Saturday, November 19, 2011


I got a letter from the County Assessor this past week. It's one of those things one views with mixed feelings. You purchase a chunk of land on which sits a dwelling. The "American Dream" has always been that you own a home and that home increases in value the longer you keep it. Yet, the greater the value, the more various government bodies ask you to pay in taxes. So you complain about your high taxes but don't want your investment to lose money. It's quite the conundrum.

I turned the letter over as I looked at it. Getting a letter means there is a change in valuation. I love it when a politician hollers "No New Taxes" but says nothing when existing taxes are raised another percentage point. "Well, that's not a new tax," is the answer. An increase is an increase is an increase. I go back to the old adage, "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's a duck."

I opened the letter dreading to read what I guessed were the contents. To my surprise, my assessed valuation has gone down. It's gone down by a good 4%. Since my taxes are based on the assessed valuation of my home, perhaps next year will be a zero increase year. Whatever has gone up will be cancelled by the lowering of the assessment.

So what happened? My guess is the real estate market collapse has finally caught up with assessments. I have never been "under water" on my mortgage, owning more on my home than it is worth. When I refinanced several years ago, I made sure I refinanced only what was in the mortgage. I didn't wrap a whole bunch of other stuff in, like credit cards. My insistence that I only refinance the mortgage paid off in still maintaining equity when others lost. For once I did something right, even if, at the time, I didn't know it was the right thing to do.

Now, will I see a reduction in my mortgage payment if my taxes do go down? Ha! Let's just say the devil will buy ice skates before that happens.

Beverage:  Earl Grey tea


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