Homeowner Resources

FAQ's

 

  Index of Topics:
   I.
Change in Ownership
   II.
Real Estate FAQs
   III.
Mobile Home FAQs
   IV.
Property Tax Bills and Refunds FAQs
   V.
Location Hours and Services


I. CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP

 

  1. Can two otherwise qualified taxpayers who have recently sold their separately owned original properties combine their claim for Proposition 60/90 benefit when they buy a single replacement dwelling together?
    No. They can only receive benefit if one or the other, not both, qualifies by comparing his/her original property to the jointly purchased replacement dwelling. The implementing legislation specifically disallows combining a claim in this manner regardless of whether the replacement dwelling co-owners are married or not.

  2. When making the "equal or lesser value” test comparison, is a simple comparison of the sales price of the original property and the purchase price/cost of new construction of the replacement all that is needed?
    No. The comparison must be made using the full market value of the original property as compared to the full market value of the replacement dwelling as of its date of purchase or completion of new construction. This is important because sales or purchase price is not always the same as market value. The assessor must determine the market value of each property, which may differ from sales price.

  3. If the full cash value of my replacement dwelling slightly exceeds the “equal or lesser value” as compared to the full market value of my original property, can I still benefit?
    Yes. If an original property was sold the same day or was sold before purchasing the replacement dwelling. 105% of the market value of original property as of its date of sale within one year & 110% of the market value of original property as of its date of sale within two years.

  4. My parents died & the children inherited the property. Why are we receiving a notice of possible reassessment?
    Death is a transfer of the decedent's interest upon the date of death to the heirs. If the heirs or beneficiaries are children, they must submit the "Claim For Reassessment Exclusion For Transfer Between Parents & Children" form to avoid a reassessment. If the Claim Form is not submitted in a timely manner, the property will be reassessed.

  5. But we sold the property. Do we still need to submit the Claim Form?
    Yes. The possible reassessment covers the time period between the date of death & the date of sale. Without the Claim Form, that time period will be reassessed & a supplemental bill sent. Upon selling the property to a third party, the children only have 6 months from the notice date of a supplemental or escape notice to submit the Claim Form. Please make certain that the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder's Office, Assessor's Division has the correct address for the executor/successor trustee or other responsible party for the estate.

  6. What are my property boundaries?
    A1:Your property boundaries are delineated within your grant deed or your deed makes reference to a legally record subdivision or parcel map which has the legal boundaries delineated on them.

  7. I think the fence that is between me and my neighbor is in the wrong location. How do I know?
    A2:The only way to know if the fence is in the wrong location is to have a licensed surveyor survey the property boundaries.

  8. I want to subdivide my property what do I need to do?
    A3:This answer varies on a individual basis but usually these are land use questions and need to be directed to the planning and building dept for the jurisdiction in which the property falls.
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II. REAL ESTATE FAQs

 

  1. Can I lower my Property Taxes? 
    If you disagree with the Assessor's value, you should first discuss your concern with the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder's Office, Assessor's Division. If the Assessor's Division does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you will still have the right to file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. For additional information, you may go to their web site at:  www.co.sanmateo.ca.us

  2. Will I be reassessed if I remodel my kitchen or bathroom?
    This is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the kitchen or bathroom is determined to be the equivalent of a new kitchen or bathroom, it can be considered newly constructed; therefore, it is assessable. If, however, the work is considered remodeling (like-for-like replacement) or maintenance, it would not qualify as new construction; thus, it is not assessable.

    According to the State Board of Equalization, the following may be considered new construction:

    Bathroom – the addition of one, or structural changes, upgrading of plumbing and/or electrical systems, changing the floor plan, increasing the size, replacing cabinets, countertops, flooring or fixtures with upgraded materials and finishes.

    Kitchen – structural changes, upgrading of plumbing and/or electrical systems, changing the floor plan, increasing the size, replacing cabinets, countertops, flooring or built-in appliances with upgraded materials and finishes.

  3. How will an addition to my home affect my assessment?  How are additions assessed?
    An addition is considered new construction, which the county may reassess.  The fair market value of the addition will be added to the existing improvement value of the house.

  4. Will I be reassessed if I add a bathroom, room or loft within existing space?
    If you add a bathroom, room or loft within existing space it is considered a change in use which is reassessable.

  5. Will I be reassessed if I tear down most of the house, but leave a corner or wall standing?
    Tearing down most of the house but leaving a corner or wall standing and rebuilding the house would be considered the equivalent of new construction which is reassessable.

  6. Why is my assessment so much higher than my neighbor’s even though we have the same model house.
    The assessed value is based on the fair market value of the house on its purchase date.  Therefore, even though two houses are exactly the same, it may have a different value depending on when it was purchased.

  7. For what use is my property zoned for?  How come it is different on the City records?
    Zoning is determined by planning department of the municipality in which the property is located.  Please contact your local planning department.

  8. I want to see the data on my property, what do I need to do.
    You may see the data for your property at the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder's Office, Assessor’s Division located at 555 County Center, First Floor in Redwood City.

