Judy Moore - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty



Posted by Judy Moore on 1/14/2018

One thing that you’ll need to think about when you’re buying a home is that of property taxes. Many first-time homebuyers don’t even consider the property taxes in the midst of their excitement of buying the perfect home. There’s many different kinds of tax issues that homebuyers might face when they purchase a home. We’ll educate you on how to tackle the issue of property taxes. 


Do Your Research


You should most definitely research property taxes before you buy a home. You don’t want to be surprised to find out that your new home will have special assessments or a huge tax rate increase in the near future. Some things to look out for:


  • Tax rate increases
  • Home reassessments
  • Supplemental tax bills


The first question that you should ask your realtor is “What is the current tax bill?” This will give you a good starting point for your property tax research. 


Supplemental Tax Bills


A supplemental tax bill is basically a new homeowner’s overlapping bill of the previous owner’s taxes. Sometimes, this can include construction or additions made to the home that have increased the property value. This is also known as a “reassessment of property value.” Work with your realtor to discover whether this will be an issue.  


Multiple Taxes For One Property


Depending upon where you are, you could face more than one kind of property tax. Special taxes imposed by states, counties and districts, as well as water and sewer can create additional fees. 


Why You Have An Escrow Account


Homeowners are often required to have an escrow account. This will set aside funds for these types of expenses. The loan company will give an estimate of the amount of taxes and insurance due. Then, costs such as taxes and insurance are taken out of this account. If you are paying these fees through an escrow account, you should keep a close eye on it. Sometimes, payments fail to be made on time. You as the homeowner are then responsible for any late fees. You want to avoid these problems by checking the account frequently.   


How Property Taxes Are Calculated


Property taxes are generally based on the value of the home. Each state and city uses their own formulas in order to calculate these fees. This is what can make property taxes a bit unpredictable. Property taxes can increase or decrease over time due to these factors that are included in each municipality’s formula.               


Tax Credits


A tax credit is a rebate that’s provided by the city or state. This could be in the form of an income tax credit. As home values have risen, so haven’t property tax bills, so these credits are welcome in today’s economy. 


Tax Deferrals


Some people are eligible for property tax deferrals. This allows the homeowner to pay all or part of the property tax until a later date when a home is sold. Many deferrals are geared towards low-income homes and senior citizens. These people would most benefit from this type of savings. Be careful though if you fall into one of these categories. Some states have much higher income taxes than property taxes, so the fees end up evening out. 


The most important thing you can do when it comes to property taxes is your research. Once you have numbers, you can make a more informed decision about purchasing a property.





Posted by Judy Moore on 1/7/2018

Buying a home is one of the more complicated purchases that you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s not something that you can just open your wallet, pull out a wad of cash and buy. There’s a warm-up period for a house hunt. You need to prepare before you even start the process of the purchase. There’s a lot of different things that you should do to ready yourself to buy a home. You’ll need to organize your finances, find a real estate agent and ready yourself. If you’re looking to buy a home in the near future, it’s time to get busy! 


Keep Your Credit Score In Check


Your credit score is so important for so many reasons. The highest your credit score can be is 850 and the lowest it can be is 300. You’ll get a really good interest rate on a home if your credit score is 740 or above. A lower interest rate can save you a lot of money over a year’s time. 

The good news is that you can spend time repairing your score. This will include paying down debt, asking for credit limits to be raised and correcting errors that may be on your credit report. You want to be sure that you’re using 30% or less of your total available credit. As always, if your bills are paid on time, it will help you to keep that score up. Also, stay away from opening new credit cards, as this can bring your score down due to frequent credit checks. 


Put Gifts To Good Use


Whenever you get a financial gift, whether it be for a wedding, a Christmas bonus, or a birthday gift, make sure that you save it for your home purchase. You’ll need quite a bit of capital between closing costs, fees and down payments. You’ll be glad you saved the money once you start the home buying process. You’ll also want to make sure that you have and emergency fund built up. You don’t want to buy a home without some sort of a financial cushion behind you. 


Research Real Estate Agents 


Your real estate agent will be your right hand person when it is time to buying a home. You’ll want to know that your agent is knowledgable and can help you in this big decision. Your real estate agent is the person who will help you reach your goals, and you want to feel comfortable with them. Ask for recommendations and do your research.  


Get Preapproved


Sellers love buyers who have been preapproved. This shows that they’re reliable and financially able to buy a home. A preapproval can be done a few months in advance of buying a home. It will take an in-depth look at your finances including:


  • Proof of mortgage or rent payments over the last year
  • W2 forms for the past 2 years
  • Paycheck stubs for the past 2 months
  • List of all debts including loans and court settlements
  • List of all assets including car titles, investment accounts and any other real estate you may own.


Buying a home is a big deal but with the right preparation, you’ll be on the road to success and ready to secure a home purchase.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Judy Moore on 12/31/2017

Keeping up with household chores and maintenance is difficult, especially when juggling them along with a full-time job or childcare. Luckily help is likely sitting right in your pocket or pocketbook.

