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COA Resources
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • Magazine Address Changes - We have collected some great information on how to change your address to keep getting the magazines you love at your new home.
  • Name Change Checklist - If you have recently gotten married, divorced, or changed your name for any other reason, then this list of resources will help you make sure you notify organizations that need to know your new name.
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • USPS COA Site - You can pay a small fee to change your address here OR you can use our FREE service.
  • USPS Options for Receiving Mail - This is an interesting page where you can see what your options are for receiving mail. Did you know you had any?
  • Call to Change Your Address - This is an FAQ entry on how to change your address over the telephone.
  • USPS State Abbreviations - This is a real quick table for looking up State abbreviations.

Archive for September, 2010

30 Interior Decorating Blogs For Your New Home

If you just moved into your home and revel in the fact that you have tons of new design and layout possibilities then you may also be looking for some inspiration. I personally really enjoy looking at what other people have done with similar rooms as I start to design or even redesign a room in my house. One of the best resources are the various blogs out in the blogosphere as they generally have great pictures and DIY information to help you first create your dream and then make it a reality. I have compiled a list of 30 really great interior decorating blogs that will hopefully help you make your new or old space your own.

1. Design Sponge
http://www.designspongeonline.com/
This really great looking blog has posts and articles dating all the way back to 2004, but don’t worry it’s very current and provides a wealth of articles, images, podcasts, and more to help give you some advice (there are also some recipes and other fun things on the site).

2. Moco Loco
http://mocoloco.com/
This blog features various designers and has some of their thoughts on every genre of design. I particularly like the essays that focus on the contemporary style.

3. Apartment therapy
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/
This website has a tagline “saving the world, one room at a time”. Blog members are encouraged to comment, suggest design philosophies, and much more. There are some great interactions on this blog.

4. Material Girls
http://materialgirlsblog.com/
Unfortunately Google has flagged this site as having some potential javascript issues so be careful… but when you do get into the site it’s truly great. It covers interior design trends in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.

5. Cocozy
http://www.cococozy.com/
This is an interesting blog and online magazine by someone that is simply passionate about interior design and hoping to be able to inspire friends, family, and others. While she claims not to be a pro, she could design a room in my house any day!

6. 2011 Interior Decorating Trends
http://interior-decorating-trends.blogspot.com
This blog is attempting to be on the very edge of interior decorating. As it is fairly new I would say to enjoy the posts and keep an eye on it as it evolves in the coming months.

7. Antiquity at home {interior Decorating Ideas} Blog
http://antiquityathome.blogspot.com/
This blogger is active and clearly loves interior design (even though she recently had to take a short break from blogging but is back). There are some interesting pictures and if you love pink, you will want to check this one out for some ideas to pink up your space.

8. Home Interior Design and Decorating Tips Blog
http://home-interior.blogspot.com
MyTravelingHome
This site is heavily a 2009 blog site with articles, videos, and more that hit just about every room in your home. If you are looking for a really active blog though this one doesn’t appear to be one right now. Let the author know if you like it and want more.

9. Addicted 2 Decorating Blog
http://blog.addicted2decorating.com
This blog offers suggestions on upgrading those bland spaces, furniture and accessories around your home. It has articles about redesigning lampshades, bathroom mirrors, and all kinds of other interesting projects involving ordinary household items.

10. Home Decorating Ideas Blog
http://home-decor-improve.blogspot.com/
The colors on this site make it a challenge to read depending on your browser but it is kept up-to-date and offers lots of advice from budgeting your interior design projects to step-by-step project guides.

11. Jonathan Kluk
http://www.jonathanklunk.com
This blog is more of a total lifestyle blog but makes this list due to the great photo gallery and the sections dedicated to interiors. However, you also find fashion and other style trends to enhance the beauty in your life.

12. Interior Design Ideas Blog
http://www.interiordesignideas.net
This blog is exactly as the name advertises a great place to get interior design ideas. The author also provides a weekly newsletter with additional ideas for free.

