Sep 28 2010

Why I am so glad we didn’t buy a house last year

If you’ve been reading this here blog for awhile, you might remember last year when Shane and I were considering buying a house. The $8,000 tax credit was enticing. We looked at a few houses, looked at our budget, and then got real with ourselves: We couldn’t afford to buy.

We didn’t have much in the way of a down payment at the time. We still had a car loan. Though we thought we could afford the monthly mortgage payment, the high property taxes and maintenance costs would stretch our dollar too thin. Not worth it.

Plus, we want to move back to Indiana sometime in 2011. Having a house here would make that a bit hard.

So when I read an article in a local magazine about the property tax problem, I was even more thankful that we didn’t buy. Some things from the article:

  • “Between now and 2015, property tax collections in Mt. Lebanon are projected to rise 45 percent as the millage rate is boosted by over 40 percent and earned income tax collections are slated to rise 19 percent.”
  • Median houses in Mt. Lebanon are worth $190k. Property taxes could go from $4,590 to $6,437 per year. That goes from $382 per month to $536 in taxes.
  • Earned income tax is slated to go up. In my area, we pay 1.4% tax of our gross income to the municipality and school district. It stinks.
  • “Under the projected tax increases, the owner of a median value house could be facing well over $9,000 in local taxes each year by 2015.” OH MY GOSH!

Property taxes in this area are much higher than national averages. Plus, the county is going to reassess everyone’s property taxes in 2012 because the state ruled that the current assessment system was unconstitutional. Some houses are way undervalued in terms of their taxes, so they will most certainly see a rise in their own tax burden.

Houses in Mt. Lebanon have really cool styling. But they’re old. Almost 3/4 of them are older than 50 years and a third are more than 70 years old. Older houses are often more costly to maintain.

This area is really nice, in terms of parks, shopping, recreation, neighborhoods. But it is so not worth the money. With the threat of higher property taxes looming in the near future, it seems like it could really mean harder times for the municipality’s real estate market. People will have harder times selling houses if the taxes are so much higher than they are in neighboring communities (which are still pretty high, I might add).

And paying that much in property taxes could make people’s budgets spread too thin.

It really is a mess, and I am so thankful we are renting and aren’t tied to a house payment. Rents in this area will probably go up since landlords have to foot the bill, but at least you are able to move a lot easier than if you had a mortgage.



3 Responses to “Why I am so glad we didn’t buy a house last year”

  1. Our property taxes are around 11%, so PA’s sound crazy high. Then again, between income and value added taxes, our bottom lines could be similar.

  2. I almost bought a home this year too, and am so glad I didnt, I have been living in a mobile home for 16 years and really love it there, the only reason i really wanted to move was to have a pool up permantly, boy did i do some thinking on this big move, I would be doubling my montly house payment and wouldnt have any money left for me. The taxes are so scary in NJ too, way too high.. I will never put myself in that situation again, I am staying put in my little lovely home….

  3. My wife and I moved to a beach area in 2006. At the time you could buy a house with no money down, just sign your name and your in… We almost did it but I said no way, let’s rent and see how it goes for a year. SO GLAD we didn’t buy!! The recession hit in 2007, prices dropped, then dropped again, then dropped some more… The place we were looking at back in 2006 was $234,000. Today that Same place is listed for sale for $78,000 and they still can’t sell it.

    If we would have bought we would be so underwater it’s not even funny…

    Instead of buying, we rented a nice condo for $750 per month. One bedroom but very nice and big enough for my wife and I. I even negotiated our rent DOWN to $700, then $675, and Now our rent is only $650 per month!! So our rent as DROPPED over the past 5 years and we now only pay $650 for this beautiful condo with FREE cable, FREE internet, Zero property taxes, ZERO insurance, Free water, garbage, pest control. Our power bill is only $50 a month.

    All the talk about “rent goes up every year” is 100% false. Rent GOES DOWN if the economy is slow.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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