5 Tips for Protecting against Identity Theft during a Move

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RISMEDIA, Thursday, September 18, 2014— Even when a move goes off without a hitch, it can still be one of life’s most stressful events. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard by a case of identity theft just as you’re settling into your new home. Unfortunately, moving can put a big target on your back for identity thieves.

“Transporting documents and electronic devices that contain sensitive personal information, leaving a residence unoccupied and [losing] misdirected mail are all risks associated with moving,” says Stacey Vogler, managing director of insurance company Protect Your Bubble.

If your stress levels are skyrocketing at the thought of having your identity stolen in the middle of your next move, take a deep breath and follow these five tips for protecting yourself against identity theft.

1. Choose a Reputable Moving Company. While a great moving company can make your relocation easier and more efficient, dishonest movers can quickly turn the process into a nightmare. Don’t forget that moving professionals often have direct access to your private possessions and information, so you always should do research to make sure a company is trustworthy. Before you hire a mover, read customer reviews online and view a company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau, recommends Robert Siciliano, identity theft expert with BestIDTheftCompanys.com.

2. Keep Sensitive Documents Safe. If you’re holding on to a large number of old bills and financial records, reduce your risk by getting rid of sensitive documents you don’t need.

“Sort through stored paperwork to determine what should be moved to the new location and what can be discarded,” Vogler says.

Just make sure you’ve got a shredding machine handy to prevent identity thieves from combing through your trash or recycling bins for valuable information.

Organize all the sensitive documents you want to keep and separate them from the belongings your movers will be handling. Vogler recommends storing your most important records—including passports, birth certificates and Social Security cards—in a locked safe that stays with you during the move.

3. Safeguard Electronic Information. As more information is stored online and on electronic devices, it’s increasingly important to make sure no one gains access to your computers, tablets or smartphones while you’re in the midst of moving.

If you’re discarding, donating or selling old electronics before your move, thoroughly wipe all data from those devices. Keep your other devices safe with password protection before the movers show up.

4. Direct Your Mail to the Right Place.
Even if you shred or lock away all your existing sensitive information, you still need to consider the documents that are on their way to you. Financial records mailed to the wrong address easily can put you at risk for fraud, so be sure to set up a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service before you move, Vogler says.

To further prevent these records from falling into the wrong hands, get in touch with your financial institutions and verify that they have your new address on file, says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

5. Consider a Credit Freeze.
For even more peace of mind during your next move, Siciliano recommends investing in a credit freeze. The reason? When an identity thief steals your information and tries to open up new lines of credit, lenders typically run a credit check.

“With a credit freeze, nobody can check your credit until you personally unlock the freeze,” Siciliano says.

Without access to this information, lenders are much less likely to grant a thief a new line of credit under your name.

To put this safeguard in place, you’ll need to contact each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), follow their credit freeze procedures and pay a small fee (usually $3 to $15) to each bureau.

While you could opt for a fraud alert to protect your credit, Siciliano recommends a credit freeze because a fraud alert lasts for only three months. “A credit freeze is forever,” he says. Putting a freeze in place gives you one less thing to worry about during your next move—and all future moves.

For more moving tips, visit the moving tips section of SpareFoot.com.

September 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Living Smart: Keep Care of Kitchen Appliances on Front Burner

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RISMEDIA, Wednesday, September 10, 2014— (MCT)–Next time you use your fridge, dishwasher or stove, be careful that you’re not unknowingly making it vulnerable to an early breakdown.

Appliance repair pros who’ve earned top ratings from Angie’s List members offer tips for making sure your kitchen appliances meet or exceed their expected life spans:

Stove Guidelines

Average life span: 10 to 15 years.

Common repairs and costs:

• Igniter cleaning or failure, $110 to $200
• Broken control board, $260 or more
• Bake element problems, $160 or more

Basic maintenance tips:

• Keep your stove clean, but avoid getting cleaning fluid or water into dials and switches, which are connected to electrical components.
• Avoid using aluminum foil under the oven’s bake element or oven coil. Appliance technicians say the reflective surface can disrupt the heat level, leading to over- or under-cooked food.
• Repair or replace? Consider replacing if you’re investing more than half the price of new unit into a repair.

What to budget for a new stove: $650 to $2,000.

Fridge Guidelines

Average life span: Six to 15 years.

