A Basic Guide to Real Estate Taxes

More than 30% of homebuyers are first-time homebuyers. In Florida, 25% of homebuyers in 2019 were first-time buyers. For many of these first-timers, navigating the rules and fine print of purchasing a new home can be quite overwhelming. One detail of buying a home that first-time homebuyers might not think about is real estate taxes or property taxes.

What Are Real Estate Taxes?

If you own a home or property, you will have to pay property taxes. These taxes are a major source of income for local and state governments used to fund local schools, infrastructure, parks, recreation, emergency services, and other government efforts.

How Are Real Estate Taxes Calculated?

The amount you pay in property taxes will vary based on where you live and the value of your property. The factors that typically play into the tax rate — also called a mill levy — include:

  • The assessed value of your home
  • The assessed value of all the other homes in your tax jurisdiction
  • Your local government’s annual budget

How Do I Pay My Real Estate Taxes?

You can typically pay your property taxes as part of your monthly mortgage payment or directly to your local tax office. If you pay your taxes as part of your mortgage, your lender divides your estimated tax bill by 12 and includes that amount in your monthly payment, along with the principal, interest, and private mortgage insurance. These four are known as PITI — principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

If you do not pay your taxes as part of your monthly mortgage, you will receive your tax bill in the mail along with instructions on how to pay it. Typically, you will be allowed to pay it via check, credit card, or money order.

How Often Is Your Property Value Assessed?

The rate you pay in property taxes does not always remain the same. It can increase or decrease based on changes to local and statewide tax rates, as well as changes to the assessed value of your property. Typically, the value of your property will be assessed every one to five years depending on where you live. If you want to learn more about how your property value was assessed, that information is typically available via public record.

To learn more about property taxes or to look up your property’s real estate tax history, contact Florida Lien Search today!