By Candice Choi, AP Personal Finance Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Home prices are still far below their highs just a few years ago. One bittersweet perk for homeowners is that property taxes should be lower too.
If your home's value has tumbled, you may be able to slash hundreds of dollars from your tax bill by appealing its assessed value. That's because local governments generally don't reassess homes every year, meaning the values they use to levy property taxes may be outdated.
Just how much you could save depends on your real estate market. But nationally, home prices are still about 30% below their peak in 2006.
The appeal process varies depending on your area, but here's a guide on the steps you'll need to take.
STEP 1: TRACK DOWN THE PAPERWORK
Property taxes are assessed on a local level. Most homes are only assessed by one jurisdiction, whether it's a town, city or county. But if your home has more than one assessment — for example, if you live in a village within a town — you need to file appeals with both jurisdictions since they operate independently.
You can start by searching for your assessor's Web site, where you'll find the form to file an appeal. It will probably be a page or two, and ask for basic information and your home's parcel or lot number. The latter should be listed on your mortgage or property tax bill, or you might be able to look it up on the assessor's Web site.
Deadlines for appealing an assessment in a particular year are often in the spring, so get moving if you're seriously considering it.
Filing fees vary; it could be free, it may be a flat fee of $15 or so.