Common repairs and cost:

• Ice maker failure, $275 to $325
• Main control board failure, $260 or more
• Clogged drain line, $110 or more

Basic maintenance tips:

• Clean the condenser coils at least once a year and more often if you have pets. The coils are typically under or behind the unit, and sometimes on top. Over time, they collect dust, debris and pet hair. A dirty condenser makes it difficult for the refrigerator to transfer heat from within to the outside, which wastes energy and can cause premature breakdown. You can buy refrigerator coil brushes online or at hardware stores or you may be able to clean them by hand and with your vacuum cleaner.
• Allow for adequate air flow. Unless your unit is designed for in-cabinet installation, putting a fridge in a tight-fitting space without ventilation room can cause the compressor to overheat and fail. To properly remove heat, most fridges need several inches of space around the top and sides.
• Repair or replace? Factor in the unit’s age and performance history. A compressor failure is almost always a sure sign that the fridge should be replaced.

What to budget for a new fridge: $900 to $8,000.

Dishwasher Guidelines

Average life span: Eight to 10 years.

Common repairs and cost:

• Drain pump cleaning, $100 to $300
• Water inlet valve, $160 or more
• Control board failure, $190 or more

Basic maintenance tips:

• Scrape dishes before loading. Larger food clumps can clog washer arms and pump screens. However, many appliance technicians debate just how clean dishes should be before you wash them in the dishwasher. Some say detergent requires something to adhere to, or it will leave residue on the dishes and dishwasher interior.
• Don’t overdo soap. Repair pros say people commonly use too much dishwasher detergent, which builds up in the machine, putting a strain on the pump/motor assembly, spray arm and other components.
• Repair or replace? If the unit has rust, rot or corrosion, or if you’re looking at a repair equal to or more than half the cost of a new dishwasher, you should replace it.

What to budget for a new dishwasher: $400 to $700.

Before You Hire an Appliance Technician:

• Make sure the company is appropriately licensed, insured and bonded.
• Confirm that it has good online reviews from consumers on a trusted site.
• Get several estimates and compare bids based on price, parts, labor and warranty.
• Make sure you understand all costs before agreeing to work.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Follow her on Twitter @Angie_Hicks.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

September 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Beware, Mortgage Scammers on the Rise Again

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RISMEDIA, Tuesday, August 26, 2014— (MCT)—For years, it was “the Wild West” of real estate scams.

As the housing crisis pummeled struggling homeowners, scammers pounced. They offered “easy” loan modifications and “foreclosure counseling” that were often nothing more than attempts to wrest money from distressed consumers.

“The amount of fraud that was occurring in the loan modification sector was unprecedented,” says Tom Pool, spokesman for the California Bureau of Real Estate. “So many were fly-by-night operators who would take consumers’ money upfront and then disappear … It was the Wild West.”

Between 2009 and 2011, the state of California shot down more than 1,100 loan modification scammers who popped up amid the housing meltdown. Those enforcement efforts, backed by California’s first-in-the-nation law making it illegal to collect upfront fees for loan modifications, are credited with largely — although not entirely — quelling the problem.

“We’re not receiving nearly as many complaints on loan modification scams. They’re very infrequent,” says Pool, who recalls just five years ago when the bureau was receiving “hundreds and hundreds of complaints” every year.

But more recently, loan modification scams were back in the news as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., jointly announced a coast-to-coast crackdown on a handful of law firms, companies and individuals, accused of collecting more than $25 million in illegal fees from distressed homeowners.

Among them were two Southern California firms, Siringoringo Law Firm and Clausen & Cobb Management Company, whose principals were accused of partnering on schemes to charge illegal fees for loan modifications. According to the CFPB’s complaint, thousands of Californians were duped into paying initial fees between $1,200 and $3,500, in addition to $495 monthly fees, for supposed loan modifications, in violation of state and federal laws.

“These companies pocketed illegal fees — taking millions of hard-earned dollars from distressed consumers, and then left those consumers worse off than they began, CFPB Director Richard Cordray says in a statement. “These practices are not only illegal, they are reprehensible.”

The FTC and CFPB’s investigation accused the companies of four types of “egregious” behavior: Illegally collecting advance fees before obtaining a loan modification; inflating their success rates in obtaining loan modifications; duping consumers into thinking they were getting legal representation; and making false promises.

In many cases, the agencies says, consumers were left in worse financial shape than when they started the process of trying to get their underwater home loans reconfigured.

Altogether, the FTC and CFPB filed nine lawsuits against the defendants, seeking court orders to freeze their assets pending outcome of the suits.

Gary Almond, president of the Northeast California Better Business Bureau, says he’s not surprised that the recent FTC and CFPB complaints involved law firms that teamed up with firms that perpetrated the shady loan modification operations. “It’s a fee-splitting issue. Over the last 10 years, a lot of lawyers have lost their licenses over this type of activity,” Almond says.

