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March 14, 2017

Eight Tips on How to Lower Your Property Taxes

The property tax is the oldest tax levied in the United States and is the only major tax common to all fifty states. It is the main source of municipal and county revenues and primary source of support for local schools. Property taxes vary widely by state and local jurisdiction. The National Association of Home Builders calculates the effective property tax rate as measured by taxes paid per $1,000 of home value by dividing aggregate real estate taxes paid by the aggregate value of owner-occupied housing units within a state. New Jersey has the dubious distinction of imposing the highest effective property tax rate—2.13% or $21.25 per $1,000 of home value. Hawaii levies the lowest [...]

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March 10, 2017

Seven Ways to Find Good Prices on Investment Homes

The massive numbers of foreclosures that spawned the boom in single-family rentals as investment homes is over, while the purchase of homes for investment purposes have settled down to pre-boom levels. Purchases for investment purposes have been on the decline since 2011 when investment sales accounted for 20 percent of sales. Today about 15 percent of existing homes purchased every month are bought by investors, either to “flip” and resell or to rent out.

The hardest part of single family investing today is finding an investment property at a good price. Demand from first-time buyers and tight inventories resulting from the conversion of about 4 million ownership [...]

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March 7, 2017

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Luxury Home Trends

While cheaper homes are hot, it’s still a buyers’ market for luxury properties, according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s survey of the most expensive zip codes in each region. It takes an average of 185 days for a luxury home to sell, three times longer than the 50 days it took for all other homes in January. “Luxury buyers should find reasonable levels of selection,” reports ILHM.

With a lot more negotiating room than buyers of less pricey homes, luxury buyers can look for properties that feature some of the leading edge trends in luxury home design.

In January, the National Association of Home Builders awarded 127 [...]

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March 2, 2017

Ten Point Checklist for Home Sellers

The first rule for getting the most from the sale of your home is to pick the right time. If you are planning to sell this year, you might have hit the jackpot. Sellers hold all the cards these days. Prices in most housing markets are an all-time high. As the economy improves, demand is strong but supplies of homes for sale are lower than they have been in years.

Even so, you will not get top dollar for your home if it’s not in great shape. It might not even sell for an average price if you just cut the grass and slap some paint on the interior. Surf the Homes.com listings in your Zip code. Note that some houses seem to linger on the market forever until their owners [...]

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February 16, 2017

How to Cut Your Mortgage Rate by Half a Percent or More

As mortgage rates slowly rise, potential home buyers and homeowners are wringing because they didn’t take advantage of mortgage rates that dropped as low as 3.65 percent following the Brexit vote in Great Britain last July. With rates expected to end the year above 4 percent, per economists at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, they are going to pay a penalty for their delay.

If you take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage on a $250,000 home and put 20 percent down ($50,000) at 3.6 percent, the cost of your total mortgage would have been $445,200 over the life of the loan, or $1230 per month. Today that same mortgage, at a 4.00 percent interest rate, will cost you $461,489, or [...]

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February 14, 2017

Cook’s Corner: Who Handles Home Repairs When Buying Or Selling?

When I list my home for sale do I have to declare past repairs and replacements?

In most states, you may be obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability. It is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property such as a basement that floods in heavy rains. When selling your home, you may be obligated to disclose major problems. Many states now require sellers to take a proactive role by making written disclosures about the condition of the property.

If you have already made repairs and corrected the problem, you are not required to disclose them unless you have evidence those repairs did not solve the [...]

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February 13, 2017

Will 2017 Be a Good Year to Sell?

If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale this year, it’s a good time to weigh the pros and cons as economic conditions shape up. Here’s an overview of conditions across the country and some advice on how you can find out the latest accurate information on trends where you live.

Inventories of homes for sale are at multi-year lows

Usually inventories of homes for sale are higher during the spring months than later in the year. Buyers are more plentiful when the spring sales season begins, so sellers are wise to list their homes by March or April. However, the outlook for this year is grim.

As the year ended, the supplies of homes for sale [...]

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February 10, 2017

Virtual Reality Is Coming to Real Estate

Imagine how easy it will be to shop for homes with virtual reality. At your leisure, you’ll be able to “walk through” homes and immerse yourself in the dimensions, perspectives and flow of each room. Without leaving your home you will be able to visit a half dozen of homes in an hour. House hunting may be the perfect application for the emerging visual technology of tomorrow.

In fact, the wait may be over.

On January 20, Matterport, a company that creates 3-D home tours viewable on desktop and smartphone screens, launched a VR app at a New York real estate conference January 20 that makes VR available to agents and home sellers who want to offer [...]

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