Date Archives: December 2010

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December
26

A recent memo issued from Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves reminded homeowners in New York to be aware that New York State offers a STAR property tax exemption for all homeowners for their primary residence.  The STAR program offers an exemption towards school taxes (there is also an Enhanced STAR program for low-income households.)  All homeowners may apply for this exemption once and the application is automatically renewed each year. 

 

It came to her attention that certain companies are sending out mailings to homeowners offering to file applications for the STAR exemption on the homeowner's behalf for a fee – as high as 100% of the annual exemption obtained.  She implored homeowners to be aware that they may file applications for STAR Exemptions with the Nassau County Assessor's Office for free.  The forms are simple, and there is staff available to assist applicants with queries   Homeowners do not need to pay a fee or have a company complete the forms for them. 

Brochures and application forms are available at the Nassau County Assessor's office at 240 Old Country Road, Mineola or online at www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Assessor/index.html.  Note: for this year, applications for the STAR exemption are due on or by Jan. 3, 2011. 
December
24

Before you negotiate a sales price, it's important to determine if you or the seller has the stronger position. Knowing this will help you plan your negotiation.

The seller may have the stronger position if:

  • The local real estate market is strong and homes are selling quickly.
  • They aren't in a rush to move.
  • Similar houses have sold for close to or above their asking price.
  • There are other offers being made on the house at the same time as you.

The buyer may have the stronger position if:

  • The local real estate market is weak.
  • The seller needs to move quickly.
  • The house has been on the market for a long time.

When negotiating, more information is better. Look at your notes from when you looked at the house. If there's anything that needs to be repaired or replaced, you may want to consider including these costs in the negotiation. If you want certain appliances or fixtures to stay, be sure to include them as well. You may also want to make your offer contingent upon your obtaining financing or the house passing a professional home inspection, especially if it is an older home.

There are several steps to negotiating:

  • Asking price. This is the price the sellers have originally listed. In a buyer's market, you may be able to successfully offer below the asking price. However, in a seller's market you may want to be prepared to offer more. Before making an offer in a seller's market, know how much above asking price you are willing, and able, to bid in case the seller gets multiple offers.
  • Initial purchase offer. This is your first offer. It may include contingencies (such as a requirement that the home pass a professional inspection or that you receive adequate financing from your lender.)
  • Acceptance of offer or counter-offer. The seller can accept your offer or make a counter-offer of a new price or additional contingencies.

If you've made a home inspection part of the contingencies and something serious is found during the inspection, you may want to submit a new counter-offer and discuss the situation with your lender. The process may go back and forth several times before you and the seller reach an offer that is acceptable to you both. Remember that in some instances, your lender may not approve your mortgage if the home has serious deficiencies that could affect its value.

December
24

 

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), and for yet another week, fixed-rate mortgages reached record lows, while the 5-year adjustable rate remained tied at its low for this survey. (The 30-year fixed-rate survey began in 1971, the 15-year began in 1991, and the 5-year adjustable in 2005.)  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.36 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 26, 2010, down from last week when it averaged 4.42 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.14 percent.

December
3

Making homeownership a reality The NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation is now offering $2,000 grants to first-time homebuyers for closing cost and/or down payment assistance. Between 2003 and 2009, the NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation helped more than 40 families across New York State become homeowners by awarding first-time homebuyer grants. The intention was to help defray ever-rising closing costs and the down payment expenditure. The foundation is continually working to help citizens of New York State by implementing new programs as the organization becomes increasingly viable. The NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation has partnered with the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region to receive, review and award first-time homebuyer grants throughout the state of New York. Click Here for the grant application and eligibility requirements.
NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation

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