When I was young and carefree and I heard "old people" complaining about things like taxes and property values I didn't really understand what they were so upset about. Now that I am older, a tax payer and a consumer of more then just little things like food and clothes I get it. Being a homeowner I get it even more. My goodness...I seriously feel that I am being taxed to death. I get my pay check and it's taxed. I buy something at the store it's taxed. I win a 2 night hotel stay and I have to fill out a W2 because it's going to be taxed. I can't touch any retirement money I have saved before whatever ripe old age they have decided upon or else it'll get taxed. When we bought our house we had to seriously factor taxes into what we could afford for a mortgage because it adds almost $350 a month. The principal and interest payment might look pretty nice but when you add in the taxes and suddenly it's not so affordable anymore. The only reasonable way to handle these monster property taxes is to set up an impound account with your mortgage company and pay into it monthly along with your mortgage so that when the taxes are due twice a year the money is there. All set right? Well not quite.
A couple months after we moved in last year we got a supplemental tax bill for $1,012. They say it's typical on new construction. We expected it but weren't actually prepared to pay it so we asked for half to be be paid out of impound and by the time the other half was due this year they had already factored it in to this years impound and it would be taken care of. We even got a nice escrow refund check. Yesterday, we got yet another supplemental bill and the only thing it supplements is my annoyance. This time it's $3,000 on top of our normal taxes. That's not exactly what we planned on using our tax refund for so I call our mortgage company and thank goodness they agree to pay it. It will raise our mortgage by $25.00 a month come May because it creates a deficit in our impound account but that hurts a lot less them ponying up 3k at once. Now get this. He says the reason could be for home improvements which allows the city to say that our house is worth more and therefore we owe more property taxes. I wondered, how do they know anyways? If we did anything that would require a contractor to get permits then it's reported to the city. The only thing we did is our backyard so that must have been it. We are already paying taxes on the house, then we get taxed on the landscaping job itself, then getting a 3k bill was like doubling the cost of our landscaping job-for no good reason! Apparently, California is notorious for doing their little shady re assessments on property value. I suppose we better watch out when we get ready to do our kitchen remodel and we can probably forget about getting another escrow refund.
But really. It's enough to make your head spin. At least we got a decent tax refund this year-goodness knows we've paid enough. According to an old saying the only thing you can be sure of is death and taxes. I may not have understood that as a kid but I certainly get it now.