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Frank Dolski's Blog

By Frank Dolski Associate Broker | Agent in 18901
  • What Factors Should Buyers Consider When Purchasing A Home?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Newtown, Financing in Newtown, Home Ownership in Newtown  |  September 18, 2014 10:41 AM  |  5 views  |  No comments
    There are many buyers in a variety of categories who have different “wish Lists”, requirements and sometimes they are unsure and should be educated prior to making such a huge decision. I have compiled a list of suggestions to consider that I would recommend to buyers.

    1.       Buy a home within your means! Plan your home purchase carefully and make sure that you have done your homework in terms of financing. Do not buy any other large purchases during the loan process until you settle on your new home. Your loan office should be able to direct you.

    2.      Location, Location, Location! This is still the greatest factor in determining value, appreciation and is the #1 Rule when purchasing a home. Location within a specific area and to a micro level on where it is located in the community a home is located all makes a difference on the net worth of a home. For example, a home located on a busy road with no privacy may not be worth the same value as the same home (all things equal) located with on a lot with woods or privacy. The fact is that it may seem like a good value but you will reduce your buyer pool when you resell because a busy road backing to a home may seriously affect the value of what your next buyers are willing to pay.

    3.      Make up a wish list! Include a “must have” list as well as amenities that you would like to have. This is more critical when purchasing a new home. When buying new construction, focus on structural items that cannot be done in the future or may be cost prohibitive. Understand that you have a budget but try to make educated choices. Some popular choices include: Walk-out basements, extended kitchens and family rooms, basement height, 2 versus 3 car garages, morning rooms, basement plumbing rough-ins, type of façade and various upgrades throughout the home. Ask yourself this question. What value do the upgrades make to future appreciation? Your Realtor® should be able to give you advice in this area!

    4.     Schools – When purchasing any Real Estate, one of the greatest factors is the quality of a school district. Even if you don’t have school age children, many buyers purchase in specific areas because of the quality of schools. Do your research in this area! It is a critical factor for resale.

    5.      Home Inspection – It doesn’t matter if it is resale or new construction; make sure that you hire a professional inspection to inspect your home. I highly recommend a pre-dry wall inspection on all new construction!

    Many of the homes that I list and sell are in the greater Philadelphia area. Townships such as Buckingham, Solebury, New Hope Borough, Newtown, Upper Makefield, Montgomery, Warwick and Doylestown are only just a few areas where I represent buyers and sellers. These are only a few suggestions to consider when purchasing a home and there are many other considerations. Please feel free to contact me if you are considering buying or selling a home whether it is now or you are planning for the future. I would also like to hear your thoughts on what buyers should consider when purchasing a new home.

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com

    2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
    2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
    Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • Do Good Quality Pictures Make A Difference When Listing Your Home?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Newtown, Home Selling in Newtown, How To... in Newtown  |  September 4, 2014 3:38 AM  |  19 views  |  No comments

    Pictures, they do make a difference if you are selling or listing a home!

    It is a statistical fact that 90% of buyers use the internet to search for homes. Location, amenities, commuting, schools and more play a critical role in selecting an area/home. But pictures play an important role in creating the images to want a buyer to even consider a home.

    My name is Frank Dolski, Associate Broker/Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors serving Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties. I service buyers, sellers and investors in these areas and more! One thing that I learned very early in my career is that good pictures make a difference in depicting the interior and exterior of homes that I list as well as homes that my clients are viewing over the internet.

    Have you seen pictures with sun glaring through the windows, or perhaps a critical picture of a kitchen where two-thirds of the kitchen are missing in the shot? Or perhaps a picture of a room where key features like the fireplace is missing from the image? Not only is this a disservice to sellers but buyers really do not have an opportunity to see what the home really looks like.

    My objective in marketing a listing is to capture key pictures of every possible room in a hope. Listed below are some suggesting and strategies that I use when taking pictures of a home.

    1.       Make sure that you have a decent camera. There are many types of cameras and they do not have to be ultra expensive. Having the proper lenses as well as a good flash are also very important.

    2.      Select a mode that you will are comfortable with and can produce good pictures. I like to shoot in manual mode but remember that a tripod must be used in this mode or any non automatic mode. Depending on the mode that you use, make certain that the lighting is sufficient.

