Greater Philadelphia Haunted Houses Tested In-depth

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 By Michael Maerten, The Jeff Silva Team

Ok so I have obsessions when it comes to things I enjoy in life…my obsession for a good haunted house is no exception. Maybe it comes from my joy of pranks and watching a good scare happen, Scare Tactics the TV show is a good example of excessive scares. For the past 6 years I’ve been going to area Haunted Attractions, the last 5 with a group of friends who also enjoy the night out. We make the event a good night out including finding a good local pub to “debrief” afterwards to share our favorite parts of the attraction. To date we’ve done The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Glenn Mills PA, Shocktoberfest near Reading PA, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Jason’s Woods in Millersville just outside of Lancaster, and in 2012 it was Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City PA. For the Bates Motel we coupled the night with Duffers Pub, for Shocktoberfest we stop at Sly Fox Brewery in Royersford, for Eastern State Penitentiary we enjoyed The Bishop’s Collar, and for Jason’s Woods we stopped at Yorgos in downtown Lancaster (yes there is a downtown) which has 81 different Wing Sauce Flavors, for Pennhurst the debriefing location was Molly Maguire’s in downtown Phoenixville.

So down to the ratings in my “expert” opinion, backed by friends who I believe concur:

2008- The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride- visited in 2008: the most awarded of all the Haunted Attractions we have attended, consistently ranked in the Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the Country by Haunt World Magazine including #1 in 2011. This attraction has our #1 Haunted Hayride, it’s a tough one to beat and I’ve heard that they’ve made it even better since we’ve been there. The Bates Motel section was good, but a little short. The corn maze and other attractions could use more characters, but all in all this is a very good attraction and we highly recommend it to others.

2009- Shocktoberfest- visited in 2009: this one took us all by surprise. What it lacked in high end builds, a true overall scary atmosphere and kind of weird state fair feel to the entry, it made up for it with the characters, the different scenes and overall scare value. This attraction had our #2 Haunted Hayride with great scenes and plenty of actors, our #1 indoor scare attraction (the shower scene with slow strobe light was phenomenal) , 3D rooms, and length of the attractions were perfect. It’s a far drive from Philly having to go past Reading to get there, but we’re happy we made the trip. This one is probably the least marketed of all the venues we have visited and again was a pleasant surprise. 2010- Eastern State Penitentiary- visited in

2010: the most crowded and #1 overall atmosphere. I’ve been to this one twice now, once in 2007 without the crew and most recently with the crew in 2010. They definitely improved the site since my first visit. They have some really good scenes and obviously the history of the Penitentiary adds to the overall anxiety of waiting for the next scare. The lines are extremely long but they do a decent job of keeping you anxious to get in. My biggest complaint is that this site has so much more potential and with the amount of money they are generating each year, they should be so much better and built out by now.

2011- Jason’s Woods- visited in 2011: their #1 attraction is their Haunted Hayride which was pretty good, long enough to make you feel that you got your money’s worth. The second best attraction was probably Jason’s Woods Walking Tour which gives you a feeling of vulnerability out in the woods with a small group. The best scare of the night happened in the woods with another visitor trying to take a picture of a statue (or what he thought was a statue) and he ended up on the ground in less than a half second, kicking and screaming. Overall this attraction is a distant 4th place finisher as the rest of the attraction was just missing the number of characters and feeling of authenticity.

2012 Pennhurst Haunted Asylum: we waited for this place to mature. Opened in 2010, year one was not getting high ratings. It was owned by the same owner of The Bates Motel, so we knew it had potential. After some debate we decided to pass again on it in 2011 opting for an attraction with 26 years of experience. It seems that the reviews in 2011 were a lot better than they were in its inaugural year. We had high hopes for this one, as it has the most potential of all the other attractions due to the site’s history and it being truly haunted. The number 1 difference… “We can and will touch you!”. We were all touched A LOT, the wives were a little creeped out with all the hair touching but it was the difference maker with this place vs. the others. There are three main attractions, someone similar in nature and scare tactics and a 4th Ghost Hunt tour through an old boarding building. This place has some demented history which adds to the allure. It lacked a haunted hayride, but made up for it in the number of scenes throughout the different attractions. This was worth waiting for and it still has the most upside for future growth vs. the competition.

