Monday, June 20, 2011

Q: I just want to let you know that you were right and my husband was wrong about the price we would get for our house.

You met with us over a year ago and were very helpful telling us some things to do to get ready to sell. You also gave us a price opinion. My husband didn’t believe you and I think he was even a little rude. Well, you were right.

     After having the house on the market for a year and dropping the price several times, we finally sold it for just about what you said it would go for. I thought by writing this maybe it would be a warning to other people not to over price their houses. We paid out another $20,000 in mortgage payment waiting to sell.

A: I appreciate your comments and hope it does give other sellers something to think about. Most active Realtors are happy to give anyone an opinion of value and help them figure out what needs to be done to make the house more attractive.

     I recently sold a home where the sellers priced it very well to sell quickly. The house looked really clean and nice and it was priced exactly right to get more than one offer in just a couple of days. Those sellers won’t have any further mortgage payments, insurance or taxes to pay and can move on to their next home. That’s much smarter, to me, than sitting on the market for a really long time. They still did very well on the sale and my buyer clients are very happy.

     What I often hear from sellers is that they get sick of keeping the house in ready to show condition and get tired of having to leave quickly for showings that don’t seem to result in an offer. Many homes have poor floor plans or other issues that make them more of a challenge to sell and the price needs to reflect that. But remember that every place will sell at the right price.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Q: My husband and I are retired and are both in our late 60’s.

We worry that we won’t be able to stay in our home because of the high property taxes. Our children live in another part of the state where the taxes aren’t as high and are encouraging us to move there. We love our kids and would like to be closer to them but we really want to stay on Vashon. All our friends are here and we are active in a local church and several clubs and organizations. My daughter says there is some sort of tax relief for seniors in King County but I’ve never heard of it. Do you know where I can call for information?

A: Funny you should ask. Your timing is perfect. There is actually a presentation scheduled for next week, on Tuesday June 14th, that will explain the local tax deferral programs. This event will take place at the Senior Center at 6:30 p.m. I don’t usually use this space to publicize classes or programs but this one is really important.

     I’ve spoken to many people over the years that are 61 or older who could have been paying less in property taxes, but they simply didn’t apply for the tax exemption. This can make such a huge difference in keeping folks in their homes. It also applies to people under 61 who have had to retired early because of physical disabilities.

     There’s also a state program that’s not limited to seniors, but is for anyone who has lived in their home at least five years, has at least 40% equity in their property, and makes $57,000 or less per year.

     It sometimes seems that governmental agencies create programs that can be helpful to us but then they don’t publicize them. In these days of severe shortages in state and county funds, I can understand that they need money, but here are a couple of programs that can bring tax relief to thousands of people and I think we should all know about it. I hope you’ll attend this presentation.