Property owners should be educated and regularly reminded of the home improvements that do and do not affect the assessed value of a property and related yearly property taxes. Needed improvements sometimes go undone because of a misunderstanding that it will cost the owner more in property taxes. This education effort should connect property owners with existing programs such as weatherizing assistance through Capstone, SEVCA or Vital Communities.
For those improvements that do impact property taxes, municipalities and states should incentivize property owners to make the needed upgrades by exempting the value of those improvements from property taxes. Needed upgrades for municipalities to consider for property tax exemption include septic system, energy efficiency, and physical accessibility upgrades, as well as lead paint abatement, among others of local concern.