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Property Tax Assessor

If you’re doing the leg work involved in purchasing a new home, the property tax assessor will be a tremendous resource for you. Their office will have all of the records related to the tax value of the property, changes in ownership over the years and much more. The tax assessor will also be a significant resource in finding out if there are any monies owed against the value of the property, which will be important when you actually start doing the work involved in buying the property itself.

The property tax assessor may work for the county, the city, or the township where the property is located. They’re responsible for adjusting the tax rate based on the value of the property and based on any new construction on that parcel of land. You’ll usually interface with the property tax assessor through the county clerk’s office, or whatever office is in charge of the tax records that apply. Most often, this will be a large part of investigating the property for your purchase and for assessing the value of the property versus the amount of money you’re paying for it.

The property tax assessor will determine how much you pay for taxes each year after you purchase your property. For that reason, you’ll want to take a look at the property’s history and the amount of tax dollars that are paid for that property each year. This should be considered a part of the purchase price of the home, as it’s an unavoidable, yearly cost that you’ll have to pay. The property tax assessor will need to be made aware of any new additions you plan on making to the home, as well as any new construction on the property, as these things affect the value of the home overall.

Most of the records that the property tax assessor generates should be available online. The one difficulty you may run into is records that are truncated. Some counties have the entirety of a property’s history in paperwork available over the Internet. While these won’t do for official purposes—you’ll need notarized records for that—they’re usually fine for research purposes. If you need more complete records from the tax assessor, however, you can usually get the official copies, with the appropriate notarization, provided to you by the county themselves for a modest processing fee.

The county clerk or municipal records office will have access to all the public records from the property tax assessor. You’ll want to look at these before you commit to buying anything. There is a chance that the homeowner may owe back taxes on the property and, if they’re in arrears, you might end up purchasing a problem rather than a house. Check with the office of the property tax assessor for any issues related to the previous owner’s tax burdens and to make sure that they paid them off in full. The county will also have records related to other liens.

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