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Old 10-12-2016, 08:56 AM   #101
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2500 sq. feet for the five of us, I can't imagine cleaning anything larger. $650k now in north San Diego county. I wanted to go bigger but DW talked me out of it, for which I'm very glad. Three car garage helps a lot! I just can't imagine the air conditioning bill of those McMansions in Texas! We don't have to use much air here. Do you big house/McMansion types have maids??
nope but DW is pushing for one...

650K here will get you a mcmansion in the burbs
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:57 AM   #102
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Reality in one part of the country is different than that in other regions.

My house is 5200 square feet with two double car garages. My utilities have been running $400 in the hottest months of this somewhat hot Summer. And it's because I only run one a/c system--and leave the downstairs unit off.

The utilities are not the problem in Texas--it's the property taxes. When my best friend in North Dallas had property taxes go to $50K per year, he sold the house and moved into a luxury rental apartment. His house in Seaside, Florida has property taxes over $10K though.

Just be glad you live in the city with the best overall weather in the continental U.S. It's a shame that real estate in many California cities have demand based prices vs. a cost of construction basis'.
my house in TX would have about 25K in property taxes - it's half that here but we have a state income tax - AMT fml
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:42 AM   #103
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Good point. Property taxes are especially a concern for those with second homes. That's one reason why Paradise Valley and Arizona in general are good snow bird destinations. My property tax there is less than .5% of market value.
Paradise Valley is a high rent district, maybe that accounts for your lower tax rate. Where I live, and I think for most of Arizona, it's probably closer to 1%, still relatively cheap compared to many places.
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:16 AM   #104
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MichaelB, thanks for posting the Four Yorkshiremen. It just reminded me how much smaller McMansions were when I grew up.

Somehow that clip had escaped my notice until now.
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:22 AM   #105
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Paradise Valley is a high rent district, maybe that accounts for your lower tax rate. Where I live, and I think for most of Arizona, it's probably closer to 1%, still relatively cheap compared to many places.
My Toronto condo is about .5%, lake house about .75%, Canmore house about .6%. We have a friend who lives north of Chicago on Lake Michigan who pays about 2.5% on a multi million dollar place. Not sure why there is such a variance in property taxes in the US?
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:05 AM   #106
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2500 sq. feet for the five of us, I can't imagine cleaning anything larger. $650k now in north San Diego county. I wanted to go bigger but DW talked me out of it, for which I'm very glad. Three car garage helps a lot! I just can't imagine the air conditioning bill of those McMansions in Texas! We don't have to use much air here. Do you big house/McMansion types have maids??
Electric is high for sure. We have 4 HVAC units. But one of them is off most of the time (detached living quarter). The upstairs unit is kept at 85 in summer and 65 in winter except when we have guests. The 3rd covers the master and only runs for 8 hours at night. The main unit runs all the time but we set it at reasonable temps (78 summer, 69 winter). The pool and spa also consume a lot of electricity.

We do all cleaning ourselves. We had a maid for a while when we were both working. But since the kids moved out, the house is not as hard to keep clean and we have a workable routine. We also do all repairs and outside maintenance ourselves. We only hire out jobs that we don't have the tools, expertise, or physical capability to do.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:07 AM   #107
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We do all cleaning ourselves. We had a maid for a while when we were both working. But since the kids moved out, the house is not as hard to keep clean and we have a workable routine. We also do all repairs and outside maintenance ourselves. We only hire out jobs that we don't have the tools, expertise, or physical capability to do.
so do we - I'm about to fire my yard guy he's horrible
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:07 AM   #108
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...Not sure why there is such a variance in property taxes in the US?
There are several websites that rank states based on total tax burden at the state and local level. Despite high property tax, Texas usually ranks among the lowest from a total tax perspective, primarily due to no income tax. For whatever reason, different states prefer to tax different things to raise revenue.

We will pay 2.38% on the main house in 2016. Our rental property in the same county is 2.47% due to no homestead exemption. Our rental in an adjacent county with lower rates is 2.21%. At 65, you get additional exemptions and some tax jurisdictions freeze your tax liability.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:28 AM   #109
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Texas property taxes are high due to the sad fact that property taxes fund education, something right out of the 18th century.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:39 AM   #110
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Texas property taxes are high due to the sad fact that property taxes fund education, something right out of the 18th century.
sales tax in houston used to be 8.25% too
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:20 AM   #111
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My Toronto condo is about .5%, lake house about .75%, Canmore house about .6%. We have a friend who lives north of Chicago on Lake Michigan who pays about 2.5% on a multi million dollar place. Not sure why there is such a variance in property taxes in the US?

Remember that the reason for property taxes is to pay for local gvmt... now, I am sure that there are a lot of differences in the cost of local gvmt, but lets say that they are the same...

Here in Texas houses are cheaper than other locations.... so a house here that cost $200K might go for $800K or even $1 mill somewhere else.... but, both houses have to produce the same amount of tax revenue for the local gvmt.... so if the TX house is at 2.4% then the other house would be at 0.6% or less....


The other issue is tax base... if you are in a tax district that has few or no businesses, then the taxes have to come from residential real estate... and there are exemptions etc. on most of them.... so the rate is higher to compensate for the lower tax base.... and also commercial real estate is usually higher valued than residential....
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:23 AM   #112
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Remember that the reason for property taxes is to pay for local gvmt...
Check your property tax bill and I suspect you'll see the largest taxing entity is you local school district, not local govt.
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:25 AM   #113
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sales tax in houston used to be 8.25% too


Still is.... but Houston only gets 6.25%....

The bus system gets 1.00% so they can spend it on all the buses and trains that we have... and still mass transit is a joke...
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:26 AM   #114
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I thought the light rail was okay - used it a few times to get around

bus isn't horrible, i used to take the 40 when my car was in the shop

it's certainly a joke compared to nyc, dc or atlanta
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:29 AM   #115
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Still is.... but Houston only gets 6.25%....
No, the state gets the first 6.25% then others can join in up to a max of 8.25%

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The Texas (TX) state sales tax rate is currently 6.25%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 8.25%. At the local levels, Texas city taxes can range from .25% 2%; county rates vary from .5% 1.5%; transit from .25% 1%; and special purpose districts from .125% 2%
Texas Sales Tax Rates - Download Table | Avalara
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:36 PM   #116
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Texas property taxes are high due to the sad fact that property taxes underfund education, something right out of the 18th century.

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Old 10-13-2016, 01:10 PM   #117
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Check your property tax bill and I suspect you'll see the largest taxing entity is you local school district, not local govt.
Not true. Due to TX Robin Hood school funding, small towns sure can pay more for government than school district.
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:23 PM   #118
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Check your property tax bill and I suspect you'll see the largest taxing entity is you local school district, not local govt.

Yes it is by far.... but I also consider the school district 'local gvmt'....

Heck, if anybody is taxing me, I consider them gvmt.... I guess another way to look at is an election.... but then again there are many taxes paid where I do NOT get to elect anybody....
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:25 PM   #119
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Not true. Due to TX Robin Hood school funding, small towns sure can pay more for government than school district.
I was responding to Texas Proud, who lives in the Houston area where local taxpayers can only dream of the situation you describe.

Speaking Houston and of Robin Hood school funding, I'm watching this to see what happens: https://www.texastribune.org/2016/08...bin-hood-plan/
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:47 PM   #120
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Here in CT, the young wife and I pay 6.5% income tax, 6.35% sales tax and 2% real property tax.
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