Real Estate Appraisals: An Overview

Posted at 9:47 pm in Appraisal

Cory is a frequent writer of online property documents including property tax reports, deeds, liens and other public documents. He works for Courthouse Direct, an online resource for a variety of public court records.

An appraisal is a common experience shared by nearly every property owner, yet most people do not fully understand the property appraisal process. Before conducting a professional appraisal of your home or other property, be sure you understand exactly what is going to happen and what it means.

Defining Appraisals

The first step in understanding the property appraisal process is gaining a basic knowledge of what appraisals are. A property appraisal is a professional estimate of value based on an inspection and comparison to the sale price of similar properties in similar areas.

When Appraisals Are Done

There are a number of circumstances that require a property appraisal. The most common are loan refinancing, property sales, and estate planning situations like divorce or will preparation. The underlying purpose of the appraisal can directly inform the outlook of the process.

Appraisals done when refinancing or seeking another loan that requires information on your property holdings will look to provide a mid-range fair market value the lender is likely to recoup in the event you default on repayment. On the other hand, those done for the purpose of selling the property should evaluate the highest possible sale price based on the property itself and comps in the area. Be sure to accurately describe why you are initiating an appraisal of your property so the appraiser approaches the process with the right point of view.

Sharing Appraisal Information

The party requesting the appraisal of a property has exclusive ownership of the reported value and other details contained in the appraisal report. This can be a frustrating aspect of the appraisal process for homeowners who needed to pay for an appraisal out of pocket but are unable to view the finished report. The lender, or anyone else, who contracted the appraisal would need to provide official written consent before the information is shared with anyone, even the owner of the property.

When Appraisals Expire

An appraisal of your property has a shelf life and will not be usable forever. The appraisal of your property will expire exactly one year after the reported date of the physical inspection. If you need to reference an official appraisal of your property after that date has passed, you will need to commission an entirely new appraisal report. Information in an appraisal represents a moment in time, what was going on with your property at a specific time.

Property owners should understand what appraisals entail before the process begins. Know why you are getting the appraisal done to ensure an accurate assessment.

Written by admin on March 13th, 2013

Tips For Lowering Your Property Taxes

Posted at 8:00 pm in IRS,Property
English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. ...

English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. Nederlands: Een icoontje van het Crystal icon thema (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In today’s tough economic times, it makes sense to save money anywhere you can. One area that you may have overlooked is your property taxes. By following these helpful tips, you could substantially lower your tax bill.

The first thing you should do is confirm that the government has the correct information for your property. You’ll need to visit the tax assessor’s office and get a copy of your tax rate card. Verify that the lot size, square footage and any listed improvements are accurate. Correcting these discrepancies will help the assessor’s office determine your property’s actual value.

There are exemptions that can lower your properties assessed-value and lower your tax bill. You should ask for a list of exemptions and apply for those that you are entitled to receive. Many states offer homestead exemptions and tax discounts to senior citizens, veterans and the disabled. These exemptions are not automatic; you have to apply for them.

In buying or selling real estate, you often hear the phrase “location, location, location”. The same rule applies to property assessment. If there are changes in your area that lower your property’s market value, these could also lower your assessed property value. If your home has lost value due to the zoning changes or a high level of foreclosures, you should request a reassessment to reflect your property’s current value.

The tax assessor’s office is also a powerful resource for reviewing the assessment value of other homes in your area. For example, you and your neighbor have comparable homes, but you have a one-car garage and your neighbor has a two-car garage. After reviewing the property tax records, you discover that both properties have the same assessed value. You can discuss this discrepancy with the tax assessor’s office. This should set the reassessment process in motion and could reduce your property taxes.

When the assessors come to inspect your property, give them a complete tour. A cracked foundation, worn-out roof or a functionally-obsolete floor plan can reduce your property taxes.

If you do your homework, or hire professionals (Click here to learn more), you can reduce your property taxes and save money.

Rick Fish is an amateur radio technician in his spare time, he also works for Republic Property Tax. You can contact him via  his website.

Written by admin on June 3rd, 2011

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Five Tax Tips For Business Owners

Posted at 4:48 pm in Business,IRS,Tax Deductions
Entrepeneur Center Tower City View Plaza San Jose

Image by mrkathika via Flickr

For business owners, there are many tax considerations which have to be made when filing your yearly income tax return schedule. The process of filing a tax return, for business owners, should be a straightforward process, and done in the simplest terms. The following are a few tips which should help business owners in filing a return to maximize gains, and avoid any penalties.

