Property taxes will go up

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The clock in the union depot - St. Paul, MN

Property taxes are a mystery to many, or maybe to most. Property taxes are collected by the county, in the case of St. Paul it is Ramsey county. Anyone can look up any address and see what the property taxes are, were and possibly will be.

There are two basic facts about these taxes and that is that they always exist and they always go up.  There might be a year here and there where they go down slightly but the general trend is up. The taxes are based on the value of the property but they did go up during the years property values went down. They had to go up because expenses went up while home values plummeted.

Often property taxes go up the year after a property changes hands. That happens because the county now has new value information. Ramsey county tax assessors periodically inspect properties and that can also lead to a higher tax bill.

Last time I checked the projected property tax increase for 2017 is 2.9%. In St. Paul we have other property related assessments that are rarely based on property value but usually on road and alley frontage.

For home buyers who have financing . . . you know like a mortgage . . . property taxes are usually escrowed and payed by the mortgage company. The home owner is paying 1/12th of the property taxes every month. Property taxes in Minnesota are due on May 15th and October 15th.

For information about the many services Ramsey county provides with your tax dollars visit the Ramsey County website. Property taxes vary from county to county and are generally higher in the city as a percentage of the value of the property. If your property taxes are too high one option is to move to an area where they are lower.

Pro tip

When making an offer on a home ask the seller to pay any special assessments and all property taxes prorated up to the day of closing.