Blog :: 01-2019

How to Start a Commune

Communes or communal housing is more commonly known today as “co-housing”. Co-housing, according to Wikipedia is “is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces”. Co-housing may also be in the form of apartments in a building or portion of a building, such as the “Commonspace Community” in Syracuse, New York. As with any housing community, there are both challenges and benefits to living in a co-housing. Members of co-housing communities site health benefits thanks to the decreased loneliness, while others find the increased socialization daunting.

(Scroll down to find out how to start your own commune...)

            While most people seem apprehensive about joining an existing co-housing community, a lot of people want to know if it’s possible to start their own “commune”. While it may sound ideal, it’s also quite complex! Once you have 3 or 4 households that want to create a co-housing community, there are a lot of steps involved – in addition to finding the land or space you want to buy. According to co-housing.org, these are just the first steps you’d need to take in order to start your own co-housing project:

  1. Create a vision/goal statement to define the intentions and directions of the community.
  2. Create a group decision and communications process.
  3. Create a financial structure.
  4. Form an LLC (limited liability company) or incorporate.
  5. Create bylaws for the community.
  6. Open a separate bank account for the community.
  7. Collect assessments from members.
  8. Do your research and learn from already-operating co-housing communities.

Additionally, there are steps to register your community, various tax laws for co-housing, and of course, developing and building on the land or space you have purchased. So, if you do plan on creating your own co-housing community, be sure you know what you’re getting into! For more information, you can visit cohousing.org.

Have more questions? Feel free to Contact us

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

facebook // instagram // pinterest // twitter // youtube

Property Tax Appeals

The statewide average of error on assessed property value is a whopping 11%! This means you may be paying more property taxes than necessary on your home.

Why is there such a high percentage of error? Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties have dedicated staff that search through home listings looking for recently-improved properties in order to raise assessed values and collect more taxes. Typically, they are looking for “assumed remodels.” When they find an assumed remodel, they will look at the final occupancy permit (issued by the contractor once the remodel is complete and the home is move-in ready) for the increased value of the property. Unfortunately, remodeling contractors will often erroneously include costs on the final occupancy permit that are not associated with home value, such as dumpster rentals, porta-potty rentals, or remodeling materials. If you are remodeling your home, make sure to ask the contractor not to include these costs on the occupancy permit.

(scroll down for more information...)

When you get your tax bill in November, look over it carefully to make sure the numbers are accurate. Check to see if an increased assessed value is correct and not due to any sort of “maintenance improvement”. For example, new paint or carpet, a roof replacement, or new furnace should not count as added value. What should be included as added value are structural changes like a bedroom addition, a kitchen/bath remodel, or finishing a basement. If you find errors in your assessed value, you have one year to contest it, and can only argue one year’s worth of taxes (unless the increase is 20% over the market value, in which case you can contest the past two years of taxes).

How do you contest your home’s assessed value? The best way to appeal your assessed value is by using comparable (similar) properties in your neighborhood that are more representative of your property’s current value. Have this information prepared and outlined before your scheduled hearing because you will only have 10-15 minutes to make your case. Make sure your evidence is strong and to the point! In all cases, the property assessor is assumed correct unless you can prove otherwise. And, of course, reach out to us if you have questions! We have great professionals that can help you contest your property taxes.

 

For more information, check out our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series.

 Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

facebook // instagram // pinterest // twitter // youtube

Preparing for Tax Season

Tax season is upon us! If you're gathering all your documents together to file your taxes, you're not alone. We've compiled a list of documents you'll need for you or your tax preparer to file this year:

  • Your W-2 or 1099 from your employer.
  • A copy of your property tax bill for 2018.
  • 1099s from all your mortgage holders (lenders). Remember, mortgage interest is deductible for up to $750,000 in mortgage loans. 
  • A copy of your settlement statement for any property bought or sold in 2018. There may be other deductions here!

 

For more information, check out our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series.

 Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

facebook // instagram // pinterest // twitter // youtube

 

Home Ownership: Your First Year

10 Things to Remember During Your First Year of Home Ownership

  1. Hire a locksmith to change your locks.
  2. Switch all utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer, garbage, cable/internet, etc.) into your name as of your move-in date.
  3. Be sure to change your address with the post office and anyone you receive bills from (bank, credit card companies, student loans, etc.). USPS will forward mail to your new address for up to 6 months.
  4. Make note of where all your shut-off valves and electric panel are in your new home.
  5. Change all smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

  6. Have your heating, air conditioning, and all major appliances serviced if not done recently. And be sure to change your furnace air filter regularly!
  7. Hire a yard care company, or purchase any yard care tools you may need for each season (including lawn mower, weed-wacker, shovel, etc.).
  8. Check and clean your gutters as needed.
  9. Check and clean your dryer vent regularly.
  10. Winterize your home during cold months by disconnecting and insulating outdoor faucets.

Want more home maintenance tips? Contact us, or check out our YouTube channel series on 5-minute home maintenance throughout the year!

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

facebook // instagram // pinterest // twitter // youtube