1. Consider “DIY” Tax Services: many small business owners consider filing online rather than with an accountant. Today, there are tons of filing software available to all individuals online. If the business has a very basic tax schedule and qualify to file EZ forms with the IRS, an online option might be a good choice for your business. If your business is more complex, you should consider a personal accounting firm to assist you with filing.

2. Consider Limited Services of an Accountant: Some individuals don’t want to deal with filing on their own, yet don’t want to rely on an accountant entirely. For these businesses, use online software which allows you to prepare the forms yourself. Once completed take the forms, and business receipts to an accountant to check for errors or missed deductions. This will save some money and the stress of filing the forms incorrectly.

3. Keep Track of Traveling Expenses: Use a mileage log. This will allow you to seperate the travel and gas expenses for business vs personal purposes. Business expenses can be taken as deductions on your tax return.

4. Keep Your Receipts: In the event of an audit, business receipts will save you headache and possible penalties. This will also make filing deductions faster, and assures that you can back up all claims to the IRS. If you are a small business, consider using separate credit cards for business vs personal expenses.

5. Know Your Deductions: If you know what can be deducted, it saves businesses the time and hassle of going through all accounts.

These basic tips will help keep you safe in the event of an audit, save you money, and optimize your deductions and returns when filing your businesses tax return.

Abdallah B. is a former diplomat and prolific entrepreneur, he enjoys writing and collecting stamps.

Energy Star Appliance Rebates And Tax Credits

Posted at 7:09 pm in Green,Property,Tax Deductions

Image via Wikipedia

The government actually wants to give back some of your money? The Energy Star appliance rebates and tax credits program will be beneficial if you purchase energy efficient appliances for your home. Of course, as with every program, there are stipulations and limitations but overall there are many options available for homeowners. These rebates and tax credits are only obtainable for homeowners, and certain credits are not offered for new construction.

The Energy Star appliance rebates and tax credits are designed to get Americans to upgrade their current appliances and are strongly encouraging consumers to recycle their old appliances. These rebates and tax credits only apply if replacing older models. The government is hoping to save energy, wear and tear on the environment, and money for consumers. Individual states and territories have their own rebate system for whatever appliances would be in greatest need, either weather-related or environmental for their area of the country.

If you are looking for rebates, your local state has agreements with certain suppliers that have agreed to give rebates when specific appliances are purchased. Generally, the list of appliances includes dishwashers, water heaters, refrigerators, and freezer, among others.

If you are looking for a tax credit you will probably see a greater amount return to you in the long-run. The government is willing to give generous tax credits to homeowners who purchase energy saving devices such as fuel cells, small wind turbines, solar panels and solar powered devices, special air or heating units, certain roofing materials, insulation, and specific windows and doors. As stated earlier, there are specifications, so check into your particular state for details.

When getting rid of your old appliances, look up state energy conservation offices or local recycling centers that will accept your appliances. Make sure that you get a record of your donation – you will need it to submit your claim for a tax refund or rebate.

There are time limits on the Energy Star appliance rebates and tax credits. Make sure that you qualify for your purchase soon before time – or money – run out.

Bret G is an avid energy saving fan, he enjoys writing and rock climbing.

10 Important Things About Filing a Tax Return

Posted at 9:58 am in IRS,Tax Deductions,Tax Filing
People filing tax forms in 1920

People filing tax forms in 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Filing a tax return is a very important process, and due to the important nature of this process, it is very important that the return is filed precisely. By improperly filing a tax return, an individual will be susceptible to fines and possibly an audit.

One of the most important things about properly filing a tax return, is to ensure that you have the proper forms for your particular situation. If you’re not sure about what form to use for the filing of your taxes, you can get the information that you need from your local tax office. The Internal revenue service has an abundance of highly qualified personnel who can help you with this situation. Ensure that you fill out the form in its entirety, because by not filling out the form completely the return may be rejected.

Make sure that all of your sources of income are properly identified. By missing any source of income, your document may be rejected, or you may not get the full amount of the tax return that is due to you if this is applicable. Use any financial documents that you have in order to assist you in filing your return in an accurate manner. Seek to accurately tabulate your tax liability, which will prevent you from having tax liability problems in the future. It is important to ensure that all of the personal details that you list on your tax form are accurate and up-to-date. It is important that you claim all deductions that are due to you, which will help to ensure that you only pay the tax that you owe, and that you receive the refund that is due to you.

