Homeownership April 14, 2023

Property taxes in Iowa

Last week Iowans received their updated tax assessments from their local county assessor’s office.  This stirred a lot of conversation because many residents saw BIG increases in their property tax assessments.  Can you imagine how many phone calls the local assessor’s office received last week?Many residents were upset, and I wanted to break down what this means for you as a homeowner.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that property taxes are based on the value of your home. This value is determined by an assessor who takes into account a number of factors, including the condition of your home, its location, and most importantly, the current market value of similar homes in the area.

One of the main reasons for the recent increase in property tax assessments in Iowa is the strong real estate market. With low inventory and high demand, home prices have risen significantly in many areas of the state. This means that your home may be worth more now than it was when it was last assessed, which can result in a higher property tax assessment. Many residents saw their property value increase over 25% in the last two years! In Iowa, the maximum taxes can increase in a year is 3%, so even though there was a larger increase in your home’s value, your taxes can only increase 3% (as long as this is the current law).

Additionally, if you have made improvements to your home, such as adding an addition or remodeling your kitchen, your property tax assessment may increase to reflect the added value of these improvements – this is one reason you are required to obtain a permit when making major updates!

It’s also worth noting that property tax assessments are not set in stone. If you believe that your assessment is too high, you have the right to appeal it. You can do this by contacting your local assessor’s office and providing evidence that shows that your home is not worth as much as the assessment suggests. I am available to help you with finding a list of properties that compare to yours.

I understand that no one wants to pay more in property taxes, but remember that if you are planning to sell your home, an increase in the assessed value of your home is great news! If you’re planning to stay in your home for years to come, then you could consider this increase in value as additional equity. Property taxes are a necessary part of homeownership and I hope this helps you feel more informed.