Posts Tagged ‘lower taxes’

Protecting the Value of Your Home

Posted on: April 28th, 2010 by

Property Values - CPA - Rockville, MDThe aftermath of the real estate bubble bursting has many homeowners staying put and retaining their current properties.  If you are one of the many that has not been able to sell your house or are upside down in your mortgage you have two decent options: 1) You can seek the assistance of a realtor that specializes in short sales; or 2) you proactively protect your homes value.  The first thing you need to be aware of is your right to contest/appeal your property assessment.  It happens more often than you may think that states will overvalue your home, resulting in higher property taxes.  There is a catch though; lower property values compiled with foreclosures can bring the value of all properties in the entire neighborhood.  You have to determine if its in your best interest to pay lower taxes or maintain a higher estimated property value.

Another step you can take is to have your home appraised.  This will let you know two very important things: 1) if your property has increased or decreased in value since you purchased it; and 2) the report can help guide the changes needed to increase the value of your home.  Continuing to make marketable improvements in essential areas like bathrooms and kitchens can make dramatic increases to your property’s value.

Participation in community activism sounds a bit ridiculous, but staying involved can pay off in the long run.  Pay close attention to new zoning laws, proposed new developments, and the reputation of your neighborhood’s school district.  Call on your neighbors to help make sure the neighborhood does not deteriorate.  If an abandoned foreclosure is preventing other houses from selling at decent prices, take the initiative to step up and make it look decent.  The lower the properties around you sell for, the lower your property value will be.

And finally, make sure you watch out for new taxes.  Many state and local governments are struggling financially, so they may raise property property taxes to cover shortfalls even though property values are declining.  Pay close attention to these new tax hikes or ask your CPA to alert you when new taxes arise.

Making Your Nest Egg Last

Posted on: March 31st, 2010 by

Nest eggs don’t necessarily go as far as they should these days.  A few simple cut backs in your lifestyle can add a few years to your savings.  Speaking to a financial adviser is the best way to adapt these changes to your current financial plan.  Here are a few tips:CPA Rockville - Savings

1) Exit expensive cities – Once you are no longer tied to your job, you are no longer tied to an expensive city with a high cost of living.  You should think about moving to a location where your retirement dollars will go further.  You should look for places with lower taxes, more affordable housing, and amenities for seniors.

2) Use your senior discount – AARP is available to anyone age 50 years and older.  They negotiate discounts for their members from hotel rooms to movie tickets.  Many businesses offer their own form of senior discounts, including Kohl’s Department Stores and Hyatt Hotels.  You just can’t be afraid to ask if they are available.

3) Get rid of your land line – Paying for both a cell phone and a land line is a redundant, unnecessary expense.  Pick the service with the most useful plan for your lifestyle and ditch the other.

4) Cut back your cable tv – Reduce the number of channels you pay for (there are hundreds of channels you never have or will watch).

5) Look for free entertainment – Retirees have an estimated 2,000 extra hours of free time to fill throughout the year;  you should come up with a plan to volunteer, garden, or play golf prior to retirement and not take up expensive new hobbies.

6) Buy used/almost new – Almost all consumer goods are available online at a fraction of the retail price.  Start checking out craigslist or Amazon when you are looking for items.  You may even be able to afford higher quality products on those sites.