Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feeling some property tax relief

Both Paid Twice and Make Your Nut posted recently about changes to their property tax payments. Like many new homeowners, they make escrow payments to their mortgage lender in order to cover their periodic property tax expenses, and like many new homeowners, they started off with an escrow shortage, and subsequently saw their payments jump to cover the shortfall.

Ms. Loonie and I have been in a very similar situation. We make a property tax payment to our bank every two weeks along with our mortgage payment, and this is meant to cover our property tax bill when it arrives. Because we had a tax bill to pay shortly after closing on our condo, we initially found ourselves behind on our tax payments, and the bank hiked our bi-weekly contribution as a result. Now that we've got two years of payments under our belt, however, we're finally getting caught up on our initial shortfall, and I've been thinking of talking to the bank to get the payments adjusted back down.

Well, it turns out the adjustment letter we received last summer was just part of an automatic review the bank does on the account every year, as we received an almost identical letter from them this year. The only difference is, this time around the payments are being reduced rather than increased.

It's nice to see that the bank is actually proactive with managing the property tax account. I'd still prefer to pay the taxes ourselves (and I think we'll look into this when we renegotiate next summer), but it was a nice surprise to see the lender adjust our payments down without having to ask.

Like Paid Twice and Make Your Nut, we'll have a bit of extra cash injected into the budget once the payments readjust (effective August 21). It amounts to about $100 per month for us, which is certainly welcome. This was a nice instance of seeing something I read on a couple of American blogs relate directly to my own situation here in Canada. Another illustration that, although the terminology may differ, our financial systems operate in very similar ways on either side of the border.

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