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Archive for February, 2010

Atlanta GA Real Estate Tip: Filing a Real Property Tax Return in 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Are your Atlanta-area property taxes too high? Read this to learn how to file and appeal your tax assessment!

Many properties have dropped in value since last year, but this does not mean that the property taxes will automatically go down. If you want to lower your assessment, you must file a Real Property Tax Return early in 2010 to lower your assessment from 2009 and to have the right to appeal your 2010 assessment.

This tax return is not the same as an appeal, and the value submitted by the owner does not set the final assessed value.  However, the tax assessor will review the owner’s value and decide whether to accept it or dispute it. The property owner will then have the right to appeal an official assessment that exceeds the owner’s proposed value.   This is a separate process.

The procedures and deadlines vary by county (usually March 1 or April 1, with no extensions).  Most counties require the form to be mailed – no fax or email. PLEASE NOTE:   This is in addition to filing for your Georgia homestead exemption.

See these websites for forms and details:

Cobb County:

DeKalb County:

Fulton County:

Gwinnett County:

 A special thanks to Leigh Clack, Neel & Robinson Attorneys at Law, for pulling this fantastic information together!

Atlanta’s Best Homes for Sale? If it’s not Price or Condition, what is it?

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Today, I showed thirteen homes to two different buyers, all of them in Atlanta’s upscale areas of Sandy Springs, Brookhaven and Buckhead. We were looking in the $750,000 to $1.2M range and the majority of these homes were in horrible showing condition. I couldn’t believe that a seller would present a home in this manner, or that an agent would actually allow a Seller to do it. I was embarrassed for both the seller and the agent.

I made appointments to show all of these houses one day in advance, so the sellers and the agents knew that buyers were coming. I also gave them a 45-minute to 2-hour window in which we’d be arriving. We saw pet “deposits” left on floors; hoarders’ clutter (and I’m not talking about a little bit; I’m talking major hoarding); blinds pulled and lights off; cleaning products left on counters; pets gone wild; beds unmade; dark rooms with burned-out light bulbs; one house even had an alarm turned on, with no way to turn it off and no way to reach the listing agent! In three homes, the seller/owner or their agent followed us through-out the house, talking constantly. What were they thinking?!!!

In the future, I’m going to post pictures and blog about the worst offenders. It may not help my buyers, but I think it will help the sellers that I represent.

If you are thinking of selling a home in Atlanta, call me to see how you can present your prperty in the best possible way. Call me and Experience True Experience!

The Income Tax Effect from a Short Sale or Foreclosure: IRS Form 1099-C

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Who is Affected? 

  • Any property owner who was personally liable on a real estate loan that was foreclosed or partially paid off in a short sale.

What is 1099-C Form?

  • This form represents ordinary income (not capital gain) for the “Cancellation of Debt” of the seller/owner.  The amount must be included in income on the seller’s income tax return.

When will the 1099-C be Issued?

  • Unless the lender is pursuing a deficiency judgment, the 1099-C must be issued by January 31st.  If the lender sends the 1099-C, the lender has written off the loss as a bad debt. 

 How is the Amount on the 1099-C Determined?

  • For a Short sale: the difference between the full payoff and the short sale payoff  
  • For a Foreclosure:  the difference between the full payoff and the fair market value, based on an appraisal at the time of foreclosure.

Does the Seller have any offsets against this income?

  • Sale of principle residence (IRS form 982): this is subject to some limitations on amount and the qualifying debt;                                                                                                                 
  • Capital loss: seller’s capital loss (for investment property) can be used to offset capital gains and a small portion of ordinary income;
  • Insolvency: income can be offset to the extent that debts exceed assets;
  • Bankruptcy: depending on when it occurred and whether the debt was included.

Be sure to consult with your tax preparer!