13. Home Decorating Ideas, Interior Decoration, Kitchen Remodeling Blog
http://interior-decorations-design.blogspot.com/
If you can get past the tremendous amount of adsense and ads on this site you get to some interesting articles and images that will definitely inspire your next room. However, it is important to note that the articles are mainly from 2008 and 2009.

14. Interior Design Blog: Budget Decorating & DIY Resources
http://budgetdesigner.blogspot.com/
This is a practical blog that helps you control the budgets for your interior design projects. It also offers some interesting career advice for those looking to make a career out of their passion for interior decorating.

15. Home Staging and Decorating Tips Blog
http://homestagingnews.blogspot.com/
This blog owner has been in the interior design industry for 26 years. The site contains tips and tricks regarding house design—from color schemes to feng shui and as the name suggest staging your home for a sale.

16. La Petite Feathered Nest Blog
http://www.thehomestylist.com/blog/
This is the blog for Julie Dana who is recognized nationally as a great designer. Ms. Dana is also an accredited staging professional. This blog is kept very current and is full of practical advice that every homeowner can use to beautify their home.

17. On The Move Interiors Interior Design Blog | Boston
http://otminteriors.com/wordpress/
This is a Boston-based blog on interior design and decorating. The author is Sheila Selby (an interior designer by trade) and she is very active on her blog it is simply wonderful and truly is one you need to visit to appreciate.

18. Roombloom’s Weblog
http://roombloom.wordpress.com/
The goal of the blog is to help you transform your exiting space into an entirely new living space. The author offers several hip tips and a good question and answer section to help her readers.

19. CribFashion.com Blog
http://www.cribfashion.com/
Wow! Some great pictures here that I possibly can’t do justice with words (aka it’s hard to describe). It is NOT all about cribs it’s about your grownup “crib”.

18. Modern Decorating Tips
http://moderndecorating.org/blog/
This is right up my alley (at least right now). If you are also into contemporary designs then you will really enjoy this blog but… I got to say I WANT MORE!

19. Home Interior Design Themes Blog
http://homeinteriordesignthemes.com/
This blog has a lot more articles and variety of design themes and is very active. If you are looking for a wide variety of ideas then this may be a good starting point for you.

20. A Passion for Home
http://jeanettes.typepad.com/
This blog is written by Tobi Farley an interior designer from Little Rock, Arkansas. First, let me say that I love the blog’s theme and the images she has are simply elegant (pointing out different interior decorating tips). This blog is really a great blog for other bloggers to model their site’s after.

21. Love Your Room Blog
http://www.loveyourroom.blogspot.com/
So many great interior decorating blogs that as you go through this list you will find one favorite after another this one is another quirky, fun blog that is kept current and full of images to really help you understand the concepts being presented.

22. Carla Davis Designs Decorating Blog
http://blog.carladavisdesigns.com/
This one has fewer articles but they are interesting and from early 2010 (the first quarter). She has some interesting pictures again focusing on the her favorite fabrics and colors.

23. Home Decorating Photos, Interior Design Photos Blog
http://homeinteriorideastips.blogspot.com/
This blog has fewer articles and images but I am a complete sucker for dining room sets and the images on this blog are really nice at least if you are looking to enhance or replace your formal dining room.

24. Fabulous in Four-hundred Square Feet Blog
http://www.fab400sqft.com/
This blog was started after creator Bonnie joined the “Spring Cure 2010” in her pad. This is helpful for readers who want to improve the appearance of their apartments (especially small spaces).

25. Carolina Eclectic Blog
http://carolinaeclectic.blogspot.com/
This blog is managed by the owner of Carolina Saunders Design. As soon as you go to the site you are met with what is clearly someone who is passionate and very serious about good fundamental design principles. I love her work as well, it may be eclectic but it is definitely for me!

26. DUNIA DECORATION Blog
http://duniadecoration.blogspot.com/
The idea and tips section of this blog really stands out. It’s a great resource for all of us readers.

27. Home Ideas Blog
http://desultorybutterfly.blogspot.com/
This one is in the way-back machine. It hasn’t been updated in a while but that is okay because the ideas and images here are timeless really. I like the use of driftwood and could see building that into a design for my home easily.

