Property taxes may be one of the less anticipated parts of homeownership, but you should be prepared for them nonetheless. Property taxes are collected by your local government and used to benefit the community in which you live. Think about it as your contribution to help pay for services and projects like public safety, roads, and parks.

You have a few options on how to pay your property taxes:

Property taxes can be paid directly to your local tax office

homeownershipOne of the main options for paying your property taxes is paying them directly at your local tax office. These payments are sent to you via tickets that you can break off and send in to your tax office via mail with your check or money order. These payments are installments so you don’t have to pay the whole amount at once.

Depending on where you live, you can also pay:

  • By telephone via debit or credit card
  • Online via debit or credit card
  • Online via eCheck

Property taxes can be paid through monthly mortgage payments

Alternatively, you can pay your property taxes through your monthly mortgage payments.

This method works by paying a little more in your mortgage payments each month. Then part of it is transferred into an escrow account that is used to pay your property taxes when they come due. This method is helpful to those homeowners who don’t wish to pay the sum themselves when taxes come due.

Even when you pay property taxes this way, you will still get a tax bill from your city. This is simply for your records and the bill has already been taken care of through escrow. If you have questions, contact your mortgage company.

Tip: before purchasing a home, check for unpaid property taxes

At SmartMortgage, we want to make sure that all is in order before you purchase a home. That is why we always recommend that you check for any unpaid property taxes or liens on the home you plan to purchase. When it comes to unpaid property taxes on a home, work closely with your realtor to determine who pays them and when. Have the home sale contract clearly state these requirements that each party pay their share of the tax.

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.