Tag Archives: pay

Money Monday: Prioritize bills when you’re short on cash

How to prioritize which bills to pay

If you’re in a tough spot and can’t pay all of your bills, then you need to make a strategic decision on what to pay and what to delay.

money

Daily Finance gives advice on what “five bills you should always pay on time, each month. Not doing so could damage your credit, leave you with huge financial penalties, or even cause you to lose your home or car.”

1. Your mortgage
2. Student loans
3. Credit card payments
4. Your rent
5. Auto loans

Details on each of these bills to pay and the reasons why you shouldn’t miss payment is covered by Daily Finance. And the bills you need to pay late? They have some tips on dealing with that, too.

Read all of Daily Finance’s article here: “Prioritize These 5 Bills When You’re Short on Cash”.

San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure

 Agency wants agents’ info to be listed prominently on popular search sites

Article by U~T San Diego here: “San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure“.  This story was updated Wednesday Feb. 8 with additional comments from a real estate syndicator and housing search sites.

Sandicor - MLSA debate over listing data continues between real estate brokers and websites like Zillow and Trulia as the San Diego region’s Multiple Listing Service seeks to control content to outside parties.

Sandicor, the county’s MLS, has added a text field to its listings that allows members to enter contact information, including names, email addresses and brokerage websites. The information, along with the usual listing data, would be disseminated by syndication websites such as ListHub and Point2, which are sources of information for popular real estate sites.

The main idea is that the contact information in the extra field would be displayed prominently for home hunters to see, nixing any confusion over the listing agent and an agent who is advertising on Trulia or Zillow.

The change, in the works since October, follows last week’s heated discussion after a San Diego brokerage cut ties with those two real estate behemoths.

“I think it will be clear to consumers if they want to contact the listing agent, they can,” Sandicor CEO Ray Ewing said. “If not, they can contact others who have ads around (the listings.) We give them the choice.”

Real estate brokers, who can opt-out of filling out the new field, also will benefit because the extra information will help drive traffic back to their websites, Ewing added.

It is believed Sandicor is the first MLS to make such a system change, Ewing said…

Want to read more about Sandicor’s latest change? Visit MLS Fights Back for Its Brokers, a blog from a real estate IT consulting firm.

Read more from this article by U~T San Diego here: “San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure“. 

What do you think about this issue?  Obviously, this move to my local MLS, Sandicor, affects me–in that my listings have less visibility online.  But it does affect me on the flip side, with Zillow and Trulia not allowing my contact information to show up on my own listings.  

California targets property-tax payers

Beginning with the 2012 tax bill (due in April 2013), the state Franchise Tax Board will require property owners to break down their property taxes into deductible and non-deductible portions.

As many as 5 million California property-tax payers who have been taking the entire amount they pay off their state income taxes could see a major cut in their deductions when they file next year.

Beginning with the 2012 tax bill (the one due in April 2013), the state Franchise Tax Board will require property owners to break down their property taxes into deductible and non-deductible portions.

That means property owners who have been deducting their Mello-Roos fees — often running into thousands of dollars — will no longer be able to deduct those or any other special assessments like vector control or mosquito abatement.

In Orange County, 181,550 of the county’s approximately 900,000 parcels were subject to Mello-Roos in the 2011-2012 tax year, according to the auditor-controller’s office.  They were billed a total of $207.8 million.

The difference between deductible and non-deductible property taxes is not a new rule. Mello-Roos fees, which pay for roads, schools, fire stations and other public facilities in new developments, have not been deductible from state income taxes since the legislature authorized the special assessments 30 years ago.

Many property owners, however, routinely deduct the entire amount of their property tax bill from their state income taxes instead of only the parts that legally are deductible. Others just use the amount on the Form 1098 that their mortgage holder paid to the county tax collector on their behalf.

Until now the Franchise Tax Board didn’t to go after them. A new computer system being installed this year, however, will allow the agency to distinguish the portions of property tax bills that are deductible and non-deductible, said Daniel Tahara, a FTB spokesman.

He said the new scrutiny of property taxes is not due to any political pressure to increase tax revenues to close the state’s gaping budget deficit.

