Making Room in Your Rooms

February 25, 2014

retain remove.jpgThe more things you have, the more you have to take care of. And in this case, the more that you have to store that gets in the way of finding the things that you actually use. Periodically, you need to go through every closet, drawer, cabinet and storage area to get rid of the things that are just taking up space in your home and your life.

Every item requires the decision to retain or remove. Consider these questions as you examine each item:

• When was the last time you used it?
• Do you believe you’ll use it again?
• Is there a sentimental reason to keep it?

You have four options for the things that you’re not going to keep. If you know someone who needs it or will appreciate it, you can give it to them. You can sell it in a garage sale or on Craig’s List. You can donate it to a charity and receive a tax deduction or you can discard it to the trash.

Start with your closet. If you haven’t worn something in five years, get rid of it. Then, go through the things again and if you haven’t worn it in two years, ask yourself the real probability that you’ll wear it again.

Another way to do it is to move it from your active closet to another closet. If a year goes by in the other closet, the next time you go through this exercise, those clothes are on their way out.

If the items taking up space are financial records and receipts, the solution may be to scan them and store them in the cloud. There are plenty of sites that will offer you several gigabytes of free space and it may cost as little as $10 a month for 100 GB at Dropbox to get the additional space you need. It will certainly be cheaper than the mini-storage building.

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Rate/Payment Relationship

February 18, 2014

Rate Payment Relationship 2 small.pngA ½% increase in interest rate may not sound like much but it is roughly equivalent to a 5% increase in price. It becomes obvious when you compare the payments.

If you financed 100% of the cost of a $250,000 home at 4.5% interest for 30 years, the payment would be $1,266.71 per month. If the mortgage rate went up to 5%, the payment would be $1,342.05. If the home increased 5% in value, the $262,250 loan at the lower 4.5% rate would have payments of $1,330.05.

The two payments are close enough to justify the statement that a ½% change in interest is approximately equal to 5% change in price.

Each time interest rates go up, fewer people can qualify to buy a seller’s home. The mortgage rules that went into effect this year require buyers to meet specific payment to income ratios. As demand picks up for the seasonal market, most experts expect rates to increase.

Buyers will be doubly challenged in the current market because prices are rising (NAR reports 11% last year) along with the anticipated mortgage rates. Buyers who wait will inevitably be paying more to live in the same home had they acted sooner.

Check out on how Interest Affects Price for a home in your price range.

Addition

February 16, 2014

We’re getting ready to make a small addition on our home which I will track our progress on this Blog. Our first obstacle is getting a variance from the city as our home is on a zero lot line. This means our addition will butt up to our neighbors property by a couple of feet. Not an ordinary addition but a much-needed approval. Not getting this approval could result in forcing us to tear it down at any time in the future. We will have a hearing at the Board of Adjustments this month to get the yay or nay to proceed. This addition is a cover over our patio coming off our roofline. I’ll keep you informed of the process and the result and hopefully with before and after pics!

Buy or rent small.jpgWhether you continue to rent or decide to buy a home, according to recent Zillow 2014 housing projections, the cost is going up. Zillow projects home prices to increase nationally by 3%, mortgages to rise to 5% interest rate by the end of the year and rents to go up by 2.5% on average.

If it will cost a person more whether they rent or buy, the conclusion can be made that one way or the other, they will pay for the house they occupy. The question will be whether they buy it for themselves or their landlord? Will they benefit from the equity build-up and the appreciation?

The following analysis looks at a $200,000 home that can be purchased with a 30 year FHA mortgage at 4.3%. The assumption uses 3% appreciation and tenant currently paying $1,750 a month in rent.

The house payment, principal, interest, taxes and insurance would be about $1,609 a month. However, once you consider the benefits of the principal reduction each month, the appreciation and the tax savings and the increased cost of maintenance, the net cost of housing is closer to $630 per month.

Even if you ignored the tax savings, the net cost of housing would only be $919.06 per month. The tenant would pay considerably more to rent than to own the home. Over time, the decision to buy a home could result in a considerable financial asset that the tenant will not benefit from.

To estimate your cost of housing, use the Rent vs. Own.

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If you’re not aware, the Tax Exemption that saved people on huge tax consequences due to a short sale or foreclosure is gone. This could definitely put a slow down on the real estate market. The lack of this exemption could be the very thing that stops someone from going through with that short sale. These taxes can be devastating to people. Consider it. If you do a short sale and you’re “short” $100,000 and you’re in a 30% tax bracket, there’s a nice $30,000 bill you weren’t prepared for. Yikes. Yeah, I’d be concerned if I was trying to sell right now and I didn’t have the equity to cover all my costs. So what do we do? Well, they can always reinstate the Act. They can even make it retroactive. But as of yet, there doesn’t seem to be anything happening. So we’re recommending that you get involved and send a message up the Hill. Find your Congress person and send them a little email telling them to reinstate the Act and make it retroactive. If enough people do it, it will probably work. With elections coming around it will probably be something one of them will spearhead and get moving. Once it’s done we can get those short sales moving again.

*Post compliments of Vicki Williams, Anchor Mortgage, Montgomery, AL

Find a Better Return

February 4, 2014

Return on Investment.pngA certificate of deposit will generate a cash flow based on the interest rate that it pays which is the only way it generates a return for the investor.

An investment in a stock that doesn’t pay dividends, would need to be worth more than you paid for it to earn a profit. On the other hand, a stock that paid dividends could make the investor a profit even if it sold for the same price that he paid for it.

Investors can profit four different ways with an investment in rental real estate.

1. Cash flows that result from having a surplus after collecting the rent and paying the expenses.

2. Equity build-up results from a portion of each monthly payment reducing the unpaid balance.

3. Tax benefits can result from the depreciation allowed on the property and the preferential long-term capital gains tax rate.

4. Appreciation benefits the investor when the value of the property increases.

The most conservative investors in real estate make decisions to purchase a rental property based on its ability to generate a cash flow and reduce the mortgage through normal amortization. If the property can offer an acceptable rate of return compared to other available investments, the tax benefits and possible appreciation become an added bonus.

With increased rents and low mortgage rates for investors, rental property can offer significantly higher returns than many of the available alternatives. Contact me for more information- carol.andrews@aronov.com; you may be amazed about what is available in the market.

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