Smartphone apps for organization and productivity have come a long way in a few short years. With features like scheduled reminders, syncing between devices, and sharing with family and friends, it has never been easier to use your phone to help you keep up with household tasks.

There is one problem, however--there are hundreds of apps to choose from.

How can you find the right app in the App Store (or Google Play for Android users) without wasting hours downloading and trying out each one?

We’ve done the legwork for you. In today’s article we’re going to cover the best productivity apps to help you out around the house with things like cleaning, maintenance, and everyday tasks.

1. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a productivity app that lets you create, share, and sync between multiple devices. It’s good for people who bounce around between using their phone, iPad, or laptop, or even smart watches.

In Wunderlist you’re able to create deadlines and automatic reminders. This is great for remember things like bringing the garbage bin out, or cleaning tasks that you only do once a month or so, like cleaning windows.

Another great feature that Wunderlist uses are subtasks. Say you want to clean the bathroom on Tuesday. To make sure you remember everything, you can add subtasks for things like “clean the bathtub,” “scrub the toilet,” “mop the floor,” etc.

2. Chorma

Chorma is a great app to motivate everyone in the family involved in household maintenance. It lets you create rewards for each user. As users perform chores and check them off, they’ll earn points. Once they get a certain number of points, you’ll be notified and they can earn their reward.

Things like a new book or video game, or a trip out for ice cream are all great motivators for getting kids to complete chores.

3. Todoist

Todoist is much like Wunderlist in that it allows you to create, manage, sync and share tasks. However, it goes a step further when it comes to creating teams. If you live in a big household and want to split up chores, creating teams could prove to be helpful.

Todoist also incorporates a simplistic and elegant interface that is easy to navigate. Plus, at the end of the day you get to see how many tasks you completed.

4. Hours

Hours is first and foremost a time tracking app. If you’re the type of person who needs to constantly know where their time is going, Hours is the best app for you. Once you start a task, simply press the clock button and you’ll begin tracking time. This is a great app for people who work from home or anyone trying to control how much time they spend on each task.

A great feature incorporated within Hours are the detailed reports. They’ll tell you how much time you spend on each task in the form of simple charts and graphs. If you have a maintenance or home improvement project that you’re working on and want to spend at least an hour each evening, Hours will let you know if you’re meeting your goal.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Judy Moore on 12/24/2017

There are a lot of ways a real estate agent can help you find the best home for your needs. However, the final decision always rests squarely on your shoulders.

The challenge for many home buyers -- especially first-timers -- is to keep everything in perspective and avoid sacrificing features that are especially important to you.

Developing a carefully thought-out priority list, consisting of both necessities and "wish list" items, is an essential starting point for getting what you want in a new home. Even though house hunting can potentially wear you down, it's important to hang in there and stay true to your priorities.

While everyone has different expectations, lifestyle needs, and personal requirements, some things are bound to create issues down the road.

  • Being too close to neighbors: Depending on your need for privacy, this may or may not be a problem for you. However, if you don't want your life to feel like a reality show (with your neighbors being the audience), then it would probably pay to maintain a comfortable distance between houses. Unfortunately, that's not always possible. For example, if you're in the market for a home in an urban environment or a townhouse setting, then close proximity "comes with the territory". If living in suburbia is your objective, though, it's often feasible and desirable to keep some breathing room between neighbors.
  • Basement laundry: Having to go up and down an extra flight of stairs every time you do your laundry is not the worst thing in the world, but it can make laundry day more of a hassle. The inconvenience of a basement laundry is multiplied if you have to do several loads of laundry every week. To make that chore even more unpleasant, unfinished basements are often dank, musty smelling, and not much to look at! Regardless of the condition of the basement, though, having a first-floor laundry does make life a lot easier!
  • A tiny yard: A spacious yard is not a feature all house hunters require, but if you have dogs, kids, and the occasional backyard barbecue, then you'd probably find a good-sized yard to be more satisfying. On the other hand, if your short-term plan includes moving in a few years, then yard size might not be a major issue.
  • Being too far from conveniences: Do you have your heart set on a rural setting for your next home? If so, you may have to sacrifice being close to shopping, entertainment, friends, and work. It is a potential trade-off that you and your family will need to consider carefully. Reaching a consensus on what you must have versus what you'd like to have in a home will hopefully help ensure a decision you'll all be satisfied with.
There are literally dozens of other potential priorities to consider when searching for a new home, so it's wise to create a comprehensive list of the features, advantages, and amenities that are really important to you. Your real estate agent can work with you to pinpoint your house hunting requirements and help you find the house of your dreams... or at least a close facsimile!





Posted by Judy Moore on 12/17/2017

When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.


Choose An Agent


You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.


Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home


While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps. 


From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history. 


Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for. 


Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan


Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.