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Are You Overpaying Your Property Taxes?

by Alexandra Zega

 

According to the American Homeowners Association, an average of 60 percent of homeowners are paying too much for their property taxes! No one likes to overpay, and overpaying on your property can be a serious setback. Below are several steps homeowner should take to investigate whether or not their property taxes can be lowered:

  • First, get your detailed property tax assessment record online or from your assessor's office. It's possible your entire neighborhood has been over-assessed.
  • Check with a real estate agent to get a solid understanding of what homes are currently selling for in your community. Professional agents will have the most up-to-date statistics on local market values.
  • Check the accuracy of the details about your home used in your tax assessment. Determine if your property's size and description are accurate. Errors are commonly made in transferring data from paper to online. Make sure details like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is correct and that any defects that could affect the value of your home - such as a leaky roof or cracked wall - are noted.
  • If errors have made your assessment higher than it should be, try working informally with the assessor rather than going through a formal appeal process.
  • If the correction cannot be made informally, you'll need to make a formal appeal. There may even be a process for appealing your taxes online. Keep in mind that there is usually a narrow window of opportunity in which to file an appeal. Some jurisdictions set aside a time every year to hear appeals, while others only consider appeals for a few months after your house has been reassessed, which is often not every year.
  • Depending on your municipality, you might also be eligible for property-tax exemptions, which range from senior citizen and active-duty military exemptions to ones for those who own livestock.

Throughout the entire process, it's important that homeowners maintain fastidious records, and the proper documentation will be critical to supporting your case. 

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Buying a Condo? 4 Questions to ask

by Alexandra Zega

 

Condominium homes have always been, and will likely always be, an efficient and economical route to becoming a first-time homeowner. They can offer the comfort, prestige, and even luxury appointments that apartment living may lack, often at a cost that is not much different than rent.

Purchasing a condo is a smart and, most times, more affordable way to enter the housing market. However, not all condos are equal so it's vital that potential buyers be knowledgeable and know to ask the right questions.

Consider asking the following four questions before you buy:

What will you own? Read the bylaws and be sure you understand what you will be responsible for and what belongs to the condo association. Will you own the boat dock at the back of your unit? Can you elect to build a spa on your patio? Generally, unit owners own and are responsible for the interior of their condos, while costs for outside maintenance, including common areas and sewer lines, are the association's responsibility.

Who lives there? Are the majority of residents owners or renters? Owners generally take more interest in proper maintenance and are more willing than renters to serve on the association board and enforce complex rules and regulations—including the regular collection of homeowner dues.

How effective is the homeowner's association? Do they have legal counsel, reasonable funds and a capable, caring volunteer board? One way to judge is to check with residents about restrictions, oversight and timeliness of repairs and upgrades. Another is to take a hard look at the grounds and be wary of signs of neglect.

What about special assessments? The association should have the power to special assess for needed, one-time large expenditures. Otherwise, things that need to be done may never get done at all, leaving the complex vulnerable to disrepair and lowered property values.

Buying a home is a complex and complicated undertaking, whether it's your first home or your fifth. Once you have a good, working knowledge about purchasing a condo, making the right decision will come much easier. 

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2

The property listing data and information, or the Images, set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information, and the Images, are for the personal, non-commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information, or as to the accuracy of any of the Images, set forth herein.”