Rates and taxes are an expense we can not escape from when owning property. It is important as a home owner to know that your rates and taxes are correct.

Here is some advice to ensure that you are paying the correct rates and taxes.

Lightstone Property is a company which specialises in statistics. Data about the size of property, stand size etc is gathered and they compile reports for statistics.

Rates and Taxes are derived from property value, the size of the improvements and the stand size. Home owners are advised to have their homes assessed privately, as it is practice for town councils to do a valuation on property every four years. They arrive with a value of your property and adjust the rates and taxes accordingly.

It is advisable to have your property valued before 2014's assessment, as this will avoid paying exorbitant rates and taxes for the next four years. Francois Venter, director of Jawitz Properties, warns that municipal valuations are at least 20% too high.

What do you do if you feel your rates and taxes are too high? The correct procedure is to raise an objection with your municipality before March or April 2014 and so pay the correct market related rates and taxes.

How would you go about valuing your home? The best and most advisable would be to employ the services of a valuator. They are trained specialists and when they assess the value of your home, they take into account all the variables.

Companies like Lightstone are also very useful since many estate agents use their data in valuations.

Thirdly you could enlist the services of a qualified estate agent to do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). This entails previous sales of similar properties in your suburb, the SAPTG and the Valuation Roll statistics.

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