Comment of the Day: Trying To Grok the Big House

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TRYING TO GROK THE BIG HOUSE “The $14.5 million house only has three bedrooms in 11K square feet of house — does that mean the rest of it is the 8 bathrooms and 4 half baths? A million-gallon pool would be what kind of water bill? Their current taxes are $98K with homeowners and over-65 exemptions on an HCAD valuation of $5 million, so what would taxes be for an under 65 if they end up selling it for $10-ish million?” [Heidi, commenting on Headlines: A Big New TV in Reliant Stadium; The River Oaks Mansion with the Biggest Pool in Houston]

17 Comment

  • FWIW, it also said it has a guest house, though I couldn’t guess where from the listing pictures.

    Not sure how that factors in to the square footage or number of bedrooms either.

    Given the coin that the new owners will drop on wallpaper and pastel tile abatement in order to host their house warming party, taxes and utility bills are the least of their worries.

    Incidentally, I noticed on HCAD that a lot of the houses in RO are listed as being owned by “current owner”. Is that code for, “I pay enough to the county to have my name redacted”?

  • If I remember correctly, that house was originally named Tall Timbers – the designation for the annex of River Oaks where it’s located. When I visited it as a kid – an elementary classmate of mine lived there – it was a much bigger property with a massive front yard that now is home to two pretty substantial residences. It felt very Beverly Hills modern at the time with lots of rock and stone integrated into the design – maybe more Beverly Hills Hotel to be accurate – given the resort like amenities. We spent of time at the Shamrock Hotel pool, and this one certainly gave it a run for the money as far as houses go. The before mentioned classmate was the only kid I knew at the time with a Betamax in his bedroom – few adults even had them in their living rooms – and a teenage sibling with a Ferrari (Daytona, I think).

  • This house was famous in the 60’s for this amazing pool–I forget who built it but a few famous people have lived in it–it was redone like 10 years ago–the house not the pool–it had fallen into disrepair –we snuck into the pool area when when I was a kid, the pool was empty and they house in poor condition, it’s kinda hidden off the road behind an even bigger mansion–14 million is steep, bit it’s in the heart of River Oaks

  • Most of the largest mansions in River Oaks are actually owned by shell corporations for tax purposes

  • nate99: you can request to have your name removed. Check on hcad forms: GTA-IAD-015 or -016 ( look in Other Forms section)

  • anyone can have their name redacted on HCAD as “current owner”. just have to fill out a simple form and mail it in.

    i’d imagine folks living in $10MM homes are certainly a bit more inclined to keep that off their public records though.

  • No, Tall Timbers was named by The Hoggs for this entire tract of the section of River Oaks on the west side of Willowick–it had nothing to do with with house–but yes, it’s very Trousdale Estates

  • *The Beverly Hills Hotel is Mediterranean and made of ..stucco–it had zero in common with this Frank Lloyd Weight inspired 50’s/60’s extravaganza, that would fit right in in Palm Springs–maybe you’re thinking of another hotel-

  • Anyone can figure out who owns what by using the Harris County clerk’s records.

    And often (but not always), when the HCAD record says “current owner”, if you’ll click on the link for property taxes, the actual name will be shown there.

  • “And often (but not always), when the HCAD record says “current owner”, if you’ll click on the link for property taxes, the actual name will be shown there”

    True, but by replacing your name with “current owner” in the main listing, the record can no longer be found by someone searching the hcad records with your name to return your address, or by someone clicking on the “similar owner name” button, to see a listing of all the properties an individual or corporation owns (in Harris County)

  • I was under the impression that RO houses like this were rarely listed in

  • If you put the house in a corporation’s name you can’t get homestead or any other exemption for that matter, however if the corporation can write off the local property taxes off federal income taxes, it may make sense. I don’t believe local property taxes are deductible, but you can always classify them as cost of goods sold, if the house is somehow used as part of normal business course.

  • I’m not a CPA or tax practitioner, but I’m pretty sure that’s not an accurate statement of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • elnina and joel:

    It looks like form GTA-IAD-015 is only for law enforcement types. Is there some other way for regular folks to go incognito on the HCAD rolls? Or am I missing something?

  • A builder’s house that’s considered inventory falls completely under “cost of goods sold” doctrine, including any taxes you have to pay on the property while holding it. Once you sell the house, the only income that’s taxable is the profit made between the net proceeds at closing and all costs of construction, interest carry, and taxes on the house (product). One could legitimately claim that a house is part of inventory for several years.

  • Taco truck: they linked you to the wrong form, form GTA-IAD-016 is the “Internet opt out form”. Unlike the law-enforcement option, the Internet form, for regular-folk, only removes the owners name from the website, anyone who wants to physically search the real county records by going to the courthose will still have full access to public records of property ownership

  • Thanks Bemocked!