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November 2023: Property Tax 101

For this week’s food review, we are skipping the appetizers and main course and going straight for dessert. In many of my previous newsletters, I often say “I should have ordered this first, not for dessert!”. So, I decided to do a dessert only meal this week and it was awesome! I had the opportunity to check out L.A. Burdick in the Back Bay of Boston. L.A.

Burdick began with one man, one set of Swiss tools, and one singular vision which was to create true artisan chocolate bonbons. In 1987, Larry Burdick returned from training as a chocolatier in Switzerland, bearing chocolate pot, guitar cutter for cutting ganache, dipping forks, and one amazing idea. He wanted to make chocolate confections that could truly be called chocolate.

At the time, what was called chocolate in America was just mass-produced candy that molded quickly and was made mostly of sugar and flavored with bad quality cocoa. Larry Burdick is widely regarded as a pioneer of fine chocolates in America. The storefront was originally built as a home but what many people do know about this shop is the amazing hot chocolate they serve. If you’re looking for the best hot chocolate in New England, you’re going to Burdick’s. When it comes to the actual chocolate pieces, I personally like the caramels. Everything they make there is very intense. If you are a chocolate connoisseur, it’s the best of the best, but no matter how much you enjoy chocolate, you can’t have a lot of this powerful stuff! Everything is very delicious, but it really depends on your preference. The dark chocolate, for instance, is not your typical dark chocolate, it’s about 14 times stronger. It is very fresh and delicious, but not your average dark chocolate. I’d say the milk chocolate is more my style because it’s more like a traditional dark chocolate that us Americans are used to, and I would recommend the milk chocolate for the average consumer. On the FoodiePhil scale, L.A. Burdick’s gets an 8.2 rating. You’re paying a premium price for these chocolates. They’re bite sized but of the highest quality, but I would say these are for very special occasions. If you’re in the Back Bay, you need to check them out!

Where should I go next?! Send me your recommendations!

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In this week’s newsletter, we would like to discuss all things related to property tax, including some things that many homeowners do not take into consideration and will highlight these 3 topics today based on an article from

1. How to calculate property tax / Fair Market Value

2. Assessed Value / Taxable Value

3. Mill Levy

1. How to calculate property tax / Fair Market Value

When you first get into the homebuying process, many things come as a surprise to you, and certainly something that you would have never considered until you started to look into financing for your home. Property tax often falls into this category. Being a homeowner is a great thing, however, it does require you to dip into your bank account often. When it comes to property tax, most people get a bill and pay it, or it’s simply included into escrow on your monthly mortgage payments. But how does one calculate tax? Property taxes are calculated by multiplying your city’s tax rate by the assessed value of your property and all the structures on it. There are many other factors that go into the calculation of your taxes, many of which the average person does not consider.


2. Assessed Value / Taxable Value

One of the biggest factors that goes into calculating property tax is how much your property is worth. The typical homeowner has a general understanding of what the market value of their home is, and how much a buyer would pay for your home. For taxes, however, a different number is used, which is the assessed value. Your home is typically assessed once per year and properties information can be adjusted when a property is bought, sold, built, or even renovated. This is done by examining the permits and paperwork filed with the local municipalities. Often, a homes assessed value is very similar to its fair market value, but that’s not always the case in popular markets. Your homes assessed value is about 80-90% of its market value, according to The taxable value of your home is the value of the property according to your assessment, minus any adjustments.

Hardworking businesswoman concentrating on her work as she sits paging through a binder of paperwork at her desk in the office

3. Mill Levy

A mill levy is likely something that isn’t talked about on a daily basis. A mill levy is a tax assessment rate in your area. This tax rate does vary based on the public amenities offered and revenue required by the local government. If your area has a public school, police force, fire department, high end school districts, and local parks and playgrounds, your property tax will be higher compared to an area without those amenities. Although certain towns and cities do offer these amenities, just remember, at the end of the day, you are paying for these amenities. So, if you live near a beautiful park, I will highly recommend that you start using it the best of your ability!


Knowing how to calculate your property taxes is something that every homeowner should know, but there are also places where you can find your property taxes. Most of the time, you can find the exact amount, or something very close to what you’ll pay in property taxes on the listings at in other cases, you can enter a home’s location and price into a home affordability calculator, which not only estimates your yearly taxes but also how much you can anticipate paying for your mortgage, homeowners’ insurance, and other expenses.


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