2009 Mar 6th

Lower your Hoboken Property Tax Assessment

Are You Paying More Than Your Fair Share of Property Taxes?

I received a postcard in the mail today asking me this question.  Of course, it is a question on any Hoboken property owner’s mind these days.  The card also directed me to a website:  www.HudsonCountyTaxAppeals.com and had a contact phone number.   I had heard in the office that a local real estate attorney was also advertising his services for tax appeals.   I gave them a call curious to see what it was all about.

If you give them your address, they will look up your tax records and see if the assessment falls within the proper ratios.  If it looks like your property is over-valued, they will assist you (for a fee) in fighting the assessment.  The fee varies from $199 to $599 depending on how much they do for you and how much you do for yourself.  The initial call, however, is free.

Tax appeals have been successful in Hoboken.  I recently showed two almost identical units at 211 Jefferson.  One had successfully appealed and his taxes were reduced from $8,062 to $6,554.  That on a 800+ square foot unit being sold for about $435,000.

April 1 is The Deadline to Appeal Your Assessment

Without going into excruciating detail here, there is a New Jersey law that provides for an appeal of your tax assessment.  The State has some good brochures that explain the procedure.  Basically, if your property is worth less than the city thinks it’s worth, you can prove it by providing comps to similar properties.  Unfortunately, the comps have to come from sales from prior to Oct. 1 2008.  Of course, after Sept. 15th everything changed.  Sales prior to Oct. 1 may be likely to show higher prices than more recent sales.  Maybe this is something to keep in mind for next year. 

For More Information On Hoboken Tax Assessments and the Appeal Process

The local organization called the Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition also has links to many informative documents on this subject on their website, including downloadable PDF brochures put out by the State of New Jersey.  If you google “Hoboken tax appeal” you’ll find a bunch more sites.

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 3 Comments »

2008 Feb 9th

Get Rid Of Condo Special Assessments Once and For All

What’s the Maintenance Fee?

It’s interesting that when shopping for condos with buyers, the buyers are always attracted to condos with low maintenance fees. What is not often considered, is that maintenance fees can be too low. What does that mean? Well, the maintenance fee should be high enough to fund the ongoing operating expenses of running the condo (things like the management fee, if professionally managed, insurance, utilities for the common area, cleaning the common areas, etc.). In addition, there should be some ‘left over’ each month to fund the condo’s capital account which is used for long term improvements and repairs. This account is for items with a long useful life, like the roof, heating system for the building, elevator, brick face and so on.

Let’s Make Up a Budget

Often times, when a condo is built, the developer, in order to make the property seem more attractive and easier to market, sets the maintenance artificially low. Since there is no history, the budget is just made up. There are no past year actual figures to use in order to have a realistic budget. The building is ‘transitioned’ to the unit owners when the developer no longer has a controlling interest in the condo. The transition is supposed to happen soon after the majority of the units are sold and a new condo board elected. At that time, the new board ought to look very carefully at the proposed budget and make adjustments where needed. Having maintenance fees set too low will usually result in a deficit in the future. Without an adequate reserve fund, special assessments are required to pay for building operations and repairs. Most owners prefer to know what their monthly obligations will be and don’t appreciate getting hit with an unexpected assessment.

Show Me The Money

When a condo is sold, the buyer has the right to see the financials of the condo association. The buyer’s attorney should review these documents on the buyers behalf to see if the building is in good financial standing. Sellers of units that are in condo associations where the numbers are good, meaning there is an adequate budget and decent reserve fund, should let potential buyers know that.

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 1 Comment »

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