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Old 02-20-2007, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
92 posts, read 360,894 times
Reputation: 40

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I still have a couple of questions regarding the areas in the Olympic Peninsula, Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, etc. regarding cost of living in particular the property taxes.

Can someone that lives there please tell me what the property taxes are like in these areas? For instance, on a $300,000 home, what would one expect to pay on property taxes in any or all of these areas?

Also, are there any homeowners exemptions or any exemptions for seniors to lower the property taxes?

Another question I had was I noticed some of the subdivisions have mobile homes on land that you own. I believe Monterra is one of them. If so, does anyone know what the dues are in this type of association monthly or annually?

We are making our spreadsheet now on a few areas we are considering retiring to and any information on this area specifically relating to the above questions would be most helpful to us.
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Old 02-21-2007, 03:39 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,792 posts, read 37,451,783 times
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maybe we should compare spreadsheets..., as I'm doing the same thing, tho trying to find something drier than the Oly Penn.

I've included housing, groc, tax(prop, income, sales), energy, + commute costs and compared WA, ID, WY, OR, MT, CO as target destinations.

but... much is too subjective
1) tax assessor = aggressive or not (we have props in several WA counties, and assessor valuation theory varies a lot, as does mill levy)

2) voter sediment for levy changes (changes with the wind... but also controls what is allowed under state senior exemptions)

3) property valuation change potential (growth market?) this seems to be the most significant variable, and can allow you to live in a desirable area if your values are increasing faster than taxes, AND if you can afford to pay taxes...(mine have gone from $800 > $8000 in WA...)

4) commute costs..., even if you are just driving to town to get parts or to exercise class, groceries, dr. or entertainment, @ $3.00/gal it adds up (detrimental to a WY destination, which has most favorable taxes)

WA prop Tax exemption (RCW 84.036.385.) Can freeze taxable value + is exempt from 'excess' levies. if over 61 (or vet) and under $35k /yr income (taxable and non) several rules apply...

tax deferral
(RCW 84.38) if over 60 and under $40k... taxes + 5% interest is added as a lien on your property (good idea if it was 3%)

also some decent 'open space' deferrals, but require larger parcels

there are some significant 'tax tricks' that I have used in the past, and a few books in print on 'low tax homes'.
basically, keep it small on main floor (but can have a large daylight basement)
reduce 'built-ins' (till assessor is gone)

use lower valued construction methods (tilt-up concrete can make a nice house )

sheet rock AFTER July (save a year on 'improved' values)

build a very nice apartment inside a crummy looking shop

limit decks and driveway Sq Ft

get a really mean and ugly dog

WA is shooting itself in the foot with current prop valuation increases chasing off the 'Boomers' (they are the ones with the spending capital, WA should have determined to keep a few around)

it is actually cheaper to live in OR if you have little or no income (like me...) but... OR is a mess for funding, but... they are less aggressive on Prop taxes, and it is a good place to shop...

regarding your questions about owned mobile home lots. I'm not familiar with your particular, but with owned lots, it will depend on utilities (septic vs. sewer, and wells vs, community water, but I've seen it done as monthly fees $40-$100 or annual $250 > $1000. I am seeing a real advantage to a 'planned rural community' that would offer security + space, along with some allotted community gardens and recreation. I want to travel, but still have a home (and some possessions to come home to.) I have sold a bunch of real estate this yr in hopes of retiring, maybe I better build one of these joints, and be my own first customer. The 'Westside' comes with adequate challenges... (I don't want to mow a few acres of grass twice a week in retirement, while trying to travel...)
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Old 02-21-2007, 06:18 PM
 
689 posts, read 2,720,486 times
Reputation: 346
Hi Janb,

Seems a lot of people are looking for that special place to retire. I do not think you will find anyplace in western Washington dryer than Sequim.
Have you looked at Eastern Washington and If so....Where?
Sounds like you have done a lot of research .....I have too but along some different lines.
I have to agree with your comments on what type of situation really makes sense, and it is next to impossible to find it.
We have seen some very nice Manufactured parks in various areas of the state but most are on a leased piece of ground or a month to month rental basis. To me ...that sucks. It stands out as a possible trap. The only 55+ parks we have found that let you buy the land have not been very good.

One thing to remember if you have any 401k or traditional IRA accts. is the State Income Tax burden you will pay on all unearned income once you reach that 70 1/2 mandatory withdrawl period. In Oregon that can be 9%.
Washington does not have an State income tax and also little or no sales tax on most food products. Just those two items could make a big difference in your total tax load.
Most areas we have looked at have a fairly high property tax basis except Sequim. Around $10 millage per $1000 instead of the normal $14/16

Lots of things to consider when moving or retiring. Not to many places to fill the bill IMO.
P.S. If you decide to build a planned community maybe I'll be your second customer.

Silverfox
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:44 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,792 posts, read 37,451,783 times
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Sequim is a nice choice for weather, but having spent 15 yrs commuting from C-Gorge to Bremerton (Retsil) for my elder care responsibilities, I'm leery of being 'peninsula bound' and not keen on using SEA as my main airport. Being 20 Min from 'EZ PDX', has spoiled me a bit. We also lived on Gulf Islands in BC and you do have some plus's up that way. One son will likely end up in Bellingham, and other is military bound for med school, so his destination -unknown-?

