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Expert Insights: Can I Contest My Property Taxes?

Many people do, mainly because determining value can often be tricky. This is especially true in a changing market when local prices either take off dramatically or plunge precipitously, like during the Texas oil bust of the 1980s.

While it is up to a professional assessor to evaluate property value for tax purposes, property owners are usually allowed to contest their assessment until a certain date after they are made public.

Once you contest, you will have to prove why you think your property is worth less—few homeowners contest hoping to pay more taxes. The two most popular ways for determining value are an appraisal and a comparative market analysis. With an appraisal, a professional estimates the property’s market value based on recent sales of comparable properties. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value performed by an agent based on similar sales and property attributes. Most agents will offer free analyses to win your business.

Contact your local tax assessor’s office for procedures on appealing your property tax assessment.

The Communicating Broker

It’s your money on the table.  Isn’t it reasonable for you to expect very clear communications from us?

Since the answer is obviously YES, let me be clear: “When Catskill Country Real Estate in involved in your transaction, you get regular updates noting how the process is proceeding.  These communications reduce the stress of wondering if everything is OK.

From phone calls to texts to faxes, to emails—we provide the security of knowing exactly where you are at any given time during the time frame we work together.  If there is a long silence in our communications, we are waiting for certain requirements to fall in place.

All real estate business involves challenges, questions, answers, clarifications, re-direction, sometimes resurrection and more.  The details of bringing forth a successful closing are many, varied, and require careful attention.  Attending to these multifaceted activities is exactly why you retained our services.

You didn’t hire us for our physically attractive shapes, personalities, shopping habits, memberships, jogging apparel, hiking and biking marathon interests . . .YOU ASKED US TO GET YOUR PROPERTY SOLD OR TO FIND YOUR NEXT PROPERTY—THEN GET IT CLOSED.

It sure seems today’s providers often lack the courtesy or good judgment related to client care.  After all, you aren’t purchasing or selling Craigslist items.  You’re either about to sell your most valuable asset or buy one.

Because the financial impact upon our clients is at its max, we make sure to keep you informed.  We hope to call you shortly and let you know:  Your transaction closed.

Are You Struggling to Close Buyers for Your Home? It Might Be Time to Look at Your Price

Buyer's MarketSince most homeowners would like their home to sell at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time, one of the struggles of putting a home on the market is determining the perfect price. Whether your house has been on the market for a while or you’re just readying yourself for what comes next, here are some reasons that it may be time to re-consider your price.

How Long Has It Been?

A house that has been placed on the market will attract the most attention within the first 21 days in most normal markets.  In slower buyer markets like Sullivan County, that time frame moves out to about 60 days While no offers within this 60 day time frame doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to lower your price, you may want to revisit the cost other houses in the area sold for and decide from here how much longer you’ll wait before receiving an offer.

Is It A Buyer’s Market?

When putting your home on the market, there will certainly be a value in mind that you will want to sell it for. However, if you’re currently in a buyer’s market and there is a lot for sale, it’s possible that the price you’re looking for is not something you’re going to be offered. For this reason, it’s important to look at what the market is like in your area.

Do You Have A Timeline In Mind?

Homeowners often have a timeline for when they want to sell their home by, but life can sometimes get in the way and make for the necessity of a swift sale. Whether family issues or a new job have appeared on the horizon, lowering the sale of your home can be a good option to get your house off the market more quickly. You may not get the exact price you were hoping for, but there are situations where waiting for the extra money may not be worth it.

If you’re selling your home and are re-considering your price, it’s a good idea to stay on top of market trends and determine your circumstances before sticking to your original estimate.  Correct pricing and property condition out weigh just about all other factors relative to making a sale within a reasonable time frame.

Catskill Country Real Estate provides comparable sales analysis to sellers with no obligation.  Just contact us to find out what your property should list for in today’s buyer’s market.

My Property is Worth More, Your Property is Worth Less

Head SrcratcherAn interesting phenomenon often arises when one person or family decides to sell a property and purchase another one.  The situation occurs because just about everyone wants to sell high and buy low.  This idea is ingrained in the business thought process.

Realistically, however, objective measures bear out the fact your property is worth what the current comparables indicate.  What are similar properties in your area selling for?  That is the gold standard of professional pricing with adjustments being taken into account for the individual characteristics that may be present in a specific property.

I’ve worked with folks who insist their property is more valuable than the one across the street.  For all kinds of reasons, the potential seller elevates his own property above the available comparable properties in an attempt to justify a higher pricing model.

On the other hand, when considering buying, the same seller downplays the property being evaluated in an attempt to justify making a low ball offer.  This speaks to human nature and wishful thinking.  I hear: “but this doesn’t have x, y, or z”.  And—they bought this place 6 years ago, why should I give them so much now?”

When buyers choose a home based on purely financial considerations, it’s a business deal.  When buyer’s purchase because the property calls to them emotionally, the decision is driven by more than what’s the lowest price of purchase.

Compromises on the buyer and seller side must be made if a real estate transaction is to be closed.  A potential buyer should not expect to purchase a legitimately priced home for ½ the asking price.  Comparables need to be considered in order to arrive at a reasonable first offer.  Going over a laundry list of perceived negatives will simply drive the seller away from making a deal.

A good real estate agent will price a property appropriately.  The negatives on a buyer’s list will already be known and accounted for in the listing price.  In hot markets, a seller will not give a low ball offer the time of day.  In slower markets, unless the owner is close to foreclosure, the buyer gets a very cold shoulder.

In order to maximize your chances of buying and selling successfully, use comparables for both your selling price and maximum purchase price.  High balling the sales price and low balling your buying price is a formula sure to lengthen your selling and buying time line.  Contact me today for realistic pricing opinion and realistic purchase pricing.

Buying a Rental Property? How to Choose Between Single-family and Multi-family Homes

Entering into the real estate market requires time and monetary commitment. Depending on the purpose for purchasing rental property determines whether one should invest in a single family or multi-family dwelling. In either case, one should prepare short or long term goals, be cognizant of his or her financial health and monetary comfort zone, and conduct a comparative market analysis before considering a real estate investment.

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Short Term Versus Long Term Investments

For investment purposes, a multi-family dwelling provides the owner with more potential rental income than a single family dwelling. However, if the purpose is to claim the new location as a future domicile, then investing in a single family dwelling provides the buyer with time for relocating. One should be aware, however, that rentals are not eligible for homestead exemptions. With the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, all states offer some type of homestead exemption for primary residences. As a result, if changing one’s domicile is part of the long-term goal, then considering the purchase of a single family for a temporary rental, until one is ready to change domiciles, may prove advantageous.

Investment Considerations

One must be prepared for the initial rental preparation. Plumbing and sewage lines must be in working conditions to avoid impending disasters. Adequate electrical service and outlets, in combination with internet access, attract financially secure tenants. If one depends on registered, licensed, and insured contractors to provide the necessary workmanship, one must also be prepared for delays in the delivery of goods, inspections, and completed work orders. If one’s finances are not be stretched beyond his or her monetary comfort zone, then time may present the only obstacle.

Location Versus Location

Any real estate investor must consider location. One should look at the demographics of an area, the percentage of violent versus non-violent crimes committed in an area, and the future plans for development of any surrounding areas. Usually the rating of the local high school will also provide insight into the stability of the surrounding communities.

Consult A Reputable Agent

Before making an investment, one should consult a licensed and experienced real-estate agent familiar with area rentals. The agent should provide information regarding long term versus short term available rentals. In addition, if there are deed restrictions, the agent should provide the prospective buyer with the necessary information.