Category Archives: real estate taxes

6 Things Homebuyers Should Avoid Once They are Preapproved for a Mortgage

black couple loan approved

You have done the hard part in the home-buying process and chosen a lender and a real estate agent to work with. You have also gone out and found the home of your dreams! Best of all, your team has done a great job of negotiating the best deal for you.

Now, as a buyer, all you have to do is sit back and wait for your loan to close … right? Wrong!!

Getting a home loan these days is a very interactive process. I am always amazed by how many clients I work with who come to me unaware of all the pitfalls they face during the loan process. To help avoid any surprises while waiting for final approval, I provide my clients with a short list of “do’s and don’ts” to follow.

Let’s start with the “do’s” …

  1. Do keep the process moving by responding to your loan officers’ requests for documentation as soon as possible.
  2. Do make decisions as soon as is reasonably possible.
  3. Do convey questions or concerns you
  4. Do continue to make all of your rent or mortgage payments on time.
  5. Do stay current on all other existing accounts.
  6. Do continue to work your normal work schedule with no unplanned time off.
  7. Do continue to use your credit as normal.
  8. Do be prepared to explain any large deposits in your bank accounts.
  9. Do enjoy purchasing your home but remain objective throughout the process to help make decisions that are best for you.

After you have been preapproved for your mortgage you will want to refrain from the following…

  1. Do not make any major purchases (car, boat, jewelry, furniture, appliances, etc.).
  2. Do not apply for any new credit (even if it says you are preapproved or “xxx days same as cash”).
  3. Do not pay off charges or collections (unless directed by your loan officer to do so).
  4. Do not make any changes to your credit profile.
  5. Do not change bank accounts.
  6. Do not make unusual deposits into your bank accounts or move money around from one account to another.

Follow these simple rules and you will help to make your loan closing as smooth and hassle-free as possible! Good luck!

I Don’t Need An Agent, I Can Do This On My Own and Save Some Money

Elk Grove Real Estate Short Sale Agent – How to Really Save Money

It’s the age old adage, “they just want your money”. And so, time and time again, many people spend countless hours plotting and scheming to try to avoid calling a professional to handle whatever ails them in an effort to save some money. But more often than not, whether it’s the plumber, mechanic, or real estate agent, the sad irony is, eventually the call will need to be made.

Here is the reality, you can’t do it all. And you should not have a problem throwing some money at someone who can do it for you — and do it well.

Are there dishonest people out there who have no intention of providing you great service or have no desire to help you fix your problem? The answer is a resounding yes. However, there are also a number of honest professionals with great integrity who are gifted at what they do and earnestly desire to help provide a solution to your problem.

As it pertains to real estate, adding insult to injury, I have seen, and been a party to, agents who minimize their services and reduce their commission or value just to get a deal done or a listing in hand.

However, any real estate agent worth their weight will, again, have their full fee thrown at them in an instant if they are providing the client with what they deserve — efficiency, great communication, good customer service, and a deep understanding and knowledge of what needs to occur in the transaction. If an agent is all those things, as my grandma used to say “baby, you can write your own ticket”.

Case in point, I recently was involved in a transaction where the seller, before she hired me, tried for years to sell the home on her own because she wanted to “save some money”. In the process of saving some money, she intentionally neglected to pay the property taxes so that she was not paying out more money on the property than the other owners who would also get a piece of the pie when the home sold. However, she failed to consider the penalties and interest that would continue to accrue over the years. In addition, now the county was ready to foreclose on her home due to unpaid property taxes. How’s that for saving some money?

There was no magic bullet when I listed the home and it sold in a matter of days to a cash buyer thousands above list price. The market is hot, and I’m diligent…that’s the magic.

Here’s another example of “savings”:

A Seller’s Internet Inquiry (Q): My husband and I have been purchasing a house from private seller (lease to buy) and it is coming very close to the end of the contract what is involved in transferring the property to our daughters name. Are there taxes or county fees we must pay?

My Response (A): I won’t wallow in what you should have done. The details of your transaction really don’t matter at this point.

Truth is, I cannot advise you. As a REALTOR, I abide by the State of CA DRE laws and regs and am bound contractually to the terms and conditions which were created and ascribed according to the California Association of REALTORs and can be backed up by a slew of real estate attorneys on their payroll. If you had a question which fell under any of those terms, a REALTOR could advise you all day. And as an extra bonus, we would also have the legal power behind us to back you up.

When people opt to go outside of a traditional real estate transaction, ungoverned and unpoliced, they are taking a risk.

Your lease to buy agreement, if you have questions, should probably be reviewed with a real estate attorney, a title company, and a full-time real estate agent. It may not be too late to get the right entities involved.

It’s not worth it in the long run to try to save a little money. If you end up in court, you’ll end up paying way more than you tried to save.”

That’s really all there is to it. You don’t have to try to be captain-save-a-dollar when your real goal should be to have it done right. Let someone help you who knows what they are doing so that you can really save some money.