28. interiordezine Blog
http://interiordeziner.blogspot.com/
Lee Brown is the author of this interesting site that has been active since 2005 and remains a great place with not too many, but fewer higher quality articles and ideas. It offers a great and simple education on basic interior design.

29. Decorology Blog
http://decorology.blogspot.com/
I am a big fan of the name and layout of this blog, plus several of these pictures really accurately reflect my same design tastes.

30. Pippa Jameson Interiors Blog
http://www.pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk/
The tagline says it all: “Find the answers to all your decorating delimas and stay up to date with the latest interior trends.” It’s active, professional, and a must read.

Top 40 Books About Feng Shui

Feng Shui, which started in China in ancient times, is now being used world wide by various people to improve their lives and attract positive energy. If you want to learn more about managing your house, your office, or even your own body, here are 40 great Feng Shui books that you can read to get you started with this Chinese art form.

1. The Principles of Feng Shui
by Larry Sang
This book will be helpful if you want to know more about the core of Feng Shui. The book talks about the Yin and Yang, Ba Gua, and many other systems and components of Feng Shui.

2. Feng Shui
by Richard Craze
This book has 192 pages and is published by Collins. It discusses the guides on achieving good fortune and harmony through the use of Feng Shui. It also includes illustrated and practical tips for enhancing your home and office environment.

3. Feng Shui Your Life
by Jayme Barrett, Mary Steenburgen, Jonn Coolidge
One of the authors, Jayme Barlett is a well-known Feng Shui consultant in Beverly Hills. This book, which she has co-written with two other writers, explains the techniques she uses in creating positive energy in various spaces.

4. Feng Shui: Harmony by Design
by Nancy SantoPietro, Lin Yun
The book is an ideal source if you want to understand Feng Shui deeply. This workbook presents easy-to-follow tips on how to locate power spots in your home.

5. Feng Shui: North American Edition
by Lillian Too
The book was published in 1997 offering information on Feng Shui that is easy to understand especially for beginners.

6. Feng shui: a practical guide for architects and designers
by Vincent Smith, Barbara Lyons Stewart
The book contains history and fundamental principles of Feng Shui. It also explains on how to apply these principles in architectural setting.

7. Feng Shui: Back to Balance
by Sally Fretwell
The book has 197 pages and was published by the New World Library in 2002. It was created after Fretwell noticed increase in people’s reliance to Feng Shui. The approach of the book is fun and at the same time rational.

8. Feng Shui
by Debra Keller
The books talks about the basic definition and principle of Feng Shui. It is not recommended for serious practitioner but can be helpful for people who want to practice Feng Shui personally.

9. Feng shui
by Jon Sandifer
This 150-page compact book contains comprehensive guide to the Chinese art of geomancy. It contains in depth background information and tools you’ll be needing in your own Feng Shui.

10. Feng Shui: The Art of Living
by Rosalind Simmons
The book primarily teaches the readers about living in harmony with their surroundings.

11. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feng Shui
by Elizabeth Moran, Val Biktashev, Joseph Yu
The book is said to be complete, yet easy to understand. Unlike most Western Feng Shui books which focus on modern Fensg Shui, this book is more about the classic.

12. Feng Shui for Skeptics: Real Solutions Without Superstition
by Kartar Diamond
Reviews said that the book is an uplifting and informative read. It conveys advanced information not usually found in other books.

13. Feng-shui: the ancient wisdom of harmonious living for modern times
by Eva Wong
This 276-page book contains complete and profound information about the traditional Chinese art of harmonization. It also has information about the early stages of Feng Shui.

14. Feng Shui and Money: A Nine-Week Program for Creating Wealth Using Ancient Principles and Techniques
by Eric Shaffert
This book has tips on increasing money and prosperity and other resources. It also teaches about the history of Feng Shui, suggestions for interior arrangements and rituals to invite good vibes.

15. Flying star Feng Shui
by Stephen Skinner
This book was released in 2002. The author Stephen Skinner is known to have popularized concepts of Feng Shui to Western readers.

