I Heart Property Taxes

>> 1.07.2010

No, I obviously don’t like paying my property taxes, but I’m trying to learn. I mean, the only things certain in life are death and taxes, right? With my new home purchase in the fall of 2009, I’m officially a property tax payer. As a part of my agreement with the seller, I became responsible for 100% of the taxes on the property for 2009. At the time I felt like the entire sale was a great deal and didn’t have any issue paying the cash later… but later is now and I’m not so happy about mailing in that $2,924.11 check!

Allow me to break it down for you:

Appraised value of property: $132,529

Taxes due…
Austin ISD (local school district): $1,593.00 (1.2%)
City of Austin: $557.81 (.42%)
Travis County: $558.61 (.42%)
Travis County Health Care: $89.32 (.06%)
ACC (community college): $125.37 (.09%)

Grand total: $2,924.11 (2.2% of property value)

I love this city!
Because I have no choice other than forking over the cash, I decided to look at the positives...
My money is going towards important services like fire and police protection as well as things I use every day like the city roads.

Having attended the local schools growing up, I don’t feel so bad about spending that $1,593 on the school district.

Not only did I go to the local district’s schools growing up, but I use the neighborhood middle school’s track weekly for some of my free workouts.

I’m lucky to have a county park located directly across the street from my house. The pup sure loves it!

It’s almost like I have membership to an expensive ($243.68/month) country club called Austin, right?

What are your property taxes like? Worth it or total rip-off?

*In Texas, we do not pay a state income tax. As a result, our property taxes are higher than most.


Amanda January 7, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

Very good post! That is a very positive way to look at it. Although I'm generally more in favor of lower taxes, I definitely appreciate things like roads, parks, the library... things we tend to take for granted. Maybe this year I can actually put a smile on my face while I'm writing that check... maybe.

Jessica @ How Sweet January 7, 2010 at 10:46 AM  

Ours are a little higher than that, and I can't really determine if they're worth it. We've lived there for 6 months, and it has alot of nice things around it...but I still hate paying.

Flavia @ Estilo Home January 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

I love your positive outlook on this! I have to admit I am much more bitter about it. Our taxes (in VA) aren't too high but I don't feel like I ever see the money going anywhere (we still have potholes, snow is never shoveled properly, etc.) Ugh.

oneluckycouple January 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

Hey Kasey... great postive outlook on what this money goes toward! :) We pay a little more each month along with our mortgage to put our property taxes and homeowners insurance into an escrow account which then pays those bills when they are due. That way, we don't have to pay the large check at one time. Is that an option for you?

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog January 7, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

@oneluckycouple~ Yes, for 2011 I'm avoiding the big, fat check and going the monthly route! It was just the agreement that was made at the time of the sale that forced me to pay the entire thing at once... which really made me think about how much I was paying!!

Audreya January 7, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

I can't complain too much on the tax front! My home is valued a little lower than yours and my taxes are about $800 a year and then I get $350 off of that for a 'homestead credit' since it's my primary (ONLY!!) residence. Then we also have to pay "personal property" taxes to cover things like cars, boats, 4 wheelers. We just have cars, so that adds about $200 a year.

My trade-off is negative; our lower taxes are evident in things like upkeep of roads, no curbside recycling, no animal control, etc.
Your trade-off is fabulous; Austin is one of my favorite cities in the world!!

paula January 7, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

way to look at the positive. taxes are never fun to pay.

dolores @ "Welcome to My Humble Ablog" January 7, 2010 at 11:30 AM  

I get so grumpy when I receive our property tax statement. I live in Southern California so you can imagine how insane our tax bill can get. This past summer, we refinanced our home (interest rates were super low) and since the value of the home decreased (sigh) our property taxes were about 2K lower this year. That was a nice statement to see.

We had arranged to have our property taxes impounded with our mortgage payment the first year, but later reversed the set up after receiving notice we had a shortage amount in our escrow account which meant we had to fork over another thousand. Once we closed out the escrow account, we received a nice check from our lender. Apparently they like to keep a large cushion of money in the account in case we fail to pay any payments. It just felt like a mess to us. Writing out the big check hurt this year, but it's over and done with for the rest of the tax year.

Danielle and Clint January 7, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

I actually have an escrow account that puts my tax payments into my mortgage. Sure the monthly payments are low, but it helps when I need to pay. We pay about $3,000 in the summer and $100 in the winter. I live in a very nice city so I don't mind it at all.

The Brick Cottage January 7, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

We also use an escrow account for our property taxes and it is so nice not to have to worry about such a large bill once a year. I think our taxes are reasonable, about in the same range as yours (in TN we also don't have a state income tax) and I don't mind paying it at all!

On a side note, if I were to ever move away from the south east, Austin is my first pick! I've never visited but everything I've read or seen makes is sound so nice!

Sarah (Breakfast at Tiffany Lane) January 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

We escrow our property taxes, so we don't take that big hit at the end of the year... our taxes on the new house are high, in comparison to our old house... but low in comparision to your's! Of course it all depends on the area and cost of living. We have county and city taxes... have you checked your tax office for homestead exemption? I just filled out the form for ours... because we occupy the home we're paying property taxes on, we can apply for a tax exemption. You should look into it if you haven't already! :) But I like your post- what a positive way to look at it.

Bailey @ peppermintbliss January 7, 2010 at 4:30 PM  

UGH! I am so JEALOUS that you live in Austin. I too was a Austin homeowner for 2 years ( still am but I now rent it out). It is hard for me to even come back for visits because it just keeps my heart yearning for the lake, and south congress, and barton springs and ahhh....you can see where this is going!
Anyway, thanks for the comment! I look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere!

Liz January 7, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

I love your outlook, especially thinking of taxes as a membership to a country club! My town is definitely not a country club (!), but the local schools and parks could definitely use my money.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards January 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM  

We are quite lucky at the moment, because we are still basking in the taxes of an undervalued home. We have another year grace because we bought it in terrible shape, gutted it and redid it. But, since our appraiser lives next door, I'm sure it will get upped next year. Too bad, cause living in a house appraised for $40,000 is kinda rockin'. =)

Cyma January 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

Am very bad at numbers, you have broken it down very nicely.
Thanks for your comment on my blog, now am off to read the rest of your lovely posts :)

Carly January 7, 2010 at 11:32 PM  

I can't say that I know my actual breakdown of our property taxes (that's more of my hubby's thing)but I do think that it's worth it. I live in a great community and city so I definitely think it goes to a good cause.

Anny January 8, 2010 at 12:51 AM  

I rent but even I was thrown by that post title. :/

It looks like your area is beautiful though!

Christina January 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

I love this post and the positive attitude. And it's such a good reminder since April 15 will be here before we know it that nothing is free...like you showed us, the public parks, school facilities all take cash to be maintained and that money has to come somewhere.

Shannon January 8, 2010 at 3:16 PM  

Thanks for your recent comment on my blog! The Hubby and I pay an additional monthly sum included in our mortgage, so we can avoid paying out large quarterly tax bills. Thanks goodness too - taxes aren't cheap in my town. But we have some of the best schools in the state, excellent public works, and lots of preserved land - so I consider it worthwhile! Can't wait to see the rest of your blog!

SeeJaneGetRich January 9, 2010 at 9:19 PM  

What an positive way to look at the situation! As a renter property taxes are one of those things I can duck!

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