Tips for understanding your Erie County property assessment

Tips for understanding your Erie County property assessment

Has your Erie County property assessment changed or been reassessed recently? Many homeowners dread reassessment as it can often lead to an increase in your tax liability. Some will even take action to challenge the new assessment in hopes of having it lowered.

A recent article in The Buffalo News offered several pieces of advice regarding your Erie County property assessment. Here they are in condensed version:

  • Can you sell your home for its new assessed value? If the answer is yes, then your home is properly assessed. If the answer is no, you have good reason to challenge.
  • Don’t focus on the taxes. Taxes are not the problem, but rather a byproduct of the problem. An over-assessment is the only problem that can be addressed.
  • Understand the market value of your home. An assessment should reflect the lower end of the reasonable range of overall value placed of your home.
  • If you feel your new appraisal is inaccurate, the burden of proof falls on you, the homeowner. You could hire an appraiser to inspect your property and provide another appraisal to challenge your assessment, but that could also be used against you. An experienced Realtor may also be able to lend assistance.
  • It would be helpful to educate the assessor about your house by providing photos and descriptions. Work together for the same goal, which is finding a fair market value for your property.
Michael Olear offers insight on moving into a senior living community

Michael Olear offers insight on moving into a senior living community

Photo of two seniors at a senior living community

On March 16, Michael Olear joined other Buffalo, NY Realtors at Canterbury Woods to provide helpful insight and guidance on making a successful right-sizing transition from a house into a senior living community. In fact, many of those in attendance will soon be residents at Canterbury Woods’ newest location at Gates Circle in Buffalo!
Michael, a licensed real estate broker and member of the Olear Team at MJ Peterson, was chosen to speak on the panel because of his years of experience in helping older adults and their families in making these transitions. His unique background in both real estate and social work has enabled him to guide hundreds of home sellers through life’s transitions since he first began specializing in these services in 2000.
The Olear Team has decades of experience in meeting the real estate needs of Western New York residents. Please visit olear.wpengine.com to learn more about the team’s work assisting senior citizens and their families. 

Is it time to ask an elderly loved one to explore new housing options?

Keeping our older loved ones safe and happy is a high priority for many of us, but when giving up the family home is part of the discussion, there’s often a stiff resistance to change and explore senior housing options. Because a house contains so many cherished memories, talk of any change can become emotional.
When the time arrives to have “the talk” with an elderly loved one, there are professionals who can lend some much-needed assistance. If fact, a growing number of people are turning to geriatric care managers or senior move managers to help sort through the maze of housing choices and levels of care available today. These trained professionals are especially helpful when family members are separated by many miles.
Additional help can be obtained by contacting your county’s Department of Senior Services. Every county has one and it’s funded by your federal tax dollars, so take advantage of the services that are offered.
While every situation is different, positive changes can occur with some well-thought-out planning. Start by making a commitment to do the right thing, and then contact the appropriate social workers for assistance!
Thinking of making an offer? Four tips for success

Thinking of making an offer? Four tips for success

So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the four tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This “tip” or “step” really should take place before you start your home search process.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; this is well below the six-month supply that is needed for a normal market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made, with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

Taking a look at VA loans

Taking a look at VA loans

If you’re looking for a home, especially for the first time, you’ll likely hear about numerous mortgage options. Today, with the help of a recent article published by Ruby One, we’ll take a look at VA loans for veterans.
  • A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • The homeowner does not receive a mortgage loan directly from the VA. Actually, the VA provides loan guarantees to lenders, and the guarantee determines how much is paid to the lender should the borrower default on the loan.
  • A VA guarantee allows the lender to loan money at a lower interest rate and eliminates the need for a borrower to make a down payment. It’s a zero down loan.
  • VA loans assist active military members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses.

    Please consult with your Realtor or mortgage lender to see if you are eligible for a VA loan … and thank you for your service to our country!