Friday, August 8, 2008

Congratulations Sara & Eric!

No open house for me this weekend. Instead I'll be helping celebrate my niece's wedding.
Congratulations Sara and Eric -- wishing you many, many happy, challenging, eventful, growthful, blissful decades together in the company of friends and family who love you both.

Tax Assessed Value vs. Market Value of your Home

Providing an accurate estimate of your home’s current market value is one of the most valuable services a Realtor® can provide for you, but have you ever wondered why it differs from the tax assessed value of your home? The primary reason for the difference between the two figures is explained by the word “current.”

Although the Washington State constitution requires property to be assessed at 100% of its “true and fair” value, that assessment typically lags about 18 months behind current market value. A Realtor®, on the other hand, uses the most current sales data to compare and contrast the value of your property with others around it.

The Assessor performs the function of an appraiser in placing a dollar value on your home or other property, and your property taxes are based on the figures provided by the Assessor. The Assessor does not, however, establish the dollar amount of taxes required, nor does the Assessor collect taxes. That function is performed by the County Treasurer.

Each February, you (or your mortgage company) will be mailed a tax bill, showing the amount of taxes owed for that year. A “Value Change Notice” is mailed each time your property is revalued for tax purposes. If you wish to question the amount of the assessment, first contact the Assessor’s Office, (206) 296-7300, to determine if there is an error. If you wish to appeal the assessed value of your property, contact the King County Board of Equalization at (206) 296-3496.

To learn more, including information on exemptions and deferrals for senior citizens and disabled persons, start with this website: www.metrokc.gov/Assessor/FAQ.htm or consult the King County Property Tax Advisor at (206) 296-5202.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Housing & Economic Recovery Act summary

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed a bill passed by Congress which is intended to rejuvenate the national housing market and thereby stimulate the economy. Here is a recap of a few of the bill’s major provisions.

· GSE (Government Sponsored Enterprises, e.g. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) Reform– ensures that the increased conforming loan limits, enacted several months ago, will remain in effect after the previous Dec. 31, 2008 expiration.

· FHA Reform– including permanent FHA loan limit increases. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans will increase from 3% to 3.5%.

· Homebuyer Tax Credit– a $7500 tax credit that would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8 through June 30, 2008. The credit is repayable over 15 years, making it, in effect, an interest free loan.

· FHA Foreclosure Rescue– development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans.

· Seller-funded Downpayment Assistance Programs– prohibits the use of downpayment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale. Effective October 1, 2008.

· GSE Stabilization– authorizes the Treasury to make loans & buy stock from the GSE’s to ensure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will not fail.

Want to know more? Call me with all your real estate-related questions.