Property Taxes (the elephant in the room)

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
…we also have home seller classes available. Link on left on website page

Saturday, March 16th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
​ Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).

Monday, February 18th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, March 30th, from 10am-1pm (ish)
​ Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know…. ….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! πŸ˜€

Happy Daylight Savings time aka National Napping Day~

After the nastiest of the last couple of weeks… what a gorgeous day!!! …and did you hear? It’s supposed to hit 60 degrees this week? It’s like a heat wave! WooHoo! Is it? Could it be? Spring may finally be coming…and I know we are all excited, right? Spring also means that we have a Client Appreciation event coming up. We will be hosting Avengers: Endgame the first Saturday of May…yes, a week after it opens, but we are still excited, right? If there is a different movie that you think we should host….we still have time to change it! πŸ˜€ Let me, or Chris Berg ( know. We are always open to suggestions.

Ok, now to be honest with you, this is NOT the email I was going to send out this week. There was some craziness that has been going on with social media the last week or so, and I wanted to talk about it…and I might send it out next week, but I am not sure that right now is the best time for it. I mean…it is always a good time to talk about protecting yourself and to talk about agency, but I think I need to have that blog read by an outside source to make certain it is clear and not just venting. You know what I mean… You spend time typing something up, and then read what you typed, and think, “oh crap…do I sound crazier than what I am talking about?” Yeah… I better make sure first.

So, instead we are going to talk about something else that has been all over facebook recently…. surprise… we are going off topic *gasp*. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…Property Taxes (insert scare music here).

As you know from previous posts, a mortgage payment is one payment for you, but then it is broke down into payments within that payment. There’s your actual loan amount (principal) with interest. Your interest doesn’t change (unless you refinance), so this amount is always the same, but over the course of your home ownership you pay less on interest and more towards principal. Then there is the amount that goes into your ‘escrow’ account. From your escrow account is paid a couple of things… Insurances (mortgage, hazard, flood) and property taxes. Most folks have some mortgage insurance and this is the cost to secure the loan….it protects the lender. Your hazard insurance is another term for homeowners insurance. This is the insurance you carry to protect the property if something outside of your care, custody, and control were to happen to the home. It’s a lot like car insurance in that it is there to protect the asset from damage and to correct, or fix, that damage, and to bring the asset (in this case, the home) back to original (before the damage) condition. For example, if your home catches fire, you wouldn’t have the money to fix that damage, but with hazard/home insurance, you would be able to correct the fire damage with only the insurance deduction out of pocket. Flood insurance is only required if you are in a designated flood plain, and if you have it will be paid from the escrow account as well. Then there is the amount that goes toward paying your property taxes. The amount needed in your escrow account to pay these items can change, and as it does, your monthly mortgage payment will change too. Every year you will get a statement from your escrow account letting you know if you are paying enough into that escrow account. In a market upswing, where your home is increasing in value, is going to usually mean you will have a deficit in that account and you will either A) have to send an additional check for $XX amount to deposit into your escrow account and your mortgage payment will now be $XXXX.xx, or B) you can spread that amount over the next 12 months of mortgage payments and your mortgage payment will now be $XXXX.xx. I receive calls on this every year, and that is ok. I am always here to help!

Property tax payment dates are weird…. they’re due on April 1 (pay period from January 1 thru June 30), and again on October 1 (pay period from July 1 thru December 31). They can be paid in full on April 1, or split with 1/2 due on April 1, and half due on October 1. I’ve seen escrow statements with either option paid by the bank.
Remember that every year your escrow company will assess your escrow account to make sure you have enough in there, or if you have enough projected to come in via your monthly payments, to pay your insurances and taxes. If you have too much (in a declining market), you will receive a check with the option to mail it back and your payments become XX amount, or to keep the check and your payments will be XX amount….or… (and this is the case for the past couple of years now), it is projected by your escrow company that you will NOT have enough and you have one of two options … you can send a check to the escrow company and your payment will be XX, or you can increase your monthly payments to XXX to cover the difference. Yes, I know that I just repeated myself, but it bears repeating. Yes, your mortgage payment amount WILL change every year.

Every year the Clark County Assessors assess the value of the home for taxes. As your home value increases, so do your property taxes. One thing to note is that they will use information that is available based on sales average from a year or so ago for that area. This is not current information. Tax assessed value is not market value… I will repeat… TAX ASSESSED VALUE IS NOT MARKET VALUE. We are in an escalating market… (aka sellers market), and home values are still going up. This is why tax assessed value is not market value because the market is always moving and changing…ebbing and flowing… and your taxes are the same for that period.

“For every pro…there is a con, and for every con…there is a pro” (I will give a gift card to the person who can tell me what song that line is from) ….while this is a fun song from one of my favorite Disney movies (hint, hint) it is true nonetheless. As your market value increases, so do your property taxes, and as the market declines and values go down, so will your taxes. As your market value increases, so does the amount you need to insure your home against catastrophe and calamity, you might want to be prepared for that. This can also increase (or decrease) your monthly payment amount.

It really is a case of, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’…. everyone loves it when their home values go up, but no one likes it when their property taxes do. I get that. My property taxes went up a lot last year, and they will this year again as I added on to my home so now there is more to tax. It sucks… I get it. However, everyone hates it when they see their home values go down…but they like it when their taxes do. Taxes go down when home values go down, but we wouldn’t see that right away. Sigh…. can’t win for losing, right?

Be prepared though… as home values increased significantly again last year (2018), taxes will go up again next year. The higher values jump in a year… so do your property taxes. 2016 & 2017, we saw a sharp increase in home values. Home values did increase again in 2018, but not as much in percentage as they did the two previous years. As an industry we still expect to see an increase in home values this year, but again, not as much as a percentage as 2016/2017, and maybe not as much as last years either. As an industry, the thought is that the rising interest rates will help the market to ‘balance out’. Of course, as I’ve often said… my crystal ball is broken and the Magic 8 Ball often lies to me.

I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime. πŸ™‚

Remember that this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is more about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.
Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. πŸ™‚ All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.

As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional. After teaching these classes for 14 years, we are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes. If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text. We are here to help.

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg,Cardinal Financial)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week: Is Big Brother Watching? Well…maybe…

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax

β€œInterested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).