Bonnie Hart

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Bonnie Hart's Blog

Home Buying Reality TV Myths vs. Real Life

Posted On: January 18th, 2017 11:24PM

It would be nice if Home Buying and Selling was as easy as portrayed on TV, but it’s a lot more complex and time consuming than it is portrayed.   Check out the Myths below, then call me if you are thinking of buying or selling!


Myth #1:  Buyers look at 3 homes and make a decision to purchase one of them.

Truth:  There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors the average homebuyer tours a minimum of 10 homes as a part of their search.


Myth #2:  The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.

Truth: The reality is being staged for TV.  Many of the homes being shown are already sold and off the market.


Myth #3:  The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.

Truth:  Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy.


Myth #4:  If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the Open House.

Truth:  Of course this would be great!  Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but are only a PIECE of the overall marketing of your home.  Just realize that many homes are sold during regular listing appointments as well.


Myth #5:  Homeowners make a decision about selling their home after a 5-minute conversation.

Truth:  Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and/or how to respond to the offers. 


Bottom Line:

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee that you can make the home of your dreams a reality!


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Tax Time... Maximize Your Money

Posted On: January 18th, 2017 11:23PM

You should get every deduction you’re entitled to without fear of making mistakes that’ll bring the tax man to your door.


Mortgage Interest Deduction

Itemized deductions can be a great way to lower your tax bill but newbie homeowners may be used to claiming the standard deduction because they haven’t had enough of the expenditures that qualify them for itemized filing.


You can deduct the interest portion of your mortgage payments which might mean that your itemized deductions will now exceed the standard.  The savings are at their maximum early on, when most of your mortgage payments go to interest.  Over the years, the balance shifts, and for some it might mean they lose the advantage.  But there’s a way to keep the savings maximized.


The trick is to use an alternating approach to filing.  One year you maximize by prepaying whatever you can for the next year, such as property taxes and charitable contributions.  The next year, you take the standard deduction.


Challenging Property Tax Bills

Property tax is a big chunk of money, and sometimes that chunk is bigger than it needs to be.  Values go up and down over time.  The assessor reassesses areas in bulk from time to time. Often these bulk reassessments result in a valuation 10%, 20%, even 50% more than a home’s value.  


Reassessments happen at different times, depending on location, and local and state laws will govern what you must do.  Typically, you have fewer than 30 days to challenge the assessment.  Start by checking the assessment data -- size of the lot, number of rooms, square footage, etc. -- to be sure the facts are correct.  If not, the appeals process may be easy.


Work with your real estate pro to get market data, such as information on comparable properties -- known as “comps”.  Ask for 3 similar “comps” from your Realtor. You can hire an independent appraiser, although that can run $350 to $600 undercutting the savings you might ultimately receive.  


If the information you have collected indicates your assessment is high then appeal the property tax bill first to the assessor’s office.  If the result is unsatisfactory, you may be able to appeal to a local board or possibly to a court.  The worst case scenario is the value stays the same.

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What’s That You Said

Posted On: January 18th, 2017 11:21PM

With all the technology in the home these days you might want to think twice about what you say when touring a home.  I recently read an article about a agent who called his seller to say he had an offer on his home.  The seller responded by citing verbatim what the offer was.  He knew all the details, what their strategy was on pricing, etc.  Apparently they stood in the house discussing all of it and it was all recorded.  


There was a security camera in the home and there was a sign alerting people that unauthorized entry can be recorded but no one took that to mean each visit would be. 

Since that happened he has been more vigilant for cameras in homes.  Without being too alarmist, I will start cautioning my clients that when there is an alarm system there could be cameras as well.  


This issue should give pause to think twice about discussing a home, good points or bad points, while inside it.  ‘Careful what you say and careful what you do’ will need to be the mantra going forward.  Buyers wishing to discuss their thoughts and strategies would be wise to take it outside.


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Technology and the Personal Touch

Posted On: January 18th, 2017 2:32AM

     This is a time we can have most anything we want at the click of a button.  Technology helps us run our business faster and more efficiently through computer automation. But no matter how sophisticated computers and technology get, they don’t replace Personal Service.  

     In the Real Estate Industry we have Winforms with Electronic Signatures which make it possible for us to produce documents quickly.   Computers have also made it possible for us to stay in front of our clients through e-mail and the internet.  But even with this people want Personal Contact.  That means as much as technology can simplify our lives, speed up our business, and make us more efficient, technology cannot replace the Personal Touch.  

     When it comes to major life decisions like purchasing a house, people want people to help them arrive at the final decision and hold their hand through the process.

     Loyalty equals trust, and trust is the backbone of any successful business.  Computers and all technology in the world cannot in my opinion do the most important part of our business.  Computers and technology cannot produce the trust which leads to loyalty, which leads to repeat business and referrals.  I appreciate technology and computers, and everything they enable me to do quickly and more efficiently, but technology and computers cannot replace the quality Real Estate Agent.  

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