The Baltimore and Harford County Area Market Update – December 2012

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In the wake of our nation’s housing market ups and downs over the past several years, 2012 has certainly been a strong one in terms of a comeback. Particularly at the cusp of the New Year, we are seeing some good things happening. There are still some challenges but overall this is a great time for buyers and sellers alike.

Fewer Distressed Sales on the Market

At one point foreclosures had a significant presence on the market but slowly they have dwindled downward. Today we have some foreclosures in our inventory but not so many that they impact the industry and price indexes. With interest rates as low as they are today, many investors are grabbing well-priced homes – often resulting in multiple offer situations and artificial price inflation.

Short sales, however, are still taking a long time to process. Though most banks have streamlined their processes, people should still be wary of the many steps involved. In fact, if buying a short sale home in our area, buyers must be willing to accept two things. First, prices are not as low as they were just a couple years ago. Second, banks are now expecting sale prices closer to market values before they will approve the short sale. It’s imperative for buyers to be patient during the process and to confirm whether there are any encumbrances on the property such as multiple mortgages or tax liens.

Holidays Still a Good Time to Sell

One of the biggest holiday season misconceptions many sellers have is the notion that there is less real estate activity during this time. The truth is that though there may be fewer buyers, there are equally as fewer homes on the market. Since the buyers that are out there are very serious, the result is about the same number of sales as in the “busy season” during the spring and summer in percentage compared to active inventory.

Spring Sales Require Wintertime Prep

If you are like the countless homeowners that are comfortable with selling once the spring season begins, now is the time to start preparing your home. Whether you need to fix up things that need repairing throughout the home or remodel – try to do it in advance. Once you are ready to put your home on the market, it should be in tip-top condition so you can expect to yield top dollar.

We offer a complementary thorough walk through to share with you the things we feel could use some R&R. We also have a stager share their tips with you on how to maximize marketability and ultimately get you the best price, in the quickest time and with the least hassle.

Strengthen Your Credit Now for a Strong Future

A lot of people have unfortunately faced many hardships during the past several years, with anything from job loss to relocation, downsizing, health concerns, death, divorce or more. Credit scores have been impacted so much and banks have tightened their lending guidelines to a level that rebuilding credit is actually now a part of the home buying process for many. If you are unsure where you stand financially according to mortgage guidelines, contact us and we will put you in touch with a reputable lending partner. You will receive guidance on how to rebuild and replenish a strong financial standing.
No matter what your home buying or selling needs are, we encourage you to start exploring your options now. We can be reached at 410 638 9555 or directly via email at Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!

Maryland Residents Have Until December 31st to Claim Their Homestead Tax Credit

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A surprisingly small number of homeowners across the State of Maryland have applied for the Homestead Tax Credit this year and it comes at a time when many are still working to improve their individual financial situations. Through the end of this year, homeowners have the ability to log onto the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation website to 1) check whether they have filed for the tax credit during the past five years and 2) file if not done so already.

The financial ramification of not doing so is fairly significant. So much so that for residents of Baltimore County and Baltimore City – the expected increase of taxation can be as high as 4%. The number is even higher for those homeowners that reside in Harford County, with an increase of up to 8% possible.

Rather than face the potential of that much more expense year after year, homeowners can simply visit the Department’s website at, click on Real Property Data Search and check to see if an application has already been filed or click Those needing an application can have a form mailed to them by submitting a request to the email address:

Among other things, the application form will have information about your property’s access number and the property account number as well, important pieces necessary to move forward with the Homestead Tax Credit process. These two will allow the form to be submitted online, resulting in an email confirmation number – otherwise not available when applied via snail mail.

Rather than regret it later, we would like to strongly suggest to all homeowners in our area that they visit the Department website, check to see whether they need to apply for the Homestead Tax Credit and get it done as soon as possible.

As stated in this letter  by the State of Maryland’sDepartment of Assessment and Taxation, more information about the application is found on the website under Homestead Eligibility Application in the center column of the home page.
If you have any questions about the Homestead Tax Credit, or anything else related to real estate – please do not hesitate to call us at 410-638-9555. We look forward to assisting you in any way we can!