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The Good/Bad - Property Taxes & Computers

October 19th, 2009 at 08:42 pm

Definitely more good than bad!!!!

I read a report about local property tax assessments today. I can never remember all the dates, so saved me some homework. Was a reminder that assessment date was Jan. 1. Since we had a $325k appraisal at the time, other homes sold in that price range and that is exactly what our house assessment was, well, I didn't expect anything (assessment decrease) this year.

I was preparing to research home values on Jan. 1, 2010 and have my evidence in case the county didn't agree, next year. Hard to tell since nothing has sold less than $300k yet. BUT, some lower priced stuff sitting, etc. Who knows - was going to do my homework on Jan. 1, in case we could lower our taxes for NEXT year.

Anyway, property taxes in California - they can't go up more than 2% per year (or else no one could afford the taxes). Anyway, but they will go down to real value in a decline. Though in an uptick, they jump back to old levels. Homes are re-assessed upon sale.

Um, not sure state has ever had to reassess so many home (in decline). Definitely new territory - have read a lot of articles how this is a first. Current property tax laws not THAT old. From the 80s?

Anyway....

This is where it pays to live in a fancy neighborhood!

I almost fell over when I opened the bill (which did arrive today) and saw a $40k decrease in assessed value. Wahoo!!!!!

Makes sense when you consider the zip code as a whole. Our neighborhood can usually fetch much higher prices though.

So anyway, no complaints here!!!!!!

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What's the bad news? I use assessed value (home) to measure house value for net worth. Ugh. My net worth is going to take a large slide backward this year.

I am fine with that because I will just adjust it 12/31. & well, I think the assessed value is in line of what our house value is probably worth at this point. So I will go with it.

I know there is lots of debate if homes/cars should be valued for net worth. For me, I can't imagine not doing it. We have put almost $100k into our house, almost HALF our net worth. Of course I count that as an asset. For most of the time we have been homeowners, homes were more liquid than cars. Sell a property in a day with 100 offers? Easy. Obviously not the last few years. But it is the same with cars. Since we pay cash for them, it's not like our cash goes in a black hole. If I spent $15k on a car, it's a $15k asset, that does depreciate rapidly. But I do include these things to get a realistic net worth picture. (I do depreciate cars very rapidly, and I like the assessed value method for home, since the price does not rise rapidly that way).

This year will be a good year since we did good on net worth. I expect to break even with the backward house value slide. I can live with that.

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Anyway, $40k lower house value translates into a $400 tax break that I did not expect.

At the same time, my 4-year-old Dell laptop has been giving me a lot of grief. I have been too cheap to replace it, but it's been terribly slow this year, and the battery has been useless for about a year. (Our understanding all along was that it had a 3-year-life. Yup, that would sum it up).

I just happened to be having a gripe fest since my laptop would not do what I wanted it to do. I joked to dh we should get a new one with our tax savings.

Well, we are thinking of replacing it with a Netbook. There's some pretty decent ones in the $400 range. So we may go out and buy one this month.

I'll take a Netbook over a bigger property tax bill, any day. Big Grin

Yup, jumping on the netbook bandwagon. I just need something for internet and Quicken. Minor photo editing. Dh thinks I can do it all on a cute little Netbook. Woohoo!

Props to Intuit. I only needed to remember my credit card #, name and phone # to access my Quicken download. Phew - I of course forgot my login! So that obstacle is cleared.

Leaning towards a HP Netbook. Dh has some homework ahead of him.

7 Responses to “The Good/Bad - Property Taxes & Computers”

  1. whitestripe Says:

    My dell laptops battery only lasts about 15 minutes now before i have to plug it into a power source, and I have noticed the laptop itself is a tad slower lately. I've had it for about 2 years.. maybe 3 i am not sure. I will likely hang on to it for as long as possible, but look at upgrading in about 2-3 years. I like dell, so will probably go with them again. Smile
    and finally, someone happy about decreasing house values! Big Grin

  2. John DeFlumeri Jr Says:

    Property values are like a busy elevator, up and down up and down up and down. Mostly bad news.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    FWIW, I didn't quite realize at the moment, but the "assessed value" of our house now equals the purchase price. Literally. (With improvements and rounding, I often just say the house cost $300k).

    So, will see how I feel when I think the house is worth less than that. I won't be pleased! Though lower taxes is definitely quite an upside, considering we still have plenty of equity, and no plans to sell, like ever.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    Whitestripe - my battery now lasts 30 seconds - if that!

  5. Caoineag Says:

    The netbooks are handy, DH uses one since I hog the main beast. As to property values and networth,I have a hard time with that. Since I bought a short sale, technically the house is assessed higher than I paid but since I don't want to be greedy I go with purchase price. Will probably switch to assessed value two years from now...Agree though that not adding it to networth would produce an incomplete financial picture.

  6. LuxLiving Says:

    I always include house and cars - w/the cars going down since we've no classics. Right now our property value is staying pretty steady.

    Push comes to shove and we HAVE TO sell home or cars, why wouldn't that money be part of the networth? No good reason for me to leave them out.

  7. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Netbooks are great - you just have to get used to typing on a tiny keyboard. Smile A great way to tote it around is to get one of those bags that are meant for portable dvd players - a perfect fit. I can fit my ASUS EeePC, power cord, and mini mouse in it with room to spare.

    My only regret is that I didn't spend the extra $50 for one that had a built in web cam.

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