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Thread: A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

  1. #1

    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    Hello Everyone,

    I decided to post this in the general area so that the people waiting to take the class can benefit while dreaming of a log home. I'm currently planning my log home (start 2008) and came across a book that, at least for me, will save me many THOUSANDS in construction AND future property taxes :D :twisted: I checked and didn't see it on our book list and want to share this to give back some for all I've learned so far from the class and this board. I don't think it's in print anymore but I found a used copy through Amazon for cheap ($4.00). It's called "Your Low-Tax Dream Home" by Steve Carlson. On the cover it also says "A new approach to slashing the cost of home-ownership". It's not about a certain WAY of building, but of how to build to especially save on property taxes :D :D It covers ideas about green building, only building what you really need, a lot of things that we log home lovers embrace anyway. But the cool thing is this writer is a former property tax-assessor so he has an inside scoop on so many things we are kept in the dark about. I'm still reading but have already called and talked to a Clallam county (WA) tax-assessor to pick her brain. She agreed she's never had someone ask questions before they built and was most helpful and insightful, not knowing of course about me reading this book. I now look forward to the day when she will come to see my house so I can point out all the things that will keep my taxes very low. After she leaves then I can "finish" the inside :lol: 8)

    I will tell you that she told me that a plain cement slab is the cheapest flooring and a tile one the most expensive. And that a few hundred square feet of floor space one way or the other doesn't affect the tax amount too much. I plan on calling her again for more questions. Keep asking and listening long enough and it's amazing what one can learn, just keep the book to yourself! :twisted: :wink:

    Trust me on this as IMHO it's a must read, and hope you find a copy.

    WalkingHorseLady

  2. #2

    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    A second hidden basement won't affect the property value either... Unless you tell the tax assessor about it. But then, you deserve to be taxed...

  3. #3
    LHBA Member
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    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    Funny you mentioned this because I had called my county's assessment office yesterday and left a message to quiz them on ways to keep my taxes at a minimum. Still waiting for a return call.

  4. #4

    taxes

    Not sure if we'll ever get to build our "dream log home" or not but just looking at properties recently I stopped by the assesors office and found out that there is quite a discrepency between small towns here on taxes. It pays to check this out folks and also look at upcoming legislation as they told me here there is a bill pending to start taxing wooded lands as residential and not farm property unless you have at least 5 acres of actual planted crops with it. Good things to know whether building or buying a home! Think I'll check out that book too, maybe I can borrow it from my library? :D

  5. #5
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    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    I guess if you raise beef cattle you are not a farmer according to that new legislation, huh? I have a herd of angus but don't have any "planted" crops, just hay.

    Here in Kentucky, farmland is taxed at $500/acre, regardless of location or how seriously you farm. Since land sells for about $2000/acre, it's a real break to those of us with acreage.

  6. #6

    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    Hey Granny, what state are you considering building in? And is this pending legislation a state or federal thing?

    And Kyle, the neat thing about this book is it gives you detailed insight so you'll know what questions TO ask the assessor. For instance, when I called my future assessor and asked a generic "What can I do to keep my taxes low?" she was at a loss for words. But then when I started asking specific questions based on what I've learned from the book, she had plenty of information to share. I made her see that I'm not trying to dodge my fair share, but that I want to build so that I don't get taxed out of my home as the years roll on (and I'm only 48 so I've got plenty of rolling to do :) ).

    Building a house that you love but may not appeal to most buyers has its advantages tax-wise, as it's seen as not desirable/easy to sell so not worth as much as other homes around yours. But if you follow LHBA ideals you know you'll be able to sell and get your money out of it since your costs of construction were so low. When you call realize that each county probably has more than one assessor so you can ask to talk to the one that covers your parcel. Then you can call another day and ask the same questions from another assessor and see if you get the same answers, plus you'll learn even more. All this information will tell you what things you'll want to wait and add to your home AFTER the assessor comes. And yes, you don't have to let them in, but if you don't then they have to guess what's inside and tax accordingly. If you think your tax is too high and appeal, they won't change it until you let them in.