    3.      Interior Pictures - Make sure all of the lights are on! When taking pictures of each and every room, make sure that all of the lights are on as well as the adjacent rooms. This will help in overall exposure as well as ambient light glowing from a lamp is awesome! You will have to select the property time of day to take the pictures whereas the sun is not pouring through the windows.

    4.      Exterior pictures – Make sure that the sun is at your back when taking pictures. You will get a great skyline background without the sun glaring in your face. Note that this will typically take two trips to a home. You may also need a ladder to carefully get the right shot due to the topography of the property! Make sure that you include critical pictures such as landscaping, an indoor pool, decking, patio and views that illustrate the setting in the back or front yards.

    5.     Staging and de-cluttering is a given for every room. This is a completely separate topic but just remember that a well staged home typically sells quicker and for more money! This also holds true for the exterior of a home. Curb appeal is critical so be sure to trim plants and trees, mulch and make sure that optimum pictures may be taken.

    In conclusion, pictures draw attention to buyers they are important as any other factor to consider when listing your home.  For the buyers, it gives them a better indication on how a home really looks and good pictures inspire showings. Therefore, it is imperative that they are done right and with the proper lighting. I'd like to hear your ideas on Real Estate Photography and if have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com

    2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
    2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
    Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • So Your Home Won’t Sell. Now What?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Newtown, Curb Appeal in Newtown, Remodel & Renovate in Newtown  |  July 5, 2014 6:04 AM  |  93 views  |  1 comment

    Perhaps your home has been on the market for 6 months, a year or even longer. What is the issue? No showings? Why isn’t selling?

    There are many reasons why a home will not sell. Perhaps it is overpriced, the market is slow, or what if there were things in your control to help your home sell.  It is easy to blame a Realtor/Broker and switch to a 2nd or 3rd Realtor/Broker. But sometimes this is not the issue and many times, all of this may be avoided. Selecting a new Realtor may not be the answer.

    Here is a list of ideas that will help you to sell your home quicker and in most cases, for more money.

    Preparation

    The first thing that you must do is to involve a Realtor® before you consider listing your home.  An assessment is done on what you need to do to prepare your home for sale. De-cluttering is typically the first step as buyers do not want to see a cluttered house. A Market analysis is also performed at this time.
     Fact: Reducing unnecessary stuff will make each room look larger and more appealing. This comes down to how much "stuff" you have on your kitchen counters to how your bookshelves are organized (or not) to how many items are on a coffee table. Less items throughout your home shows a more organized room and the perception of a larger room.

    Updates: This goes hand in hand with preparation. If your competition has it, you better! Using a professional stager is critical and for me, I use Creative Staging and their assessment is of no cost for my clients. It may be as simple as painting, caulking or adding granite or new appliances. The return on investment must be calculated but I assure you that in the majority of cases, the ROI is well worth it! Occasionally, I hear “The buyers may not like the colors we pick” or “we’ll just give a credit”. Totally not true! I have my stager help to pick the paint colors, granite, carpeting and whatever needs to be done with close colabration with the sellers and I.  Consistently lowering the price is an option but do you really want to do that? My professional opinion is do it right the first time! I can site many situations and give you dozens of recommendations but trust me, it works!

    Curb Appeal: The exterior must look as good as inside or better! The first impression is lasting! So, freshen up the outside by weeding and mulching and adding some landscaping if needed. Exterior painting, power-washing, driveway sealing and gutter cleaning are only some of my suggestions. If the outside of your home does not look good, you may never get buyers inside! Dressing your home to sell is essential.

    Pictures

    Good pictures and videos give buyers a clear vision of how your home shows. Poor pictures can have buyers and Realtors overlook your listing. It is imperative that good pictures are taken of every room and from different angles. 90% of all buyers go on the Internet to look for homes. If the pictures are poor and the home may really show well, they may overlook your listing. Sun glaring or uneven pictures are distracting and do not depict a clear image of your home. Feel free to visit my website at www.FrankDolski.com and look at my listings for some example of the pictures that I post. Professional photographers are sometimes used but make sure that they are experienced with architectural /Real Estate pictures.

