Posts filed under: Uncategorized

Owning Makes More Sense

When comparing the cost of owning a home to renting, there is more than the difference in house payment against the rent currently being paid. It very well could be lower than the rent but when you consider the other […]

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A Word Homeowners Need to Understand

Acquisition Debt is the amount of money borrowed used to buy, build or improve a principal residence or second home. Under the new tax law, mortgages taken after 12/14/17 are limited to a combination of $750,000 on the first and […]

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Unexpected Expenses

It’s common for Sellers to consider offering a home warranty or protection plan to make their home more marketable. A growing number of homeowners are now purchasing this type of protection for themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs […]

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Don’t Let a Killer In

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don’t want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in […]

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Waiting Will Cost More

An economist responded when asked how interest rates would change: “They may fall some and then, rise and after that, they’ll fluctuate.” Just because interest rates have been low for ten years doesn’t mean they are supposed to be low. […]

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The Tax Difference in Second Homes

A principal residence and a second home have some similar benefits, but they have some key tax differences. A principal residence is the primary home where you live and a second home is used mainly for personal enjoyment while limiting […]

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Flag Protocol

The American flag is obviously a symbol of our country but it has come to remind us of every man and woman who has fought for the freedom that we enjoy. The emotions that are stirred by images of our […]

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A Home for Tomorrow

As people near or enter retirement, one of the decisions that typically comes up is whether to sell their “big” home and buy a smaller one. If you know anyone who has been faced with that situation, selling one home […]

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Assumptions May be an Alternative

For the last 25 years, most buyers have gotten a new mortgage or paid cash when purchasing a home. For a practical reason, owner-occupant buyers have another alternative: assuming a lower interest rate existing FHA or VA mortgage. In the […]

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Overlooked Recordkeeping

Homeowners are familiar that they can deduct the interest and property taxes from their income tax returns. They also understand that there is a substantial capital gains exclusion for qualified sales of up to $250,000 if single and $500,000 for […]

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Costs More – Takes Longer

The one experience that homeowners can agree upon after completing a remodeling project is that it costs more and takes longer than expected. It doesn’t really matter that you researched, planned, and received multiple bids, it will, invariably, cost more […]

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Case Study – Housing Decision During Retirement

A couple is planning to tour the United States in a travel trailer during their first few years of retirement. They are going to sell their current home now and purchase another home when they finish their travels. An interesting […]

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Waiting Period After Distressed Sale

“How long do we have to wait to qualify for another mortgage” is the question concerning people who’ve had a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy. The loan types for the new loan will differ in amounts of time to heal […]

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Waiting Will Cost More

With the first quarter of 2018 in the books, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is nearing what Freddie Mac predicted it would be in the second quarter. If this pace continues, rates will exceed the five percent mark expected by […]

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FHA Advantages

The Federal Housing Administration, operating under HUD, offers affordable mortgages for tens of thousands of buyers who may not qualify for other types of programs. They are popular with both first-time and repeat buyers. The 3.5% down payment is an […]

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Standard or Itemized

Taxpayers can decide each year whether to take the standard deduction or their itemized deductions when filing their personal income tax returns. Roughly, 75% of households with more than $75,000 income and most homeowners itemize their deductions. Beginning in 2018, […]

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Inventory Continues to be a Challenge

In any given market, inventories fluctuate based on supply and demand considering area and price range. The National Association of REALTORS considers a balanced market to be a six-month supply of homes. If it takes longer than six months to […]

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Your Refund Could be the Difference

One of the silver linings to filing your income tax return is finding out that you are going to receive a refund. If you happen to be one of these fortunate taxpayers, your next decision is what to do with […]

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Fair Skies on Horizon

Buyers who have been concerned about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel more comfortable about moving forward with their decision to purchase. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed […]

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Historical Perspective

In 1968, mortgage rates were 8.5%. The next year, rates went down to 7%. Homeowners could buy a 15-20% larger home for the same payments if they could find someone to assume their mortgage. FHA and VA mortgages were very […]

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The “Right” Agent and the “Right” Home

Some buyers think that finding the right home is the critical part of the buying process and that is how they determine which agent to use. While it is important, there may be a broader skill set to consider when […]

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Ready for Retirement

It can be shocking to hear how many people spend more time planning their vacation or next mobile phone purchase than planning for retirement. It is hard to imagine that they are expecting Social Security will take them through their […]

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Balancing Risk and Deductibles

The benefit of insurance is to transfer the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. The deductible is an amount the insured pays out of pocket before the insurance starts covering the cost of the loss. […]

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Homeowner Tax Changes

The new tax law that was signed into effect at the end of 2017 will affect all taxpayers. Homeowners should familiarize themselves with the areas that could affect them which may require some planning to maximize the benefits. Some of […]

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Surprise When Renting Your Home

Planning to go to the Masters next April 2-9th and don’t have a place to stay. Each year, there are homeowners who rent their home for a big premium during the Masters because hotels are in short supply and demand […]

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Prevent False Home Security Alarms

