One of my neighbors recently suggested that we buy a property in Texas along with them(adjacent property) and we can build a house concealed in the form of barn, so we can evade paying $7000 property taxes. They said that they already bought the property and about to start building now. They also suggested that it's not illegal and "everybody does it". My husband is tempted, but it's hard for me to even believe this! Isn't this illegal to begin with? Wouldn't you get reported?
ramyana said: One of my neighbors recently suggested that we buy a property in Texas along with them(adjacent property) and we can build a house concealed in the form of barn, so we can evade paying $7000 property taxes. They said that they already bought the property and about to start building now. They also suggested that it's not illegal and "everybody does it". My husband is tempted, but it's hard for me to even believe this! Isn't this illegal to begin with? Wouldn't you get reported? Report your neighbor after they do this. ; if you can collect any reward from the state, it is just icing on the cake.
I would worry about building, zoning permits and legal access to utilities. Also what would be the agreements in terms of road or truck access? Without those, I would question any mortgage possibilities. I would walk away, but when it comes to real estate, I get skittish any way.
Utilities in terms of power and water? They said they are digging a well and also, aren't you allowed to electricity in the barn? Garbage disposal would be a problem I guess. Regarding mortgage, they are selling their current house, so I guess they would be paying in full.
Short answer - near 0% chance you'd be able to do it.
Long answer - wow... so many reasons. If you are really thinking of building a $250k barn (with no utilities, 911 address, or permits) that the county tax collector won't notice, maybe consider spending a bit more time investigating the pitfalls.
Appraisal Districts have access to many satellite images, not just google earth. They can see a lot of detail. They also employ aerial photography. And now there are drones. Very hard to hide from the Eye in the Sky.
ramyana said: we can build a house concealed in the form of barn, so we can evade paying $7000 property taxes. How rural is this place that somebody can't see it being built? And without a building permit, forget about insurance.
This is from the UK,however I would imagine a similar result would be possible here. Ordered to tear down house they concealed as a barn. I couldn't get past their age difference. With enough money... Age doesn't matter... Pretty sure the old man was loaded and he probably has children older than this wife.
This is from the UK,however I would imagine a similar result would be possible here. Ordered to tear down house they concealed as a barn. I couldn't get past their age difference. Not surprising at all. Just 4 yrs more than our president elect.
It would probably be pretty easy to pull off, in a remote enough rural area.
1. Build a large barn, open on the inside and large enough to build a fair sized house. Needs a cover story. What's it going to be used for? Will need to be inspected for it's intended use. 2. Pass all building inspections including well, septic, and electric hookup. 3. Proceed to build house inside barn using non-reputable building company so they don't turn you in. Probably undocumented working for cash. No insurance or bond either. 4. Perform self-inspection for foundation, construction, electric, plumbing, and hvac. All punchlist items will be additional cost since there were no 'real' drawings for the house. Even if it's clear the contractor is in the wrong, you can't sue them anyway. 5. Continue to pay for all things missed in the initial inspections because there is no 1 year builder's warranty.
That's just the initial build out and move in.
Then, since you can't sell said structure, treat it like a car you are driving until it goes to the junkyard. Stay on top of all maintenance needs since it will never be someone else's problem. There will be no tax write offs or depreciation.
That's if all goes well and you never got caught. Low chance of getting caught provided you don't invite anyone in town over for housewarming party, birthday parties, holidays, or any other special occasion.
When you do get caught, depending on the county, the best case scenario is regularly scheduled bribes. The worst case scenario is they tear it down and charge you the cost to tear it down. If/when they tear it down, there is no recovering past bribe payments.
Plus, when the county inevitably finds out, they will argue the place was there much longer and go after you for back taxes and penalties. They can hold tear-down over your head as a bargaining chip. Since the place will be finished, there will be no what to do code inspections on the wiring, plumbing or HVAC other than tearing out all of the interior walls. Since they are holding all the cards, good luck defending.
I wouldn't try to save money by living in a barn. But, it's obvious most people on this thread haven't actually been inside one either. Barns have water and electricity or else they are pretty useless.
I know a guy who has done this very thing. he usually builds commercial property near Houston, but has also built residential properties that are garages from a property tax standpoint. it CAN be done legally.
ArbitraryChicken said: I wouldn't try to save money by living in a barn. But, it's obvious most people on this thread haven't actually been inside one either. Barns have water and electricity or else they are pretty useless.
Ask your neighbor to buy the whole property and you can rent the 'barn' from them. Pay rent equal to the market value minus the tax savings. In a state with no income tax, real estate tax should make a big proportion of the rent price. Adjust pricing based on assumption of 'barn' maintenance and other duties/utilities. Let the neighbor assume legal risks while you enjoy a very cheap residence. Invest savings.
Really depends on the zoning methods used. I am in a city where there are still "farmsteads" that have just the min acreage to qualify. They get out of the heavy city tax and probably some specials. I am guessing they are camping their retirement in the land and will parcel it out and retire nicely when the time comes. I don't think a full hose will survive the barn classification for long if at all. Maybe a barn that was there can be renovated nicely but I would doubt its going to not get some attention by an assessor at some point. The neighbor may be buds or have a connection that keeps them covered, but that may not last.
Some seem to indicate that this can be done legally. I still wouldn't do it, because taking advantage of loop holes irks me. AIso, I would want to live in peace, it looks like you have to constantly watch your back. Yes, the neighbors have some 'church' friends working in the county for the 'cover up' - at least initially.
It's a 30 acre land and they are digging the well using undocumented workers as of now. They are also going to raise some chickens and a few goats I guess. They also have a contractor that they are talking to, apparently licensed in another country. I guess you can import the whole Mexico and have them work for you if you really wanted to. We can't rent their property though since they are going to live in it.
ramyana said: But some are saying you actually could, are they wrong?
Can you? Yes, you can also do about anything else you wish as well. Be prepared for the consequences, though.
You can also: Rob banks Run a murder for hire crime syndicate Import narcotics and sell them Kidnap small children etc.
However, if you decide to do those things, be prepared for when you are caught as well.
As far as the "church members " participating thing goes, so what? When I was a kid, the guy who sat on the first row at my Mom's church was locked up one day, seems he was running brothels, illegal casinos, and after-hour bars. So much for the good "church member." Sounds like your friends have some on the same level of honesty as him.
ramyana said: Some seem to indicate that this can be done legally. I still wouldn't do it, because taking advantage of loop holes irks me. AIso, I would want to live in peace, it looks like you have to constantly watch your back. Yes, the neighbors have some 'church' friends working in the county for the 'cover up' - at least initially.
If it is legal like they claim then what do they need to "cover up"?
ramyana said: There is no 'grey areas' when it comes to "robbing a bank, kidnapping a child" etc. But, concealing a house as a farm seems to have some grey areas, that makes all the difference. No, there is no grey area. Anyone who says there is is either unfamiliar with AG exemptions or trying to "get away" with something.
I've seen plenty of people build "unfinished" space and then go back and finish it out without telling the taxing authority. That isn't a grey area; it just difficult to enforce.
30 minutes outside of Austin isn't going to be particularly rural, in fact a lot of intra-Austin commutes are longer than that. I could see where 30 minutes from the EDGE of the Austin Exurbs would work though -- that would put you an hour or so out from Austin proper. Most DEFINITELY not an area you are going to get away with tax dodges.
There is a reason that you can't go very far without hitting another small down like Elgin or Dripping Springs in any direction. That is heart of historically "settled" Texas, back in the days of horses and wagons. Rural out there is more than 5 miles from a town.
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