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          Property Taxes


          Typical Situation: Buyer likes a property and says, “According to [fill in the blank] the taxes on this property are $XXXXX.” The I say, “Please ignore what you saw because it won’t apply to you.” Here’s why. In Florida, property taxes can be impacted by a multitude of things. Is the property Homesteaded, is the seller a veteran or widower, how long has the seller owned the property, etc…? All these things can affect the property taxes reported on the Public Tax Record which is usually the number displayed on the various real estate websites.

          Bottom line – find out the property tax rate in the city or county where you are purchasing. To be on the safe side, multiply that number by your purchase price (although the actual tax amount will be based on the assessed value which will most likely be a little lower than the purchase price). If you are looking at properties at similar price points in a city or county, the taxes will be similar regardless of which property you purchase. Ignore what is being reported because that amount is what the seller is paying; it is not indicative of what you will pay.

          As I write this, I think about a property that I listed a few years ago in the City of Naples. The tax record showed that the seller was paying $900 annually in taxes and everybody that came into my open house said that they wanted to buy the place because the property taxes were so low. Despite explaining to them that the seller homesteaded the property since the 1970’s which capped the amount taxes could be increased over the years, he was a veteran and a widower which also impacted the taxes – and that they would probably be paying closer to $3,000 annually in property taxes – most of the folks continued to point at the number reflected in the Public Tax Record. My advice is to do your research, so that you are not surprised by a higher property tax bill than what you planned.

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