Long Island Real Estate: Move Vs. Improve

With spring just around the corner may Long Islanders are wondering whether they should up and move, or simply re-design their current property. How do these options really compare? What might the tax penalties be? What’s the best move for you?

If your current space, Long Island condo, or home just isn’t cutting it; is it better to move, or simply improve your existing place? What might the financial and tax consequences of each option be?

The Cost of Moving on Long Island

Low interest rates and rising home prices are prompting many Long Islanders to move before it gets more expensive. That may be smart. Rates and prices may continue to go up. If you don’t need as much space, and your current property taxes and home maintenance bills are too high, then downsizing may be a savvy move. But don’t underestimate the expenses.

Aside from the actual cost of moving house there are closing costs, financing costs, and the costs of life and work being interrupted. Depending on how long you’ve owned your current property there may also be capital gains taxes due on any cash you get out. Current high property prices in NY also mean moving might come with a big new annual property tax bill too. Remember that current tax bills will be adjusted up based upon the new value after you buy, not what they owner is paying now.

Do the math carefully.

Improving Your Current Long Island Home

For many, simply making over existing Long Island properties may be less taxing.

Whether you just want a new look, more space, or perhaps lower annual housing bills, there are options, right where you are. Refinancing a home mortgage can be smart while interest rates are low. Some may even be able to refinance, get cash out to cover home improvement costs, and lower their payments all at the same time. This in tandem with energy efficient home improvements such as better lighting, appliances, new insulation and air handlers, and perhaps even new windows, can all potentially significantly reduce annual water and power bills.

However, do note that if you add square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, you will probably need a building permit. That can trigger higher tax assessments, and in turn higher property tax bills each year. This won’t happen with most cosmetic makeover projects.

Empty nesters, and those considering downsizing may find they can stay and optimize their space, while lowering expenses too. Perhaps you can eliminate a bedroom or two and substantially increase the size of your master suite. That can make for easier cleaning, and more enjoyment, while potentially reducing the tax assessed value of your home.

Moving or Staying: Challenge Your Property Tax Bill

There are so many erroneous mistakes and over-inflated property tax bills sent out each year that it pays to challenge them. This is true whether you are moving to a new place, or are considering just making over your current space. In fact, this alone might create some extra surplus dollars to make the move, or complete home improvement projects. Talk to a Long Island property tax adjuster and see if you can get your assessments and bills slashed this year…

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