Ensure that you claim all of the exemptions that you’re qualified for. This will help to ensure that you’re only paying the taxes that you owe. It is very important that you file your taxes by the due date for that tax year, which is usually April 15. Keep all of the documents that were used in the filing of your taxes, and seek professional IRS audit help if needed. Click here for more information.

Sarah A. is an avid wildlife hunter and is well versed in the art of speech and enjoys working for a provider of tax resolution services. She enjoys time with her 7 kids and grandson. You can contact her at

Tax Tips for Military Personnel

Posted at 6:45 pm in IRS,Property,Tax Deductions,Tax Filing
Capt. Rob Dewberry leaves his post as commande...

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The Service Members Civil Relief Act (also known as SCRA) is a tax act that applies to active military personnel. It provides tax benefits beginning as soon as you receive your orders for active duty. Here are 8 tax tips for military personnel regarding your benefits under SCRA.

1. You are not charged state income taxes in a state that you are not a resident of while you are working for the military. Your spouse is also protected from an increase in their income tax due to your income.

2. You are given a longer period of time to pay your taxes while in active duty. This grace period lasts until 180 days after your active duty ends.

3. If you give you life in the service of your country, your death gratuity (which is payable to your family) is tax free.

4. You are permitted to claim some travel expenses (usually within a hundred miles from your residence) as part of your military responsibilities. Claim these expenses on line twenty four of tax form 1040.

5. You are permitted to designate another person to represent you to the IRS regarding your tax return. This person can respond to inquiries from the IRS regarding your tax return while you are overseas or on active duty.

6. Some of your income military benefits are tax, including combat pay. You are also permitted to deduct interests form your mortgage and property taxes even if you use BAH to pay for your home. Legal fees, dental care and child care can be used as deductions.

7. You are eligible for an Earned Income Credit at a higher income than civilians. If you have several children and earned $34,458, or one child and earned $30,328 you are still eligible for EIC. You may not file foreign earned income if you wish to claim this credit, and returns on personal investments must be under $2650.

8. While in active duty you are exempt from residency requirements, which state you must live in the United States for half of each tax year.

Jacobi is a former soldier in the United States army, he learned the hard way that tax law is more flexible for US’ finest.

Tax Credits to Green Your Home

Posted at 4:11 pm in Green,IRS,Tax Deductions
Some of the over 4000 wind turbines at Altamon...

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With recent legislation and changes to the tax code, homeowners are discovering that now is the time to go green. Federal tax credits and deductions, combined with many state tax incentives, are making environmentally friendly home improvements a popular investment.

The federal government provides incentives for taxpayers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes in two broad areas. The first area includes improvements that reduce the amount of energy a home consumes, such as insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, and HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) systems. The second area includes improvements to the amount of energy a home creates, such as wind turbines and solar energy systems.Federal tax incentives available to homeowners in 2011 include:–A 10 percent tax credit for purchase and installation of certain improvements and appliances, up to $500. Some of the purchases have individual limits as well. Qualifying biomass stoves, air conditioners, heat pumps and water heaters are eligible for $300 tax credits. Insulation, certain roofing materials, and skylights and doors that meet energy-saving requirements are eligible for the 10 percent tax credit up to $500. Windows are capped at $200, and appliances or other energy improvements are eligible for smaller amounts.–A 30 percent tax credit for purchase and installation of certain solar energy systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps, with no upper limit on the amount of the tax credit. In some cases the credit can be extended to future tax years. Solar water heaters and solar panels generally qualify for this credit. Residential wind turbines are becoming more popular and more affordable, especially because of this tax credit. There is one drawback to energy-producing tax incentives: the credit for installation of the emerging fuel cell technology, which captures energy from micro-turbines and stores it in hydrogen fuel cells, is capped at $500.In addition to federal tax incentives, most states provide tax incentives for energy-saving home improvements as well. North Carolina, for example, offers tax credits of 35 percent of the cost of energy-producing systems. Combined with the federal tax credit, homeowners can save 65 percent of the total cost.

Seraphim is a foe of paying more than he has to, He is a tax expert specializing in tax deductions.

Written by admin on October 20th, 2010

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