What I Have in Common with the Very Rich

I feel richer than I really am. I don’t mean that in a sappy “I’m so full of love” way. I mean, I pass by a big house with double balconies in a wealthy part of town and think, That’s me. I’m the type of folk who live in a house like that.

But then I check the price and it’s roughly half a million dollars over my house budget . Then I drive around the parts of town I can afford to live in and think –peasants!

I don’t get it. I feel quite wealthy. I mean, I’ve got a designer dog, I’ve got great hair, I’m vegan and I vacation in the mountains and stay in pricey B&Bs. Gee – what kind of lives do the people who really live in those homes lead? I bet they don’t even eat food. Their pets are probably rare breeds of designer dogs bred with race horses.

I bet they don’t even file homestead exemptions on their property taxes. The four minutes it takes to file for the exemption would not be worth the thousand plus dollars it saves because they could trade some stocks and make twice that amount in half the time.

But for you peasants, listen up. If you bought a home (that you lived in) in 2011, it is time for you to file for a homestead exemption on your property taxes. If you bought a home before 2011 and you’ve never filled out this form – yikes! You really need to fill out this form.

Here’s the deal. When you buy a home, you have to pay property taxes each year. Once January 1st comes along, you are able to file for homestead exemption, meaning since you live in that home, you are exempt from a portion of the taxes. And it’s a big savings. Do you know how many months of CrossFit you can buy for a thousand dollars? Actually, I’ve heard CrossFit’s pretty pricey, so I don’t know. Do you know how many months in a shabby gym with men on the juice that will get you?

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote about this same topic last year. At that time, my ole Boss had me combing Harris County Appraisal District’s website to make sure his past clients had applied for the exemption. Turns out, a handful had not, and we sent them a really sweet e-mail telling them to file and they all fell in love with Chad all over again. This year Chad has taken over the task, and he’s finding the exact same thing – people are forgetting to file.

To make your lives easier, if you live in Harris County and you are unsure about whether you have filed, go to HCAD. Input your address into the top right search box, and when your information pops up, you should see Exemption Type: Homestead. If yours says Exemptions: None, fill out the following form:

Homestead Exemption Application

[For other counties, google your county name plus appraisal district and you should find what you’re looking for.]

From this point, follow the instructions on the form to find where to send in your information and what else to provide. After that, please cut me a check for half the money you’ve saved. If enough of you pool together, I can finally buy the type of home that my designer dog and I are looking for.

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