HEY ANN-MY TAXES KEEP GOING UP AND I AM THINKING ABOUT GRIEVING THEM.  GOOD IDEA?

HEY ANN – Every year it seems I am paying more and more taxes and no new services to justify them.  I have heard about grieving your taxes with the town.  Is it worth the effort?

Taxes are the bane of our existence and like the old expression says, there is nothing guaranteed except death and taxes.  The big problem in our communities is that there is very little commercial or industrial property generating tax revenue.  The burden falls on the shoulders of home owners.  Each year, these small municipalities have increases in expenses, most mandated by the government and we are the ones who have to pay.

Grievance Day, the one day a year when we can go before the Town Boards with documents showing the value of our property is lower than the new assessment, is usually disappointing.  I have found hiring an attorney to represent the home owner is usually very effective.  The attorney appears at grievance day and, as a rule, has no better luck.  Then part two of the process kicks in where the attorney can represent you before an independent arbitrator to plead your case.  That is where the best result is obtained. If the assessment is excessive, the adjustment can be made then. There is a third step if you are not satisfied and that is for your attorney to appeal to the NYState Supreme Court.  The municipalities do not want to hire attorneys for that appearance so they are usually reasonable in accepting the arbitrated number.

There is a downside to grieving taxes.  If you continually reduce the assessment to reduce your taxes and, at some time put your house on the market for what you and your agent feel is a correct price, you may find a disconnect.  If there is a wide difference between your assessment and your listing price, buyers will feel the house is overpriced and you will limit the inquiries.  I have a listing in mind right now where the homeowner had, over a period of years, reduced the assessment and it is now almost $300,000 below the listing price for the house.  No wonder they have had only 2 showings in a year.  You can guess what advice I have given them.  So, be careful of the double edged sword.

Please feel free to ask me about your property.  There is no obligation and a free market evaluation is always a good way to start your planning whether for now,  for the future or for estate planning.  It will be my pleasure to be a resource for you.

For More Information about Ann Levitt CLICK HERE

HEY ANN-We have been looking for a house for almost two years. What are we doing wrong?

HEY ANN- We would love to find a second home in Columbia County but cannot seem to find one that fits.  Can you make any suggestions that will make our dream come true?

First, I am going to make an educated guess about your house hunting approach.  With the ability to research real estate on Zillow and Trulia and dozens of other real estate sites, you have probably decided that you will contact the listing agent for each of the properties that sound interesting.  Your analysis is that the agent knows the house well and can be more informative.  Of course, this leads to you making a number of appointments on your house hunting day with a number of different agents.  When you speak to the listing agent, you make them aware that you are looking at a number of other properties so you want to firm up your schedule.  You have now lost the best opportunity you might ever have of finding the right home. Seriously!!

A real estate agent is a resource that is not always appreciated.  A good agent, when first meeting or emailing a buyer, will try to find out what the buyer is looking for-location, size of home, amenities, price range, cultural and recreational interests, condition of home, financial prequalifications.  And then the agent will, with his or her knowledge of the market, send listings to the buyer that seem to match what they have provided.  And these listings are from a variety of real estate offices, not just the listing agent’s office.  Once they start the search, the agent will get a deeper understanding of the buyer and may decide that the selected listings don’t match and a new set of parameters will be in place.

My favorite line is “I love rejection” because as houses are rejected, we can get closer to the house that will fit.  I have stopped in the middle of a day with buyers when, after the first few houses, I realize what they said did not match what their reactions were to those homes.  I have cancelled the balance of the day and told them next time we will find your home.  And it usually works that way.

What you are missing in your approach is having a resource that gets to know you, and knows you are loyal to that person in that their work on your behalf is appreciated.  Real estate agents spend a lot of time with clients, researching, emailing, showing properties, covering inspections and pay day is not until the actual closing.  Once you understand that the relationship will get you to your goal, it is time to get going with your real estate “advisor.”  Let me know when you find that dream house.

For More Information about Ann Levitt CLICK HERE