Monday, March 05, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 it. With the average tax refund around $3,000, it could be the difference that makes a home a reality sooner rather than later.
Many would-be buyers think it takes 10% or more down payment to purchase a home, but actually, it can be much less. There are VA and USDA mortgages that have no down payment for qualified buyers. FHA has a 3.5% down payment program and FNMA has 3% down payment mortgages for qualified creditors.
Closing costs for originating new mortgages can easily range from two to three percent of the purchase price but most lenders will allow the seller to pay part or all of them based on the agreement in the sales contract.
While the average tax refund might not cover the down payment on the median price home, it certainly helps. Your refund could make it as simpl ...
Monday, February 26, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
HOW THE NEW TAX LAWS WILL AFFECT REAL ESTATE
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 by the President continues to treat real estate as a favored investment.
Whether it is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, the tax laws are in place but other dynamics to be concerned with are not; mortgage rates are expected to rise as well as prices.
Reasons to buy now:
1. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for most taxpayers.
2. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
3. Taxpayers can elect annually to take newly increased standard deduction or itemize deductions whichever will benefit them the most.
4. The house payment with taxes and insurance is most likely cheaper t ...
Monday, February 19, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 popular in certain price ranges and they allowed anyone to assume the mortgage regardless of the credit. If you could find a person to take over your note, you were free to qualify for another mortgage.
In October 1981, mortgage rates reached 18.63%. A $250,000 mortgage had a monthly principal and interest payment of $3,896.46. As astronomical as that rate sounds, people were still buying homes and were good investments.
Four years later, they were still over 12%. The monthly payment was $2,571.53. Believe it or not, people were excited to be paying only 2/3 what they had to pay a few years earlier.
Fast forward to late 1991 when the rates went below 9% and that same payment was to $2,015.16. At the turn of the 21st century, rates were 8.15% and that made the ...
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
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 selecting your real estate professional.
The most recent NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicate that 52% of buyers do want help in finding the right home to purchase. There was a time when the public did not have access to all the homes on the market, but the Internet has changed that.
Helping to negotiate the price and terms of sale were identified by almost 25% of the buyers. No one wants to pay more than is necessary and the terms of the sale can be as important as the price.
The next largest area of assistance that buyers value has to do with financing and the paperwork. Even if a buyer has been through the process before, it very likely could have been several years and things have probably changed.
Since the cost of housing is dependent on the price paid ...
Monday, September 18, 2017 / by Nicki Conway
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 close to half the population of the United States. Part of protecting your credit is being vigilant and making it difficult for thieves to steal your identity.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, an initial step is to place a fraud alert on your account. Contact one credit reporting company (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), tell them you are an identity theft victim and ask the company to put a fraud alert on your credit file. Confirm that the company will contact the other two companies.
The initial fraud alert will make it harder for an identity thief to open accounts in your name. The alert lasts for 90-days and it can be renewed.
A more severe precaution called a credit f ...