16. Feng Shui So Easy a Child Can Do It
by Pat Heydlauff
This book gives out tips and pieces of advice in keeping your home sleek and organized, while crafting a peaceful atmosphere around.

17. Feng Shui Quick Guide for Home and Office: Secrets For Attracting Wealth, Harmony, and Love
by Carol Olmstead
The book contains practical approach on Fensg Shui that you can apply in your daily life. It has guidelines on how you can attract wealth, improve relationships, and clear encumber.

18. Choose the Best House for You: The Feng Shui Checklist
by Elliot Jay Tanzer
This book presents 150 problems and solutions with illustrations with checklist, so you can easily evaluate the house you are planning to acquire or lease. The checklist is contained in one chapter.

19. The Western Guide to Feng Shui
by Terah Kathryn Collinsh
The author is a Feng Shui instructor and she explains in the book the arrangements of home furniture and their effect to your life. The book also includes stories of transformation of people who applied Feng Shui in their lives.

20. The Personal Feng Shui Manual: How to Develop a Healthy and Harmonious Lifestyle by Master Lam Kam Chuen
This is a handy book that can help you interpret your behaviour and energy. It explains how you can attune your life with your surroundings to achieve harmony.

21. Lillian Too’s Easy-to-Use Feng Shui: 168 Ways to Success
by Lillian Too
This book features the different uses of Feng Shui in every aspect of your life. It contains practical information and examples on how to include Feng Shui in you life positively.

22. Feng Shui Demystified
by Clear Englebert
This book discusses about the effect of Feng Shui to your body. It also includes over a hundred pictures used to explain meanings of s person’s physical characteristics.

23. 10-minute feng shui: easy tips for every room
by Skye Alexander
This 256-page book includes guidelines on how to arrange you home’s placement so that you’ll gain better status in love, health, and finance.

24. Architect’s guide to feng shui: exploding the myth
by Cate Bramble
This book is created to aid architects in their design concepts in harmony with the ancient Chinese space arrangement.

25. Feng Shui principles for building and remodeling: creating a space that meets your needs and promotes well-being
by Nancilee Wydra, Lenore Baigelman, Lenore Weiss Baigelman
This book is helpful for both a novice and expert Feng Shui practitioner. The chapters discuss topics on lifestyle and housing style, building elements in shaping life experiences, and remedies for clutter.

26. Taoist feng shui
by Susan Levitt
This book explains how Feng Shui was developed from the Taoist astrology, the five elements and yin and yang.

27. Unmasking Feng Shui: A Christian Perspective
by Catelin Hoover
The book has 232 pages and comprehensively discusses the important elements of Feng Shui through Christian perspective.

28. Feng Shui For Architecture: How To Design, Build And Remodel To Create A Healthy And Serene Home
by Simona F. Mainini
This an easy-to-use manual for architects which serves as a guide in properly placing house elements in a particular place to achieve harmony and good fortune.

29. Feng shui chic: change your life with spirit and style
by Carole Swann Meltzer, Carole Meltzer, David Andrusia
Instead of guiding you with house Fen Shui, his book focuses on achieving harmony with your body. It contains tips on getting the right fabric for your clothes, hair color, and accessories to name a few.

30. Feng Shui in Five Minutes
by Selena Summers
This book basically teaches the readers what the good qualities of a house they are about to buy. The book gives advice from the shape of the lot to the interiors of the house.

31. Feng Shui Your Kitchen
by Sharon Stasney
This book as indicated by its title is used for improving your kitchen based on the principles of Feng Shui to achieve harmony and abundance. It also includes magnificent kitchen photos.

32. Feng Shui Facts and Myths
Larry Sang
Published by the American Feng Shui Institute, this book offers you in-depth information on Feng Shui and Astrology.

33. Gemstone feng shui: creating harmony in home & office
by Sandra Kynes
This book helps you attract good fortune to your abode by using various gemstones. It has easy-to-follow instructions regarding 63 specific gemstones.

