I was reminded quite forcefully this morning that like politics, all real estate is local.
I live and work in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in Bucks and Montgomery counties, to be specific. In those two counties, the cost of real estate is pretty expensive.
People want to live here for a number of reasons, chief among them is the fact that in most cases, the public schools are outstanding. One of the reasons they are so good is that the taxpayers in those school districts pump a lot of money into the schools. They see the high property taxes as an equitable tradeoff for giving their children a great education.
One of my clients is selling her house in Bucks County and relocating to Georgia to live near her family. She recently traveled there to look at real estate in a municipality about 30 miles north of Atlanta. She told me that she will probably buy a house, one that she fell in love with on the very first day of her home search.
In discussing the property, she asked me, while trying to suppress her happiness, to guess two things. The price of the house she liked and the taxes for the property.
Now I know enough about real estate to realize that Georgia is not Bucks County, so I estimated that a property that would pique my client’s interest would cost about $250,000, and that taxes would run about $3000, considerably less than what she pays in Bucks.
I was way off on both guesses. The property she loves costs something around $165,000, while the tab for taxes (county, local and school taxes) is $800 a year.
Wow! That is living on the cheap. My client did say that the schools are not as good as those in Pennsylvania, but she thinks she is going to enjoy living in Georgia.