Psychographic Information on US Home Owners

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Government Services Management

Examples of services that manage government services on behalf of homeowners in the US include Washington Management Services (WMS), Governmental Management Services Florida, Complete Association Management Company, Cedar Management Group, and California Homeowners Association.

Washington Management Services

  • Washington Management Services (WMS) is a full-service woman-owned small business that specializes in asset servicing and core property management.
  • The services provided by WMS include acquisition and financing strategies, accounting, tenant search, marketing and leasing, property and asset disposition, counterparty risk assessment, property management services, business plan development and implementation, and budget planning and oversight.
  • When it comes to services provided that include management of government services on behalf of homeowners, those include documentation compliance, legal documentation and legal services management, asset valuation services, and construction and capital improvements.

Governmental Management Services Florida

  • Governmental Management Services Florida is a service that provides comprehensive management services for Community Development Districts in the State of Florida.
  • When it comes to services provided that include management of government services on behalf of homeowners, those include establishing governmental fund accounting system "in accordance with the Uniform Accounting System prescribed by Department of Financial Services for Government Accounting, which includes preparing monthly balance sheet, income statement(s) with budget to actual variances", circulating annual financial audit reports and annual financial reports to corresponding governmental agencies, setting up meetings with District representatives and ensuring the homeowners compliance with administrative and financial reporting for Community Development Districts.

Complete Association Management Company

  • Complete Association Management Company is a full-service management company that provides management services to the homeowners in Nevada.
  • When it comes to services provided that include management of government services on behalf of homeowners, those include the supervision of community association managers, company billings handling, providing a government affairs representative, and facilitating meetings and documents with the Secretary of State and the real estate division.

Cedar Management Group

  • Cedar Management Group is an accredited association management company that offers management services to homeowners in North Carolina.
  • When it comes to services provided that include management of government services on behalf of homeowners, those include making sure "that homeowners adhere to rules and regulations set by their associations and ensuring that they pay the required fees", and supervising support personnel who are working within the jurisdiction. This involves assisting attorneys regarding legal matters, ensuring compliance with government documentation, violations coordination, and processing homeowner assessments.

California Homeowners Association

  • California Homeowners Association is a private association that consists of over 6 million homeowners that, as an organization, sponsor legislation which deals with addressing the issues Californian homeowners face on a daily basis, and that are linked to the government and the real estate market.
  • When it comes to services provided that include management of government services on behalf of homeowners, those include reviewing any homeowners' or homeowner association’s records and documents, reviewing "rules and regulations, budget pro forma, reserve study, minutes of meetings, financial reports (not an audit), collection policy and annual disclosure reports", as well as making recommendations, providing consulting services, and organizing board meetings.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Government Services: Homeowners

Homeowners pay taxes that range from about $560 in Alabama to about $7,800 every year in New Jersey. Building permits cost homeowners an average of $1,085. About 80% of homeowners are implementing structural changes in their homes without applying for permits. Tickets that authorize digging/excavation cost about $25 per ticket, and violators digging without permits can get fined as high as fifty thousand dollars (US$50,000).

Cost of Property Taxes

  • Based on the average provided by Mortgage Calculator, for all states, American homeowners are paying an average tax of $3,313.
  • Homeowners are paying property taxes across all 50 states, which range from about $560 in Alabama to about $7,800 every year in New Jersey.
  • The property taxes paid every year depends on where homeowners live. The states that have the lowest property taxes are those with low costs of living, such as Alabama, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
  • "Homeowners that have a net income between $25,001 and $50,000 every year pay at least 10.2% of their taxable income in property taxes. On average, homeowners that have a net income in the range of $50,001 and $200,000 are paying between 4.8% and 6.3% of their taxable incomes as property taxes. Property taxes represent 2.2% or less of the net incomes made by the top 1% of homeowners. Millionaire homeowners are contributing about 0.6% of their net revenues to property taxes.

Cost of Homeowner Permits

Cost of Homeowner Tickets

  • According to Digsafe, homeowners or their contractors in most states are required to call and obtain tickets/permits before carrying out activities such as excavations or digging the soil in their vicinity.
  • Tickets are available to homeowners that need to dig or excavate around their properties at the cost of $25 per ticket. Digging permits are not valid without an adequate ticket number.

Property Tax: Missed Deadlines and Penalties

  • There is limited information on the number of homeowners defaulting to pay late taxes on their properties when due.
  • About 8% charge is added the due sum (as a penalty) for the first $1,500 worth of property tax delinquency, after which 18% is charged for the value of tax delinquency (overdue tax) above $1,500.
  • The effect of other penalties associated with property tax delinquency (late payment penalties) gives rise to an interest rate above 24%, where the total misconduct/delinquency is above $10,000 per year.