34. Feng Shui for the Classroom
by Debra Keller
Unlike most books which focus on house Feng Shui, this book is geared toward providing guidelines for classrooms to become a better environment for the teacher and the students. It has 96 pages discussing on creating an energized atmosphere in classroom

35. Bedroom feng shui
by Clear Englebert
This book is dedicated for bedroom Feng Shui. It provides information on bed locations, seven things to consider in your bedroom, and even managing your closet.

36. Feng Shui Chic: Stylish Designs for Harmonious Living
by Sharon Stasney
This book will teach you what color, shape and texture to use to invite positive energy. It is easy-to-understand and good for beginners in Feng Shui.

37. The Everything Feng Shui Decluttering Book:Simplify Your Environment and Your Life
by Katina Z. Jones
This book will help you manage your clutter to help you improve your emotional and spiritual well-being. It has tips on identifying clutter and letting go of stuff to achieve a better storage and space.

38. The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Feng Shui
by Stephanie Roberts
This illustrated book on Feng Shui will help you make the most of chi outside and inside your home. The author gives the readers instructions on better room arrangements for a balanced and prosperous life.

39. Feng Shui for Abundance
by David Daniel Kennedy
This book doesn’t only focus on managing your exterior environment, but gives tips in helping you improve your habits and attitude to achieve abundance.

40. Negotiate with feng shui: enhance your skills in diplomacy, business, and relationships
by Jose Armilla
Unlike most books which deal with designing your house and office in accordance with Feng Shui, Armilla’s book is bound to help you with your day-to-day negotiations through Feng Shui. It has tips on choosing the right time and date in buying a car or house to get positive results as well.

10 Resources to Help Long Distance Relationships

When one person in a relationship moves due to work, school, or any other reason it can naturally cause a lot of strain on the relationship.  It’s really hard to explain just how difficult this can be until you have gone through the experience yourself.  However, there are a lot of advancements in technology that have made it somewhat easier to be in a long distance relationship so I decided to put together a short list of 10 of the best resources that I am aware of for people struggling with this problem.

  1. Skype.  I’m not willing to go so far as to say that Skype is the next best thing to come along since sliced bread, but it is pretty awesome for long distance relationships.  You can chat pretty much any time over the Internet for free and what is more important is if you hook up web cams you can see your significant other as well while you talk.

  2. AOL Instant Messenger.  I could just as easily picked on any other instant messaging service but since AOL is my chat service of choice it gets the spotlight.  The nice thing about chat is that you can usually have it up most of the day while you work (on your PC) and you can even add a mobile client to keep you accessible on the go from your smart phone.

  3. Text Messaging  (SMS). I’m almost not sure how society got along without the ability to send text messages.  I get several every day from my significant other just reminding me of various things I need to do and to basically brighten my day.  I wouldn’t want to be without a text/data plan any more with my cell phone.

  4. Google Apps.  You can use Google apps and/or any shared calendar system to let the other person know what your schedule is like to avoid any anxiety over what you are doing at any given point in time.  This can just head off some of the natural problems that occur with long distance relationships and not knowing what the other person has going on (I know… trust should be there but that’s hard from a distance).

  5. FaceBook.  There isn’t much that you can’t find out about someone from their FaceBook page (assuming they are active on the platform).  Between your computer and mobile device you can easily stay in touch and even share pics of each other.  It’s also nice to take the time to write on the other person’s wall every now and then.

  6. Mologogo.  You can use one of the many mobile GPS tracking solutions if you really want to notify each other of where you are all the time.  This may actually not be a great idea as it may violate some privacy or show real trust issues, but if you don’t mind letting the other person know where you are there are several mobile GPS apps and services you can utilize.

  7. Twitter.  If you aren’t a FB fan, then chances are you might be on Twitter.  You can tweet out updates to your significant other as well to let them know what is going on where you are.  Keep in mind though with Twitter, FaceBook, and other social networks that most of the time the World can see what you are saying too!  Be smart about what you share!

  8. Tokbox.  If you aren’t a Skype fan, you should give tokbox.com a try as they also have a great and free video chat service that will let you see and talk with your significant other.  I can’t stress enough what a difference it makes after a long day or even to start your day by looking and talking to the person you love the most.