Hope that helps.

FILE FOR PROPERTY REASSESSMENT: July 2, 2009 – November 30, 2009

(info taken directly from Sacramento County Assessor website at


Decline in Market Value (Prop 8)
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Proposition 8, passed in November 1978, amended Proposition 13 to recognize declines in value for property tax purposes. As a result, Revenue & Taxation Code Section 51 requires the Assessor to annually enroll either a property’s Proposition 13 base year value factored for inflation, or its market value as of January 1st, whichever is less.

Decline in market value, Prop 8 assessments, are TEMPORARY reductions that recognize the fact that the market value as of the January 1 lien date of a property has fallen below its current Prop 13 factored value. Once a Prop 8 reduced value has been enrolled, that property’s value must be reviewed each year as of the January 1st lien date, to determine whether its market value is less than its Prop 13 factored value. Prop 8 values can change from year to year as the market fluctuates. When the market value of the Prop 8 property increases above its Prop 13 factored value, the Assessor will once again enroll its Prop 13 factored value. In no case may a value higher than a property’s Prop 13 factored value be enrolled.

Properties enrolled under Prop 8 provisions are not subject to the 2% annual increase limitation that applies to those enrolled under Prop 13 provisions.

The Prop 8 Process is as follows:

Property owner provides Assessor with facts they feel justify a reduction in value and requests a review of the property’s value. (The Assessor may initiate the review if the problem is discovered independently*.)

Appraisal staff reviews market data, estimates the property’s market value as of January 1st and then compares this market value to the property’s current Prop 13 factored base year value.

If the January 1 market value is below factored Prop 13 value, then:

Assessed value is lowered to market value for next fiscal year.
Owner is notified of reduced value.
New tax bill is based on lower value for next fiscal year.
The following year, Assessor repeats process and enrolls the January 1 market value at that time or Prop 13 factored value, whichever is lower.
If January 1 market value is higher than factored Prop 13 value, then:

No change in assessed value is made, and
Owner is notified that value will not be reduced.
If owner still feels value should be reduced, then owner may file an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board, from July 2nd – Nov 30th each year.
Appeals Board hears evidence from owner and Assessor; the Board then determines proper assessed value
*The Assessor may also initiate the Prop 8 process without a request from an owner.

The office constantly monitors market conditions and, when practical, lowers assessed values on a mass basis. Owners are notified and may file an Assessment Appeal if they feel the value was not lowered sufficiently. Read more about the Assessment Appeals process and deadlines.

Although the market values of all properties may suffer a significant decline during a recession, not all will qualify for a Prop 8 reduction. The current market value must fall below the Prop 13 factored base year value (assessed value) before the Assessor can recognize the decline. Following are examples of how the Assessor processes declines in value.


Examples of Assessments Involving Properties Declining in Value:

Example 1

Home purchased January 2005, for $400,000 and assessed with $400,000 base year value.

On January 1, 2006, factored base year (assessed) value is $408,000 ($400,000 +2% inflation) but market value has declined to $300,000.

Action: Assessor reduces assessed value to $300,000 for 2006-2007 assessment roll.

On January 1, 2007, the home’s value continues to decline and is now $280,000, while its factored base year value has risen to $416,160 ($400,000 +2% inflation compounded for 2 years).

Action: Assessor reduces assessed value to $280,000 for 2007-2008 assessment roll.

On January 1, 2008, the homes market value increases to $350,000 while its factored base year value rises to $424,483 ($400,000 +2% inflation compounded for 3 years).

Action: Assessor raises assessed value to $350,000 for 2008-2009 assessment roll.

On January 1, 2009, the home’s market value increases to $450,000 while its factored base year value rises to $432,972 ($400,000 +2% inflation compounded for 4 years).

Action: Assessor reinstates factored base year value of $432,972 for the 2009-10 assessment roll.

Example 2

Home is purchased in 1986 for $130,000.

On January 1, 2005, the current market value of the home has risen to $300,000 well above its Prop 13 factored base year value of $185,713 ($130,000 + 2% inflation compounded for 19 years).

For January 1, 2006, the market value falls to $200,000. This is still above the Prop13 factored base year value of $189,427 ($130,000 + 2% inflation compounded for 20 years).

No Prop 8 reduction is granted for the 2006-2007 assessment year, even though the property has lost $100,000 in value over the last year. The factored base year value ($189,427) is still less than the market value ($200,000).

It is important to understand that Prop 8 reductions are not permanent and may decrease or increase more than 2% from year to year. Also, Prop 13 base year values suspended by Prop 8 values continue to increase by an annual inflation factor of no more than 2% per year.


If you have other questions about the Decline in Value Prop 8 process, you may direct them to the Assessor’s Real Property Duty Appraiser at (916) 875-0700, between 9 A.M. and 4 P.M., Monday through Friday. You may also visit the Duty Appraiser in person at 3701 Power Inn Rd, Suite 3000, Sacramento, CA 95826-4329, between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M.