Cheers and keep up the good work! Have you visited any of these attractions? What do you think??

‘Feine Coffee 812 Fayette Street, Conshohocken PA 19428

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Walk into this great coffee shop with tons of curb appeal, fantastic outdoor seating and an amazing mixture of delicious smells – and you’ll wonder, “Where has this place been all along?”

This new coffee shop was opened by one of the Jeff Silva Team’s very own clients and ever since it hit Conshohocken, it’s been a great success! The clean, comfortable, casual atmosphere is perfect for getting work done or hanging out with friends. (Yes, they have WiFi!) And there are plenty of choices on the almost daily expanding menu of delicious coffees, teas, sodas, smoothies and more.

If you’re feeling hungry, you can grab a quick bite of one of the scrumptious wraps and salads or snack on some of the area’s finest pastries from local bakeries. And if coffee is your passion, wait till you sip the amazing Brazilian bean brew that ‘Feine specializes in. Not into coffee? Don’t even think about passing up the long list of alternative options such as ice-cold Italian sodas or creamy and refreshing smoothies.

The best part about this cute little coffee shop? It is a local business, supporting local artists by displaying their work. As the owner mentions in our video, she wanted to incorporate her passions for both coffee and art into one neat little package and with the opening of ‘Feine, came the opening of the gallery too. Catch more information on the latest artist being showcased with dates of the art displays, on the shop’s website.

Check them out soon!

Why Buying a House for Today's Market is the Best Investment for Tomorrow

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Remember those millions of people going through foreclosures, short sales and other distressed situations that forced them out of their homes or put them at great risk of losing their properties? As unfortunate as things have been for them, the fact is that there are countless of those properties sitting on the market nationwide, waiting to be purchased.

Not only has this impacted home prices but it has also greatly changed the market as we have known it until relatively recently. In fact, rental units are in demand and have gone up by a very significant 21%! So what does this mean to you as a potential investor? How does this impact your potential return on investment – even if you are not an investor?

As Warren Buffett advised recently on CNBC, buying single-family homes is an excellent investment today with the low home prices and record setting low interest rates. He stated that for individuals planning on keeping the home at least seven or eight years, the returns will be significant.

Even if you are not a full-time investor, this could not be a better time to buy a home for this purpose. Let’s look at an example of a home listed for $250,000. We can assume the interest rate of 4.25% on a 30 year fixed rate loan (though in many markets buyers can get as much as a point lower depending on the borrower’s credit and loan terms). In this scenario, the monthly payment (including taxes and insurance) will be approximately $1,700. The typical monthly rental income is about $1,200 for an average home in our market – leaving a profit each month in this example of $500.

Nowhere else can an investor get such a significant return on investment than in the housing industry right now. The plethora of previous homeowners that have lost their homes to our economic circumstances often choose to stay in the same communities, resulting in increased demand for rental units. But it won’t last long. Interest rates are bound to come up – as are prices. But before they do, it’s a good idea to invest in a second property now.

Need some more convincing? Contact me, Jenny Staples at 215.498.0193 with the Jeff Silva Team and I would gladly talk to you about this – or any other real estate needs you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tax Appeal Deadlines 2012

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It's Tax Appeal Season, again. If you haven't already started the process, you better hurry up! The deadlines are approaching quickly.  In some cases, the deadlines have even been bumped up. If you miss the filing deadline you miss your opportunity to reduce your assessment for another year. No excuses, no second chances. In fact, not filing on time could cost a property owner thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes.

The deadlines for the counties in the Philadelphia region are as follows:

    Berks County, August 15, 2011
    Bucks County, August 1, 2011
    Chester County, August 1, 2012
    Delaware County, August 1, 2012
    Lehigh County, August 1, 2012
    Montgomery County, August 1, 2012*
    Philadelphia County, October 6, 2012

* Please note that Montgomery County moved the traditional September 1st deadline up a full month to August 1st, which is keeping in line with the other counties in the area.

If you not represented and are filing an appeal this year, we strongly recommend filing in person at the county assessor's office. When delivering your documents be sure to request a receipt from the clerk. This creates a paper trail that shows when you filed and who took receipt of your documents. If you are mailing your documents send them certified mail, so that there is a record of them being received. The counties receive thousands of appeals each year and sometimes things fall through the cracks.

When filing be prepared to pay any necessary filing fees. The fees will vary from county to county. For any fees that pertain to your specific county we recommend visiting the Assessor's website or calling their office.

You should also note that if the filing deadline falls on a weekend the assessor's office may move the deadline to the following business day. Again, this is something you should verify with your county's assessor's office. The appeal filing must be completed with appropriate documentation and fees no later than the end of business on the deadline date. However, that doesn't mean that you can't file days or weeks prior to the deadline.

 If you have any questions about tax assessment appeals please contact Coyle Appraisals.

215.836.5500 or 

Protesting the Amount of Taxes on Your Property

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This is the time of year when homeowners across America are receiving notices from their County Tax Assessor’s office informing them of their home’s value on which they will be taxed.  Sounds simple enough – until and unless you find that the value they are using seems too high.  Of course, higher assessed value translates to more out of pocket property taxes so the last thing you want to be doing is paying more when you do not need to.

How To Determine Whether You Are Overpaying Property Taxes

There are two ways to find out whether your property taxes are higher than they should be. First, you can go the traditional route, which is to investigate sale prices of homes in the area that are similar to yours.  The sales you are looking for should be completed in the 2011 calendar year (since property values are assessed based on the previous year’s sales).

You can also contact your Realtor to get an idea of whether you should pursue a property tax appeal.  For a quick view and an instant reply you can visit this website, input your address and the site will come back instantly with a reply.  If there are unusual circumstances to the property (for instance if it was sold recently) then you may be asked for your email address to get a reply later.

The Tax Appeal Process

Depending on which county you reside in, the process will vary slightly but for the most part it is a matter of presenting supporting documentation to a board of review, demonstrating your values have gone down.  With the supporting data you can then request that your taxable value be reassessed prior to the next property tax payment due date.

Some counties provide only one window of opportunity for homeowners to appeal their property tax values while others offer two times during the year.  To confirm the policy in your area visit your county treasurer’s office or website for more information.  Similarly, the process of appealing your taxes will also vary from county to county.  There are companies and also attorneys that can assist you through the process but an important part of the process is to gather data supporting your claim for lower tax values.

Comparing Area Values

While you can investigate the sale prices of recently sold properties in your area a challenge might arise when it comes to finding near identical properties to yours or at least very similar ones.  In terms of amenities, square footage, style and structure – homes used to compare values must be like kind in order to be usable data. The best way to manage this aspect of your tax appeal process is to engage your Realtor and utilize their resources in finding good comparables.  No one knows the area and its homes better than your Realtor.  They will compile a list of several properties that have sold for less than your home’s current assessed value and through that documentation be able to prove the need to reduce your taxes.

Other Ways to Save on Property Taxes

Aside from lowering your tax dues on the home you may also be eligible for certain exemptions depending on your situation. Contact your local county tax assessor’s office to learn of the exemptions offered in your state. Some examples include exemptions for military personnel and veterans, owners of farm property or daycare facilities and non-profit student housing. 

To find out if savings amounting to hundreds of dollars seems possible for you, find out now and beat the deadline!

Living in the 21st Century With New Technology for Your Home

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We thought it would be fun to break away from the normal real estate topics you might typically see on a real estate blog and share with you some exciting things available for you to place in your home.  These are gadgets designed to make your life easier, more fun and allow you the time to focus on the more important things in life – like friends and family.

A Smart Thermostat That Does All the Thinking For You

We have all seen and heard and probably even used programmable thermostats.  But let’s be honest.  How many people really actually take the time to sit down and program their thermostat to get the maximum use of the thing?  The truth is that these thermostats are meant to be used in an effort to conserve energy.  A household has certain timings that, if the temperatures are controlled accordingly, can add up to a lot of money saved.

The Nest thermostat is a unique brand of simplicity blended with the latest smart technology allowing the homeowner to “teach” it household heating and cooling patterns.  It actually learns from the users and taking the information it has absorbed, the device begins to act naturally based on those patterns.  It creates a schedule of how to heat and cool the home without the homeowner ever having to think about it. This ends up in saving you a lot of money while at the same time freeing up some extra time.

Accessible remotely from an iPad or iPhone, you can also adjust the temperature settings from afar depending on your needs at the time.  Imagine returning home late from a trip and you end up being several hours or more later than expected.  You can tell your Nest thermostat while you are still away to either kick in and be ready for your expected arrival time or not to kick in until a certain time. The cost of these smart thermostat devices is about $250 each – relatively affordable when you factor in the savings you will recover after only a few months of use.

Music and Lights In All Areas of the Home – Sans Wires

While this may not be a necessity for most, though some may consider music an important aspect of living, there is a new gadget that allows for setting up music (and lights) anywhere in the space without the use of wiring.  That’s right!  You do not need any more of those clunky speaker wires, nor do you need to worry about trailing extension cords to less accessible areas.  Now you can plug in a light bulb that doubles up as a speaker and voila!

MusicLites are a small high fidelity speaker that is attached within the light bulb unit and operates wirelessly.  You can connect it to any light bulb socket (standard sized), connect to either a laptop or your television and you can have music in areas that might otherwise not be able to have music.  This is ideal for places like hallways, outdoor patios or areas within the home (or office) that are not wired for a speaker system. They are not too expensive at anywhere from $220 to $240 a piece. And they are available in most home improvement retailers.
We’d love to share more of what we’ve learned in our experience of dealing with countless homeowners either moving in, trading up or simply enhancing their current home.

Single-Family Homes a “Very Attractive Asset Class Now” – Warren Buffett

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The news spread like wildfire.  No, it’s not another politician’s sex scandal or the latest (definitely not greatest) gas prices.  It is the monumental statement made by Warren Buffett that he would buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single-family homes.  The catch is that he would do that if it were something he could practically manage. He may not be able to practically manage it but individuals certainly can.

Think about that.  For months, if not more than that, countless Realtors have been urging their clients and potential clients that now is the perfect time to buy.  Now that it comes from one of the biggest investors of our time, it brings new light to the subject for many investors and has generated widespread industry buzz from the moment the billionaire uttered those words.

In an interview where he discussed several topics, soon into the discussion with Becky Quick of CNBC’s Squawk Box, he said that in addition to equities, single-family homes are probably the most attractive investment there is out there right now.  With the low rates that seem to be heading further down still, he suggests buying at these low interest rates and then for homeowners to refinance if and when the rates dips even more.

He cited that the only reason he has not purchased as many homes as he would have liked is because of the practicality of managing the transactions and properties.  Apartment units might have been more manageable and in his words, he said he would “load up on them” had that been the case. But for the everyday investor it makes perfect sense to seize this opportunity and Warren Buffett highlights this repeatedly in his most recent discussion on CNBC.

Mr. Buffett shared his perspective on the idea of buying homes at distressed prices, fixing them up and renting them out as an ideal way to get a solid return on investment.  Referring to the changing trends and attitudes within the housing market, he also said this is the perfect way to “short the dollar” because with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage it can go two ways; either the interest rate is too high down the line after which you can go and refinance or if it’s too low the other guy’s stuck with it for 30 years.  Could this be the return of the house-flipping craze that we saw boom in the mid 2000s?

Mr. Buffett’s statement brings new light to something that so many agents and mortgage consultants have been saying all along.  Buy now.  At a time when stocks are just now rebounding after four years of inching their way back up, he says that consumers should acquire 30-year fixed rate mortgages and then refinance when rates go down further.

If homeowners can hold on to their property for a long time after purchasing it at the lowest rates the industry has to offer they are sitting on the best investment possible of our time.  Of course equities are still very strong but they have come up quite a bit and Warren Buffett says owning a home is a “leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset”, making it quite possibly the most attractive investment that you can make.

Three Tips For Selling Success In This Spring Real Estate Market

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In the real estate market, “spring” usually comes early, with people eager to list their homes as soon as in January to beat the competition as the weeks get closer to March.  But if you missed this year’s after-winter opportunity, now’s the next best time to sell.  With so many new home shows popping up everywhere on TV, now more than ever, buyers are super savvy so to help you with your home selling endeavor this year we have put together a few tips to get those buyers rolling in.

Make Them Want To Come Inside

Nothing makes a buyer more interested in seeing the property than a gorgeous exterior.  Excellent curb appeal does not have to take a lot of time, effort or money but if you do not tend to this essential aspect of selling your home, you could end up losing a lot of potential buyers to the competition.

Curb appeal is simply a matter of maintaining and sprucing up the exterior and entranceway of your home.  By cleaning up dirty siding, fixing up post-wintertime yard messes or fixing minor cracks and crevices in the driveway – buyers will be wooed by that inviting first impression.  Take the time to add some flowers, put out a warm welcome mat and give buyers an idea of what they can expect when they set foot inside.  Not tending to this can make all the difference in the number of offers you may or may not get on your listing.

Once They’re In, Show Off Your Space!

So often sellers are selling a home without realizing that potential buyers have different tastes than their own.  The single best way to bridge the divide between one aesthetic sense versus another is to keep things neutral, neat and nice.  If you have a bright orange room, a fresh coat of neutral paint may just be the thing needed to attract the right buyer.  If there are gorgeous walk-in closets in the home, remove most of the items in the closet so the buyer can visualize their own things in the space.

Fix any things that need repairs, remove the clutter from your home, have it professionally cleaned and then dress it up so you can show it off to the next owner!  If there are any cracks in caulking or baseboards, work to get them fixed.  Clean up baseboards, remove cobwebs and fix up anything else that may need repairs.

Leave a Lasting Impression

As buyers leave your home and move on to view the next one on their list, it is important that they remember your home.  Imagine that your home will be showcased in a magazine.  How would you set things up?  Would you rearrange your furniture?  Remove extra items that are too personal or clutter up the space too much.  By giving these things thought and planning how you will present your home, buyers (and agents) that see your home will likely remember it and come back to it after seeing other properties that did not quite meet their standards.

Keep in mind a show-ready home is one that shows off all the features and amenities of the property.  When they can see the full potential of the home, buyers are able to imagine living in the space and they are far more likely to put in an offer.
If you are getting ready to sell once you have worked on its curb appeal and set up the home’s interior ready for showing – it is a good idea to invite your Realtor for a walk-through.  Years of experience selling (and buying) homes with clients give them the perfect insight needed.  Good luck!

3 Things You Can Do To Fulfill Your Dream of Homeownership

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Owning a home can be a daunting undertaking for first-time homebuyers. But if you are like countless others right now wanting to get in on the action and move into the home of their dreams, you have to be ready to take on the task.  During the current ideal market conditions that make it a great time for buyers there are a few things you can do make sure your experience is as fruitful as possible.  Here are three insider tips on how you can secure a great place, for a fantastic price – without making any serious mistakes in the process.

Make Sure the Price Is Right

Nothing can be more disheartening than to find out you have overpaid on a home.  With today’s rollercoaster real estate market the best way to be sure you are not overpaying – is to have a professional appraisal done and to ask your Realtor to do some comps.  By comparing like-kind properties that were recently sold in the same neighborhood, you can get a good idea of what your property should be priced at.  And at the negotiation table, both the home’s appraisal and comps will work to corroborate your offer.

Do Your Home (Inspection) Work

Inexperienced homebuyers stand to risk getting more than what they bargained for if they do not take the proper precautions before signing on the dotted line that makes them homeowners.  Even though it may seem tedious and at times feel like an unnecessary expense, the importance of having one or more home inspections done is pivotal to the home purchase process.  The last thing you want to do is to forego an inspection only to learn when it is too late that there were too many serious problems to contend with.  Depending on where you are doing your home search, any number of inspections should be completed prior to going under contract.

It is standard procedure to have a regular home inspection completed.  In fact, many lenders require an inspection as part of the lending process before they will grant you a mortgage.  But there are several areas of a home that do not fall within the parameters of a normal home inspection.  Wood infestation, for example, can be a major hazard and if there is a serious problem it can be very costly to manage it.  Radon gas is extremely unsafe, hazardous gas that can wreak havoc on the health occupants of a home or surrounding areas.  Find out from your home inspector what is and what is not covered and after consulting with your Realtor to investigate other potential hazards in the area, it is a good idea to have additional testing conducted as well.

Carefully Choose Who You Want To Owe Money

There are myriad lending choices out there but only a handful of companies that provide professional, timely and effective lending services.  At a time when mortgage processes are heavily scrutinized, it is important that you find a reputable lender that values you as a client and simultaneously values your time.  Even though some companies may try to lure you with lower interest rates and low fees, at the end of the day they get that money somewhere in the process but the homeowner usually ends up paying the price.
Regardless of where you are searching for your dream home, what your budget is or how you plan on financing the purchase – it is essential to work with an experienced Realtor.  Not only will you benefit from their knowledge but also you will be able to avoid making any major mistakes when fulfilling your dream of homeownership.

Two Important Things You Must Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Property

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Buying a foreclosed home can be bittersweet.  If you are not careful you stand to face a great deal of financial risk, not to mention the frustration of wanting and pursuing a home that could be lost to you in the end if precautionary measures are not taken. These steps can and will protect you from unforeseen circumstances that have often come back to bite less-than-careful buyers of foreclosed home.

A Good Deal Can Come At a Steep Price If You’re Not Careful

For all the satisfaction of getting that great deal on a foreclosed home, the single most frustrating thing about buying foreclosures is the inability to communicate directly with the seller.  The purchase of a home is usually the largest financial transaction in many people’s lives and the fear of the unknown should definitely not be a factor.

In normal sales important details must be revealed by sellers through a formal disclosure statement.  The homeowners must divulge any and all information about the home that can impact the buyers’ decision, especially aspects that can affect the property’s value or desirability.  In fact, in many states it is illegal to conceal major defects whether structural or cosmetic, prior to sale.

With foreclosed properties the disclosure statement is extremely limited so the prospect of learning significant financial or personal safety risks in advance is imminent.  Property transactions should not involve a lot of guesswork unless you are able to invest in the property and manage issues that may come up later.


The amount of money saved on a foreclosed home is worth the extra expense you will have to incur to make sure your dream home is a reality.  Hire an experienced inspector or licensed general contractor that can investigate all aspects of the home in advance.  By weeding out any potential problems ahead of time, you will be able to make an informed decision about the purchase rather than signing the dotted line in the dark.  Major problems such as plumbing and electrical issues, foundation concerns or roof leaks will be investigated and other potential pitfalls that could cost you a sizable amount in the long run will be mentioned.

