Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why won't buyers just make an offer on my home?

Consider the following scenario. 

You list your home for $395,000, knowing full-well you'll take $350,000. But you want to "leave room for negotiation" since everyone knows buyers will want to negotiate. Four months later, 25 to 30 buyers have traipsed through your home, left very little feedback ("not the right layout, thanks!"), and you've received no offers. You call me because you're considering changing brokers. During our meeting, I recommend that you reduce your asking price to $359,000 or perhaps $355,000. Then you ask me the most notorious question of them all, "Jeff, why would I reduce the price? No one has commented that my home is over priced. Heck, no one has even made me a low offer?" 

I've typically answered that question by saying something like, "The buyers have been telling you your home is overpriced, you just haven't been listening. Being on the market for 4 months with no offers screams that your home is overpriced for the location and condition it is in." I would wager that only 50% of the people I've told this to actually believe this line of reasoning. Why isn't it as effective as I'd like? Because it sounds like a sales pitch brokers have been trained to give sellers after 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days, etc. But it's the truth. 

And then I read this article titled "5 Tips Buyers Would Give Sellers If They Could," and I really liked this broker/attorney's answer to the very question posed above. I plan on using her (edited) answer below from now on. 
"You might be thinking the best plan of action is to list your home high, planning on the fact that prospective buyers will want to bargain the price down, and it is true that most buyers expect to engage in some basic negotiation. They are not, however, interested in correcting your belief system about your home and its value, which are clearly not based in reality. Buyers invest a lot of time, energy and emotion in making an offer on a home. So, if your list price is so bizarrely above market value that the chances of coming to a meeting of the minds on the price are slim, the buyer will simply pass and move on to the next home without giving your home a second thought. 
If your home is dramatically overpriced compared to the others in the area, most serious home buyers in the market for a home like yours will either (a) never come see it, because it doesn’t show up in the price range they are searching online, or (b) not come see it unless and until you drop the price, because it simply isn’t worth their time and energy until you correct your pricing into the realm of the realistic."

Monday, February 4, 2013

How To File Your Homestead Exemption

If you purchased a home in 2012 and occupied the property on January 1st, 2013, then you should file for your Homestead Exemption. This exemption will save you approximately 20% on your property taxes for 2013. Below is information on this exemption that I copied from the Dallas Central Appraisal District website and applies to the entire state of Texas. 

"A property tax exemption excludes all or part of a property's value from property taxation, ultimately resulting in lower property taxes. To qualify, the property must be designed or adapted for human residence and the homeowner must own the property on January 1 of the year application is made. The person claiming the exemption must reside at the property on January 1 and cannot claim a homestead exemption on any other property. If more than one individual (not a married couple) owns the property, each separate individual must make application if they reside at the property. Exemptions are allocated according to percent of ownership interest the applicant has in the property. The exemption application must be completed, notarized and include a driver’s license or social security number and date of birth."

If you have not already done so, please go to the relevant appraisal district website below where your property is located. For most of the websites you can search for your property and then click a link to print out a homestead exemption form. I have also included the phone numbers for each of the appraisal districts should need to contact them directly. If you have received a letter in the mail telling you to pay a fee in order to claim the Homestead Exemption, promptly discard it in the trash. Claiming this exemption is free. 

Dallas Central Appraisal District - 214-631-0910

Collin County Appraisal District - 469-742-9200

Tarrant County Appraisal District - 817-284-0024

Denton Central Appraisal District - 940-349-3800
(The Homestead Exemption application link is at the bottom right of the Home page)

Step 1. Go to www.dallascad.org and click "Search Appraisals"

Step 2. Type in your name and click on your property address
(You can also search by property address)

Step 3. To file online the address on your driver's license must match your property address. 
Otherwise, click on the link to print out your Homestead Exemption form. 

Step 4. Mail your completed Homestead Exemption form to: 

Dallas Central Appraisal District
PO Box 560328
Dallas, TX 75356-0328