“Every year we look at areas of non-compliance and this happened to be one that came up,” he said.

Tahara said the agency is announcing the new rules now so taxpayers can make any adjustments this year for their 2012 state tax filing next year.

He said the FTB had planned to impose the new rules on 2011 tax filings due this April, but held off after getting “negative feedback” from tax preparers and the public.

Pat Yeckel, president of Canyon Tax and Bookkeeping Service Inc. in Rancho Santa Margarita, said that she and other tax preparers have known Mello-Roos and other fees weren’t deductible, but that clients usually don’t have the breakdown of their property tax bill.

It will be a particularly big deal for property owners in South County and other new developments where many of the public amenities were paid through Mello-Roos districts.

“This is going to be a big pain,” Yeckel said, noting that just getting the property tax paperwork can be a hassle.

Taxpayers will need a copy of their tax bills whether or not they pay their own property taxes or have them paid through their mortgage payment because they will need their parcel number in addition to the deductible/non-deductible breakdown for their 2012 state income tax filing.

For a full explanation of how the new deductible rules will work, CLICK HERE.

This article and information is from the Orange County Register: “State targets property-tax payers.”

Examine Features Now To Sell for a Good Price Later

Home for saleWhen you buy a home, chances are high that you will eventually sell as your life changes over time. In the United States, it’s estimated that homeowners change residences every five to seven years.

So when you are house hunting, it’s important to keep resale value in mind. Some features you may find desirable may not appeal to others when the time comes to put the house on the market. That would hurt both your ability to sell the house and to get a good price.

As you start your search, consider these factors that will affect resale value:

Exterior Features

Location: If you find the property that offers most of the features you are looking for and it’s going for a bargain price, don’t rush into it. There may be a reason the house is selling for a bargain, so carefully consider where the property is located. When you resell, for example, couples with small children are likely to be searching for quiet streets, large yards and proximity to shopping and schools. Rectangular lots generally sell better than oddly shaped or awkwardly situated properties. For many buyers, the determining factor is the neighborhood.  A home in a safe area will always fetch a better price than the same sized home in or near a less desirable neighborhood. In addition to a low crime rate, many buyers are also looking for a high-achieving school system.

Maintenance: A beautifully manicured lawn with landscaping may have curb appeal, but it is likely to be expensive and time consuming to keep up. You may be willing to pay a premium for it but the next buyer may not. A house with little to moderate landscaping generally has the best resale value. More buyers will also choose a home with exteriors, decks or patios that are made of low-maintenance materials.

Swimming pools: Pools can pose resale problems. Safety concerns means families with small children generally avoid them, as do buyers in regions where a pool is used only a few months of the year. Buyers will also be aware of the maintenance pools require. Keep in mind, however, in some upscale neighborhoods a pool is almost considered an essential.

Size: Resale value is also affected by the size of surrounding homes. Don’t buy the largest home in the area — a large house in the midst of smaller houses generally will sell for a lower price than if it is surrounded by homes of a similar size. Conversely, small or medium-size homes near a larger dwelling tend to increase in value.

Interior Features

Bedrooms/bathrooms: Homes with at least three bedrooms usually have good resale value. The price goes up if the master bedroom has its own bathroom. In any case, the home should have at least two bathrooms and they should be updated for resale purposes.
Kitchens: The center of many homes is the kitchen, which makes it the most important room in the house. Look for modern appliances, a large pantry, plenty of cabinets, attractive and spacious counter tops and adequate dining space. If there is a family room or dining room, the kitchen should be nearby.

Storage and space: In general, lots of closets and well-organized storage space will entice buyers, as will plenty of natural light. Walk-in closets add to the appeal, and garages boost resale value, particularly if they fit two cars. A separate laundry room is typically a great resale feature.

Character: One all-important aspect that will help sell a home is its character. A home’s distinctiveness, however subtle, can charm a buyer. Small touches such as granite counter-tops, French doors, an antique fireplace, or a picturesque view through a bay window can often cinch the deal. The more character your home has, the higher the resale value.

When buying a home, it all comes down to this: Purchase a house that suits your immediate needs and desires, but keep an eye on its resale value. You’ll reap the rewards when it’s time to move on.

This article is by BizActions.