    The greatest complaint and I look at it as an opportunity up front is that I have is “that when sellers do not listen and roll the dice”. Or. “Let’s see what happens”.  Six months later after numerous price reductions I am asked what I am doing to sell their homes. Let me be clear that this is not the majority but the minority of educated sellers that Realtors represent. Sure it is nice to be the second or third Realtor in but I’d rather see sellers be proactive. So, remove that wallpaper, paint those rooms and employ a team effort with your Realtor® to place your home in its optimum condition. Please feel free to contact me if you are considering listing your home. I service buyers and sellers of Real Estate in the greater Philadelphia Suburbs in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and the adjacent counties. Cites such as Doylestown, Buckingham, Newtown, North Wales, West Chester and New Hope, just to name a few.  Feel free to contact me. There is a difference!

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com

    2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
    2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
    Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • Historic Bucks County, Rich In History

    Posted Under: General Area in Newtown, Parks & Recreation in Newtown, In My Neighborhood in Newtown  |  July 1, 2014 5:58 AM  |  85 views  |  No comments

    So you’re thinking about moving or visiting the Bucks County area?  Perhaps you’re looking for something to do.  There are many historic sites to see in Bucks County, because it is located in the heart of colonial America.  Buildings still stand where George Washington slept, and Bucks County gives you the opportunity to visit these locations. Below are just a few of the historic sites in Bucks County.


    Washington Crossing
    George Washington and men of the Continental Army “crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 and marched to Trenton, New Jersey.”  This surprise attack ultimately is what led America to achieve victory.  Today, you can visit this historic landmark, where George Washington and his army stood, or come to see the reenactment of Washington’s crossing that occurs every on Christmas day at 1:00pm.  Visit http://www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing/index.htm for full details of this historic park.

    Bowman’s Tower
    Bowman’s Hill Tower is opened Tuesday- Sunday 10am-4pm.  Bring family and friends for a guided tour at only $6 per person.  “This grand observation tower offers an expansive view of the Delaware River area…. Beyond the landmark, Bowman's Hill Tower offers much more to those interested in learning about the Park's history and the origins of the Tower's construction.”

    Covered Bridges
    Today only 12 covered bridges remain in Bucks County, and you can take advantage of the unique opportunity to coast through each one by taking a covered bridge tour. This tour will take you back in time as you circle through beautiful scenery and cross bridges that range from 56 to 150 feet long and have been around since the 1800’s. For information about touring the bridges, visit http://www.visitbuckscounty.com/things-to-do/driving-tours/covered-bridge/.

    Pennsbury Manor
    Constructed between the years of 1682 and 1684, Pennsbury Manor is famously known as the home of William Penn. Located on the Delaware River, this building was reconstructed after it fell to ruin in 1707. However, the house still contains many pieces from its original structure and holds true to the representation of an English gentleman’s home. From its open-hearth kitchen to its family parlor, Pennsbury Manor is truly a historic site to see. Visit http://scenicbuckscounty.com/Pennsbury/Pennsbury.html for full information.

    Summerseat
    Interested in the history of America?  Take a tour of Summerseat, a Georgian mansion that housed some of the most historic people.  Signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Robert Morris and George Clymer, were homeowners here, along with George Washington who used Summerseat as his headquarters for his famous crossing of the Delaware River.  Visit http://www.scenicbuckscounty.com/Summerseat/Sumrseat1.html for full information of this historic mansion standing in Morrisville, PA.

    Please contact me for additional information if you are considering settling down in Bucks County. I am here to help guide you on your journey in buying Real Estate, and I hope to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. Whether you are moving to or already live in this general area and have not yet visited these historic sites to see, I highly recommend you start planning your unforgettable trip today!

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors 
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com

    2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
    2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
    Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • What Is A Home Inspection And Why Should You Have One?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Newtown, Home Selling in Newtown, Home Ownership in Newtown  |  June 24, 2014 5:43 AM  |  237 views  |  No comments

    Home Inspections!  What Are They And Why You Should Have One?

    Buying a home is one of the most important Investments that you will make in your lifetime and more than likely, you will do this more than once. A comprehensive home inspection is highly recommended prior to purchasing a home. 

    What is a home Inspection?

