Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cut Your Property Tax?!

I didn't know it was actually possible. But The National Taxpayers Union reports...

"As many as 60% of homes are assessed for too much. About 33% of property-tax appeals succeed."

The procedures on how to get this done vary, but you normally have 30 to 60 days to file an appeal.

"Ask the assessor's office for a copy of your property card, which documents the information on which the assessment was based. If the card lists the wrong number of rooms or square footage, for example, you may be able to get your assessment changed without a formal appeal."

If the information seems to be accurate, visit sites like Zillow.com and domainia.com to check how your homes assessment compares to the other homes in your area. If you find similar homes assessed at a lower value, that may help you build a stronger case. Pete Sepp from the national taxpayers union recommends...

"If you spot big discrepancies, check your local assessor's office's records for more details on homes with similar features and lower assessments. Or find comparable assessments and explain why your home's value should be lower"

That organization publishes a helpful brochure on How to Fight Property Taxes.

"Some jurisdictions also allow you to submit as evidence market-value information, such as your recent appraisal." Has anyone out there tried this, and has it worked for you?

Bank Of America: Trying to Break the Glass Ceiling...

A report by Market Watch this morning mentions that the Bank Of America is looking to lift the 10% cap on deposits for all U.S. banks.

"Bank of America is now the nation's largest holder of deposits and ranks as the second-largest U.S. bank by market value after Citigroup."

Bank of America goes on to make a good point for why they would like to lift the cap in order to grow to become a larger force...

"In addition to restricting the growth of giants, the cap keeps U.S. banks artificially small and makes them vulnerable to international acquirers that aren't similarly limited."

"Over time, foreign banks will be in a position to buy U.S. banks."

They're not saying how much higher they'd like the cap to go, or even if the cap should be taken off all together. The banks move to try and lift or even eliminate the cap is being opposed by the Independent Community Bankers of America and other small community banks. But interestingly The Bank of America have a few allies in this matter, like Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. It should be interesting if they actually do get the cap lifted or even removed. How big could they become, and would that be good for America? I'll wait and see...

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Busy Bee...

A busy bee, that's been me. I've been working extra over time this past couple of months, the paychecks have been nice. Unfortunately they have been offset by extra big expenses. Holiday spending, and a new patio door. Now we're working on getting a new carpet and recently bought new baby furniture. By the way, we purchased baby furniture manufactured by a company named Babee Tenda. It's supposed to be some of the safest and most durable baby furniture around. They've been around since the 60's with a great track record. Has anyone out there used their furniture or have at least known someone who has? Not much to report in the financial sector of our family. Saving and spending, and repeat....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Man, it keeps getting worse around here...

In posts here and there I've mentioned that my wife and I planned on moving out of our condo within the next couple of years. That time may be getting closer and closer with all of the problems we've had with this place in the past 2.5 years. Within the first year of purchasing our place, we find that the complex has an issue with the building continuing to "settle" after being built 30 years ago. Then we had issues with our neighbors above us where water was coming through our ceiling.

Recently we had issues with our new neighbors across the way drilling holes in our pipes when trying to install a medicine cabinet! Now we have issues were the patio above our patio isn't functioning properly, and it's funneling water into our patio door and possibly our wall! We're thinking about starting to put a plan together shortly after the baby is born around 6 months from now. Hopefully by the time the place is sold we'll be financially ready to take on a house. In the mean time, we'll have to relax and exercise our patients...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

January Net Worth Snapshot...

Are the holidays over already? The part of me takes care of the finances says hooray! And the part of me that loves friends, family and this time of the year says boooo! The pic on the left side of my post is our net worth balance sheet, click to enlarge. It's the worst net worth increase since I've been keeping track February of last year. I guess that's to be expected due to the holiday shopping, and having a new patio door put in. With all of the overtime I've been working, I expect a nice rebound this month. Wait, we're looking to have a new carpet installed this month, and will be starting to purchase baby furniture...crap.

Looks like we might be in for another sub par month. There's not much really to say about this months net worth. Assests only creeped up due to household and holiday spending, and liabilities creeped down for the same reason. Again, I'm keeping the automobile values static until my next net worth calculation. I've decided to re-evaluate them every year or so. Home value and personal property I'll always keep at that price unless I receive a professional appraisal. Climbing the ladder slowly but surely...