Whom to Contact - Q & A 
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Q: What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?
A: Appraisers use several factors when estimating a home's value, including the home's size and square footage, the condition of the home and neighborhood, comparable local sales, any pertinent historical information, sales performance and indices that forecast future value. For detailed information on appraisal standards, visit the Appraisal Institute website, www.appraisalinstitute.org, or contact the organization at 550 W. Van Buren St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60607; (312) 335-4100.

Q: Where do I get information about closing costs?
A:For more on closing costs, ask for the "Consumer's Guide toMortgage Settlement Costs," Federal Citizen Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009; (888) 878-3256; www.pueblo.gsa.gov.

Q: Where do I get information on filing consumer complaints?
A: For information about filing consumer complaints, look to these sources:

  • Consumer Federation of America, 1424 16th St. N.W., Suite 604, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 387-6121; www.consumerfed.org
  • American Homeowners Association; PO Box 16817, Stamforc, CT 06905; (800) 470-2242; www.ahahome.com.
  • Consumers Union, 1535 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103 or call (415) 431-6747; www.consumersunion.org.
  • Consumer Action, 116 New Montgomery St., Suite 233, San Francisco, CA 94105; (415) 777-9635; www.consumer-action.org.

Q: Where do I get information on housing market stats?
A: A HomeJoy Real Estate agent is a good source for finding out the status of the local housing market. So is your statewide association of Realtors, most of which are continuously compiling such statistics from local real estate boards.

For overall housing statistics, U.S. Housing Markets (meyersgroup.com) regularly publishes quarterly reports on home building and home buying. Your local builders association probably gets this report. Finally, check with the U.S. Bureau of the Census in Washington, D.C.; (301) 763-3199; census.gov. The Chicago Title company also has published a pamphlet, "Who's Buying Homes in America." Write Chicago Title 601 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32204; (888) 934-3354; ctic.com.

Q: Where do I get information on IRS publications?
A: The Internal Revenue Service publishes a number of real estate publications. They are listed by number:

  • 521 "Moving Expenses"
  • 523 "Selling Your Home"
  • 527 "Residential Rental Property"
  • 534 "Depreciation"
  • 541 "Tax Information on Partnerships"
  • 551 "Basis of Assets"
  • 555 "Federal Tax Information on Community Property"
  • 561 "Determining the Value of Donated Property"
  • 590 "Individual Retirement Arrangements"
  • 908 "Bankruptcy and Other Debt Cancellation"
  • 936 "Home Mortgage Interest Deduction"
  • Order by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.

Q: How do I reach the IRS?
A: To reach the Internal Revenue Service, call (800) TAX-1040; www,irs.gov.

Q: Where do I get information about finding a real estate attorney?
A: To find a real estate attorney, contact your local bar association, which may offer local referral services. You may also ask friends or your HomeJoy Real Estate agent for their recommendations. When you have several names, call each to find out about fees and their level of experience.

Copyright 1999 Inman News Features

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