Saturday, March 27, 2010

Save Money! Lose Weight! Get A Dog.

We've owned our house for about three years now, and we've been through two real estate tax assessment cycles. For me, that means two assessment appeals - I'm that kind of guy.

The key to a successful appeal is good comps - recent sales of comparable houses in the area. The first year, I didn't have good comps and we lost the appeal. This year, I had solid comps, and we won. The assessment came down $25,000. That'll mean a savings of about $300 on our real estate taxes.

Why did I have better comps this year? Because of Jackson. I walk him around the neighborhood every day, so I see what's for sale. I keep track of the addresses, and, come assessment appeal time, I know where to start. Sure, you can get comps from sites like Zillow, but it's easier when you've previewed the comps yourself. Feet on the ground wins.

Which brings me to the weight loss and exercise benefits of dog ownership. I had been exercise walking for years without losing much weight. Now that I've added an hour of daily Jackson walking to the mix, the weight is coming off. It's a different kind of walking - slower, lots of stops - but it burns calories. I've dropped about 12 pounds in the nine months we've had Jackson, and I'm shaped somewhat less like a transcontinental zeppelin.

So get a dog and your life will be perfect. It's a scientific fact.

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