  9. Orbitz.  You can get travel fare alerts from just about any of the large travel sites which can save you a ton of money on trips back to see your significant other.  You never know you may decide to take a quick trip just because a great plane fare is available this weekend, next weekend, etc.  No disrespect intended to Travelocity, Expedia, etc.  Use all the services you can to get notified of flight deals.

  10. JibJab.  You can use JibJab.com, AmericanGreetings.com,  SmileBox.com, and other great eCard services to send funny and interesting eCards to your significant other.  It’s inexpensive (usually free) and you can give them a great personalized note to let them know you are thinking about them.

So while it can be difficult to be in a long distance relationship.  You can actually communicate quite effectively to make it easier than ever to endure this time apart from one another.  Hopefully, you will be able to find a way to be in the same location as your long distance love but if you can’t you can at least use the advancements in technology to stay connected and feel like you are an intricate part of the other person’s life.

10 Great Going Away Party Ideas

It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a good friend when for various reasons they have to move far away from you.  Even with all the great tools we have available to us today with Skype, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.  It’s just not the same as hanging out in person with a good friend.  If you need to find the perfect way to say goodbye to a friend or family that is moving here are 10 great going away party ideas to get you started:

  1. The Amazing Race theme.  If you are a fan of the TV show you know that the contestants get clues and then race to various destinations (in order to get their next clue).  I would recommend using clues that are special to the person or family that is leaving.  A possible destination might be the scene of their first kiss, the place where they got married, their favorite restaurant, etc.  In order for this to work and not be too chaotic the guest list has to be relatively small and people that will know the answer to the clues.

  2. Picture to Remember.  If you want a more subdued party you can simply have a traditional get-together and hire a professional photographer to be there (or the best photographer in your group of friends) and then make sure each visitor gets their picture taken with the guest of honor so a scrapbook can be made of the event (traditional and/or digital).

  3. Hawaiian Party. Aloha is such an amazing word that carries so many meanings.  As your friend(s) are leaving it’s a bittersweet time in their lives where they say goodbye to things they love and prepare to say hello to their new home where they hope to also be very happy.  So, yes a Hawaiian party delivers this message complete with lays of course.

  4. Cruise Ship/Nautical.  As your friend prepares to sail off into the sunset you can send them off nautical style with a cruise ship theme (there really are few places that are more fun and wild than a cruise ship).  So this basically means lots of retro furnishings, nautical attire, and some really watered down mixed drinks made of every kind of fruit imaginable.  Bon voyage!

  5. Vegas Party.  Okay so one place that is full of chance and may actually represent the gamble being taken in real life is to throw a Vegas party with card games, slots, and the works.  There are normally several places to rent a Vegas party that will include gaming tables and people to run them for you.

  6. The New State/Region Party.  One really popular idea is to theme your party based on the city or State that the person will be moving to.  So if your friend is moving to Seattle, WA you should find as many authentic things as possible about Seattle and put up posters, statues, etc. that represent Seattle.  This is a great way to combine some of the old with some of the new in a proper send-off.

  7. “This is your life” Party.  Have each visitor put together a statement about what they will remember most about their time with the person and then stage a “this is your life” style show at your party where you read them off and the guest has to guess which person wrote each one.  It’s usually a lot of fun and a great way to bring back fun memories.

  8. Twilight Party.  The Twilight series has rapidly built up a cult following.  In this case the theme is appropriate as Bella moved to a new town and found herself almost immediately having amazing experiences.  This tends to work best as a party theme for a younger crowd, but given the generations that love the show you may consider for all ages.

  9. Flashback Party.  You can have a flashback party where people wear what they used to wear when they first met the guest of honor and then bring tons of photos that reflect their times with them.  Ideally this is a second print or digital copy of the pictures that the guest of honor can take with them

  10. Progressive Dinner Party.  You can have a progressive dinner party where you go to a person’s home or favorite restaurant for a multi-course meal.  You can start off with a drink at one place, get an appetizer at multiple places, multiple main dishes, multiple desserts, and an after-dinner drink.  The more stops the better but each should be meaningful to the guest of honor.

