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Bexar County Taxes & FSBO


FSBO Stats
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

Did you know?
. . . the typical FSBO home sold for $187,200 compared to $247,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

FSBO Methods Used to Market Home:

• Yard Sign . . . 51%
• Friends/neighbors . . . 53%
• Newspaper ad . . . 31%
• Open House . . . 29%
• Listing on the Internet . . . 22%

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

• Getting the right price . . . 11%
• Understanding paperwork . . . 16%
• Preparing/fixing up home for sale . . . 18
• Attracting potential buyers . . . 9%
• Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale . . . 9%

Source: 2006 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Are you prepared to do it alone?

For most people, selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions they’ll experience. Unfortunately, the process of selling a home is complex and time consuming. In order to be successful, you often need extensive marketing, financial and legal experience. In many cases, unless you are an expert home seller, going the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route can be a frustrating and potentially costly experience. If you do choose to sell your home yourself, be prepared to stay close to home for days, weeks, maybe months to show your home. You’ll also need to be accessible during regular working hours when most showings occur.



Top 10 reasons for real estate representation

1 TO OPTIMIZE SALES PRICE
Properly pricing your home is perhaps the most crucial factor in making a sale. Although you set the asking price, buyers determine the value. They’ll compare your home and your asking price to similar homes on the market. If your price doesn’t stack up, they may reject it and move on to the next listing. And the longer your property sits on the market, the less marketable it becomes because buyers begin to wonder if something is wrong with it. Pricing your home too high may increase the time your home spends on the market.  That’s why your first step in determining the right price for your home is to have a CENTURY 21® real estate agent prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report for your home. The report provides details on recent sales of homes similar to yours, as well as the asking price of homes currently on the market. You can then balance that information with other factors that your agent can assist you in analyzing such as location, condition of your home, special interior or landscaping features, age of the house, and your time frame to assist you in determining a fair and competitive asking price.

2 TO MAXIMIZE YOUR HOME’S APPEAL
The way you present your property to prospective buyers can make all the difference between success and failure. Buyers tend to judge homes by cost and “move-in” quality – the less they have to do to move in, the better and the more they may be willing to pay. A CENTURY 21 real estate agent can help you see your home through a buyer’s eyes and suggest simple repairs and improvements to maximize space and attract as many buyers as possible. Here are just a few suggestions your agent might offer:

• Clear away any debris or clutter from the front door – inside and outside – to make the entry to your home seem more spacious and allow freedom of movement for more than one person.

• Open windows daily for a few minutes to eliminate unpleasant odors from room and bathrooms.

• If you are at work during the day, turn on a couple of lights to make your home more inviting.

• Polish the front door knob, clean the storm door and sweep the front steps.

• Remove excess furniture that clutters a room to make your home feel more spacious.

• In areas that need painting, keep colors neutral and light – white, beige and gray are the most popular exterior colors, while shades of white, off white and very light  pastels are the safest choices for the interior.

• Place a vase of fresh flowers in a bathroom and remove all personal care articles.

• Organize cabinets and closets to demonstrate how much room you have.

• Open dark drapes and blinds to lighten and brighten rooms.

3 TO MAXIMIZE YOUR PROPERTY’S EXPOSURE
Finding qualified buyers will require more than the standard yard sign, classified ad and open house. In fact, according to The National Association of REALTORS®, 77% of real estate sales4 are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. Since many sales involve out-of-town buyers, marketing a home requires exclusive connections and a strategic marketing plan. At the very least, you should have your home listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is only open to licensed real estate agents.

CENTURY 21® real estate agents have access to technology tools to share referrals across a global network. Plus, your CENTURY 21 real estate agents will spend time behind the scenes helping you target serious buyers and make the most of your prime selling period.

4 BECAUSE BUYERS ARE MORE COMFORTABLE CONTACTING AGENTS THAN HOMEOWNERS
Buyers may be leery of contacting or intruding upon home owners with whom they are unfamiliar. Potential buyers might also be intimidated looking through a home if the owner is present and feel uncomfortable making an offer if they know they’ll be negotiating directly with the owner. They often appreciate the accessibility and objectivity of a respected CENTURY 21 real estate agent.

5 TO PRE-SCREEN PROSPECTIVE BUYERS
Cleaning your home each time it is shown is a lot of work. To save you time and unnecessary traffic through your home, your CENTURY 21 real estate agent can help pre-screen buyers to ensure they really are motivated to buy and are financially prepared to do so. And for your safety, all showings will be scheduled through your agent’s office.

6 TO HELP GUARD AGAINST CLAIMS
In today’s litigious society it is imperative that all matters relating to the sale of the property, i.e. physical conditions, history, zoning, etc., be accurately and comprehensively disclosed. Overlooking even one form or required disclosure may lead to an expensive claim. A CENTURY 21 real estate agent can provide assistance to ensure that the disclosure forms are completed and provided to the buyer.

