Joseph Boyd's Blog
Perhaps the only downside of living in a relatively secure, desirable part of town is that you might let your guard down completely. When that happens, especially on a regular basis, you're creating a vulnerability that could eventually be taken advantage of. That's why is pays to be consistent when it comes to locking doors, teaching your kids good security practices, and always making your home appear as if someone's home.
Your home IS your castle and -- short of building a moat -- there are a variety of practical measures you can take to keep it safe and secure.
- Install a burglar alarm or home security system. There are a lot of options for making your home more burglar-proof, such as installing video surveillance cameras, window and door alarms, or a whole-house alarm system that alerts the local police department or alarm monitoring service of a break-in or other security breach. Virtually any security steps you take will help "tip the scales" in your favor, but a professional advisor from a reputable home security company can assist you in identifying potential vulnerabilities and choosing the options best suited for your budget, your degree of risk, and your comfort level.
- Plan ahead when going on vacation. Allowing your mail or newspaper deliveries to pile up on your front steps or driveway is like extending an open invitation to burglars who might be scoping out the area. Temporarily suspending your deliveries while you're away is a good starting point for keeping your house looking occupied in your absence, but you might also ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for unexpected deliveries. If you really trust them, you could even give them a key to your house, in case they're inclined to water your plants and take care of your pets! (That would eliminate the need and expense of sending your dogs and cats to a pet-boarding facility.) One tactic that a lot of homeowners forget about when they're going away for a few days (or even just overnight) is to hook up an automatic timer to a few of their lights. That simple step will help ensure that their house isn't pitch black at night. There's also the more expensive strategy of having a home security system that can be activated and monitored from your mobile device. Do-it-yourself installation kits are available, but some homeowners prefer the technical support features that come with a professional home security service.
- Outside lights can be a deterrent. A few motion-activated outdoor floodlights placed in strategic locations around your home can significantly reduce the risk of night-time prowlers staying on your property for very long. Since one of their primary objectives is to remain undetected and low profile, bright spotlights that turn on when they approach the house will often be enough to send them on their way.
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There are many fees and costs you’ll encounter as a homeowner. From closing costs that are due when first purchasing your home to your mortgage payment and property taxes, keeping up with these expenses is essential. But if you’re a homeowner that didn’t pay your property taxes, you’re at risk of losing your home in a tax sale. Keep reading to learn more about property tax liens and what to do if you have lost your property in this type of sale.
What is a Tax Lien?
If you fail to pay your property taxes or other municipal fees associated with your property like sewage or water bills, any past-due amount that you owe can become a lien on your home. Each state has its own laws regarding property tax liens but generally, if you have a lien on your home, the local government can sell the property to collect any monies owed.
Can I Save My Home After a Tax Sale?
Tax sales are a serious matter but there may be a few different options available to you to help save your home. It is possible to reclaim your home following a tax deed sale by setting aside the sale or redeeming it. Many jurisdictions offer a right of redemption that is available after the tax sale. TO redeem your property, you are required to reimburse the total amount paid at the sale, plus any interest to the purchaser. This must be done within a certain time frame, called the “redemption period,” which typically lasts from 1 to 3 years. Additionally, you may be able to redeem the property before the start of a sale.
If you are unable to redeem the property, you may be able to invalidate or set aside the tax sale. This can be accomplished in a few ways, including:
- Providing proof that there were defects in the tax lien
- Identifying defects in the tax sale process
- Proof that the tax in question was not owed or had been paid in full
- Offering a good reason as to why the neglected fees were not paid
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you are in a situation where a sale is imminent, or you’re exploring your legal options following a tax lien sale, you should consider working with an experienced attorney. Seeking legal counsel from a knowledgeable foreclosure attorney, tax attorney or real estate attorney may be able to stop or reverse a tax lien sale and help you to maintain ownership of your home.