It’s an unfortunate but true fact: property values are declining. With the number of foreclosure properties and short sales entering the market, property values have declined in most areas.

In the past a foreclosure sale, or other similar sale where the price is lower than normal, would not have been given much consideration because it was not typical in the market. However, because of the sheer number of these types of transactions, as well as the number of properties being offered for sale (i.e.-competitive listings), they must be considered. Prior to the decline, property values increased a great deal because of the real estate boom. This resulted in higher assessments and higher property taxes. What we have left now are the high taxes and low market value of residential real estate.

One way of making this work for you is to get your tax assessment lowered to more accurately reflect the property’s true value and likewise lower your property taxes. The first step is to get an independent appraisal of your home so that you can see how it compares with what the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation has it valued at. It is important that the appraiser have the right credentials. This includes proper education, state certification, experience, and familiarity with the market area the property is located in. After the appraisal is completed you will need to file the appeal with you county assessment office. Depending on how complicated this procedure is you may want to have a real estate attorney do this for you. In addition to the filing, they can argue your case during your first meeting with an assessor and prove to them that your house is indeed not worth as much as they say it is. You may also be asked to respond to questions the board may have.

With a professional appraisal and a convincing argument it is possible your Maryland property assessment and taxes will be lowered. This may seem to be a daunting task at first but if you do your homework correctly, it could pay off by saving you thousands of dollars in property taxes.