7 TO PROVIDE BUYERS WITH COMMUNITY INFORMATION
Today’s buyer seeks to make informed decisions and demands a significantly high level of information related to their purchase. Your CENTURY 21® real estate agent can provide them with detailed information on your community, schools, local government and much more.

8 TO ENSURE PRIVACY, CONFIDENTIALITY AND SAFETY FOR BOTH SELLERS AND BUYERS
These days, you don’t want just anyone knocking on your door and touring your home. The best way to help keep you and your family safe is to have a CENTURY 21 real estate agent accompanying buyers as they tour your home and handling sometimes stressful negotiations.

9 TO NEGOTIATE YOUR PRICE
Reaching an agreement between seller and buyer and then closing the deal requires complete objectivity and a thorough understanding of deeds, abstracts, offers, contingencies, disclosures, title searches, etc. Working with a skilled negotiator such as your CENTURY 21 real estate agent who has your best interests in mind may improve your chances of selling at the desired price.

10 ACCESS TO THE CENTURY 21 COMPLETE MARKETING SYSTEM
Why deal with the risks and frustrations when you can work with the CENTURY 21 System – a well known brand name, the strongest website, a global network of home selling agents, and technology tools to help handle the details and ensure a smooth transition, such as:

• THE CENTURY 21 LEADROUTERSM PROGRAM, the leads management tool captures online inquiries from homebuyers and sellers, instantly informing a CENTURY 21 real estate agent of the request via handheld devices enabling a CENTURY 21 real estate agent to respond within minutes of receiving the request.

• CENTURY 21 MOBILE MAKES LISTINGS ACCESSIBLE TO ON-THE-GO CONSUMERS. Consumers with Internet compatible handheld devices can pull up Century21.com listings anywhere. The tool lets users clearly view multiple photos and property descriptions at their convenience. Users can search for properties, sales associates, offices and even use financial resource tools such as the mortgage calculator on the site.

• THE CENTURY 21 PROPERTY SEARCH GOLD TOOL Century21.com lets consumers use satellite technology to visually scout the location of CENTURY 21 properties that meet their search criteria. Aerial views let users clearly explore the property yard, street and neighborhood to help determine interest in the property. Users also have the opportunity to view the property details and contact the listing office for more information. In addition, landmarks such as schools, houses of worship, hospitals and other attractions could be viewable.


For sale by owner' can be a hard sell
By Joyce Cohen, special for USA TODAY

How tantalizing it is: Sell your home yourself and pocket the hefty commission, typically 6%, that you would otherwise pay to the real estate agent.

That prospect sucked in Erla Skuladottir and her husband, Bradley Boyer. In August, they put their New York City home on the market "for sale by owner," an approach often known by its acronym, FSBO, or, even stranger, "fizzbo."

By Thanksgiving, in despair, they had hired a real estate agent.

"We didn't know what we were doing. We thought it would be easier," says Skuladottir, whose family, which includes a 9-year-old daughter, needed more space. "I would go through a broker again, not a question. After she took over, it was such a relief."

FSBO homes are losing ground. FSBO sales made up 13% of home sales last year, down from 18% in 1997 and a high of 20% in 1987, according to a biennial survey by the National Association of Realtors. FSBO sales tend to peak during seller's markets.

Why the decline? Sellers are finding the do-it-yourself approach increasingly time-consuming and complex, what with showing the house, awaiting financial documents and deciphering a mountain of paperwork that in some states includes disclosure forms for termites, mold and aircraft noise. Many are also reluctant to have random unscreened strangers traipsing through their home, says Walter Molony, a spokesman for the Realtors' group.

And in the rare cases in which a seller gets sued for failing to disclose required information — such as the existence of lead-based paint in an older property, which can cause lead poisoning in children — a solo seller won't have an agent to accompany him through the legal process.

In hindsight, Skuladottir realizes just how clueless she and her husband were. They inadvertently overpriced their home, a one-bedroom co-op apartment, at $495,000. That was the going rate for newly renovated one-bedrooms in their housing complex,Lincoln Towers, but they figured their 25th-floor view would compensate for the lack of updating.

Though few interested buyers came knocking, a glut of real estate agents did. The agents gushed over the view — glorious sunsets over the Hudson River. "They said, 'You can get more if you let me sell it,' and we said, 'No, no, no,' but that teaser was intriguing, so we started cranking up the price," says Skuladottir. They hit a high of $525,000.

Meanwhile, with her husband often gone on business, Skuladottir felt burdened. She arranged her schedule around potential buyers. She vacuumed and dusted. She was uncomfortable asking financial questions but rarely had to, since most of the lookers were curious neighbors.

With the delay jeopardizing the purchase of their new place, Skuladottir grew more anxious. So she called the broker who sold to them, Shelly Bleier of Bellmarc Realty.

Bleier immediately dropped the price. "It was a small one-bedroom with a small kitchen in a complex of nine brick buildings with no charm," she says. The apartment finally sold last month for $460,000.

