Vail Valley residents should plan to pay property taxes
Much has been written about the 2009 Eagle County property valuations of late. Vail Valley property owners are being faced with assessed values that average 13 percent more than 2007 values. In some regions of the county, the average increase is as much as 25 percent or more. Individual property valuation increases can be even higher. The valuation increases mean that, in most cases, property tax increases will be nearly proportionate. The 2009 property tax is due and payable in the first half of 2010. While assessed values and property tax is in the front of many property owners minds, being prepared for next years tax payment may not be.If you have a mortgage loan on your home, it is likely that a portion of your mortgage payment includes funds to cover your property tax obligation. As part of your monthly payment, residential mortgage lenders commonly collect one-twelfth of your property tax obligation and deposit those funds into an escrow account. The balance of the escrow account is then used to satisfy your property tax obligation when due. It is important to understand that lenders collect tax escrows based on historical property tax rather than some uncertain projected number. Using historical data means that mortgage lenders are collecting only enough funds to cover property taxes that were based on 2007 assessments rather than 2009 assessments. If your 2009 real-estate tax obligation is 13 percent more than your 2007 and 2008 tax obligation then, all other things being equal, your escrow account will be 13 percent short. Expect your lender to reanalyze your tax escrow later this year in an effort to ensure that your tax bill will be covered. When that analysis happens, your monthly payment will be increased to cover your higher tax obligation. You also have the option to make an extra deposit into your tax escrow account to cover the shortage. Either way, expect your mortgage payment to increase this year and plan accordingly.Paul Wible is the Executive Vice President of FirstBank of Vail and is a member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association Board of Directors.