  9. How many departments does it take to make up the tax bill and what do they do? The Assessor determines the value of the property, the Controller determines the amount of taxes to be collected from each property, the Tax Collector bills and collects the tax due from each property, and the Controller distributes the revenues to each of the taxing jurisdictions. The Controller is also responsible for maintaining the tax rolls.

  10. How do I get more details on Institutional and Veteran’s Organization Exemptions and how do I apply for an exemption?
    Certain properties may be eligible for an exemption if they have a qualifying use.  Please visit our forms page for information or contact the Exemptions Department at (650) 363-4500.

  11. What is excluded from reappraisal?
    Certain changes of ownership may be excluded from reappraisal such as parent-child transfers, grandparent-grandchild transfers and transfer of base year value for 55 and older.  Please visit our forms page for information on exclusions or contact the transfer section at (650) 363-4500.
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III. MOBILE HOME FAQs

 

  1. Are Mobile homes subject to property taxes?
    A. Newly purchased mobile homes, and those on permanent foundations, are subject to property taxes. As with real property, the assessed value of mobile homes cannot be increased by more than 2% annually unless there is a change in-ownership or new construction. Older mobile homes bought before June 30, 1980 generally are not subject to property taxes. They are licensed under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

  2. My mobile home is sitting on a permanent foundation on my property, how will it be taxed?
    For purposes of taxation, mobile homes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation are not considered mobile homes, but are viewed instead as modular housing, and have always been taxed in the same way as conventional homes.

  3. If I buy a used mobile home subject to local property taxes, how do I get the title transferred to my name?
    Mobile home title issuance is administered by the State's Department of Housing and Community Development.  That department cannot transfer title of a used mobile home subject to local property taxes without a tax clearance from the county Tax Collector of the county in which the mobile home is situated.  If there are any taxes owing, they must be paid before a Tax Clearance Certificate can be issued.

    Note:  This type of title transfer applies only to mobile homes not on permanent foundations.  If your mobile home is attached to a permanent foundation, title transfers are handled by the County Recorder in the same manner as for conventional homes.


  4. How do you change the ownership of a mobile home into the name of a trust?
    Contact the California Department of Housing and Community Development to change the ownership of a mobile home into the name of a trust.   http://www.hcd.ca.gov/
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IV. PROPERTY TAX BILLS AND REFUNDS FAQs

 

  1. How much are my taxes for the current year? 
    The amount of taxes due for the current year can be found on the Treasurer/Tax Collector's web site  at http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/ or contact the Tax Collector’s Office at (650) 363-4142.

  2. I didn't’ pay my taxes last year, where can I find out how much I owe? 
    The amount of delinquent taxes due can be found on the Treasurer/Tax Collector's web site at http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/ or contact the Tax Collector’s Office at (650) 363-4142.

  3. Why do I have two supplemental tax bills?
    State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property upon change in ownership or completion of new construction. The supplemental assessment reflects the difference between the new value and the old value.  If the change in ownership or completion of construction occurs between January 1 and May 31, there will be two supplemental tax bills.

  4. Can I pay my taxes with a credit card? 
    The Treasurer and Tax Collector's Office accepts credit card payments by telephone and online. For more information, please visit the San Mateo County Tax Collector's web site at http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/.

  5. To what address do I mail my tax payment? 
    Tax payments are made to the San Mateo County Tax Collector. Payments should be sent to 555 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063.  For more information, please visit the San Mateo County Tax Collector's web site at http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/.

  6. Where can I make my tax payment in person? 
    Tax payments are made to the San Mateo County Treasurer and Tax Collector and may be paid in person at 555 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063

  7. What should I do if I do not have a secured property tax bill?
    The Treasurer/Tax Collector prepares and mails original tax bills and can provide you with a replacement tax bill.

  8. I received a refund, can you tell me what this refund is for? 
    To inquire about your refund, please contact the office of the Controller’s Office. Please be prepared to tell them specific information such as your name, property address and if possible the Assessor’s Parcel Number.

  9. What is the Homeowner's and Renters Assistance Program? 
    The Homeowner's and Renters Assistance program is a program administered by the State Franchise Tax Board for elderly, blind or disabled taxpayers. Applications are only available from them at http://www.ftb.ca.gov or by calling them at (800) 852-5711.

  10. What is the Property Tax Postponement Program? 
    The Property Tax Postponement Program allows eligible homeowners to postpone payment of property taxes on their principal place of residence. The program is administered by the State Controller's Office. Applications are available from their office and additional information can be found at http://www.sco.ca.gov or by calling (800) 952-5661. Claim forms may also picked up at the Treasurer/Tax Collector's downtown Redwood City location. Please contact the Treasurer/Tax Collector for availability information. 
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V. LOCATIONS, HOURS AND SERVICES

 

  1. Where are you located and your hours of operation?
    The San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder's Office, Assessor’s Division is located at 555 County Center, Redwood City and is open Monday through Friday 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding holidays. For a map and directions to our office, click here.

  2. Where do I park?
    The county has a parking garage with metered parking and there is metered street parking.