Originally Posted by omni550
I noticed a lot of variation in the property taxes. Don't some states have high property taxes in lieu of income taxes?
Often property taxes will vary by county, or even location within the county. In my case I'm in Prince George's County, Maryland, and I think our property taxes are among the higher of the counties in Maryland. Local income tax is higher, as well. PG piggybacks something like 3.2% on top of the state tax rate, where some counties are as low as 2.56%. That, in and of itself isn't a big deal, but the property taxes can be.
My Mom lives about 50 miles south of me, in another county. On paper, our houses are somewhat similar. I have 4 1/4 acres, she has about 4.6. My house has, according to property tax records, 1106 square feet while hers has 1152. We both have detached garages (24x40 for me, 24x28 for her), but she also has a barn and stable. Biggest differences are that her house was built in 1979, and has a basement (which they don't count as square footage on the assessment), and mine was built in 1916 and has a crawlspace. I also have water and sewer, where she has well and septic.
As for property taxes, mine are $3100, hers are about $2000. The water and sewer can make a pretty big difference in taxes, as well. In 1978 they put a sewer through our neighborhood and threatened most of us to either hook up to it or get condemned. And for the "privilege", a special assessment was added to the property taxes for the next 20 years. I don't know if it was 20 equal payments (I was 8 in 1978) or adjusted to inflation, but I remember seeing some of the final tax bills in the mid 90's, and they were sticking an extra $500 per year to pay for that sewer.
So, we were paying for it in the first place, and now paying to maintain it, AND we have to pay to use it (water/sewer bill...and the sewer portion is much more expensive than the water portion). But, on the plus side, I don't have to worry about maintaining a well, or septic tank