Property taxes on the real estate you own or just bought in Maine.
If there is anything universally agreed upon among people, it's the desire to avoid paying any more property taxes than absolutely necessary. Out of state buyers looking for Maine real estate listings especially are even more sensitive to property tax levels. Because the desire to move, the relocation to Maine was caused by not being able to afford the property taxes where they lived outside Vacationland. The lack of crime, plenty of open space,clean water, the low prices hanging off the Maine real estate listings do not hurt either in making the Pine Tree State look pretty darn attractive.
No matter where you live, property taxes need to be raised and maintained to fill the pot holes, educate the kids, to keep the town infrastructure purring along nicely.
Some Maine towns or plantations are more fiscally responsible than others. A portion of the real estate property inventory MOOERS REALTY lists and sells are located in unorganized territory townships and plantations in Maine.
What happens when a real estate buyer makes property taxes the end all in home and or land selection? Often they get a slightly lower yearly real estate tax bill but if they are 50 miles from a town or city conveniences, gas and car wear and tear quickly eat up any real savings.
The lack of a fire department full time or one even volunteer can drive the property insurance premiums up too.
So don't be penny wise and pound foolish. We paddle hard to manage our bills and income to come out on top in rural Maine. But close to home makes it consider the price paid for being out in the boonies too far from any sizeable population when considering which is the best property purchase.
Also, who is the power utility for the property you are considering buying? It makes a big difference if you hook up to juice with a utility that has the most miles of lines but the fewest number of consumers. There is an economy of scale to consider. Maybe you are thinking about going off grid and don't plan to catch a monthly power bill in your mail box.
Other concerns beyond property tax levels are how distant from school, the closest hospital or medical facility. How far to work if you are not ready to enjoy retirement living in Maine is key. If you like running the roads in all kinds of weather, then continue searching for the lowest property tax area available. But realize that low level of taxation could change if a school system dissolves, a local large employer shutters the windows and closes the operation subsidizing your home's property tax bill.
In my area, New Limerick Maine has low taxes because of a lot of waterfront property, lots of working farms and a local business like Louisianna Pacific that makes OSB wafer board and other building materials.
They all combine to make the mill rate low in New Limerick for property taxes and the township desirable for real estate buyers on the hunt for low property taxes. More about the community of New Limerick west of Houlton Maine in Aroostook County.
What you build for improvements on the Maine land will dictate the level of property tax burden you will carry when the next tax bill gets delivered.
Keep it simple, think about the square footage, the auxiliary buildings needed. It is public information what every tax payers in every corner of Maine is assessed for what figure they pay the tax assessor. Look over the local records and often so you find you are aware you are getting a pretty good deal. You will find other higher tax bills on lesser property situations than your own plight. And may call off the bugle charge to whittle away at the local property assessment figure.
In small town Maine more frugal, more practical happens and anything for show or that is out to impress is avoided. We also avoid mortgages and if we must have one it is not for long in the race to retire them. To live free and clear without the weight of debt to keep us awake at night with worry.
Exemptions to property taxes in Maine to consider no matter which of the sixteen counties you end up owning real estate in that has a tax bill attached to it.
I hear my share of gripes from real estate buyers sick and tired of crazy property tax bills outside Maine. The town they leave behind out of state often kept raising taxes to fund new city halls, bigger schools, and what sounds like unnecessary spending. But state and federal laws often dictate the strings tied to the spending and force the higher mill rates, the heftier property tax assessed values that spike the yearly tax levy skyward.
Historically, Maine's county seats are higher taxed when you rip open and read the valuation used to figure your property taxes.
Because lots of the property in them is tax exempt. The mill rate is higher.
Population centers are going to have more churches, more government agencies, state police, county sheriffs, universities and public community schools, medical facilities. More roadways to maintain, plow, more public areas to mow, graveyards, more everything!
