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Posts tagged ‘taxes’

Should you buy a Home?

There are many reasons why people choose to purchase their own home. The most common reasons are:hand-over-keys-to-house

1. Quality of life. Living in your own home allows you the opportunity to make decisions about your lifestyle that renting doesn’t always allow – decisions about room decor, pets, noise levels, carpeting, gardening. Owning your own home also provides you with participation in a community and homeowners report a higher satisfaction with their life, higher self-esteem, happiness, and higher perceived control over their lives (Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing).

2. Price appreciation. Real estate is a good investment. From 2013 to 2014, home prices increased nationally almost 14% and are predicted to rise another 5% by 2015 (Why 2014 is a good year to buy a home). Additionally, money paid in rent is gone, whereas money paid in mortgage principal increases your net worth.

3. Tax benefits. The interest you pay on your mortgage is tax-deductible. You can also deduct any payment toward points to reduce the interest rate of your mortgage. You don’t have to pay taxes on up to $250,000 profit ($500,000 if you are a couple who files jointly) you make when you sell your principal home (Tax benefits of owning a home).

There are also reasons why some people choose not to purchase their own home. These include:

1. The cost of owning a home can be great. Upkeep and maintenance can take a chunk of your budget, depending on the home, and can take a chunk of your free time. Painting walls or fixing plumbing over the weekend isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

2. Real Estate taxes. Renters don’t pay real estate taxes, which, for parts of Union County, can be very high.

3. Insurance. Homeowners insurance for a $400,000 home is around $1,200 per year (Measuring The Benefits Of Home Ownership).

4. Job or family insecurity. If your financial situation is in flux, now might be the best time for you to invest a large amount of money. If there is a possibility that you will be transferring to a new job location in the near future, now isn’t the right time to settle down.

If you’ve decided that buying a home is right for you, then Team Zuhl is here to help you on every step of the way!

Appealing Your Property Taxes

Here’s a dilemma many of us in Union County are facing – our homes aren’t worth what they were worth when we bought them, and yet we’re still paying taxes based upon what our home used to be worth. If you think you’re being taxed unfairly, here’s how to appeal your assessment.

Property taxes can’t be appealed but your property’s assessment may be if you can prove that your assessed value is unreasonable compared to the home’s market value.

Here are the steps to appeal your tax assessment:

1. Inquire into your district’s average ratio for this year. Different municipalities use different formulas to calculate property taxes but all formulas are based upon assessed value. Some jurisdictions use a home’s actual market value, while others use a percentage of a property’s worth.

2. File on or before April 1st (May 1st if a municipal-wide reassessment has just been implemented).

3.  Hire your expert witnesses – anyone licensed as  a real estate appraiser can be an expert witness and can prepare an appraisal report. This expert witness must appear at your hearing to testify and be cross examined.

4. Provide multiple copies of the appraisal report – one for the tax assessor and one for each County Tax Board member. This must be done at least seven days  before the scheduled hearing. You may also provide credible evidence such as recent comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in your neighborhood. Sales ratio forms, called SR-1A’s, (available at the County Tax Board) and deeds (available at the County Clerk’s office) are public records and can be used to identify comparable sales and their significant characteristics. Your local Realtor ® can help you with this. Commercial property owners must also supply an income statement.

4. Public Hearing is conducted before the County Tax Board within 3 months of the filing deadline. The County Tax Board is made up of members appointed by the Governor. Homeowners and sole proprietorships can represent themselves but larger businesses must be represented by an attorney.

5. The Tax Board must determine all appeals within 3 months of the last day for filing appeals, although the Director of the Taxation Division may grant an extension.

6. You can appeal the judgment within 45 days.

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