THE SECOND STORY | March 12th, 2009

Want to challenge your property taxes? DON’T pay a company to do it for you! I may be able to help and the price is… FREE!

(It’s beautiful outside and the garden is starting to show it! I took some photos of the front yard because the hedges were going nuts with color. I kind of like the zig and zag of the picture and the contrast with the ivy. There was an estate sale on the corner last weekend and folks walking by literally would stop, take a look, marvel, and then ask what those plants were (I was doing some cleanup outside.) I told them I didn’t remember but they turn a luscious green after the bloom. When I saw the plants at Thomsen’s Garden Center a few years ago, I knew those were the right plants for those locations and Iris Watson, the owner, agreed. She’s advised and helped our backyard long before it was ours, which means well over 20+ years because she remembers when some of the plants were put it!)

Back to the title of the post. This is primarily directed to my clients. BUT if you can’t find your agent because he/she is out of the biz, has become a secret agent, lost his/her license, lost a place to hang a license, isn’t proactive with his/her customers, then give me a call. I may be able to help. And if I don’t know you….I’ll have to limit my assistance to our fair city of Alameda.

The last time I did this was during the period 1989 – 1993. Every person I helped, including my own family, won their challenge and did not have to attend a hearing. There are plenty of companies starting spring up once again, sending postcards to owners how for around $100 they can reduce your taxes. Do you get your money back if they can’t? What about if they kind of don’t know your area? Do you think they know anything about properties around you other than what they can find on public records?

Who is a prime candidate for this? If you bought after 2004 that would be a start. If you bought before that, there’s a chance your taxes (even with the 2% annual increase the county can use), that your taxes are still lower than the drop in value since the top of the market. But we can talk that through. It’s pretty easy for me to make that determination with you.

When is it worth doing? It depends on how much you value your time vs. what you can realistically expect to receive back via the challenge. As a simple gauge, take the difference between today’s assessment and what you think the proper market value is (with my help, of course), and multiply that by .0126%. That would be the amount you’d get back. If it’s $10 that’s one thing and maybe so close the county wouldn’t accept the paper challenge. But if it’s a couple of hundred bucks….now you’re talking.

IF you think the value of your property(ties) has (have) gone down to less than the current valuation…then you may want to consider challenging your property taxes.
IF you can find your most recent tax bill (second installment delinquent after 4/10/09) and
IF you don’t mind doing a bit of paperwork in exchange for some dollars and
IF the amount you may realize is worth your time and
IF the tax assessor doesn’t proactively re-assess most property values to avoid an onslaught of challenges and
IF we can find some sales comps to support your challenge THEN

Here is a link so you can follow the process .(I’m so excited…everything I just wrote is accurate per the county assessor’s website – yea!)

Alameda real estate this week…

Active listings 173, 163 last report
Pending listings 60, 67 last report

Tuesday tour 12, no repeats

Highest priced new listing
Lowest priced new listing

New 13

Price changes 11

BOM (back on market) 1

Pending 8

Sold 10

Expired 6


Alameda real estate awards this week…
remember this is only my perspective!

Winner Harbor Bay lagoon home, completely remodeled (addition and upgrades) – will be interesting to see how the market responds to the price of 1.3M

Bang for the Buck great space potential in the high basement (brick foundation) of this Vict duplex

Cute/charming Nice upgrades in this single level HBR home, in a great cul-de-sac, next-to-park location.

Out of rehab (kinda) get me back (kinda) the link shows the property last year, then this year.

Have a great weekend! Call if you have questions about the tax challenge process, need vendor referrals, or have market questions.

Carry on! Marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!