From maintenance to insurance to taxes, owning a home is expensive. One of the biggest savings you can get is a homestead exemption but you have to apply to get it. One homeowner asked me how and when to file.
You should apply for a homestead exemption on the house or condo where you live
A homestead exemption can save you hundreds of dollars a year in property taxes. Here’s an example:
If your home is appraised at $300,000 and you qualify for a $40,000 exemption you will pay school taxes on your home as if it is only worth $260,000. In Houston ISD that would save you about $414 a year in taxes.
The homestead exemption also gets you a 20% reduction off your home’s value for both city and county taxes. In this case that would be worth about $650 in savings.
Can you get money back?
Viewer Matt asked me if there is any way to get money back for the years that he has lived in his home but failed to apply for the homestead exemption.
Good news! Yes, you can get money back that you overpaid in taxes for two years retroactively.
If Matt’s house were the one in our example he would get a refund of about $828 from school taxes and an additional $1,300 from city and county taxes he overpaid. A total refund of $2,128. And he would save on his taxes every year moving forward.
How do I apply for a homestead exemption?
Harris County Appraisal District has a form you can fill out for a homestead exemption.
If you live outside of Harris County you can get the homestead exemption form you need to fill out from your county appraisal district office. Here are a few in our area: Montgomery Central Appraisal District, Galveston CAD, Fort Bend CAD, Brazoria CAD, and Liberty CAD.
What to know before shopping store closing liquidation sales
With major chains like Tuesday Morning and Bed, Bath and Beyond going out of business you may have noticed ads for liquidation sales and great deals.
The discounts start small and get bigger week to week. But you have to be careful not to get so excited about saving money that you spend more than you should.
And we found that some discounts can be deceiving. At one Tuesday Morning store, we found items with *new* higher price tags placed right over the old tags! Find out what else you should know before trying to save money at one of these store sales.