Ugh. Although I haven’t been posting much, I still read a lot of blogs pretty regularly. I’ve been feeling incredibly frustrated with myself and with my personal finances, so I’ve been embarrassed to blog. I’m not sure how to get myself into it regularly, other than by just sitting down at least once a week and going for it. So this is a slight update on what’s been going on and why I’ve been feeling so frustrated.
I have just learned than my inexperience and my naivety has cost me a lot of money. I felt like such a responsible person, saving up and purchasing a home during graduate school! However, over the past 3 years I have paid the city I live in approximately $15,000 in excess of what I needed to. And I have no way to get it back. That is a HUGE mistake!! I thought I was buying my house close to the bottom of the market, but my city still has really high property taxes and had assessed my house at an unrealistically high value, resulting in yet even higher taxes (like $10,000 a year high!) I was supposed to have received paperwork from the city at closing regarding several different methods of reducing my property taxes, but they never mailed the correct information, and it took years before I read about it on my own. I’ve just finished the three different applications to get these credits instated for my tax bill I’ll receive in July 2012, but it kills me thinking that I could have have all of that money in my pocket had I just known!!
In other disappointing news, I’ve been trying to refinance my mortgage because rates have dropped even lower (I would have been saving over $300 more a month and would have paid off refinancing costs in less than 2 years)….but it all just fell through when the appraisal came back unrealistically low. Now, I know that most homeowners feel their property is worth more than it is in reality, but this appraisal was ridiculously low – $50,000 less than what the city just assessed my house for, and significantly lower than the most recent comparable sales in the neighborhood (for which my house has an extra bedroom and bathroom, making it MORE valuable, not less). So things are stalled until we either appeal the appraisal, wait for a few more houses in neighborhood to close sales, or give up. I was counting so badly on this refinance…I had big plans for using that extra $300 a month to fill up my Emergency Fund, which I almost depleted in Fall 2011 for unexpected necessary repairs to the house. I just feel like I’m so far behind where I wanted to be with my finances.