I am skeptical of the tax people a bit. When I first moved to Maplewood, our taxes increased 42% in the first year. That simply should never happen. Our eighty year old house mysteriously expanded by 300 sq ft (there were no additions) and there were no renovations to the house which would prompt an increase. It's possible it was an honest mistake, but even after stating there were no additions and having them correct their mistake with the square footage, they still didn't lower the taxes. It still irritates me to this day as that was our welcome to Maplewood. When the town reassessed a couple years ago by an outside consulting services, there was a correction to what was more in line with the area and size of our house.

 There is a yearly window during which you can appeal your real property taxes if you feel they are incorrect.  You need to present evidence of the information on your property record card being incorrect and/or of comps (as of the date of the most recent reassessment/revaluation) being inconsistent with the assessment your property received.  You do not need an attorney to do this and you certainly didn't need to wait until the next town-wide reassessment/revaluation.


joan_crystal said:

 There is a yearly window during which you can appeal your real property taxes if you feel they are incorrect.  You need to present evidence of the information on your property record card being incorrect and/or of comps (as of the date of the most recent reassessment/revaluation) being inconsistent with the assessment your property received.  You do not need an attorney to do this and you certainly didn't need to wait until the next town-wide reassessment/revaluation.

Like I said, I had just moved to Maplewood so I was somewhat naive to how things worked here. Also, the amount is never given in the that Spring window to appeal, only the 'assessment' which is some number that I have no idea where it really comes from as the assessments are almost always lower than the actual sales by 20% or so. Lesson learned, a costly lesson. 


SINYC said:

Like I said, I had just moved to Maplewood so I was somewhat naive to how things worked here. Also, the amount is never given in the that Spring window to appeal, only the 'assessment' which is some number that I have no idea where it really comes from as the assessments are almost always lower than the actual sales by 20% or so. Lesson learned, a costly lesson. 

You don't appeal the amount of the taxes; you appeal the valuation.  Also, you can find the equalization rate by googling.  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/lptval/2020/AllCounties.pdf


Steve said:

You don't appeal the amount of the taxes; you appeal the valuation.  Also, you can find the equalization rate by googling.  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/lptval/2020/AllCounties.pdf

 I know this.


yahooyahoo said:

It will get adjusted after the house is sold. If the house is renovated and sold, the property taxes will be adjusted. They don't wait until the next reval.

 I stand corrected. 




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