So, you’re buying investment property and think you found the perfect one- nice!
But how do you know how much you’ll be paying in taxes? To find out, you must check the property tax history.
Property taxes can constitute a large portion of your monthly expenses, and if they are too high, they can eat away at your cash flow. Since you’ll definitely want to know how big a tax payment you are signing up for before you buy, read this guide to learn how to check the property tax history for your future rental.
Related: 10 States with No Property Tax in 2020
When it comes to searching the tax history on a property, you have a few options. Below, you will find four different ways to conduct your property tax history search.
This is the quickest, most common approach used to look up property tax history. Typically, websites like Redfin and Realtor.com will include information on a property such as its current taxes. In some cases, they may include information on past tax assessments.
While it is very convenient to have a quick and free way to find property tax history, you must be aware that these websites are not always correct. They can and very well may be up to date, but you must always double-check these numbers for accuracy.
It is best to use this approach to get a rough estimate only. You’ll want to follow up with a second approach to ensure you have the most accurate property data.
Talk to the Neighbors
If you live close to where you’re planning on buying investment property, you can take your property tax history search to a deeper level.
By talking to the neighbors, not only can you get a sense of current property taxes, but if they’ve lived in the area for a long time, you can learn about how the taxes have increased over the years and how affordable it has been for the owners.
An added bonus is that you might even make friends with the people who live next to your future real estate investment. These kinds of relationships can be helpful down the road, as you will have an extra set of eyes to look out for your property when you aren’t there.
Tips for asking neighbors about property tax history:
- Be friendly. Make it about establishing a connection, and ease into your questions about property tax history naturally without coming across as interrogating.
- Make sure you choose the right neighbors. You can’t just pick the houses on either side of the rental property and assume the taxes will be similar. Make sure the houses you are choosing represent rental comps.
- Realize that there are also limitations to this approach. You are looking for an estimate here. If the property tax history you’ve found on free websites is pretty close to what the neighbors pay, you’ve got yourself in the right ballpark. However, you still don’t have a concrete number yet.
Go to the County for Property Tax History
If you are serious about an investment property, you’ll need to take your property tax history search to the next level.
Pay an In-Person Visit
Traditionally, if you wanted to check property tax history on investment properties for sale, you would have to go to the county or city tax collector. There, you would sift through numerous records and unrelated property data to find the property tax history for each rental you were considering.
As you can imagine, this is a long and inefficient process that any real estate investor would want to avoid. Fortunately, this isn’t usually necessary.
Try a Phone Call
Depending on how helpful your local tax assessor’s office is, you might be able to get information on property taxes out of them with a simple phone call. Some tax offices are quite friendly, organized, and informative. On the off chance that this is the case, giving a quick phone call is the first approach you should try when trying to pin down the property tax history for a rental property.
Search an Online Tax Portal
If the county you’re dealing with is tech-savvy, you’re in luck. They might just have an online tax portal where you can look up property tax history.
This is much more convenient than taking time out of your busy day to go to the office or even waiting on hold on the phone. In fact, if you give them a phone call, it might end with instructions on how to use their online system to find property tax history.
But be aware; unfortunately, not every tax office will offer this feature.
Related: Our Selection of the Top 6 States with Lowest Property Taxes
Are There Alternative Solutions to Checking Property Tax History?
In my personal experience, not every county office has it together, and you might spend weeks waiting for a simple answer or even a callback. And certainly, not every tax assessment office will have an online portal. If you live far away from the tax office, paying a visit might not be feasible either.
If this is the case, what can you do?
As a real estate investor, you probably don’t have the time to go through all of this hassle over a simple piece of data. Good properties go on and off market fast, and you want to be as efficient as possible to make sure you snatch them before other investors do.
Mashvisor: A Tool for Property Tax History [and Much More]
If you are hoping to skip all of the above steps and find a way to:
- search for the most profitable investment properties for sale
- find the best neighborhoods to invest in through top-notch rental market analysis
- access real estate data for specific properties, including property tax history, and
- automatically conduct rental property analysis (without doing calculations or using real estate investment analysis spreadsheets)…
…then Mashvisor’s real estate investment software is perfect for you. Not only will you find property tax history data, but you’ll solve many other common problems real estate investors face.
By using our investment property calculator, you’ll gain access to important data you need for the property you are trying to analyze.
For instance, many of the properties for sale on our platform include property tax history data.
Next, our investment property calculator will do all the work for you by analyzing the rental’s potential. Our tools ensure you get the best investment every time.
Learn More: What Can a Real Estate Investment Calculator Do?
Mashvisor is easily the best platform for real estate investors.