Getting a Property Tax Reassessment Due to a Decline in a Home’s Market Value

Why pay for a service when you can do it yourself?

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson, MA, Esq., | Published: 2/24/2009

Many homeowners are receiving offers for assistance in getting their property taxes reduced, sent by services purporting to specialize in reducing people’s property taxes. It is absolutely possible to have your property value reassessed and, accordingly, your taxes reduced due to a recent decline in market value. However, it is a very feasible DIY project — most homeowners do not need to hire a service to do this.

If you bought your home within the last three to four years, it is likely that your current assessed property value — the basis for your property taxes — is higher than the current market value of your home. And in many areas, the annual reassessment is an assumed, automatic increase in value, rather than an actual reevaluation of fair market value based on the factual market dynamics.

This situation is so common that many counties across the country have actually simplified the process of getting your property taxes temporarily reduced on the basis of the current market value. As such, a homeowner with some basic Web navigation skills can generally do the same things these property tax reduction services do — for free — and might even have an easier time dealing with the County. (Local government offices tend to be a little less rigid with homeowners than they are with hired guns.)

To get your property taxes reduced on the basis of the recent decline in market value: Continue reading Getting a Property Tax Reassessment Due to a Decline in a Home’s Market Value

This weeks show…filling in for Mike; Pete Phillippe and Allison Norman

This week Mike is off wading in a river somewhere near Trinity, or floating on the lake…fishing pole in hand no doubt. A much deserved vacation!

So, while Mike’s away…Pete Phillippe and I will try to fill his shoes.  We’ll keep it true to form…interesting, informative…and fun. Pete, a veteran of the show, and a long time Sonoma County lender is a wealth of information when it comes to financing.  Besides rates, we’ll try to cover; What’s going on with the condo market, Advantages/Disadvantages of FHA financing…and which homes will go FHA (what to look for before writing an offer) I’ll be discussing  the looming “end of the First Time Homeowner Tax Credit”; How it has helped to stimulate the economy, and what’s this we’re hearing about an extension?   I”ll also dispel some myths about short sales, talk about buying foreclosed properties, and how, as a seller, knowing the upcoming foreclosures in your neighborhood can help…and where to get that information.  It just wouldn’t be The Real Estate Hour if we didn’t discuss July sales and stats…and what all those numbers mean.  I may even share some “tips from the trenches”, my experiences not only working with buyers through this buyer frenzy, but as a key player and contact person for Mike’s REO Accounts, my take on writing a strong REO offer, what the asset managers are looking for, and how to make your offer stand out.  All this rolled into an hour…a full hour indeed.  Hope you’ll join us. ~Allison

First time Home buyer Tax Credit is coming to an end….???

The $8000.00 First time home buyer tax credit is set to expire on Nov 30th, 2009. This is the date you will need to CLOSE ESCROW if you wish to claim the credit. With escrows taking at least 30 days to close…and often more, you should have an accepted offer in escrow no later than October 30th , 2009…and that’s pushing it. Best scenario is to get an accepted offer into escrow by October 1st. Yikes! That means you have approximately 40 to 60 days to find a home and more importantly (and more challenging) to get an offer accepted amongst the flurry of competition from other buyers doing the same thing.

There has been much speculation that this credit will be extended. The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of HomeBuilders have been lobbying the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee with justifiable reasons to extend the credit. Their Stance is this; Continue reading First time Home buyer Tax Credit is coming to an end….???

How do I get the bank to pay closing costs on an REO???

The following is an answer to a question I received regarding Buyer closing credits in an REO.

Q;  How do I get the bank to pay closing costs in an REO?

A; There was a time in the last few years that an all cash “low-ball” offer could beat out higher financed offers.  But, In my recent experience, the banks are now looking primarily at their bottom line. Your best bet is to present an offer that is high enough to get the bank the the best pay-off, after subtracting your requested closing costs. Its important for this to be written into the purchase contract, as it is very difficult to ask for any concessions after the contract has been ratified. Continue reading How do I get the bank to pay closing costs on an REO???

The Buying Game: How to Avoid 9 Costly Mistakes!

Allison Norman, Realtor
Allison Norman, Realtor

The Buying Game: How to Avoid

9 Costly Mistakes!

  1. The Wrong House: Too Big, Too Small? Too much land? Fixer-upper (what’s a hammer?) Define your current and future needs now before you buy? Imminent
    retirement, on the road a lot, teens leaving the roost?
  2. Bidding on Bank Foreclosed Properties or Real Estate Owned (REO’s)? What to expect!—I work with a Realtor of 30+ years experience in Sonoma County Real Estate and we work with Asset Managers daily in the sale of Bank Owned, REO properties. We know how to write an offers which capture the attention of the banks!
  3. Title Trouble Traps: Always, repeat always! Get Title Insurance. End of story.
  4. Survey Surprises: Buying country property requires knowing your property lines.
    Even older subdivisions should be looked at hard!
  5. Last Minute Defects: Get all appropriate reports during your due diligence period
    so you have time to negotiate and maybe back out and get your deposits back. Continue reading The Buying Game: How to Avoid 9 Costly Mistakes!

Looking forward to sharing my insights.

I’m thrilled to be able to add my thoughts and insights to Mike’s Blog.  I will be posting my personal insight into this market with a unique perspectuive as a home-owner struggling along with the masses.  I’ll also throw in occasional tidbits of information  and resources gathered from my community involvement with the City of Santa Rosa, as well as fun facts about this great area we live in.  If you’d like to be added to my weekly newsletter email me at  you may also wish to visit my website I’ll also will be appearing on the Real Estate Hour on August 30th! Tune me in!

Latest Sales Numbers for July Median down ONLY 10%!

The big news is we hit 500 Sales for the first time since October! Yeah! But we ARE in PRIME TIME so we’d better beat that wild and crazy October sales number.

  • The other BIG news is the median, usually dropping some 25%+ per month is down ONLY 10% over last years median!
  • Sales are up a modest 6.5% mainly due to the LACK of inventory. Last year at this time we had 2600 listings but are limping along in ’09 at just 1574 total homes on the market in Sonoma County!
  • Here’s some other categories and numbers:
  • REO’s or Real Estate Owned-those ‘post’ foreclosure–sales are down 32% over last year!
  • We only have 131 “Active” REO’s! REO’s make up ONLY 8% of the active market but 29% of ALLSALES! Wow!
  • Short-Sales: those with loan amounts HIGHER than the list price-sales have fallen 14% over last month at 86 but are up a whopping 42% over last year! However, the average time on the market is still a huge 176 Days! Of our 1058 in escrow or Continue to Show homes, 645 are Short-Sales! We ONLY have 67 pending which is a firmer transaction!
  • Oddly, the number of VACANT omes is now at 535 of All Active listings and 303 of ALL the 500 Sales or 60%! The foreclosure sales toal 46% (REO’s and Short-Sales”) but 14% more ARE Vacant! Interesting?!!