Houses in good physical
condition sell for top dollar. Fixer-uppers sell at greatly reduced
prices because whoever buys them must spend money on repairs to
get them back into pristine condition.
Even if you've
lived in your house for the past 20 years, it may have hidden problems
you know nothing about. You probably can't see, for example, whether
your house's electrical system is shot or whether dry rot is turning
the woodwork into sawdust.
can be deal breakers because they cost major money to repair. The
more you know about your house's hidden problems, the better able
you are to deal with those problems effectively. For this reason,
we recommend that you have your property thoroughly inspected before
putting it on the market.
Finding financial and tax advisors
If you want to hire a financial or tax
advisor, interview several before you select one. Check with your
agent, banker, lawyer, business associates, and friends for referrals.
As is the case with selecting your agent, you should get client
references from each tax advisor and call the references.
Here are the
qualities to look for in a good financial or tax advisor:
the advisor work full time in this occupation? The realm of
personal finances and taxes is too vast for you to trust a part-timer.
You need the services of a full-time professional.
- Does the
advisor speak your language? Good advisors can explain your
options in simple terms. If you don't understand exactly what
the tax advisor is saying, ask for clarification. If you still
don't understand, get another tax advisor.
- Is the
advisor objective? Hire someone who works solely by the hour
and doesn't have a vested interest in the advice that they give
you. Never blindly follow the advice of experts because you're
in awe of their expertise.
- What is
the advisor's fee schedule? Hourly fees vary widely. Don't
pick someone strictly on a cost-per-hour basis. Furthermore, the
quality of the seasoned veteran's advice may be superior to the
quality of the novice's advice.
- Is the
tax advisor a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Enrolled Agent
(EA)? These professional designations indicate that the tax
advisor has satisfied special education and experience requirements
and has passed a rigorous licensing exam. A CPA does general accounting
and prepares tax returns. An EA focuses specifically on taxation.
- Does the
tax advisor have experience with real estate transactions?
Tax practice, like law or medicine, is an extremely broad field.
You need a tax advisor whose clients have tax problems like yours.
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