    A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. In addition, a termite, radon, septic and well inspections may be required. A pool and spa inspection is also common.
    According to the National Association of Realtors consumer guide, a home inspection is “a noninvasive visual examination of some combination of the mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling designed to identify material defects in those systems and components and performed for a fee in connection with or preparation for a proposed or possible residential real estate transfer. The term also includes any consultation regarding the property that is represented to be a home inspection or that is described by any confusingly similar term.”

    Home Inspection

    According to Steve recommend, A Bucks County and regional Home Inspector, “Home inspections typically take from 2-3 hours long depending on the size and condition of the home and you are encouraged to follow along throughout the inspection.  During the inspection process a detailed report complete with digital photos will be prepared.  The results will be reviewed and presented after the inspection or a PDF file can be emailed.” Once reviewed with the buyer and their Realtor®, a proposal to the sellers may be made for corrective action (if warranted) or a credit. Or perhaps, nothing is wrong! These items are negotiable under home inspection contingencies which have specific time-lines within the context of the Agreement of sale.

    Items that are typically inspected in the interior of the home include major systems such as:

    ·         Heating and air conditioning systems.

    ·         The electrical components including outlets, proper GFCI function and the electrical panel box. Proper wiring and grounding is also checked.

    ·         The plumbing system including possible leaks in faucets, toilets, waste lines and more.

    ·         Appliances such as the dishwasher, range/oven and the microwave.

    ·         Door and window functionality including broken window seals.

    ·         Hot water heater

    ·         Garage door and openers including safe function of the system.

    ·         Smoke detectors (not tested unless by a Use and Occupancy code) But strongly recommended!

    ·         Interior roof trusses and an attic inspection for proper insulation and potential leaks.

    ·         The foundation of the home for excessive cracks and water penetration.

    ·         Basements for mold (could be a separate inspection in itself), excessive cracks in walls and floors, sump pump functionality (if applicable), beams and overall foundation.

    ·         A termite inspection usually encompasses the interior and exterior inspection. Mortgage companies typically require this.


    Items that are typically inspected in the exterior of the home include:

    ·         A roof inspection for missing shingles, leaks and proper flashing  Also includes roof vents (for proper seals) ridge vents, soffits and the overall condition of the roof.

    ·         The exterior stucco, siding, brick, etc. Note that there may also be a separate stucco inspection by a certified stucco inspector. This is common with many relocation companies to certify that the stucco is properly installed.

    ·         Proper grading near the home for potential water penetration.

    ·         Gutter system for clogging and proper function.

    ·         Decks, balconies, porches and patios.

    ·         All exterior trim and flashing.

    ·         Exterior window inspection for proper caulking.

    ·         Driveway and sidewalk condition including steps.

    ·         Overgrown vegetation near the home.  Usually near A/C unit and vent areas.

    ·         A pool/hut tub inspection if applicable.

    ·         Detached garage structures including roofing

     

    A radon inspection is also highly recommendation to insure proper and safe levels. There may be other inspections that are required that are not listed here including a separate Use and Occupancy of a Certificate Of Occupancy for new construction.

    In any event, a home inspection should include material defects. Occasionally cosmetic issues may be noted in the report including floor condition, ceiling cracks, etc., but may not be considered a material defect.  A written report is given to the home buyer and this is reviewed with their Realtor® as inspection items may be negotiated as noted in the agreement of sale and most always has specific time-lines. Corrective action is also included in the scope of the report.

    In any event, if you are purchasing a home whether it is resale or new construction, Real Estate can be one of the largest investments that you will ever make.  Therefore, I always recommend getting a home inspection by a certified home inspector

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com

    2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
    2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
    Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • Let The Good Times Roll At Local Theme Parks!

    Posted Under: General Area in Newtown, Entertainment & Nightlife in Newtown, Parks & Recreation in Newtown  |  June 3, 2014 12:57 PM  |  106 views  |  No comments

    "Let The Good Times Roll" At Theme Parks Local To Bucks County, PA!

     

    Perhaps you are thinking about moving to the Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Lehigh,  or Philadelphia County areas? Maybe you already live here or perhaps are visiting? Finding the perfect home is a important but what are your going to do here for fun? There are many things to do in the area and one of the best that I like to do is visit theme parks. Roller Coasters are may favorite rides and these parks sure do have some good ones! Listed are some of the best theme parks in the general area!