Homeowner Permit: Missed Deadlines and Penalties

  • Several homeowners are remodeling their homes without applying for permits. About 80% of homeowners do not seek/apply for a permit to effect changes in their homes.
  • Several homeowners are remodeling their homes without permits as a way of avoiding delays. Others think obtaining a license/permit is difficult/troublesome. Some homeowners feel they won't get caught if they boycott permits.
  • There is little information on the average fees charged for homeowners apply late for building permits. Homeowners often get bills "for the fines and penalties for failure" to obtain building/renovation permits.
  • A recent case study of a late building permit involved the "county conducting many reviews" and cost the applicant/home seller about $8,000 to process. This charged amount is higher than the national average cost of obtaining building permits for homeowners at $1,085.
  • Other disadvantages of homeowners applying late for permits include the fact that insurance might not be willing to cover a defect where a consent/permit was not obtained as at when due. Damage to property caused by fire might not get covered by the homeowner's insurance policy, where an improvement work gets finished without a permit.
  • Some cities often require homeowners to tear out remodeling work done without a permit. This process constitutes additional costs and leads to wastage of resources.

Homeowner Dig Tickets: Missed Deadlines and Penalties

  • Failure to obtain a dig ticket can result in fines as high as fifty thousand dollars(US$50,000), and homeowners could bear the repair costs when underground facilities are damaged.
  • According to Dig Safe, there were about 1089 violation incident reports in Massachusetts in 2018 related to digging tickets. About 29% of the alleged violations based on invalid Dig Safe tickets or homeowner/contractor failure to notify Dig Safe Inc. before digging. The Massachusetts Division of Dig Safe collected $2,058,000 as civil penalties and also conducted about three training sessions to enlighten 108 first‑time offenders.

Research Strategy

The research investigated the current state of homeowners' utilization of government services in the United States. The study investigated the property taxes, permits, and tickets. The strategy reviewed government agency publications such as the Tax Policy Center. An investigation was conducted to uncover the amount American homeowners are paying as home tax default rates as well as penalties. Tax Policy Center revealed that homeowners benefit from an economic term known as "imputed rent." Homeowners often get excluded from paying certain other expenses related to their federal taxable income. Homeowners often exclude, up to required limits, the capital gain made from the sale of a home. Additional insight to uncover the percentage (if any) of homeowners that default on other payable taxes outside the required limits failed to reveal the needed insights. These additional insights were not made public. The penalties for such actions were also researched but are not made public.

The research also examined the rate at which homeowners pay property taxes as well as the frequency/rate at which they default to pay their home taxes. This strategy reviewed the number of homeowners that miss tax payment deadlines. The study examined business news publications such as Pulse/Business Insider. This strategy uncovered the average amount that homeowners pay as property taxes in the 50 states of America. There were no insights related to defaulters. The number of those defaulting to pay tax for their homes at state and community levels is not published. This information is not available. The revenue made from defaulters of property tax and the average fine charged to defaulters was investigated. Insights revealed that penalties/fines could be above 24% of the due amount, where the total delinquency is above $10,000 per year. There were no insights into the entire revenue made from late homeowner taxes/penalty fees. The study assumed that (total revenue from tax fines/average fine per individual homeowner) = the number of yearly defaulters.

The study reviewed the resources of not-for-profit clearinghouses such as Dig Safe. This strategy examined the current state of homeowners'utilization of government services such as property taxes, permits, and tickets. Dig Safe revealed that some Americans are not obtaining permits before excavating or digging their premises. The Massachusetts Division of Dig Safe collected $2,058,000 as civil penalties from 1089 ticket violation incident reports. There were no insights into the national average violation rates. Dig safe did not reveal data regarding property tax violators or violation statistics related to other homeowner permits. Research for the total number of successful homeowner digging activities in Massachusetts that obtained a ticked did not uncover the required statistics. The study assumed that the total number of successful digging with tickets/number of ticket violations = rate of defaulters (those missing deadlines). Dig Safe did not reveal such detailed insights. There is no insight related to homeowner tax defaulters.

Due to limited statistics related to the current state of homeowners'utilization of government services such as property taxes, permits, and tickets, state level, and city-level statistics are provided in some instances, such as in the case of dig permit violations.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Government Services: Common Use Cases

Five typical services homeowners access when interacting with the government include 1) Paying property tax; 2) Home Improvement Contractor Complaint; 3) Sewer Backups; 4) Dispute water or sewer bill, and 5) Property Deed Fraud. Actions that are typically completed through a third party, such as building permits (contractors) or deed transfer (lawyers), were not considered. For purposes of analysis, we have used New York City as it is a mature city with well-documented processes.

