Friday, July 16, 2010

Florida is ranked #4 for Most Tax Friendly States

During tax season, it seems as if everyone thinks the grass is greener one (or in some instances, two) states over. Wonder whether your own envy is justified? Luckily, the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C., crunched some numbers to determine which states are the most generous with residents.

Unlike other "best of" surveys, the Tax Foundation takes a number of criteria into consideration, including state and local income taxes, property taxes and local sales taxes. Other overviews, such as those based on the Census, may rely solely on state income tax revenue (hence the minor difference in ranking).
Below are the five most tax-friendly states, according to the Tax Foundation's results. Worth noting is that the results were calculated based on information made available from the Tax Foundation for 2008, the last tax year for which state income tax data is completely available. Any recent changes, where significant, have been noted.
1. Alaska.
2. Nevada
3. Wyoming.
4. Florida. Sunshine and low tax rates have helped Florida become one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Florida imposes no personal income tax and no inheritance tax. Property taxes are collected at the state and local levels with rates per person landing it near the middle of all states when it comes to overall property tax paid out. As the state tries to keep taxes low for residents in a tight economy, it is exploring alternative ways of raking in revenue -- such as a proposed gambling deal with the Seminole tribe, which is expected to provide the state with $412 million. Florida is also grabbing at federal stimulus dollars (which they originally proposed to reject) to keep the budget afloat -- subsidies like the proposed $880 million Medicaid grant have helped Florida lawmakers avoid expensive tax hikes.
5. New Hampshire

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do you want an agent with too many listings?

Just read a blog about a seller looking for the agent with the most listings and I wondered why that would be an important factor in determining the value an agent brings.
Impressive to have many listings, but can and agent properly service many listings. Oh, I'm not saying that agents can't many listings (although it's questionable), but actually SERVICE them? Maybe not. Very few agents of any experience level can provide repeat-and-refer-worthy service at that level of production   and give individualized attention need to every seller and every buyer inquiring about the properties.
So, what do I mean by "service?" Well, you can bet I mean more than taking a listing agreement, hiring someone to put a sign in the yard, having the receptionist write up an inaccurate and boring MLS description, taking some awful photos, creating typo-infused home brochures and showing up six weeks later with a smile and an amendment to reduce the price.
No, I mean overseeing all the moving pieces and parts of the complicated process of preparing, marketing, selling and closing a listed property. Really caring about the outcome. Making sure your seller knows you care about the outcome. Keeping your seller informed and involved. So many other things I've written about in the past.
Many say that most of the post-signed-listing-agreement functions can be handled by a $10/hour assistant. I disagree. But that's a post for a different day.
What do YOU think?

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