Licensees Offer More than Just Selling Real Estate – Deductions for Destroyed Property

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Deductions for Destroyed Property

Potential consumers oftentimes seek consultation on issues that don’t involve buying or selling a home. Examples are questions on everything from HOA dues, homeowners insurance, and property taxes. Expanding your knowledge on general real estate topics will help you better serve your clients and may open the door to new customers. Today, I wanted to make you aware of an option for your clients to apply to have their property taxes reduced if their property has been damaged by fire or other means. I thought of the topic given the recent destruction from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Ohio law gives county auditors the ability to reduce the taxable value of real estate which results in a lower property tax bill. If you think about it, if you’ve lost your home to fire, why should you continue to pay property taxes at the same rate as before the calamity? The law pro-rates deductions based on the month in the calendar year when the loss occurred. So, for example, if the property is destroyed in January – March then the law allows for 100% reduction. Likewise, if the damage occurs in October – December, only 25% deduction is allowed.

To obtain deductions, the owner of the destroyed property must complete and file an application under oath with the County Auditor in which the property is located. The owner will have to detail the date of the damage, cause, and describe the damage to the property. The County is then required to certify the deductions and modify the property taxes due based on the deductions.

You may be fortunate enough not to know anyone currently dealing with the destruction of their home, but one day you may. Although the ability to reduce property taxes will not solve all of the homeowner’s problems, it may help to ease their burden. Sharing information like this is a value-added service for your clients. Your knowledge of real estate beyond simple listing and selling demonstrates your commitment to your industry and community. Not to mention, it may lead to more sales opportunities.