Property Tax

Homeowner Process

— Current and past-due property tax changes;
— Other property-related charges, including past due amount;
— The amount the homeowner can prepay. Prepaying taxes may result in a discount;
— Exemptions, abatements, and credits and
— General information about how the tax is calculated
  • Bills are generally mailed and posted on the city website about a month before property taxes are due.
  • If the property's assessed value is less than $250,000, then bills are mailed quarterly. Payment is due on July 1, October 1, January 1, and April 1.
  • If the property's assessed value more than $250,000, bills are mailed semi-annually. Payment is due on July 1 and January 1.
  • Homeowners are encouraged to pay their bills electronically to reduce the possibility of error.

Challenge

  • There are no late fees, but interest is charged on the outstanding balance from the due date.
  • Non-payment of bills can result in a lien being put on the property.
  • Once the lien is put on, the homeowner will receive four separate notices, and then the property will be sold.
  • Senior citizens, veterans, or their relatives, persons with a disability, may qualify for an exemption.

Home Improvement Contractor Complaint

Process

  • In many cities, some laws regulate anyone who performs construction, repair, remodeling, or other home improvement work and the home improvement work performed on private residences as well as condominium units. The latter is often in the form of building codes.
  • If a homeowner has a complaint, they are instructed to complete a form online that asks for what, where, and who information.
— The homeowner should log into an account with the City of New York to submit their complaint online.
— If they do not want to register an account, they can file a complaint at 311 Online.
— The complainant is instructed to download a complaint form, complete it, and send two copies to the city.
  • If the homeowner provides an email address with their request, the homeowner will receive a confirmation by email, along with the above complaint form. The homeowner must complete the form and return to the city.

Challenge

  • The time it takes for the city to begin resolution is lengthy. Complainants are asked to be patient and contact the city if they have heard nothing within 45 days.

Sewer Backup/Unsanitary Condition

Process

  • Homeowners can report sewer backup or flooding during or after an event, even if the condition has cleared and the water has retreated.
  • The person reporting must provide contact information so the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the city can initiate service. They will not action a service request without contact information.
  • Workers from the DEP try to inspect the location within six hours of receiving the complaint. However, flooding caused by weather, e.g., heavy storms or melting snow may cause inspection delays.

Challenge

  • Even when the backup is the responsibility of the municipal infrastructure, it can take days, weeks, or even longer for it to be repaired.

Dispute water or sewer bill

Process

Identification of the property
— The charge in dispute and date of the bill
— Statement of the reason(s) why you believe the charge is incorrect
  • If the homeowner is not happy with the DEP decision, they have the right to appeal. The appeal must be submitted in writing within 120 days from the initial DEP response letter. The homeowner may also file a petition for an extension.

Challenge

  • Interest will continue to accrue until all charges are paid in full.
  • Even if the homeowner wins the challenge, they are still required to pay interest on the charges that are determined to be correct. This process puts the homeowner in the position of having to spend money before they know how much it is or be penalized.

Property Deed Fraud

Process

  • Changes to property deeds must be submitted to the City Register. Most are filed by lawyers who manage real estate sales. Suspicious activity is reported to law enforcement.
  • Homeowners can also complain directly to the sheriff.
  • After reporting to the sheriff, homeowners are advised to request a copy of the fraudulent document and then report the crime to the district attorney.
  • The city also recommends that all homeowners enroll in the Recorded Document Program. It is a free service that will send a text, email, or mail notice when a change is recorded to their deed or other relevant documents.
  • To register for the program, the registrant must be the property owner or the owner's agent, property owner's attorney, managing agent, lien holder, or estate executor.

Challenges

  • According to a grand jury in Manhattan, stealing property deeds in NYC is a very easy crime to pull off. Elderly and the estates of recently deceased are often targeted. There have been nearly 3,000 deed fraud complaints submitted to the city since 2014.
  • Proving fraud can often be a long and challenging exercise. "By the time a homeowner realizes what has happened, the home may have already been sold or mortgaged multiple times. .... Dairus Griffiths, 65, has been mired in a five-year legal battle to recoup his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant."

Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "How Much Does A Building Permit Cost? Typical Range: $384 - $1,786"
Quotes
  • "Your ticket for this ranges from $19,000 to $45,000. Many factors can slide the figure up or down."