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May 27, 2017

The Unique Home Specialists Use Rap Video To Sell Custom Home

Realtors’ rap racks up thousands of views

A rap music video was used to tout the amenities of this converted bank barn on Creek Road in Glen Mills.

A Pennsbury Township real estate agent said he was struggling to find a way to promote an unusual listing in Thornbury Township when he got an idea that rivaled the unconventionality of the residence.

Jill Doug Thumbnail 151 Creek Rd TMV

Doug and Jill Taylor stand outside the Glen Mills home that features its own rap video.

Doug Taylor said he and his wife Jill, also his business partner, often create videos to showcase properties. But none of those homes resembled the 1792 converted bank barn he wanted to spotlight – a home with amenities like carved wooden doors imported from the Philippines.

Taylor’s quest for something completely different ultimately gave rise to a rap video that gets inspiration from “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” HGTV, and Kanye West. Taylor said the phone starting ringing a little over two weeks ago when the video got posted on YouTube.

“I got calls from other brokers who wanted me to do the same thing for them,” Taylor said, adding that the homeowners also let him know that they were getting calls and “felt like celebrities.”

Taylor said he realized the rap, which features music and lyrics by Chris Warner, had struck a positive chord when the number of viewings started to skyrocket. “It definitely caught us by surprise,” he said.

He said the couple's typical home promotional videos average about 500 views. In less than three weeks, the rap version has more than 14,000 – and it’s still climbing. Even better, he said more than a third of the viewers watch the entire clip, which is nearly four minutes’ long.

As the camera pans around the residence, the lyrics tout “a modern-day kitchen with a brand new face; there ain’t a chef in the world who wouldn’t love this place. We’re talking granite counters and marble floors. With the Jenn-Air bling, who could ask for more?”

The tongue-in-cheek descriptions are anchored by a rhythmic refrain that will likely cement the address into most viewers’ memories long after the video ends: “151 Creek Road.”

Although Taylor once worked in the music industry, he said “151 Creek Road” represents his first experience with rap, and based on the response, the beginning of a new marketing tool. Now he hopes the extraordinary exposure will lead to a sale.

The home, which now boasts its own music video, can be yours for $949,000. To watch the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el8CmSxRmD4&feature=youtu.be.

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Posted in In The News
May 26, 2017

Property Tax Help – How to Appeal Your Assessment

Everyone wants property tax help to lower their property taxes, but where do you begin?  In this post I'm going to show you how to reduce your property taxes by appealing your assessment.

Most people believe that appealing their property assessment in order to lower their taxes is tantamount to going before a judge in a court of law and requires attorneys and out of pocket expenses. I’m going to tell you how simple and inexpensive the process is and even better, no lawyers needed. 

Doug and I appealed our assessment in 2009 and saved $1,200 a year on our property taxes.

Property taxes, which include county, township and school district taxes, are based upon a home’s fair market-value. We all know how drastically the real estate market has swung over the last 15 years. Your home may very well be over assessed.

When looking at your tax bills, you will notice that there is NO indication of “fair market value,” but your home is given a “taxable assessment.” This assessment is just a percentage of your home’s fair market value. In Chester County, if you have not appealed your taxes since 1998 when the last countywide assessment was performed, this number has not changed. The assessed value times the tax millage rate equals your tax bill.

Technically, you will be appealing to have your assessment lowered and this in turn will lower your property taxes.

First, you need to determine the current fair market value of your property to see if you have a shot at lowering this assessment. You have 3 options to come up with this market value:

     1 – hire a licensed PA appraiser to complete a certified appraisal

     2 – submit documentation of recent sales of similar properties nearby

     3 – submit your settlement sheet if the home was recently purchased.

All documents must be within 12 months of your actual appeal hearing. One exception, if you bought a short sale or foreclosure, you will be required to submit an appraisal that is less than 6 months old. Please note that the Board of Assessment Appeals recommends that you submit a certified appraisal report at your hearing. Depending upon the age and size of your home, an appraisal can cost $500 or more. If you prefer to save the money, and present market comparables instead, give Doug and me a call at 610-255-7222 and we can help you with this.

Once you have an estimated market value you need to convert this market value to an assessed value for your property in order to determine if it is higher or lower than your current assessment. Simply multiply this number by the current Chester County Common Level Ratio factor. This Common Level Ratio changes yearly and is set by the State of Pennsylvania for each individual county. While it seems like another mystery number that the government comes up with, it is simply the average of all assessments to sales prices over the last 12 months in each county. At the time of this writing, the estimated Common Level Ratio Factor in Chester County for July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 is 53.8%.

For example, if your market value is $300,000, multiply by .538 and your assessed value is $161,400. Now you need to compare this new assessed value to your current assessed value to see if it is lower of higher, and assess the impact it will have on your taxes.

Keep in mind that your taxes may be raised, lowered or remain the same based upon this new assessment.

Appeals can only be filed May 1 – August 1 in Chester County. Tax changes are not retroactive and will take effect when next year’s tax bills are issued. The Notice of Intention of Appeal form can be obtained online at Chesco.org or at the Chester County Assessment office 313 W. Market St., Suite 4202, West Chester, PA. 19382.

There is a $25 fee per residential property which is due when filing. Check and money orders only. You will be notified at least 3 weeks before your actual scheduled hearing date. If you know of any upcoming times that you won’t be available to attend a hearing, be sure to include these dates on your initial application.

The hearing itself is quick and painless. You literally walk into a room with 1 or 2 of the 3 County Board of Assessments members sitting at a table. You hand them your home market value information and tell them about any other information you feel may impact the value of your property. For example, maybe a commercial building is being built across the street from your house and you believe it will lower your home’s value.

As I mentioned earlier, Doug and I went through this same appeal process and reduced our taxes by $1,200. That’s an ongoing annual savings too!

You may have received letters from attorneys offering to represent you in your appeal and only charge you a percentage of your tax savings—usually 50% of your first year tax savings. Our actual hearing took less than 5 minutes and we kept the $600 that would have gone to the lawyers.

Still a little unsure? If you’d like Doug and me to walk you through this, simply give us a call at 610-255-7222 and we’d be happy to help you out and answer any questions you may have.

- Jill

Posted in Do It Yourself