Wednesday, June 27, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 flag can run from happiness to sadness to trust and everything in between.
Most of us learned American flag etiquette or the Flag Code when we were young but occasionally, it is a good idea to review the guidelines so that the flag is treated with the respect it deserves.
• The U.S. flag should not be flown at night unless a light is shown on it.
• The U.S. flag should not be flown upside down except as a distress signal.
• The flag should never touch the ground.
• A U.S. flag should be displayed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff in mourning.
• When displaying multiple flags of a state, community or society on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag must always be on top.
• When flown with flags of states, communities, or societ ...
Monday, May 14, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 and buying a smaller one may not save enough money to make it worthwhile.
There are sales expenses on the property being sold and acquisition costs on the replacement home. Generally speaking, homeowners may not mind a home with less square footage, but they usually don't want to give up amenities or locations that they've become accustomed.
After a little number crunching, the move may not make enough difference in savings and they end up staying in their current home even if it doesn't fit their needs anymore. What if while this couple were still in their peak earning years, they acquired a home in an area where they would consider retiring and rent it during the interim. They could put it on a 15-year mortgage and possibly, even accelerate the principal payme ...
Monday, May 7, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 late 80’s, both FHA and VA began requiring buyers to qualify to assume their mortgages. Prior to that, good credit or even a job wasn’t required. The real reason there haven’t been significant numbers of assumptions in the past 25 years is that interest rates have been steadily going down. If a person had to qualify, they might as well do it on a new loan and get a lower interest rate.
Even though mortgage money is currently attractive and available, it is at a four-year high. When interest rates on new mortgages are higher than the rates of assumable FHA and VA mortgages originated in the recent past, it may be more advantageous to assume the existing mortgages. Conventional loans have due on sale clauses that prevent t ...
Monday, April 23, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 and take longer than you originally anticipated.
Replacing floor covering or painting is a project that a homeowner can easily get bids and contract with the workmen directly. A new level of complexity occurs when the project involves more specialized contractors, like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, counters, and others.
Now, a homeowner is faced with dealing with one general contractor who will run roughshod over the sub-contractors or make the decision to do it themselves. Typically, you'll pay more for a general contractor, but the trade-off is that they have the contacts and experience to make things go smoothly.
Subs are notorious for wanting to finish their "part" of the project and mov ...
Monday, April 16, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 exercise is to determine the optimum time of selling the home: now or when they're ready to buy their replacement home.
If they intend on traveling for more than three years, then, it may be a good decision to sell prior to the sojourn to avoid paying taxes on the gain in their home. IRS allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence while still keeping the $250,000/$500,000 capital gains exclusion intact. A homeowner must own and use a home for three out of the previous five years which means that it could be rented for up to three years, but it would need to be sold and closed before that three-year window expires.
If the travel will be less than three years, there is an option of selling now or later. Using the example below, the home ...