Being just outside a higher property tax region in a small well run Maine community is a smart consideration. Just don't make achieving the lower property tax bill possible to be your end all in picking the best community in Maine to be your new home. Those hinterland locations are harder for resale prospects too!
How restrictive is the community you plan to buy existing property or raw land to build on? More hoops to jump through cause costly delays. Time is money and more layers of governmental regulation can pour ice cold water on your dream to transition into a Maine community.
What if the prorated property taxes are not calculated correctly or the right amount is not paid at a real estate closing?
It can affect your credit. More from the state of Maine about property taxes and how to avoid costly mistakes in the link above. There is no greater cause of phone calls or emails from past real estate buyers and sellers to our office than about property taxes not prorated right. Or what was assessed was based on the previous year when no newer tax bill is available to base the numbers on. And there is a shortage when the school budget jacks up the town tax commitment figures above what expected to be the same as last year's numbers.
What will my property taxes be when I build a home on the vacant Maine land?
Well, that million dollar question depends on how palatial a home, how large a square footage and how impressed the local tax assessor is with the homestead. Again, you can challenge the valuation figure with a hearing and lots of supporting property tax cards to build a case the current assessment figure is out of whack. No one wants their tax bill to make them feel like too many revolutions on the tiltawhirl or some other spinning carnival ride.
We hear the question request come in a lot on the phone, over the Internet emails.
Where are the cheapest property taxes in Maine? And our office gets asked how are property taxes calculated? The assessed value starts with a periodic town wide assessment for the entire community that is mandated by the state by law. And then as property sales happen, adjustment of individual real estate assessments are done by the local assessor or group of assessors.
The mill rate is determine based on how much valuation assessment is generated for taxable real and personal property. Any exemptions are taken off the top of the assessed value if they are available to take advantage of by the local property owner.
The mill rate per thousand dollars of valuation is applied to the adjusted assessed value to determine the number typed on the property tax bill delivered usually on a Saturday.
So everyone can cool off before storming off to the town office or picking up the phone to bend the ear of the local town manager fielding the calls. More on the process used to determine property assessed valuations that tax bills are based on.
Who does not pay property taxes in Maine?
And who pays a reduced tax on their real estate property investment? You have to have be a local resident, to have owned a home for twelve months in Maine, to get the $20,000 homestead property tax relief exemption. Which means $20,000 comes off the top of the assessed property valuation before calculating the tax due.
The FAQ about the homestead property tax exemption link. More on the Maine property tax homestead exemption. And what about churches, their parsonages, and the American Legion, Elks, Masons, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), how Maine handle non profit charitable groups regardling property taxes? There are strict tests to determine who is tax exempt, who qualifies for reduced property taxes in Maine. More on tree growth tax reduction in Maine.
Property taxes on Maine property are higher for waterfront listings.
Anything on water, bordering it can jack up the weight of your tax bill burden. The assessed value per waterfront frontage swings up or down depending on the size of the lake, supply and demand of the property type and size of the waterfront lot acreage and frontage.
If extra building lots could be sold off and still be in compliance with shore land zoning minimum lot sizes and property line set backs to construct new structures or retrofit existing ones, the assessed value and property tax bill size dollar wise for the waterfront real estate can climb accordingly.
And bird dog the property do the information on the tax card at the local assessors is correct! If the garage was torn down or burned, the taxes continue until you bring it to the attention of the assessor is is one busy person. Whoever owned the building after April 1st gets the tax bill too.
If you the new buyer of a home or other type of real estate don't get a tax bill go looking for one! It's your responsibility to reach out to the town or plantation if you get missed! You still have a property tax obligation! And one more thing, if the town says you owe a certain acreage because the deeds specifies that amount or their mapping services has you down for more than you know you own, prove it. Show the town municipal folks your survey to get the acreage reduced.
Hope this was a helpful real estate blog post. That you now know more than you did before gleaning it on the topic of property taxes in Maine, what do I have to pay, who is exempt and for how much.
MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA