Property taxes tend to adjust a lot in the first year or two of you purchasing your home. This tends to happen because the local assessor’s office is now aware of the true value of the home. The home may have been well under assessed if the seller of the property owned the home for several years.
Here is how you can tell if you are paying the right amount of property taxes. In January 2008 you should receive a statement from your assessor’s office that looks like this. I have included an example that should help you recognize the form I am describing.
To figure out how accurate your assessment is, you must take the taxable value times two. This is not a perfect test, but it will get you very close to paying the correct amount of property taxes. When you take the taxable value times two and the amount you come up with is much higher than your home is worth you should act immediately.
Disputing your taxable value to the local assessor’s office usually requires immediate action. In the City of Grand Rapids, the assessment form is sent some time in January, and the dispute form has to be delivered to their office by the middle of February. Time is of the essence with most assessors’ offices. Your best bet is to contact your local assessor’s office immediately if you would like to dispute your taxable value and ask them what is the easiest and most efficient way to go about getting this corrected.
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Do Open Houses Sell Homes?
This weekend, I was sitting in an open house at one of my listing in Hudsonville, MI. I often get asked by both Realtor’s and my clients if open houses are worth doing. Realtor’s say they are a waste of time and sellers wonder what the point is when only a couple people come through anyway.
So my response to that is this:
Over the course of a listing, the home maybe marketed for over 3 some times 6 months and in the Greater Grand Rapids Market there are some home being marketed for over a year. If your Realtor is not having an open house how is your Realtor marketing that home?
An above average agent will place the home on the MLS ( GRAR), place a yard sign and list it on a couple of websites. We can all do that! I go a step future with my internet marketing and I would place against any other agent in Grand Rapids. But once all of the beginning marketing has been done what is your agent doing if he/she is not having open houses?
Every time I have an open house, which is once a month, I get to tell people again about your home. I get to place it in front of people that are looking for open houses, place another add on Craigs List and so much more.
So do open houses sell the home? Most of the time no, but they do allow for marketing to happen! It’s one more opportunity for someone to see it every month.
Home Staging the family room is one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to preparing a home for the Real Estate market. While at home, we spend most of our time in the family room therefore through the years we have formed an imprint of who we are in this room. Effective home eliminates that imprint and creates a space in which buyers can visualize their unique imprint in the room.
According the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary , a “family room” is “a large room designed as a recreation center and informal gathering place for members of a family.” Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at home staging the family room.
First of all, the definition tells us that the family room is “a large room”. When home staging, we want to make sure the family room shows off its true spaciousness. Too much furniture, ineffective furniture placement, and heavy draperies tend to make the space look smaller. For a more detailed explanation, visit my previous blog: Home Staging the Living Room.
Secondly the family room is a “recreation center”. Today’s recreation in the family room can vary from TV viewing, media usage, video game playing, computer usage, board game playing, book and magazine reading, and if you have small kids, toy playing. That’s a lot of recreation! Does everyone like all these forms of recreation? Probably not, so stage the family room to appeal to the broadest range of buyers by making the space as generic as possible.
The last part of the definition states that the family room is an “informal gathering place for members of a family”. Successful home staging creates a comfortable family room in which buyers can envision themselves enjoying lots of time together as a family. The result should be a room that is inviting, cozy, relaxing, and informal. Eliminate any distractions or restlessness by de-cluttering the space as much as possible, Start by hiding as much of the media equipment as possible. Make sure any cords are coiled up nicely and hidden from view. Put all dvd’s or cds in a cabinet or decorative box with a lid. Also, move any toys to another location while your house is on the market. As you home stage, keep reminding yourself that the way you live in your house and the way you market it for sale are two different things. By staging, these inconveniences should be short-lived since you will soon be moving to your dream home.
Many homes in the Grand Rapids area have what is called a “great room”. Merriam-Webster states that a “great room” is “a large room in a residence usually serving several functions (as of a dining room, living room, and family room)”. The key thing I want to touch upon here is that the great room usually serves several functions. When staging a great room, it is important to allow the buyer to visualize the function of each space. Therefore, make sure each area is defined to portray its specific use. This is usually achieved through the strategic placement of furniture and rugs.
Home staging the family room may be a difficult task but it will pay off in the end. Look at the room through “buyer’s eyes” and you will create a room that buyers can’t resist. Happy staging!
I truly enjoy working with first time home buyers. First time home buyers have so many options available them and so many different things to learn along the way. Over the coming weeks we will help you, the first time home buyer, understand the process of buying your first home in Greater Grand Rapids and why it works the way it does.
The questions we will try to answer are:
How do I get my loan figured out?
How Much do we need Down?
Who is representing me?
Where do you want to live?
City of Grand Rapids?
Or a suburb?
What kind of home are you looking for?
Two story or ranch
How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
Condo or single family?
Are you willing to do some work?
How about a foreclosure?
How do we make an offer?
Do we bid low and see what happens?
When the offer is accepted then what?
What happens at the closing?
Do I need to bring my ID?
What is a HUD Statement?
When do I get the keys to move in?
Do I get to move in the same day as close?
What does 30 days after close mean?
Do I get paid for the people living in the home?
Over the next few weeks, the Grand Rapids Resource Team will try to help you understand this process better. So when you’re ready to buy your first home you will know whom to call, when it will be their turn to help you and we hope that this will make the process of buying your first home easier and less stressful.
If you are currently looking at homes now and can’t wait for the following articles please feel free to call or email me today. I would be honored to help you through this process.