Some police departments report as high as 98% of calls are false alarms. Not only is this an incredible waste of police resources that could be available for legitimate emergencies, it annoys neighbors, startles pets and results in expensive false […]

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ATM Safety Tips

During the holidays as throughout the year, getting cash from an ATM is normal for many people. ATM’s are available 24 hours a day and they’re located in bank branches, convenience stores, grocery stores, malls, airports, sports venues and on […]

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Eleventh Hour Gifts Without Shopping

If you’re beginning to feel the pressure of running out of time to find the perfect gift, here are a few suggestions that may not be on their “list” but will certainly be appreciated. The gift of really listening without […]

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Now Is The Time

Every year I’m surprise to hear, “I’m going to wait until spring to put my house on the market.” In some cases this is for convenience. But in most cases it is because of a myth I have been hearing […]

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Don’t Pat Yourself on the Back Just Yet

You’ve got $500,000 in liquid assets for your retirement and you’re still 15 years away. All your bills are paid; you have a small mortgage on your home; cars are paid for and great credit. Don’t break your arm patting […]

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Lighting Conversion Plan

In 2007, Congress passed an energy act that required new energy-efficient standards for basic light bulbs. Standard incandescent bulbs are being phased out and eventually will be unavailable. The alternative bulbs differ considerably in price. LED bulbs are the most […]

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Holiday Travels

The last thing you want if you’re traveling these holidays is to worry about someone burglarizing your home. Use this check list to add some peace of mind while you’re out of town. Ask a trusted friend – to pick […]

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Cash-In Refinance

Would someone really refinance their home and not take money out of it? Certainly, if they could get a lower rate, build equity faster and pay off the home sooner. For people with extra cash available, this can be very […]

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Up-front Points to Lower the Rate

When loans are quoted by lenders, most buyers pay attention to the interest rate but not so much to the points that may be charged along with the rate. A point is one-percent of the mortgage amount and considered pre-paid […]

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Indecision is Not a Decision

There could be some legitimate reasons for not buying a home but indecision is not one of them. Indecision is rooted in not having enough information to move forward to own a home or continue renting. If you keep renting, […]

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Risk Rate Relationship

Regardless of what a lender quotes on mortgage rates, the actual rate a borrower pays is based on a number of variables. Lenders determine whether to loan money and at what rate based on the risk involved with the transaction. […]

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Pre-approval is Good for Everyone

Buyer’s mortgage pre-approval is good for everyone in the transaction. It saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer will be qualified after negotiating a contract. The direct benefits include: Looking at “Right” homes – price, […]

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Easier to Play the Game

It’s much easier to play a game when you know the rules so you can avoid mistakes that may keep you from winning. Homeownership isn’t a game but there are some rules that will protect your investment and increase your […]

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Protecting Your Credit

One of the “big” three credit bureaus recently announced that a massive hack has exposed the personal information of up to 143 million people. To add perspective to that statement, that is about two-thirds of American credit card holders or […]

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Investing on Your Side of the Fence

The grass tends to look greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe that’s why some people invest in things they don’t understand. It has been said that the grass is just as hard to mow on the other […]

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Deductible Dilemma

The purpose of insurance is to shift the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. Most policies have a deductible which reduces the amount of the claim that is paid by having the insured share in […]

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Your Home’s Equity Could Be the Answer

A home equity line of credit, HELOC, is a mortgage loan made to homeowners to be used on an as-needed basis. A lender, such as a bank, will approve a borrower for a specified amount based on the equity in […]

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Which Value Do You Want?

What your home is worth depends on why you ask the question. It could be one value based on a purchase or sale and an entirely different value for insurance purposes. Fair market value is the price a buyer and […]

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Shorter Term – More Savings

Whether you’re refinancing your current home or buying a new one, something worth considering is a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year term. The payments will be a little higher but you’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll build […]

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Home Energy Aware

After the mortgage payment, the largest homeowner expense is for utilities and the major component is energy. Contributing factors include air leaks, insulation, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and lighting. Computers, monitors, TVs, cable and satellite boxes, DVRs and […]

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Home Safe Home

Home is a place you should feel safe and secure. Sometimes, we take it for granted and unfortunately, we do need to remain vigilant about things we do that could compromise our safety. Here are a few tips to consider: […]

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Other People’s Money for College

Consider the goal of funding a child’s college education in the future. If “other people’s money” in the form of a scholarship is not a possibility, there still may be another way to use some “other people’s money.” A $25,000 […]

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Assumptions are an Alternative

In the late 80’s, both FHA and VA began requiring buyers to qualify to assume their mortgages. The main reason there haven’t been many assumptions in the past 25 years is that interest rates have been steadily going down and […]

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Family & Friends Mortgage

Anytime a lender and borrower can agree on rates and terms, it can be a good match but IRS has specific rules that govern the transaction especially when the parties are family or friends. The loan must be done in […]

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Down Payment Problem – Are You Sure?

There is increasing difficulty for first-time home buyers to save for their down payment as indicated in the graph. Several factors that contribute to this trend include rising rents, rising home prices, student loan debt and flat wages. Some would-be […]

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