By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

We’ve all heard about the two things you can’t avoid – death and taxes. Just like there is a life cycle, there is a property tax cycle. The tax cycle is a lot easier to predict.

This life cycle of property taxes follows the same pattern every year. If you’re a Texas homeowner, your property is somewhere in this predictable rotation.

I offer you a synopsis of the tax collection cycle. Follow along with the snazzy graph I made from information from the Texas Tax Code.

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According to a recent report from Zillow, a significant number of markets across the nation are seeing price reductions across all ranges. Is that a sign of depreciation? What can buyers and sellers expect when it comes to the bidding process?

In this weeks BobMortgage Zone episode, Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage) tells us what these lower listing prices and “corrections” are — and especially what they aren’t. Get the pulse of the real estate market with Bob Johnson, senior mortgage adviser at the nation’s oldest private lender, Wallick & Volk.

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On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller's Office over the state's ad-valorem tax system.

On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller’s Office over the state’s ad-valorem tax system.

The end of sales price non-disclosure might be near, if the suit filed by the City of Austin against the Texas comptroller’s office is any indication. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who submitted the 10-page suit on Monday, argued that the ad-valorem taxation system is unconstitutional because it isn’t “equal and uniform.”

Texas is one of the few states that, instead of relying for sales figures for tax purposes, employs an appraisal system. However, with skyrocketing values for residential properties in Travis County, commercial valuations haven’t grown nearly so much. It’s becoming a big problem, the suit suggests.

“The lack of sales disclosures has made it nearly impossible for appraisal districts to comply with their statutory and constitutional duty to assess all properties at market value so that taxation is equal and uniform,” the lawsuit states.

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Do the rich know something we don’t know? Well, I want in on their secret. Because it’s almost downright eerie how many¬† cash buyers are out there. Generally, they are commanding a 10 to 20% discount when they flash cash at sellers. Why? Because the seller knows the sale is a slam-dunk — no need to worry about appraisals matching up, no need to worry about qualifying by a bank, no last minute glitches. Cash is king, and it is accounting for 31% of the sales in California. On a recent piece I did for AOL, I found that cash transactions just may be a good sign of a market bottoming out: in all the distressed markets, cash purchases are on the upswing.

So you think, why would someone buy a home with cash? (Remember the old phrase, use someone else s’ money?) Rob Hahn is a highly respected real estate consultant I have met through my Inman connections, who, by the way, needs to be welcomed to Texas: he just relocated to Houston. I really like what he has to say: the rich are buying with cash because they know something we don’t know: inflation is about to hit.