It appears you are overpaying for your property taxes. IN RED. That got the attention of a friend of mine and we spent a big portion of our time at lunch yesterday discussing the notification she had received in the mail last week.
The letter explains that as of 1/1/09 the assessor records show she has not taken her homeowner's exemption of $5,600. My understanding is that the California homeowner's exemption is $7000. To my knowledge that exemption is applied automatically.
This company is asking my friend to send them a $25 processing fee to apply for the exemption at the assessor's office. By the way, they'd like her social security number (or Medicare number) and phone number. Oh, BTW there will be another $34 fee for a valuation information service (CMA).
My friend's biggest concern is that she thinks the assessed value of her home is too low. She's worried on serveral levels -- if she wants to sell will it have to be at the assessed value, if there is a fire will the assessed value be the amount the insurance company will pay her?
I asked her for the letter because I wanted to read it carefully and told her if she's worried about replacement value, she should talk to her insurance agent. Another thing you should know, my friend bought her home (in Menlo Park, CA) in 1976 for about $40,000. It's now worth about $1,000,000+/-. Those of us who were fortunate to buy a home in the early 70's have been blessed with wonderful appreciation.
Marge Draper, REALTOR
KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY MENLO PARK