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Real Estate FAQ Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, the real estate industry is booming. Since 2000, the local housing market has appreciated by 114.3%. Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property, there are a few things you should know. There are many misconceptions about real estate, just as there are many questions that often go unanswered. 

By reading this estate planning and probate estate FAQ for Pittsburgh, you can prepare yourself for the future. Here at Stoner Law Offices, we know the many challenges that come with real estate transactions. We want to answer your questions and leave you feeling confident that your property is in good hands.

Why Should Home Buyers Hire a Lawyer?

If you’re purchasing a home, you probably plan on working with a real estate agent. But you may not be aware that you should also hire an attorney. A real estate agent is not trained in complex legal matters. For instance, they don’t know how to create a contract with unusual language. If there are certain atypical terms involving the purchase of the home, you need a lawyer to create an airtight contract.

Your lawyer can also handle any legal challenges that come your way. For example, they might deal with a breach of contract or an easement on a property that makes the ownership confusing. With a lawyer’s help, you will get clarification to issues involving your property. If legal action is needed, they can initiate the lawsuit and represent you in court.

In some states, home buyers are required to work with a lawyer. Although this isn’t the case for Pennsylvania residents, you should still consider working with a legal professional.

Should Investors Have a Real Estate Lawyer?

Much like home buyers, real estate investors don’t need to have a lawyer. But they have even more reasons to work with one than the typical home buyer. This is due to the fact that their purchase is more than a life decision — it’s also a business decision. 

Whatever your intentions may be for the property, you could benefit from the guidance of an attorney. Every city and state has specific laws regarding issues like property development, property renting, and more. Before you make a purchase, it’s crucial that you understand the local laws. A failure to do so could result in a mistake that makes your investment a waste of money and time.

With real estate investment, there’s an added risk of disputes and litigation. Whether you find yourself dealing with a breach of contract or eviction, your issue could escalate to litigation. An attorney will guide you through the dispute and represent you in court.

What is a Property Assessment?

A property tax assessment is done with the purpose of finding the market value of a property. Typically, the assessment is completed at a specific date every year or every few years. The result is usually based on how much similar properties in the vicinity have sold.

As a homeowner, your property assessment matters for two main reasons. First, it is a way to gauge how much money you might receive if you sold your home. While there’s no guarantee your assessment will be the same as your selling price, it’s a good baseline. The assessment is also used by the government to determine the cost of your property taxes.

How Do I Calculate Property Taxes?

To calculate property taxes, you need to know the value of your property. Every one to five years, a tax assessor will go to your property and assess its worth. Your property taxes are determined by taking the value of your property and factoring in Pittsburgh’s tax millage rate. In 2017, the tax millage rate was 8.06.

It’s worth mentioning that there are some exemptions and relief programs that could impact your taxes. For instance, Pittsburgh has a Homestead/Farmstead Exemption that reduces your market value by $18,000. There’s also a senior tax relief reduction that gives qualifying seniors a reduction of 30% on their real estate tax.

Can You Appeal Property Taxes?

If you believe that your property taxes are too high, you can appeal the assessment. However, you may only do so a certain period after you receive your home assessment or tax bill. For individuals who live in Allegheny County, the deadline to appeal is April 1, 2020. It’s currently too late to appeal your 2019 taxes. 

The only way to appeal is to argue that your property should not have been assessed at the value you were told. Rather, it should be lower. In the event that your appeal is successful, your new property tax value will be lower than the initial one.

Why Should You Choose Stoner Law Offices?

Whether you are a homeowner, investor, or business owner, your real estate deals matter. One small mistake could put your property and your money in jeopardy. Fortunately, Stoner Law Offices is ready to assist you. We have years of experience and work hard to put you first. When you work with us, you can rest easy knowing your deal or property is in good hands. If you’re eager to get started or have questions about this real estate FAQ in Pittsburgh, give us a call today.

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