How to Raise Extra Cash For Seattle’s Property Tax Increase

Apr 30, 2018

By now, you’ve seen your new property tax bill.

You opened the mailbox and sliced open the envelope containing the bill. Unfolding it, you have to do a double take. You think: “Is it just me, or are these numbers much higher than they were last year?”

This year’s staggering increase is one that has Seattle homeowners on edge. People who have owned their home for decades are now concerned about being forced out because they’re unable to pay the hefty fees that seemingly never stop rising. In fact, a King 5 news story explained that for one couple, “King Co. public records show their property tax bill going from $7,094 in 2017 to $8,152 in 2018. The couple paid $5,037 in 2015.”

This is no chump change; it’s an approximate 43% increase in just four years. While Seattle property taxes continue to grow, its the homeowners with less of a disposable income who are forced out.

Although there’s no magic spell to make these ever-increasing bills more affordable or easy to swallow, here are a few ideas to help you get some extra cash to help pay these, and the rest of Seattle’s high living costs, off.

Note that not all of these may be applicable to your personal situation and we recognize that certain privileges make some of these more accessible than others. With that said, we hope that these at least motivate you or give you an idea that may work for you.

1. Shift Your Spending

Pull out your bank records, a calculator, and open up a spreadsheet – it’s budgeting time.

Many of us have a pretty good idea of where our money goes on a regular basis. $90 goes to the Internet bill, $110 to the phone bill, $75 to the electric bill, and so on. However, there are always those extra expenses that sneak up on us that we may not be aware of.

Go through your bank statements and write down the different categories that you’re spending money on in the previous year. Then, add up the money you’re spending in each category. Is there anything you can give up, at least for a little while, to shift what you’re spending your money on?

Some people find that financial management apps such as Mint, help keep things organized and simple without too much work. Whatever you use, the point is to identify spending habits that you can either put on pause for a while or give up altogether.

Related Article: What Seattle’s Hot Housing Market Means for Homeowners in 2018

2. Find Out If You Qualify for Property Tax Exemption

In some cases, you may be able to forgo paying property taxes altogether. Depending on your personal and financial situation, you might be able to apply for property tax exemption; in which case you won’t have to worry about paying the new bill.

To qualify, you must fall into one of the following categories according to the Washington Department of Revenue:

  • A widow or a widower of a veteran who died as a result of a service-connected disability or was rated 100% disabled by VA for 10 years prior to death or was a former POW and rated 100% disabled for 1 year prior to death or died in active duty or training status
  • Homeowners with combined disposable income of $57,000 or less
  • At least 60 years old or older by December 31 of the year of application or retired from regular gainful employment by reason of disability
  • Qualifying organizations conducting an activity specifically identified in Chapter 84.36 of the Revised Code of Washington.
  • Taxpayers who are, on December 31 of the year before the taxes are due, at least 61 years of age or older; OR retired from regular gainful employment by reason of disability; OR a veteran of the armed forces of the United States entitled to and receiving compensation from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs at a total disability rating for a service-connected disability

3. Pick Up a Side Gig

Do you have a special skill that you can use to make some extra cash? Or maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn that you can apply to a side job.

Commonly referred to as a side hustle or side gig, the freelance route is one that’s growing tremendously. Whether you drive travelers to the airport on the weekends as a ride-share contractor or taking photos around town for a local business, there’s always something that you can do to pick up some extra cash.

Related Article: 5 Inexpensive Home Upgrades to Improve Your Property Value in Seattle

Make a list of things that you’re good at, or wouldn’t mind learning, and examine them to determine which of those you can use to make some money. Then, go on sites like UpWork.com to see who is looking for help. In just a few weeks, you could have a paycheck on your way to your mailbox or direct deposit with some hard work and a little bit of time.

4. Rent Out a Room

Depending on the condition and size of your home, you might be able to rent out a space using a service like Airbnb. Whether you have a spare guest room or an additional dwelling unit in the backyard, just a little bit of sprucing up can turn it into a way to get some extra cash coming in every month…if you don’t mind a few strangers sleeping under the same roof.

There is some work that will go into this, as you may need to declutter and clean things up a bit to get things ready for guests. Plus, there’s regular maintenance such as cleaning after your visitors and, in some cases, making sure there’s plenty of coffee and light snacks in the room, so it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it job.

If this route sounds interesting to you, note that there are new regulations on short-term rentals to keep in mind. Make sure to review this before getting started.

5. Sell Your House for Cash

As we mentioned before, not all these options are available to everyone. If you are already working three part-time jobs, don’t have an extra room to rent out, don’t qualify for property tax exemption, and don’t have any other way to make some extra cash, then it may be time to find somewhere new to live.

This is an emotional and difficult decision to make. If you’re like other struggling homeowners, you’ve lived in this house for decades and may not be willing to part. If you can, try to reframe the situation as a way to make a new start and launch into the next chapter of your life.

While selling your home traditionally is a good way to go if your home is in good condition and you don’t need to sell immediately, finding a trustworthy and straightforward investment company is the best way to get your cash and get out as soon as possible.

Related Article: The Guide to Selling Your Home Fast in Seattle

If this is something you’re interested in, reach out to us to request an offer on your home from a fast, local, and straightforward company. We’ve got your back and we’re here to help you move on.

425.278.HEIR (4347)