Many home owners in South Carolina are not aware that there are two different assessment rates used to calculate your real estate tax, and could be overpaying! 4% is for homes that are the legal primary residence of the owner, and 6% is mostly for investment properties.
Sometimes when a property is an investment property and then sold to someone else using it as their primary residence, the new homeowner is not aware that the rate is still at 6%! The county does not change this automatically. You will need to apply with your county assessor's office to get the rate changed to 4%. This can make a huge difference in your tax bill. You would think that it could be around 1/3 less than the 6% rate, but it is actually about 1/2!! So for example, if your tax bill is $3,000 at the 6% rate, it could be approximately $1,500 at the 4% rate!
Even if you purchase a home that is currently at the 4% rate, in Charleston county you are still required to fill out the application and provide documentation to prove your newly purchased home is your primary legal residence, otherwise they will issue your tax bill at the 6% rate. Any time there is a change in ownership of a property and a new deed is filed on a home at the 4% rate, they will change the rate to 6% unless you apply. The form is called Legal Residence (4%) Exemption Application. Here is the link for the instructions and form: www.charlestoncounty.org/files/forms/tax/legalres4.pdf
Your real estate agent or closing attorney should have made you aware of this when purchasing your home. If you find out you have been overpaying for a while, most counties will refund part of that back to you if you can prove the home was your primary residence. I would be happy to help you if you need more information on this topic, or if I can help you with any other real estate needs, please call me at 843-276-7976 or connect with me at the website below.
I love to help my clients save money!