Between paying for advertising, maintaining two residences for several months, and selling investments for the down payment on their new home, Skuladottir estimates the family lost $40,000 by forgoing an agent in the first place.

Though nearly half of FSBO sellers cite saving the commission as the big reason to go it alone, a home's price is negotiable, and selling at the low end of the range can cancel out any savings. Tim and Beth Connelly of Cromwell, Conn., found that buyers looking for FSBO homes were also looking for a deal.

"Everybody said, 'You are saving all this money and don't have to pay the commission, so we are going to lowball you,' " says Tim Connelly. "But you are taking time to show the house, and going through the labor and the cost for the advertising."

The Connellys, who have a 21-month-old daughter, decided that their four-bedroom house was too big for a family of three.

In November they bought a nearby house they found on forsalebyowner.com, one of several Web sites giving broad exposure to FSBO homes. It had been listed for just two days. All concerned had such a wonderful experience, says Connelly, that "at the end of the closing, there was a group hug."

So they had no reason to think it wouldn't be simple to sell their own home FSBO. They advertised their house, asking $394,500, on the same site and in several local papers. Their Web listing received 5,600 hits, but only about 30 people expressed serious interest, Connelly says. Of those who made appointments to view the house, a third didn't show.

After two months, he called a real estate agent. The Connellys have a tentative buyer, but the deal could still fall through. The asking price has dropped to $379,900.

Connelly believes the home has certain qualities that make it a bad bet for FSBO. It's located on a dead-end street, with no drive-by traffic. The backyard brook and in-ground pool don't show from the street. Nor did the extensive landscaping, which in the winter was blanketed by snow.

He says his experience was split between extremes. "The house we bought was an awesome experience through FSBO, and the FSBO selling experience was awful."

The decline in FSBO sales is driven more by the reluctance of sellers than buyers, says Molony, but some buyers fear that details are more likely to slip through the cracks with a FSBO home.

Debi Stanton of San Diego says that important information wasn't fully disclosed when she and her then-boyfriend bought a FSBO house five years ago.

Part of a tennis court, fenced off and unused, encroached on their yard. Only when the boyfriend wanted space to store some landscaping equipment did they learn the land belonged to the neighbor.

"It was too much of a headache and too expensive to do anything about it," saysStanton. "I wouldn't buy a FSBO house again. I am not familiar with what they can get away with not telling you."

In the real estate world, FSBO remains divisive. While the real-estate-agent camp offers plenty of reasons to hire a pro, the FSBO camp has as many reasons not to.

Always, the key factor is money. "The average homeowner understands that paying 6% is too much," says Colby Sambrotto of forsalebyowner.com. "It is better spent on a child's education or their own retirement." On the site's exit questionnaire, two-thirds of sellers say they sold their home during the time it was listed.

It's also the case that one-third of FSBO sellers have the easiest path of all: They sell to a neighbor, friend or relative, and never even go on the market.

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Property Taxes in Bexar County

PROPERTY TAXES IN BEXAR COUNTY

Texas does not have a state income tax. It does however have property taxes. In order to understand how the taxes are calculated on any given property you need to have a basic understanding of all of the various components that make up the tax rate that is due. When you are considering several homes for purchase you can ask your realtor for an idea of what the taxes would be. However, when you have narrowed it down to a single home the only way to be sure of what the taxes are/will be is to call the Tax Appraisers office for the county of purchase.

NOTE: The following is provided in order to give you an idea of how the property taxes work in Bexar County and surrounding areas. The chart below was pulled from the Bexar county assessors website at http://www.bcad.org/tax_rates.htm . This should not be used as the actual amount of tax you will owe. For specific information call a representative at the appraisers office and they can help you with the exact tax liability for a given address and for what exemptions you might be eligible to
receive. They can be reached at 210-224-8511.

Tax Information
• Are You Interested in Saving on Your Property Taxes?
• Your Rights as a Taxpayer
State Property Tax Code
• Truth in Taxation
• Community Outreach
• Links to Other Agencies
• Bexar CAD Statistics
• Understanding the Property Tax Process
Arbitration Information
• Adopted Tax Rates and Exemptions
• Low Income Housing Apartment Capitalization Rates
• Who to contact for Tax Bills?


Bexar Tax Forms
Exemption Application Forms (ex. Homestead, Veterans, AG, Freeport etc.)
Personal Property Rendition Forms and Information (renditions forms etc.)
Real Property Rendition Form
Dealer's Inventory and Information
Other Forms (Agent forms, Request for Confidentiality of Public Records etc.)

Frequently Used Forms:
Protest Form Request for Information Form Tax Payer Comments

For questions regarding Personal Property Taxable Business Asset Tax (click here for definition) please email. For all other general property information questions, please email Customer Service. For open records request under the Public Information Act, please email. For a Complete list of forms and applications visit the Texas Window on State Government Web site.

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