Tag Archives: buying a house

It might be a smokin’ hot price, but you still can’t afford it!

You see a house for sale in Southern Litchfield County, a smokin’ hot price, you are pre-approved by a lender, it’s in your price range… What do I mean you can’t afford it?

smokin hotIn a word (actually 2 words) Property taxes. Often times smokin’ hot real estate deals are homes that have been reduced significantly, but property taxes do not reduce as the price does. Those taxes need to be considered with your monthly payments, so this can knock the house right out of your affordable ball park.

Property tax is figured by the following: town assessment of the property times the mill rate divided by 1,000 = yearly property tax.

Towns and cities in Connecticut use what they have concluded, via their property assessments, 70% of their determination of fair market value. Do not confuse their number of “fair market value” for what is now fair market value according to the current real estate market! I always cringe when I hear anyone, especially a real estate agent, “the town says it is worth $XXX,XXX”. One has nothing to do with another!

What the town is saying is, on the date we revalued the property (and not through the same process a bank appraisal is done) they determined the house to be worth $XXX,XXX. Between revaluations, their fair market value price does not fluctuate, however the real estate market sure does. And their mill rate certainly can move up or down too depending on the yearly budget votes.

This can be especially true of distressed sales, or homes that have languished on the market for a long time!

Property tax amounts are something I always check for my buyers. That way, when a smokin’ hot deal comes along with property taxes that knock it out of the ballpark for them, I let them know. I have them contact their mortgage person and discuss what the high amount will do to their bottom line… the monthly payments. It can over-tip the scales so that a house that seems affordable based on list price becomes unbearable when it comes to monthly payments. On top of the mortgage payments and property tax there is also insurance to consider, and if there are any association fees at all that has to be factored into your monthly payments.

That house you found for sale may have a smokin’ hot price, but those monthly payments including taxes could be too hot for you to handle!

Interested in a home for sale in Southern Litchfield County? You can start your home search right here. But don’t forget to check those property tax amounts!




I want to make an offer, why are they selling?

When looking at homes for sale in the greater New Milford, CT area a common question I hear is “Why are they selling?”

I don’t know!

orange man question
Wonder why they are selling?

I don’t know their motivation, I don’t know if they are getting a divorce, if they are upsizing, downsizing, moving to Alaska for a new job opportunity, I really don’t know. Really! And the listing agent should not be telling anyone why.

Let me back up a bit. When I take a listing I have an obligation NOT to disclose the motivations for selling UNLESS the seller has advised me to do so. Most times they prefer to keep the details of their motivation private. On occasion they do say “tell them everything, I just want to sell this place!” or… something along those lines. But that is not the norm.

No, I don’t tell others that it’s none of their business, I have a bit more tact that that! I prefer to say it is a lifestyle change.

Why the seller is selling really has no relevance to your motivation to make an offer on a house. Even if you know the motivation (when it is clear that one half of the closet has been cleaned out) you don’t know their bottom line. For instance in the case of a divorce, we don’t know if the judge has set the price the house must sell for. (That is another post in itself, so let’s not go there now.) The listing agent is bound by their fiduciary duty to their client to …. keep their mouth shut!

When working as your buyers agent I will check a few things out for you if you are thinking you want to put in an offer on a home for sale in the greater New Milford, CT area.

  • I will check a few places that tell me how much the latest mortgage amount was at the time of the last recording. I may not know the exact dollar amount left, but I should be able to tell you if the owner appears to owe more than the house is worth.
  • I will check to see if they appear to be in some level of foreclosure.
  • I will run a buyers comparative market analysis to tell you what I think the house is worth.

In all honesty, you may think knowing the reason the sellers are moving will give you a better edge, but it really doesn’t. The question you should be asking yourself is “what dollar amount am I willing to buy this house for”?

If you are looking to purchase a home in the greater New Milford CT area, give me a call at 203.460.1775, or send me an email to discuss your options. Let’s talk about your motivation, not the motivation of the seller!

c Andrea Swiedler 2011. Originally posted at newmilford-cthomes.com.