What’s It Going to Take?

January 28, 2013

How much evidence is needed to make a decision to get out of the rent race and become a homeowner?thumbsupdown.jpg

Compare your rent with a mortgage payment on a similar size property. If you want a larger home than your current one, use the rent that property would require instead of what you’re currently paying. If it’s considerably cheaper, you may not need any further encouragement.

By the time you consider the principal reduction, appreciation and tax savings, your monthly cost of housing could be much less than the rent you’re paying.

The principal reduction included in each payment is like a forced savings account that increases as your mortgage balance decreases. Your equity in the property will also grow due to appreciation. The equity is part of your net worth and an investment in your family’s future.

The income tax savings can be an additional financial consideration if the combined interest and property taxes exceed the allowable standard deduction.

Trends are showing that both tenants and homeowners are staying in their homes longer. It’s been said that whether you rent or own, you’re paying for the home. Do you really want to buy the home for your landlord? Check out your numbers on a Rent vs. Own.

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“The Bears”

January 27, 2013

Most of “The Bears” reunited this past week at our annual Winter Conference.  What a great group of friends.  Our class of ’08 is like none other.  Wikipedia describes leadership as  “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”.  This supportive group has taken on many tasks over the last 5 years and we’ve walked many of these paths with each other.  Some were easy.  Many were not.  Every year brings on more responsibility and challenges.  I’m happy knowing they have my back.  Winter Conference (14)Cheers to another year!

Selecting the Right Color

January 21, 2013

Have you ever picked a color from the myriad of paint samples available, put it on the wall and decided that it was all wrong? It shouldn’t have to be that difficult but trying to pick the perfect color from those little swatches is just not that easy.paintcolor.jpg

Painters and decorators suggest you buy a small amount of the colors you’re considering. Your paint store should be able to mix them in any brand and any color. Once it’s on the wall, it will be easy to determine if it needs to be lighter or darker or if it’s completely wrong.

Take them home and paint a 2′ x 2′ area on the wall. If you’re concerned about testing the colors on your wall, you can paint some sample boards that can be easily moved around to see how they’ll look with the furniture, floors and other items in the room.

Instead of guessing what it’s going to look like, you’ll actually see how it looks during different times of the day, in natural and artificial light.

While $30 to $40 a gallon for paint may seem like a lot of money, the cost in time and labor to put it on the wall is even more. It’s worth taking the time to test the color on the wall before you buy all the paint needed

January 2013 is half way finished, the weather is dreary, business is booming (comparatively speaking), and there’s an excitement in the air I always see this time of the year.  The agents are back in the office focused on taking care of business everyone postponed during the holidays.  I love the real estate “season” before the actual “season”.  We definitely have a selling season.  Maxwell AFB begins to have their new transferees making trips in to look for homes.  Families relocating and other buyers moving up or downsizing.  Our inventory rises.

2013 begins anew after 5 years of the worst economic and housing downturn we will probably see in our lifetime.  The fiscal cliff fiasco is not over.  It was once again postponed until March.  I look back over the last 5 years remembering the discussions with my peers, clients and friends speculating about when we have reached the bottom.  My friend, John Palumbo, talked about this 4 years ago.  How do you know if and when we have reached the bottom?  He speculated you’ll know when  you realized you missed it.  I believe we’ve missed it.  While there are clearly still a lot of bargains out there, pricing is going back up.  Very slowly, but surely.  I’ve grown to hate the phrase “it’s never been a better time to buy”.  It’s overused and has become redundant.  Consumers are still a bit skeptical of spending their hard-earned money, but the American dream of home ownership is still exciting.  I’m currently working with a young couple about to have their first child.  Helping them realize their dream of having their own home before their baby is born is still as exciting to me as it was with the sale of my first buyer over 10 years ago.

Don’t let your dream of being a homeowner be overshadowed by the fear of the unknown.  America is still the greatest place in the world to live with the best opportunities for personal growth and prosperity!  I choose to push away the cynicism and look forward to better days in this country and look upward for guidance.

Sooner is Better than Later

January 14, 2013

Buyers who have delayed purchasing a home due to concerns about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel comfortable about getting back in the market. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to value homes as a favored investment.soonorlater.png

For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the “Fiscal Cliff” bill, click here.

Whether the delayed purchase is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, taking action sooner is better than later.

Reasons to buy now:

  1. The house payment with taxes and insurance is probably cheaper than the rent.
  2. Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
  3. Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
  4. 30 year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
  5. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for the majority of taxpayers.
  6. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
  7. Prices are going up due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.

Contact me about any specific questions you have or information you need.

Get Your Offer Accepted

January 7, 2013

As the market shifts from a buyer’s market, it’s good to know how to improve your chances to have the seller accept your offer.signature.jpg

Once you decide on a home, don’t waste time; write an offer and submit it as soon as possible. Competing with another buyer happens more frequently than you’d expect. Multiple offers are a seller’s advantage but here are some tips to level the playing field:

  • Realistic offer – don’t give the impression you’re trying to “steal” the property. Submit comparable sales that justify your offer.
  • Pre-approval letter – this satisfies seller’s biggest concern that an unqualified buyer will unnecessarily take the home off the market and the seller will lose other opportunities.
  • More earnest money – it shows you’re serious and makes the seller feel like the contract will actually close.
  • Minimize contingencies – from a seller’s standpoint, each contingency is one more reason why the sale won’t go through. They feel the home is “off the market” and they’re in limbo.
  • Shorten inspection period – your agent can help you set a reasonable date but let the seller know you’re willing to close prior to that if possible.
  • Write a personal letter to the seller telling them why you want their home – this can be the emotional connection to the seller that makes the difference in you getting the home.

A seller wants to feel confident that the offer they accept will actually close so they can plan for their next move. Following tips like these can definitely affect negotiations and help put together an offer that is more likely to be accepted.

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