If there’s one thing that people like, it’s the ability to save a buck or two, and when it comes to their home – and the taxes they pay on it – the more money you can save, the better.
Many Long Islanders are familiar with the concept of grieving their property taxes with the county or town that they live in to potentially lower their bills. However, this can be a long and difficult process, and one in which people often recruit knowledgeable third parties to handle for them.
And when it comes to saving Long Islanders every cent of money that they possibly can on their property taxes, no other firm has the proven track record and enormous reductions that Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance has garnered over the years.
Based out of Rocky Point with satellite offices in Deer Park and Farmingdale, Heller & Consultants first opened their doors for business in 2007, and service clients in both Nassau and Suffolk County. Owner Adam Heller was kind enough to lay out the basic process behind why people grieve their taxes, and what his company can do to help them in that endeavor.
“Your tax bill is based on what your municipality believes the property to be worth…the more they think your property is worth, the higher your property tax bill, and the lower they think it’s worth, the lower your property tax bill,” he said. “What we do is that we prove to the assessor that it’s worth less than what they say it is, reducing the homeowner’s property taxes.”
Grieving your property taxes is literally a no-lose situation for any homeowner. First of all, Heller & Consultants charges the client nothing upfront, and nothing at all unless they actually reduce their taxes, in which case they typically charge one-half of the first year’s savings. There will also be no unwanted visits from a Heller representative or from any Suffolk or Nassau officials, and homeowners are protected under NYS law so that their taxes cannot be raised due to filing a grievance.
Also, if the idea of successfully grieving your property taxes has some homeowners worried that this can actually reduce the market/selling price of their home, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it actually increases the value of their home instead! MLS studies show that homes with lower property taxes than surrounding homes sell for 10-20 percent more than surrounding homes; therefore, lowering your property tax assessment actually increases your home’s market value.
When it comes to the success that Heller & Consultants brings to the table in terms of saving their clients money, nothing speaks louder than the fact that they are literally a record-breaking agency in that regard, Heller said.
“Our firm holds the highest-ever one-year residential property tax decrease in both Nassau and Suffolk County,” he said. “In Nassau County, the record is $73,443, and in Suffolk County it’s $29,185.”
It’s no accident that Heller & Consultants can achieve those lofty numbers when it comes to saving their clients money on their property taxes; Heller notes that they put their all into each and every case they handle, whereas many of their competitors will only do so for their high-profile clients.
“We spend more time preparing the cases, and we put more work into it than other firms do. We try just as hard to get a homeowner a $1,000 reduction a year or a $70,000 reduction a year,” he said. “Many firms will prioritize their cases by the most profitable ones, and we really pride ourselves at looking at each case individually and putting everyone under a microscope and preparing the best evidence we can in court. After all, the burden of proof is on us to prove the assessor is wrong.”
Heller & Consultants will grieve property taxes for both residential and commercial clients.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Heller said that 2020 is shaping up to be one of his firm’s busiest ever, simply by the fact that people are doing whatever they can to save an extra buck due to the financial hardship so many are facing.
In addition to the pandemic, Nassau County’s recent overhaul of their assessment system is also causing more than a few headaches for people this year, Heller said; the assessed values of every property in Nassau have been all essentially reset, so even if a person has grieved in the past, they are starting from scratch in 2020.
“Nassau has started reassessing on an annual basis, so it’s vitally important for Nassau residents to start grieving their taxes every year,” he said. “In contrast, in Suffolk County you can only win a tax grievance case every other year. If you win one year, you can’t win again the following year.”
When it comes to helping people navigate the complicated legal system – and saving them some of their hard-earned money in the process, including not taking a fee unless they are successful – Heller said that the hard work is all worth every second that he and his dedicated consultants put into it.
“I used to be a real estate broker, and during a downturn in the market I sold the business and moved into grieving property taxes, which is very similar in that we are valuing real estate and still helping people,” he said. “Unlike many firms, we update the client monthly because it does typically take 12-18 months to get a result, whereas other firms will just disappear until a verdict is reached. We are always honest and always go the extra mile for our clients.”
To find out more or apply to grieve your property taxes, please visit hellertaxgrievance.com.