When you commit to becoming a homeowner, you have likely already accepted the idea that doing so will come along with certain necessary costs. You will likely be required to carry homeowner's insurance, may have to pay homeowner association fees, and may want to set aside funds for property maintenance. However, property taxes are one thing prospective homebuyers sometimes overlook when it comes to shopping for a new place to live. Here are a few things to know about property taxes before you get started in the shopping process or find your sights set on a particular home. 

1. Many lenders configure property taxes into your mortgage loan

Not always but in a lot of cases these days, property taxes are incorporated into your mortgage payment. You see, if something happens and you do not pay your property taxes, you can be at risk of having your property seized by the local government, even if that property has a lien on it. This is a huge risk for mortgage lenders, so they may break down your annual assumed property tax into monthly payments that get tacked onto your house payment. The money is collected in an escrow account and then used to automatically pay the government the taxes on your property when they are due. 

2. Every property tax percentage makes a big difference

Property tax rates vary from city to city and state to state. While the state determines a cap-off rate that has to be adhered to, the cities can adjust their tax rates somewhat. This can mean you may see a percentage or fraction of a percentage difference in property taxes from one place to the next. A single percentage point may not sound like much, but it can add up. For example, if the tax rate for one property is two percent and another property in another city is three percent, this can mean thousands of dollars of a difference in what you pay annually. If the taxes are figured in with your mortgage payment, a single percentage point could drive up your monthly payment considerably. 

3. You do have to pay your property taxes once your mortgage is paid

When you pay off your mortgage, your property is all yours, but you still have to pay taxes to the local government to live on the property. If your mortgage holder has handled this process for you, it can be a good idea to reach out to a property tax consultant to help you budget and plan accordingly to ensure your taxes get paid in a timely manner.