     

     

    Hersheypark

     

    Hersheypark has been putting smiles on people’s faces and has been a place for families to build memories for over 100 years.  With 12 thrilling roller coasters, 14 water attractions, and over 65 rides and attractions, there will never be a dull moment for anyone at any age!  Learn more about this park at http://www.hersheypark.com/.

     

    Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

     

    Here, there is something for everyone!  A day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom will leave every family member dreading to go home.  The wide variety of roller coasters, thrill rides, family and water rides will make this trip a very special one.  Learn more about Dorney’s thrilling rides and fabulous food at http://www.dorneypark.com to make your stay at the park as enjoyable as you’d like it to be!

     

    Knoebels Amusement Resort

     

    Knoebel’s is the largest free admission amusement park in America!  What’s better than free?  “Free Admission, Free Parking, Free Entertainment, Free Picnic Facilities all make Knoebels a great place for an affordable family outing.”  Go on rides and attractions, go camping, or go swimming all at Knoebels Amusement Resort! Learn more at http://www.knoebels.com/.

     

    Sesame Place Theme Park

     

    Sesame Place is designed to allow kids and parents to laugh and learn their way through this park.  With over 18 dry rides, a number of water rides, and shows and parades that give families a chance to meet the characters of Sesame Street, this vacation will be one to remember!  Go to http://www.sesameplace.com to learn more about all the events Sesame place has to offer.

     

    Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark

     

    Did you know Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark is the biggest water park in Pennsylvania?  There are more than 37 rides, slides, and attractions here at Camelbeach.  Splash your way through this park on a hot summer day with family and friends!  Buy your tickets today at http://www.camelbeach.com.  

     

    Six Flags Great Adventure

     

    Looking for a relaxing day with young children or a thrill-filled day for dare devils?  You found the perfect place! Six Flags Great Adventure has not only family rides, but in fact “some of the fastest, tallest, wildest, gut-wrenching-est rides in the country—including a few record breakers.”  Go to http://sixflags.com to start planning your memorable trip. 

     

    If you are considering moving to the Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, Chester or Philadelphia counties, please contact me for additional information. Buying  Real Estate is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make and I am here to help. Or if you already live in the area, there is much to do in terms of year round entertainment and visiting theme parks are only just one of my favorite things to do!

     

     

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
Certified Relocation Specialist
Previews Luxury Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors 
215-803-3237 (mobile)
215-794-1070 x-103
f.dolski@cbhearthside.comwww.FrankDolski.Com

2006-2013 Top Producing Agent and Agent of the year for Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Lahaska Office!
2013 Coldwell Banker President’s Circle Recipient – Top 6% of all Coldwell Banker International Realtors.
Ranked in the top 1% of all Bucks County Realtor in 2013!

  • Paying The Property Tax Bill............No "Tip" Necesary!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Newtown, Home Selling in Newtown, Financing in Newtown  |  March 2, 2014 9:36 AM  |  288 views  |  No comments


    Taxes, something we all have in common, something we dred and something we are preparing for right now.
    Morgan Stanley got it right when they released an advertisement stating, "You must pay taxes. But there's no law that says you've gotta leave a tip." Yes, you'd probably be hard pressed to find someone who feels that they pay too little taxes or would voluntarily pay a little extra.  Most of us spend this time of year organizing, calculating, and tabulating, hoping and wishing for the illusive tax refund.  While there's not much you can do about the past year, you can take proactive steps now to reduce your property tax burden for the upcoming year.

    What is Property Tax?

    Every parcel of land, and any improvements (structures) thereon is "assessed", or valued, by a state certified assessor under the direction of the County Assessment Office. The value that is placed on the property will determine how much tax you will pay.
    Property tax is used as a source of revenue by county government, school districts and most of the municipalities in Pennsylvania to pay for public services.

