While it seems simple enough to purchase an alarm system and call it a day, there are countless other ways to increase the security of your home. Luckily, burglars and other criminals tend to follow similar trends, making it easier to be proactive when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones. The following are some helpful ways to do so.
Often, burglars will cut exterior wires in order to sufficiently distract or disarm whoever is inside.
First, ensure you are in the habit of consistently using all locks in your home. This includes window locks on second floors. Burglars will usually try and find an open window or back door before eventually attempting to kick in the front door. Breaking windows or picking locks are too time-consuming and noisy. Make your door less vulnerable to human strength by installing a heavy-duty deadbolt lock, and make sure back and side doors have multiple locks. Ensure all windows have functioning locks and perhaps look into investing in pin locks as well.
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Having an appraisal come in low can be upsetting to both the buyer and seller. Considering the impact a low appraisal can have on the home buying and selling process, it's important to educate yourself on what factors typically lead to a low appraisal.
Your home may have an incredibly finished basement, but the appraiser will still have to calculate the value of the basement differently than the square footage above ground. This is, in fact, one of the more common reasons why an appraisal comes in low. Valuing a basement can often be far more subjective, especially when there are extravagant features such as a home theater, custom bar, or a personal gym. While a nice finished basement can substantially upgrade the square footage and features of a home, the value of the basement space will still only be worth a fraction of what similar space upstairs would be.
Every day there are thousands of properties that have price reductions, and it only means one thing: the home was not priced appropriately. The seller was overzealous, or perhaps the agent promised the moon in hopes to make a sale. In states where dual agency exists, a buyer will occasionally go directly to the listing agent. They don’t have a buyer’s agent in their corner guiding them, and they end up significantly overpaying for the property. When purchasing a home, it always makes sense to have a buyer’s agent representing your best interests. Don’t be conned by dual agency.
The home appraisal can be a nerve-wracking process for many sellers. While most appraisals don't ruin a sale (fortunately!), there are still some persistent myths that far too many sellers believe. Remember: the more you know, the less likely it is that you'll be surprised!
Wrong — they are very different! As stated in our last blog post, a home inspection is intended to identify issues with the home that everyone should be aware of before money is exchanged, while an appraisal aims to determine the market value of the home. While an appraiser may flag problems that they notice during the appraisal, it is in everyone's best interest to hire an inspector in addition to the appraisal.
This is often the hardest pill for most homeowners to swallow. You may have the biggest, most beautiful home in your area, but that does not guarantee that the appraisal price will reflect how exceptional your home is. In fact, standing out too much can even do more harm than good.Homes are priced based on their area. More specifically, homes are priced based on their neighborhood. The appraiser will consider the size and amenities of other homes in your neighborhood to determine the price of your home. If everyone else has 2,000 square feet of space and laminate countertops, but you have 4,000 square feet and granite countertops, yours will likely be priced somewhat higher, but not nearly enough to get your money back if you have over-improved.As always, talk to an experienced appraiser before making any major changes to your home. When it comes time to sell, you'll be glad you did.
In most areas, property tax is based on how much your property is worth in your area. However, don't expect your appraiser to automatically lower your property taxes. Having your property taxes lowered takes more than a downturn in the local housing market. You'll need to file an appeal to reduce the assessed value of your home.
Did you know that fewer than 1 in 50 homeowners will appeal their increased property tax assessment, even though up to 60% of properties are overvalued by tax assessors? Most assessors are not even certified to accurately appraise real estate, yet they are the ones who are placing an assessment on your home. Having your home appraised by a certified real estate appraiser can save you thousands of dollars — and lock in those savings for up to three years.If you've received an increase in your property tax assessment, the following steps may help bring down your bill.1. Learn your systemTaxing authorities use different methods when calculating home values. Some look at recent sales of similar homes. In more rural areas where sales are few, they might estimate the cost to rebuild. Others may use a combination of these methods. Contact your local assessor's office and ask how they valuate properties in your area. In many areas, your tax liability is based on a percentage of your property's estimated value. You'll want to know what that percentage is so you can figure out if the value the assessor is assigning to your home is fair.2. Get your assessor's evidenceYour assessor likely didn't pull their estimate out of a hat, even if it seems that way to you. Contact the assessor's office and ask for the evidence used to value your home. Get your home's property card, which lists basic details like lot size, square footage, and number of bathrooms.3. Ensure the description is correctWhen municipalities or counties re-assess property values, they typically hire an outside contractor who looks at hundreds, or even thousands of homes in an incredibly tight time period. Typically, the assessor is not a state-certified appraiser and often has to take shortcuts. Three vent stacks on the roof? That must mean three full baths — never mind that the upstairs laundry room could be the culprit. 4. Build your caseFind an appraiser in your area to find out what your home is actually worth. An appraisal from a state-certified real estate appraiser (such as Appraisals By Michael) can stand as independent, third-party evidence of your home's true market value. You must file within 45-60 days from the time you received your tax assessment. You'll need to arm yourself with a recent appraisal detailing the exact layout of your home, comparable sales, and assessments that prove your home has been valued too high. 5. File the report Appeals are very time consuming, so it is best to file as soon as you can within the appropriate window. Often, if you let them know that you already have an appraisal from a state-certified appraiser before filing the report, someone will meet with you to look over the report and make the corrections there at the desk.We're Here to Help
Appraisals by Michael offers a number of appraisal services, but appraisals for property tax appeals is one of our specialties. We are here to provide you with the assurance that you are only paying your fair share of property taxes. While we are unable to guarantee the outcome of your appeal, an appraisal completed by one of our state-certified appraisers is your best chance of success. State-certified appraisers are largely considered to be the experts in real property valuation. We are familiar, experienced, and trained in the ins and outs of your neighborhood.