And consumers were often misled. Thinking they were getting help from a reputable lawyer, they were duped into paying illegal fees to attorneys who promised to go after their lender or get their loan terms modified, he says. “People believe them. But many people were dealing with these mortgage consultants who were nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Last year, California extended its ban on upfront fees for loan modification services through 2016.

Consumers facing mortgage troubles should always start by contacting their mortgage lender. If you can’t get satisfaction in modifying your mortgage terms or payments, seek out free help from HUD-certified housing or “foreclosure avoidance” counselors, who are available in all 50 states. They work under the eye of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Or get help from an accredited credit counseling agency, which offer all types of money management help, either for free or for a nominal fee.

Never shell out money ahead of time for assistance.

“Go with your gut. If someone asks you for money upfront and it doesn’t feel right, your instincts are probably correct,” says Brad Dwin of HopeNow.org, a group of mortgage-related companies that works with nonprofits and government agencies to provide free help to struggling homeowners. “There are enough free services out there that homeowners should never have to pay for (loan modification) services.”

©2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

September 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Interest Rates Little Changed on New Home Loans

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RISMEDIA, Thursday, September 04, 2014— On August 28, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that, overall, mortgage interest rates were flat in July. To a large extent, the same was true for the subset of loans used to purchase new homes. Between June and July, the average contract interest rate on conventional mortgages for new homes ticked down, but only from 4.14 to 4.12. This flat trajectory follows something of a roller coaster ride, with the rate on new home loans dipping under 4 percent twice in 2014 before bouncing back twice earlier in the year.

Meanwhile the initial fees on these loans were also basically unchanged at 1.20 percent in July (compared to 1.18 in June). The result was an average effective interest rate on new home loans (which amortizes initial fees over the estimated life of the loan) that went from 4.27 to 4.25 percent.

While the changes to terms on the loans were very small, the average size of conventional mortgages used to purchase new homes, well as the price of the new homes purchased with the loans, increased by more than one percent. The average loan size increased from $316,000 to $320,100. The average price of a new home purchased increased from $417,500 to $423,800. In both cases, the number was higher in July than it was in May or June, but lower than in April or May, or at the time of a spike that occurred right at the beginning of the year.

This information is based on FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) of loans closed during the last five working days in July. For other caveats and details about the survey, see the technical note at the end of FHFA’s August 28 news release.

This post was originally published on the NAHB blog, Eye on Housing.

September 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Direction of Rates

Mortgage rates continued lower today following the Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee.  Yellen is the nominee to replace Bernanke as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, and her stance on monetary policy is tremendously important to bond markets (including mortgage-backed securities, which most directly influence mortgage rates).

As you can see from the chart below, Today’s rate of 4.25% is almost right in the middle of range since 2010.

mortgage rates

 

November 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment

Seven Things Your Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

While many experienced real estate agents have a general understanding of the mortgage approval process, there are a few important details that frequently get overlooked which may cause a purchase to be delayed or denied.

New regulation, updated disclosures, appraisal guidelines, mortgage rate pricing premiums, credit score, secondary approval layering, rescission deadlines, property type, HOA insurance requirements, title and property flip rules are just a few of the daily changes that can have a serious impact on a borrower’s home loan financing.

With today’s volatile lending environment, it’s obviously important for home buyers to get a full loan approval which clearly defines all contingencies that pertain to each unique home buyer’s scenario prior to spending any time looking at new homes with an agent.

Either way, we’ve listed a few of the top things your agent should keep in mind while showing you new properties:

Caution – Agents Beware:

Property Type –

High-Rise, Condo, Town House, Single Family Residence, Dome Home or Shoe House… all have specific lending guidelines that can influence down payment, credit score and mortgage insurance requirements.

Residence Type

Need to sell one home before moving into another? Is a property considered a second home if it’s in the same city?  What if I’m buying a home for my children to live in, it is still considered an investment property?

These are just a few of several possible residence related questions that should be addressed by your agent and loan officer at the initial loan application.

Rates / Locks

Mortgage Rates are typically locked for a 30 day period, and one of the only ways to get a new rate is to switch mortgage lenders.  Rates also have certain adjustments for property / residence type, credit score and down payment which could have a big impact on monthly payments and therefore approvals.

A 1% increase in rate could literally mean the difference between an approval or denial.

Headline News / Employment

Underwriters watch the news as well.  Borrowers who work in a volatile industry during hard economic times may have to jump through a few extra hoops to prove that their employment and income is secure.

Job changes, periods of unemployment or property location in relation to the subject property are other things to consider that may cause a speed bump in the approval process.