Whatever you do for a party theme it’s always important to keep the guest or guests of honor in mind.  This is a celebration about and for them and you want them to have an absolutely amazing time.  If they love to play games, then play the games they love the most.  If they love to watch movies, then incorporate that into the party somehow.  Make this a night that they will always cherish!

The Best Ways to Challenge a Property Tax Assessment

Did you know that nationally about 1/3 of the people who challenge their property taxes actually win?  It’s very possible for you to do the exact same thing.  If you have found that your home has been assessed at a value far above its current  market value then you need to seriously consider challenging the assessment.  This has a lot of positive effects none more significant than you saving money immediately on your taxes.  Since you are reading this article I’ll assume that you are either in the real estate or related industry OR you are contemplating challenging your property tax assessment and are looking for ideas to support your case.  You will find a lot of similar articles on the Internet so we will work hard to dig a little deeper and get you off to at least a good start on a winning strategy.

Tip 1 – First take a step back and analyze how far off of the real market value you think the assessment might be.  If you feel like it is 10% or more higher than what the true value of your home is then it is probably worth pursuing a challenge.  If you think it is off by less than that given your chances of winning (1/3) along with the total tax savings will most likely not be worth your time and may actually end up costing you in the end.

Tip 2 – When determining the actual market value of your property you need to find comparable homes that were sold in your surrounding community.  There are several ways you can do that including taking advantage of some online services.  One that is super easy and a quick reality check is from Realtor.com and is located here: http://www.realestate.com/homepricecheck/.  You can also contact a local realtor and get exact comps from them which is actually the ideal answer plus it’s possible that they have been in the comp homes making it easier for them to help you compare them to your house.

Tip 3 – Take a good look at the tax assessment for any errors about your home.  You would be surprised what they might have wrong.  Maybe they listed your home as having a pool and it doesn’t, or the wrong size, number of bedrooms, etc.  This is extremely common and is also an easier way to get your assessment reduced (because it’s painfully clear it should be).  This should be seen as something you HAVE to do rather than just a tip.

Tip 4 – Find out who the tax assessor is and who can help you get the assessment changed.  Be courteous and setup an appointment to visit with them in person.  Don’t suck up to them too much as they have heard every complement a thousand times.  You just want to be courteous and respectful and if you are lucky they will help you understand the best way to combat the assessment.  So when in doubt, ask.

Tip 5 – Either in person, over the phone, via email, or any other way of communication with the assessor make sure you sell the needed improvement and/or problems you are having with your home.  Yeah we have a pool but the pump is broken, the drain doesn’t work, the concrete is all cracked, etc.  Be descriptive and let them know that the house isn’t worth the current valuation they have in mind.

Tip 6 – Talk to your neighbors to see if they have any issues with their assessments and if any of them have been successful at getting their property taxes reduced.  It’s very likely that they will either be in a similar situation or will have already won an appeal or lost one.  Either way you can get some invaluable advice.  In the worst case you will either get them thinking or at least get some sympathy/empathy going.  It’s true that with property taxes misery loves company.

Tip 7 – Hire a real estate professional or attorney that focuses on fighting property taxes.  This only makes sense if you think the assessment is way off (greater than 10%) otherwise it ‘s very possible that the costs of fighting the assessment is more than the savings.  With that said, another reason to consider is that even if it costs you more this year to fight an assessment you could reap benefits for years to come making it potentially still viable.

Finally, one of the most important tips that we can give you is really more of an encouragement.  If over 1/3 of the people are successful at getting their property taxes reduced nation-wide, you really do have an excellent chance of making it happen if you get informed and stick to your guns/take a stand.

Here are some other great resources on the web that may help you:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2163949_appeal-property-tax-value.html

http://blog.valueappeal.com/categories/tips-tricks

http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/7-tips-to-lowering-your-property-tax/

http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/taxes/5-tips-appealing-your-property-taxes

http://www.realestateproarticles.com/Art/16315/272/Tips-Tricks-for-Appealing-Property-Taxes.html