In fact, there is a huge difference in property taxes. Generally speaking Greenwich property taxes could be half as much as the same priced home in other metro areas. At the same time, Greenwich offers an excellent variety and depth of education through its strong public schools and variety of exceptional private schools. People are looking and asking.
So it’s time for me to include property taxes in my monthly closings and weekly open house reports. I have hesitated to do so in the past. Why? Property taxes are (a) imprecise, (b) a lagging indicator and (c) subject to change. Assessor valuations are based on methodologies that include market comparables. But there are inherent obstacles and realities that also come into play and must be evaluated before one can understand the true meaning of reported property taxes:
- Reassessments are periodic and event driven
- Assessors often do not have access to the property or the interior of the home
- Deferred maintenance is hard to capture
- Improvements may not be visible
- Additions and renovations may not be included until a certificate of occupancy is issued
- Revaluations are not done in real time
- Tax levels do not serve as a proxy for quality of education.
That said, property taxes and the schools they support are extraordinarily relevant. So note the overall property tax levels as a general indicator of relative value. Comparing within a community more precisely can be a bit trickier. Within Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich there will be outliers or levels that don’t seem to make sense on the surface. Don’t make assumptions. Call me with questions.