    How is my tax determined?
    Property taxes are calculated using the following equations:

    Market Value X Assessment Ratio = Assessment

    Assessment X Millage = Property Taxes

    Market Value
    The first number in the equation that you need to identify is your property's 'market value'. This value generally refers to what a ready, willing and able buyer might pay for the property in the current market. This value can be obtained either by hiring a professional appraisor or by doing a little leg work on your own and calculating it yourself.
    If you opt to calculate this yourself, there are three steps to arrive at your value.
    1) Identify a resource or website that can help you find recent real estate sales data for your area. E.g. local tax records websites or website of a local Realtor
    2) Utilize your resource to find 3 homes that have sold near your home within the last six months. It is important to find recent sales, so that you are getting an accurate picture of the current market. These homes are called your "Comps" or Comparable Sales. Comp homes should be in the same school zone, similar in size, type of construction and have the same features as yours.
    3)Calculate the average sales price of the three homes. Once you have an average price, you'll want to determine a dollar amount, or "Adjustments", for any upgrades or amenities that your property has that the others don't. Conversley, if your home is missing something that the others have then you want to subtract a dollar amount from your home's value. Dollar amounts to add or subtract will vary, specific to your local area and you may need the help of a professional, like an Appraiser, Realtor or Tax Assessor.

    Assessment Ratio or Common Level Ratio (CLR)
    The CLR is determined by the PA State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) on an annual basis for each county. The CLR is an average of assessments to sale prices.
    The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue provides an updated list of the CLRs for the state.  Click HERE to access the list for your county's specific ratio.


    Millage Rate -The property tax rate is expressed as a per mil (amount of tax per thousand currency units of property value), which is also known as a millage rate or mill. To calculate the property tax, the authority will multiply the assessed value of the property by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. To view the current Bucks County Millage Rates, click here.

    When assessments are conducted the owner is mailed a "Change In Assessment" notice. All property owners have the right to appeal if they do not agree with the assessment of their property.

    Appeals Process

    Property owners have an opportunity to appeal their assessment once a year, the appeal must be filed on or before August 1 for any effective assessment change on January 1. By appealing, the property is open to the re-valuation process in which the property assessment may be lowered, raised or remain the same.  If the assessed value is less than the current market value, it may be best to leave the assessment figure alone, or the challenge could result in higher taxes.

    If you choose to Appeal your Assessment, the first step is to submit an assessment appeal application - Bucks County Property Assessment Appeal, as found on buckscountyboa.org. The Assessment Office has implemented Resolution #1-2008 which requires a processing fee for each parcel appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals. The fee for each residential property will vary by County, but is currently $35 for Bucks County.

     
    The Appeal Hearing

    Once your application has been submitted, you will be notified of a hearing date to review your case.  The property owner is requested to attend but if unable to do so, may send someone else to provide representation with a letter of authorization. If more than one person owns the property jointly it is not necessary that all the owners appear at the hearing.
    The process is relatively simple, a residential hearing lasts about 5 minutes. The burden of proving to the board that the assessment on your home is incorrect rests with the property owners. The assessment will be presumed to be correct until the property owners come forward with credible evidence to prove otherwise.The property owner has the opportunity to present information such as a recent appraisal or recent sales documentation for sales "comps" in their area.  If the home was recently purchased, the settlement statement can be used as evidence of fair market value, to support the case.The property owner may also present other information that may have an impact on the value of the property.

    The Board of Assessment Appeals may request that the property owner provide recent photographs (front and rear) of the property, including any recent physical changes to the exterior of the property.

    Based upon the documentation provided by the property owner, the Board will determine a fair market value for the property. The Board will then by statute, apply the appropriate Common Level Ratio (CLR) to the fair market value to arrive at the new assessed value.

    The Board generally renders a decision within 3-4 weeks of the hearing date and notifies the property owner in writing. All townships/areas differ in their appeal process so contact your local tax office/court house for timelines and process.

    Please contact me if you are looking to apppeal your taxes as I help many people each year! Also, please contact me if you are thinking of buying or selling a home. There is a difference!

    Frank Dolski   MBA, ABR, e-PRO
    Associate Broker
    Certified Relocation Specialist
    Previews Luxury Home Specialist
    Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
    Ranked #1 In The State of PA in 2012 For Affiliated Coldwell Banker International Realtors
    2012 Coldwell Banker International President’s Elite Award
    2010-2011 Coldwell Banker International President’s Circle Award
    215-803-3237 (mobile)
    215-794-1070 x-103
    f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
    www.FrankDolski.Com
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