Determining Value

August 27, 2012

Knowing the current value of your home is important when you’re considering a move, refinancing or getting a home equity loan. Prices are determined by recent sales and the supply and demand of current inventory.

The process of selecting comparable properties involves matching similar features like bedrooms, baths, square footage and updates. In addition to price, there are other factors that affect the value and ultimately, the sale of a home.

Location plays a significant role because by the unique combination of improvements and land. Beneficial considerations would be convenience to schools, shopping, transportation and proximity to freeways. Undesirable concerns could include being in the vicinity of busy streets, high-tension lines, commercial property and other things.

To receive a computerized estimate on the value of your home that includes prices of comparable homes that have sold recently and homes currently for sale, click here.

Value is not totally objective and does require a certain amount of subjective considerations. If you have questions after you receive your report by email, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your concerns.

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Pets No More….

August 27, 2012

Today was an end to a big part of my life.  Ma Kitty was put to rest.  I’ve had cats practically my whole entire life as long back as I can remember.  There have been many.  As a child I do not remember ever NOT having a cat and/or kittens around all the time.  I lived in a peanut farming town in rural SW Georgia and if you didn’t have cats, your neighbors did.  That’s what took care of mice and any other varmit that dared enter the yard aside from our trusty dulldog mix dog Chloe.  Now that was a dog!  She was not pretty and not very big, but she could whip any dog in town and loved my brother like no other.  She was a yard dog in every sense of the word.  You couldn’t make her enter the house on the coldest or rainiest of days, but one summer my brother Dan went off to camp somewhere and after about a week or  two came home and that dog followed him in the house she was so tickled to see him.  We thought that was the funniest sight.  Once she realized where she was she high tailed it right out the back door!

My husband and I had a Pomeranian for 16 years and it broke our heart to put him to sleep.  Today we put our last pet to sleep.  I’ll never say never, but today, at this moment, I don’t ever want another pet again.  It just hurts too much to lose them.  All children should have the experience of having pets and learning to care and love them.  I’ve loved many.  They teach you love and compassion.  Ma Kitty, you will be sorely missed with your vague stare, loyalty and lap naps.  You were loved…..

Ma Kitty

August 27, 2012

Ma Kitty

American Dream

August 20, 2012

The American Dream of owning a home is still alive. People still want a place of their own; where they can raise their family; share with their friends; feel safe and secure. Homeownership creates emotional and financial benefits.

The government supports that dream by allowing deductions for mortgage and home equity interest as well as property taxes. The capital gains exclusion on profits from a home is incredibly generous and a low long-term capital gains tax rate applies to excess profits.

It’s reported that some of the social benefits of owning a home include higher voter participation, better physical health, higher student test scores, lower teen delinquency, neighborhood stability and pride in the community.

If for no other reason, the decision to buy a home should be considered when it costs much less to own a home than it does to rent. With the unusually low available mortgage rates, the payment is generally less than comparable rent. However, the decision becomes more obvious when the other benefits are considered like amortization, appreciation and tax savings.

It’s not uncommon for the net cost of housing to be half of the actual mortgage payment. In most cases, it is significantly more to rent than to own which could amount to more than the down payment in the first year alone. Calculate your cost of Renting vs. Owning.

 

Learn the most important takeaways for REALTORS® when it comes to the 3.8% tax that’s part of health care reform:

When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.

The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.

It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

 

 

The question concerning people who’ve had a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy is when they will be able to qualify for a mortgage loan. It takes different amounts of time to heal credit scores based on the event.

The following chart is meant to be a general guide for how long a person might have to wait. During this waiting period, it’s important that the person be current on all payments and maintains a history of good credit.

FHA VA USDA FNMA/Freddie Mac Jumbo
Foreclosure 3 years 2 years 3 years 7 years 7 years
Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 3 years 2 years 3 years 2 years
<80%
4 years
81-90%
7 years
> 90%
7 years
Short Sale 3 years 2 years 3 years 2 years
<80%
7 years
81-90%
7 years
> 90%
7 years
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 2 years 2 years 3 years 4 years 7 years
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 1 year 1 year 1 year 2 years 7 years

A recommended lender can give you specific information regarding your individual situation and can make suggestions that will improve your ability to qualify for a mortgage. We want to be your personal source of real estate information and we’re committed to helping from purchase to sale and all the years in between.

Homeownership Rules

August 6, 2012

Most people agree that homeownership rules! When asked, people say they want a home they can call their own, to raise their family, share with their friends and to feel safe and secure. It also accounts for the majority of most people’s net worth.

These rules can help protect your investment and make homeownership more enjoyable.

  1. Don’t overpay for your home
  2. Maintain your home’s condition
  3. Minimize your assessed value to lower property taxes
  4. Make extra principal contributions to save interest and build equity
  5. Validate the insured value of improvements and contents
  6. Stay current on surrounding property values
  7. Make mortgage interest payments deductible
  8. Invest in capital improvements that increase market value
  9. Don’t over-improve the neighborhood
  10. Keep records of capital improvements and other maintenance

We want to be your personal source of real estate information and we’re committed to helping from purchase to sale and all the years in between.

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