-On the Market 120
-In Contract 17 (6 pending, 11 conditional contract)
Well, the BIG news is the pickup of homes that have gone into contract over the past month. Although we are not at last year's levels (21 in contract in April 2008's update), this is a significant increase in activity from recent months. Twenty six Rye homes sold in the past six months, compared to forty six during the same time period last year. And once again, the gap closes around the million dollar mark -50% of the homes sold in the past six months were under a $1,000,000 sales price and 50% were above.
The reasons? Most likely a combination of low interest rates and the fact that some sellers started more aggressively pricing their homes (in comparison to last year's levels, at least) which ignited some competitive bidding situations (which in turn rose prices up). Almost all deals contain a mortgage contingency. Local attorney Rita J. Tino told me, "What I have been seeing over the last months is not only mortgage contingencies, but more importantly, "appraisal contingencies". Everyone is worried that homes are not appraising and that the borrowers will not be able to come up with the monies necessary if the appraisal does not meet the purchase price." Appraisals are holding up in our area though, maybe "ever so slightly soft", according to a local mortgage broker.
*Information per WPMLS, RCSD & RNSD only, zip 10580, as of 4/3/09.
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
Everyone in New York wants to lower their taxes. Senator Oppenheimer sends mailings to enlist your support in lowering state taxes under http://www.taxpayersforanaffordablenewyork.com/. In a somewhat bizarre local story, strip club owner Sam Zherka is leading a movement to eliminate Westchester County Government and oust Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano with the support of the County Executive's son, David.
What about property taxes? If sales prices are coming in, does it stand to reason that your house may be over-assessed? Is it a no brainer to grieve your taxes? Not exactly. Have you done work on your home? Perhaps you upgraded your kitchen with granite and new cabinets, thus increasing the market value of your home? Does the square footage and number of bathrooms and bedrooms match the field card on record at the assessor's office? It may be worth it to check. The city still needs to meet its budget – if everyone applied for a tax reduction, ultimately the tax rate would go up for all.
Brendan and Marge at the Rye Assessor's office have been endlessly helpful to me on several occasions and the forms for filing complaints on Real Property Assessments (RP-524) are readily available at the front desk. What are the steps?
- The assessor can help translate the assessment on your property into full market value for you. If you disagree with the market value on record, you will most likely need to get a professional appraisal by a state licensed appraiser, or a record of recent sale at a value under the market value as computed. If your house is currently listed for sale, you may be able to use the listing price sheet as a starting point.
- You can file the above forms, and keep in mind the deadline is June 1st.
- If you do not agree with the reduction given, if any, you can challenge the decision, which may involve going to court.
- You can hire a reputable local tax remediation company who will challenge the assessment for you, including going to court, if necessary. Many of these companies have long standing relationships with the local assessor's offices, and work on a contingency basis, charging anywhere from 50% to 100% of the first year's tax savings in the event you are granted a reduction. They will give you a free estimate on whether or not you have a case. The tax remediation professionals that I spoke with did not want to go on record for this article, but you can email me for reputable recommendations.