Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood
The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle—safety, available amenities, and convenience all play their part.

1. Make a list of the activities—movies, health club, church—you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engaging in your most common activities.

2. Check out the school district. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, also consider paying a visit to schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Even if you don’t have children, a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.

3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type—burglaries, armed robberies—and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

5. See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR or call the local REALTOR association to get information about price appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good an investment your home will be. A REALTOR or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood—like a new school or highway—that might affect value.

6. See for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there, and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside. Are they friendly? Are their children to play with your family?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Van Ostrand Rd in Newfield - $42,000

Thoreau would be jealous of this property. I would venture to say that he would have left Walden Pond to trek around this land and the surrounding area.
Near Treman State Park in Newfield NY, one could walk one quarter of a mile to the back entrance, which by the way is a not oft used area. I say that also because the road leading to the entrance is a dirt road.

What makes this property especially unique is that it is less than 15 minutes to Ithaca, Cornell, and Ithaca College. Property like this is normally highly sought after given its location, style, and proximity to neighbors.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tax Season!! Tax Questions You Need to Ask

5 Property Tax Questions You Need to Ask
1. What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information.
2. How often are properties reassessed and when was the last reassessment done? Generally taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.
3. Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase? Often the assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. And in some areas, such as California, taxes may be frozen until resale.
4. Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area? If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate?
5. Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that you might not qualify for? For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.
(from REALTOR Magazine Online)

Remember, you can always file a grievance at your local assessment office if you feel that your property assessment is too high.

I found this site useful as far as real estate tax questions. Which subsequently, I have only begun to get a grasp on. Actually, I hired an accountant to take care of my taxes as they were becoming more complicated for my wife and I to handle.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Fire Up That Pick-up Truck and Let the Horses Run......."

Check out this site. It has a whole breakdown of various cost of repairing, updating, etc. of rooms within a house. Its great. I have yet to come across something as comprehensive.....tell me what you think?

I found this website that does pseudo video tours. I took some pics of a property and uploaded them and wala! I have a video tour of a listing I am trying to sell. As you can see, it needs a bit of work. But it is great! It sits on top of a hill surrounded by hundreds of acres. Located at the end of a dead end, the road leading up to it is dirt and rugged. I am trying to focus on selling it to someone who is interested in a summer project, or something.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Your Property Wish List - What do you want in a home?

Below I have displayed a few questions and a check list of questions to ask when looking for a property to move in to. The importance of this exercise becomes apparent when a situation arises such as a multiple offer situation where you and someone else is bidding on the property. You, the buyer, have more confidence in negotiations when you know what you are looking for.

Knowing a property wish list streamlines the search process and helps keep the sanity of you and the real estate agent you have hired.

It saves time, energy and frustration. Plus, when you have a strong understanding of what you want, you can weed out the crap and focus on the homes that energize and excite.

Please feel free to cut n paste this.................

Your Property Wish List
  • While your opinions on the type of home you want to own may change during the homebuying process, use this easy checklist to help you prioritize and make the shopping process less time consuming.
  • How close do you need to be to: (a) public transportation _______ (b) schools _______ (c) airport _______ (d) expressway _______ (e) neighborhood shopping _______ (f) other_______?
  • What neighborhoods would you prefer?
  • What school systems do you want to be near?
  • What architectural style(s) of homes do you prefer?
  • Do you want a one-story or two-story house?
  • How old a home would you consider?
  • How much repair or renovation would you be willing to do?
  • Do you have special facilities or needs that your home must meet?
  • Do you require a fenced yard or other amenities for your pets?

Prioritize each of these options into: Would prefer Must have

Yard (at least_________)
Garage (size________)
Bedrooms (number_________)
Bathrooms (number_________)
Family room
Formal living room
Formal dining room
Eat-in kitchen
Laundry room
Spa in bath
Air conditioning
Wall-to-wall carpet
Hardwood floors
Light (windows)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Listing

10 Things to take the Trauma Out of Homebuying

This is a great list of ideas for buyers of real estate to consider. The national media inundates consumers with information fraught with negativity - and incomplete "truthiness" (to pull a line from Steven Colbert). There are always homes to buy there are always homes to sell. Below is a little anecdote to the home-buying craziness.

10 Things to Take the Trauma Out of Homebuying
1. Find a real estate professional who’s simpatico. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, any more than there’s a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself—room size, kitchen—that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.

7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-homebuying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.