Since most lenders require a home inspection to take place prior to financing you may be able to utilize the same inspection results by choosing an inspector recommended by your bank.  Though most home inspections average about $300-$350 the cost can go up depending on the size and complexity of the home.  One of the biggest mistakes many buyers commit is to opt for less expensive inspectors with murky credentials or none at all.

Make Sure You Are In the Clear Before Saying “Yes!”

Like with any major financial transaction, there are many steps to take when finalizing the process.  One important step is drawing up a title policy as per the bank’s requirements.  Especially in light of recent tightening of lender practices banks are being extra cautious when processing mortgages.  Sometimes they will require that the title policy be done using a company located outside the local area.  It is essential that you follow through all possible scenarios when confirming the title is free and clear of all liens and/or encumbrances otherwise you risk delaying the transaction while waiting to clear up any mishaps.  You could also potentially lose the sale if the title is not verifiably free and clear.

After your title company has come up with the title policy for your foreclosed home, it’s a good idea to check with a local lien company and request a preliminary report on the property.  This allows a more interactive investigation of the title’s condition as opposed to an out-of-town company doing the legwork. Any outstanding liens that may not have shown up on the out of town title company’s report may appear on the prelim report from the local (second opinion) title company.
Foreclosures are a great way to get a great house without breaking the bank – and if you play your cards right, there is no reason why there can’t be smooth sailing throughout the process.  With just these two important precautionary measures, you can save years of grief and thousands of dollars of pocket pain – all worth it at the end of the day when you live in your dream home at a fraction of the cost of a conventional sale.

Getting Through a Tax Appeal; How To Request Property Taxes Reassessment

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Now that the holidays are over, what comes next?  It is the beginning of tax season.  And property taxes are no stranger to this time of year.  As expected given the tumultuous past years we have collectively faced after the real estate bubble burst a while back, many homeowners want to make sure they are paying the right amount of taxes on their property.  If you are unsure as to whether your property taxes accurately reflect the current value of your home, you can request the County Board to reassess the current taxes you are paying.

Even though it may sound like a lot of time between now and April 1st, the deadline to submit your application can creep up very quickly, leaving you in the dark with not enough time to prepare.  Here are some valuable tips on how to prepare for a tax appeal request along with some important links that will provide further information on the process.

For Tax Appeal Success, You Need Evidence

Until and unless you provide the board with valuable, viable information that supports your claim to have your home’s value reassessed it likely that you will not be too successful.  The key is providing evidence demonstrating that other, like kind properties in your area have recently sold for amounts that are far less than your current property value.

In the real estate industry agents and other professionals often deal with “comparable sales” reports.  These are detailed reports that derive what the value of a home should be based on other similar homes that have the same profile.  This profile could be amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, type of structure, type of garage, location, school district – a number of factors.  Realtors aptly perform a comparable sales analysis since they are well versed in the area and have a vested interest in understanding their neighborhoods’ property values. 

Realtors know and understand the ins and outs of such procedures as applying for a reassessment of property taxes.  Both agents are attorneys, for different reasons, offer valuable insight and experience into the process. Important details like the fact that comparable sales must include sales that took place in the year preceding the current tax year and only through October 1st, can be missed if not managed by a professional.  For this reason, it is always a good idea to have that professional backing when you are filing for a tax appeal. 

How Can a Professional Help With Filing a Tax Appeal?

Whether assisting homeowners will filling out the petition of appeal form submitted to the board, coming up with a tax record sheet showing the current assessment on the land and building or establishing the perfect comparable sales data – working with a Realtor (supplemented with an attorney) is ideal.  Not only do your chances of successful reassessment significantly improve but also if there are any roadblocks along the way you have knowledgeable support alongside you.
If you have decided to pursue a tax appeal, keep in mind that just like filing federal and state income taxes, the closer you get to the deadline the longer it can ultimately take for processing.