My other half is very adamant about not moving too far to the boonies, but I like Fairfield, Rockford area SE of Spokane (I'm a Prairie kid that grew up on a dryland farm, and still like to help with harvest)

Thx for the reminder on the taxable burden for 'qualified' withdrawals. I still have 10 +yrs to go before dealing with that. My other half has assured me I will not live to spend that... Medical insurance is another issue, having been 'early-retired' 6 wks before eligibility... But companies can always pull the plug on that, so nothing to cry about. (just something else to deal with)


On my spreadsheet I use a nominal $50k of taxable income (commercial rental income will transition into qualified withdrawals with age) + cost of living, sales tax and a 'commute' factor (in case I can't get enough free 'fryer-oil')

Our Mill Rate dropped from $14.7 to $10.6 due to higher assessed values, taxes went from $8,000 to $9,000 (not the $11k I was expecting). OR area I checked into taxes you at ~ 53% of FMV and Mill rate was $12 - $15 per $1,000

Regarding my 'planned community', seems smaller (tax advantaged) homes and a community center + large shop for the worker bees with hoist and all my machine tools (Lathe, Mill, all woodworking and auto stuff and welders) + dozers and excavators and tractors and dumptrucks would be put to better use in a community, and shared community gardens and green spaces could be maintained via 'non-profit-holding company' and active retirees.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Port Angeles
52 posts, read 313,822 times
Reputation: 34
Hmmm.... my next door neighbor is the Clallam County assessor.

I don't laugh much when I get my tax bill though....

I remember many years ago, they made a 'big' issue of how they were cutting our property taxes. The PDN later wrote several articles on some peoples assessed values jumped 40-50% and were paying more after the tax 'break'. The county's explaination was that it was 'behind' on its re-assessments and was 'catching up'.
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Old 02-24-2007, 12:38 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,792 posts, read 37,451,783 times
Reputation: 20809
Quote:
Originally Posted by psprague View Post
...The PDN later wrote several articles on some peoples assessed values jumped 40-50% and were paying more after the tax 'break'. ...
My valuation climbed 74% last yr, and had been rising 25%+ in preceeding yrs. I have a trashed mobile home on 6 very steep (unusable) acres next door that I rent for $400/month, it is valued at over $300k, tough to 'cash flow' that. ~1.5% cap rate... (land = $292k, improvements = $8,000)

Catch-up ? = ketch-up (or catsup)... I'm bleeding red (laid off / early retired for 2 yrs now, income = zero)

My taxes are considerably more than my house payment, and are greater than 10% of my cost basis (meaning I will pay for this joint several times just in taxes if I stay 40 more yrs) But... there are costs associated with anyplace you hang your hat, Motel 6 is cheaper per day than my taxes, and they do the laundry... (and pay for leaving the light on). WA is gonna have some catching up to do when they realize how the demographics are gonna leave there tax payers hanging.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
92 posts, read 360,894 times
Reputation: 40
Default Thanks For All Your Information

Since I posted my question several days ago I have read replies that didn't really surprise me regarding the property taxes. I also have been in touch with a Realtor regarding same just to make sure my information was correct. I do thank everyone for their answers and help. Combined with the ones I came up with on my own from Realtors and various other sources I have finally and once and for all made up my mind about whether or not a retirement in this location would be advantageous. We would have loved to retire to this area, it did seem to have so much that we were looking for however we have decided based on a lot of information that it would not be cost effective for our retirement to live in this area. We have now totally eliminated this area for purposes of retirement and look forward to visiting there on a vacation now and then. The cost of living along with the value of properties and property taxes, sales taxes and the possibility as we age of having to make trips to Seattle for medical care that the peninsula may not be able to handle are more then we are willing to do when there are other places that we were looking at that are far more in tune with our goals and budget. Thanks, again for all of your help.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:37 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,891 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanttoretire View Post
Since I posted my question several days ago I have read replies that didn't really surprise me regarding the property taxes. I also have been in touch with a Realtor regarding same just to make sure my information was correct. I do thank everyone for their answers and help. Combined with the ones I came up with on my own from Realtors and various other sources I have finally and once and for all made up my mind about whether or not a retirement in this location would be advantageous. We would have loved to retire to this area, it did seem to have so much that we were looking for however we have decided based on a lot of information that it would not be cost effective for our retirement to live in this area. We have now totally eliminated this area for purposes of retirement and look forward to visiting there on a vacation now and then. The cost of living along with the value of properties and property taxes, sales taxes and the possibility as we age of having to make trips to Seattle for medical care that the peninsula may not be able to handle are more then we are willing to do when there are other places that we were looking at that are far more in tune with our goals and budget. Thanks, again for all of your help.
Where else are you looking to retire? We are in the same place in our lives and have come to the same conclusion about WA, Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2007, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Somewhere close to Heber, AR
388 posts, read 1,616,680 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanttoretire View Post
.....it would not be cost effective for our retirement to live in this area. We have now totally eliminated this area for purposes of retirement ....
Exactly why I left WA (along with the rain and gray days), and moved to the South, and our home was payed for.

AR is not for everyone, but it suits us fine.

2000 sq ft home on 3.5 acres cost us >$400 a year in taxes and even though AR has an income tax, sales tax and a personal property tax, our taxes are much less than what we were paying in WA.

Gas prices were climbing; hit 2.45 last week from a low of 1.97 in Feb, but I filled up all the vehicles yesterday for 2.19/gal.

All the little stuff adds up.
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Shingle Springs, CA
424 posts, read 2,439,242 times
Reputation: 170
Let me know if you have questions about areas in NorCA you might consider for retirement. Although the larger cities are scarey to consider for retirement, there are affordable and nice areas in Shasta, Butte, Amador, Calaveras, and Tuolumne counties and maybe a couple of others. Nevada County tends to be aggressive in over valuing property, but most rural counties are affordable and CA has a cap on how much property taxes can increase each year. You can always pretend that Mt. Shasta is Mt. Rainier....

The main problem is that no one can pronounce Tuolumne
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