    From what I've read Clallam county only has about 60,000 residents :D and yet I know for sure they have at least two assessors. Even though assessors have a manual to follow, no two assessors will come out with the same figures. I feel like talking to more than one will give me a more thorough understanding, even though I am stuck with whomever is assigned to the area where my land is. Knowledge is power 8) .

    Keep us posted Kyle as I'd like to know what you learn.

    WalkingHorseLady

  7. #7

    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    Excellent tip :!: Great find :!:

    I checked my local library and they listed it but it had been "withdrawn" :twisted: Oh the evil way's of "the man" :!: :twisted:

    Just a reminder, if your local library does not have it you can inner library loan it from any library in the country by talking to your local librarian. Sometimes the library will request you pay the shipping, or as in our area the service is Rick's favorite price............FREE. :lol:

    Sparky

  8. #8
    LHBA Member Kola's Avatar
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    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    I learned that here in my county, assessors have no legal right to enter your home/buisness or even step on your property.

    They can ask you to inspect your home...and most people say yes..because they think they have to let them in.

    I said no to an assessor inspection and asked them nicely not to even trespass on my property. I also have signs, similar to the ones on Skips site.

    Check your county laws.

    Kola

  9. #9
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    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    Be careful doing this, though. If you don't let them on the property, and let them inspect the property to give a fair assessment, they just eyeball it from the road. Since you didn't cooperate with them, they don't give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there's a fourth bedroom in there. I'll assess it assuming it does. Looks like it has about 6000 square feet. Maybe it has a basement. Point is you get a high assessment. You have the right to fight the assessment but unless you can prove those things aren't there, their assumptions will stand. Then you can either pay the high tax or let them on your property to perform the job they came for. I know poeple that do this for a living and they told me this themselves. They are required to put a value on your place.

    Unless you are going to fight the whole structure of taxation, or have a basement made of solid gold, you'll find that it's easier just to let them assess your place. Build to keep the assessment low, then let them asess, then finish.

  10. #10
    LHBA Member Kola's Avatar
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    A Book For Everyone To Read Before Building

    I have heard that, Basil..good points.

    When I did a complete renovation on my clinic (southwestern architecture, inside and out), the building changed dramatically from my original plans (more lavish). When finished (then being nieve) I proudly strolled the assesors thru my building. I had no idea they would then raise my property taxes from 500 per year to 5000. I found out later I didn't have to let them come through. I was not happy as this was a old run down condemn building at one time. This was my reward for making a old building look nice?? I did some research and comparisons of other similar buildings around town. I protested their assessment and had it dropped to 3500 per year. I then sent a registed letter to them to stay off my property.

    One could always show them a building plan permit which could show your "rough" (cough cough) draft..complete with linoleum and commerical carpet..(instead of tile and wood flooring)..get the basement unfinished for umm.. ping pong table for kids. etc..if they assume certain things I am sure one could be creative in playing their game...

    Ok, here I go whining again..I really have problems complying with people who assault my God-given rights. IMO they have no juristiction/authority over me even with their illegal laws. But not everyone could sleep at night by lying, because basically that is what you are doing. (and remember these idiots are lying to you). I personally, can sleep fine. There comes a point when enough is enough and I have no probs doing ANYTHING to protect my personal rights. Tax assessors and other government agencies invade a persons privacy and take away our right to life, liberties and persuit of happiness.
    We have to start saying no and/or doing whatever it takes to fight back...maybe not on such a large scale (that sounds off alarms) but on a smaller scale.

    My loghome will be designed and presented to the county to look like a hunting cabin and omit from lavish things. I will be creative. One could hide that second bathroom by putting a wall up later and plumbing it afterwards. After final inspection I will do what I want. I guess there are risks, yes but I believe in fighting for what is left of my freedom and if that includes risks I am willing to take them. My posted signs will be enforced.

    On the other hand if you go full-bore and oppose and fight the authorities in courts you RARELY, if ever win and you then create a label for yourself.
    You are then labeled a "combatant resistor" and according to BushCo you are a "terrorist". Very few people challenge "the sytem" and I have never met anyone (face to face) who has won. Someone else mentioned here it may be wiser to stay just below the radar. I tend to agree with him. I wish this forum was more open to these type of topics although I do understand the complications involved.

    Maybe Steve and Ellsworth will have good advice at the class. I am zooming out there today.

    Kola

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