Title change effect on property taxes


Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
Feb 20, 2006
Washington, DC
I live in Washington, DC which, like a number of locations, holds real property tax increases to no more than 10% per year as long as you stay in your home. With the huge increase in asessed value of my house that is a nice feature. But now I am worried that I might jeopardise it. For estate planning purposes my wife and I were about to change our house titles from joint to single (she would get our DC house tiltle, I would get a VA house title). I asked my accountant whether the change from joint to single could be an event that would trigger full taxes and he didn't know. I can't just ask someone at the DC government since I will get several different answers. I plan to research it myself but figured I would check to see if anyone here has run into this situation, in DC or in anoter location. :confused:
I don't know about DC, but we did a title change in Maryland back in late 2003, when my Grandma added my uncle and me to the title of the house I now live in. It didn't change anything with regards to property taxes.

The only issue I ran into was getting my place changed over to "primary residence". When it had been in my Grandma's name only, it had been a rental. When I moved into it and we did the title change, I just figured that it would automatically change to primary residence, but it didn't. I had to call the dept of assessments, and they made me break the place into two accounts because they considered the lot, 4.28 acres, to be over-sized. So I have one tax account that includes the house, all outbuildings, and 1.28 acres (doesn't matter which 1.28 acres, and all the outbuildings don't have to actually be in its confines) to be primary residence, and homesteaded in, but the remaining 3 acres are not. However, the remaining 3 acres are considered "back acreage" and while they don't get capped by the homestead act, their assessment also does't go up as much. So IMO it was just a bunch of bureaucratic foolishness and paperwork.

FWIW, my taxes went from $2356 in 2004 to about $2550 in 2005, the first year of the primary residence/two tax accounts thing. I'll be curious to see what they go up to this year.
Depends on the state. In some, putting the property into a trust and retitling it doesnt change anything, but everything else does.

When I removed an ex girlfriend from a title about 10 years ago it triggered a reassessment.

Easy to figure out: call the assessors office or county office or whoever you register titles with and ask them. Then double check it with someone else.
If you don't mind me asking, what would the benefit be of doing that in the first place?  Just curious...
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