Title / Property Flip –

A Flip is considered a property that has been purchased by an investor and quickly sold to a new buyer within a 30-90 day period.  Generally, an investor will do a little rehab work, fresh paint, landscaping…. and try to re-sell the property for a significant profit margin.

While it seems like a perfectly fair transaction, many lenders have strict guidelines in place that prevent borrowers from obtaining financing on properties that have a previous owner with less than 90 days of documented ownership.

These rules change frequently, and are specific to particular property types, so make sure your agent is aware of all the boundaries associated with your approval letter.

Homeowner’s Association Insurance

Some lenders require Condos and Town House communities to have sufficient insurance and reserves coverage pertaining to specific ratios on units that are owner occupied vs rented.

It may also take a few weeks and cost up to $300 to receive an HOA Certification, so make sure your Due-Diligence period is set accordingly in the purchase contract.

Appraisal Ordering Procedures

Appraisal ordering guidelines are changing quite frequently as regulators implement many new consumer protection laws created to prevent future foreclosure epidemics.

Unfortunately, some of the new appraisal regulations have proven to slow the home buying process down, as well as confuse lenders about the true estimate of neighborhood values.

VA, FHA and Conventional loan programs all have separate appraisal ordering policies, so make sure your agent is aware of which loan you’re approved for so that they document any anticipated delays in the purchase contract.

For example, if an appraisal takes three weeks and the average time for an approval is two weeks, then it probably isn’t smart to write a purchase contract with a four week close of escrow.

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Related Articles – Home Buying Process:

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Although every situation is unique, it is not uncommon for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their primary residence.

Perhaps you are outgrowing your current house, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer?  Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:

So, Do I Have To Sell?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.

If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is No!

Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.

What If I Rent My Current Property?

This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.

If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.

In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.

So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.

Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.

Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.

Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.

For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.

Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.

What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?

This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.

If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.

If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.

…..

As you can tell, purchasing one home while living in another can be a very complicated transaction.  Please contact us at anytime so we can review your specific situation and suggest the proper action plan.

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Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

What Do Appraisers Look For When Determining A Property’s Value?

Most people are surprised to learn what appraisers actually look at when determining the value of a real estate property.

A common misconception homeowners generally have is that the value of their home is determined after the appraiser has completed their physical property inspection.

However, the appraiser actually already has a good idea of the property’s value by the time they have scheduled an appointment to stop by the property.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry so much about pushing back an appointment a few days just to “clean things up” in order to help influence the value of your property.

While a clean house will certainly make it easier for the appraiser to notice improvements, the only time you should be concerned about “clutter” is if it is damaging to the dwelling.

The Key Components Addressed In An Appraisal

The Site:

Location, view, topography, lot size, utilities, zoning, external factors, highest and best use, landscaping features…

Design:

Quality of construction, finish work, fixed appliances and any defining features

Condition:

Age, deterioration, renovations, upgrades, added features

Health & Safety:

Structural integrity, code compliance

Size:

Above grade and below grade improvements

Neighborhood:

Is the property conforming to the neighborhood?

Functional Utility:

Is the property functional as built – style and use?

Parking:

Garages, Carports, Shops, etc..

Other:

Curb appeal, lot size, & conforming to the neighborhood are obvious to the appraiser when they drive down into the neighborhood pull up in front of your home.

When entering your home, they are going to look at the overall design, condition, finish work, upgrades, any defining features, functional utility, square footage, number of rooms and health and safety items.

Be sure to have all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in working condition.

Since the appraisal provides half the weight in any credit decision involving the security of real estate, the appraisal should be done by a qualified, licensed appraiser whom is familiar with your neighborhood, and the type of home you are buying, selling or refinancing.

If you’re interested in what specifically appraisers are looking for, here is a copy of the blank 1040 URAR form that is used by every appraiser in the country.

Related Update on HVCC:

Appraisers hired for a mortgage transaction on a conforming loan are chosen from a pool of qualified appraisers at random. Neither you nor your lender has the flexibility of deciding which appraiser will inspect your home.

This recent change was brought on with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct HVCC, and is effective with conventional loans originated on or after May 1, 2009.

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Related Appraisal Articles:

March 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

Where Does My Earnest Money Go?

Hey, I gave my real estate agent a $5000 Earnest Money Deposit check… Where does that money go?

A basic and very obvious question that most First-Time home Buyers ask once their purchase contract gets accepted.

According to Wikipedia:

Earnest Money – an earnest payment (sometimes called earnest money or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate or publicly tendered government contract made by a buyer or registered contractor to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase.

When a buyer makes an offer to buy residential real estate, he/she generally signs a contract and pays a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies enormously, depending upon local custom and the state of the local market at the time of contract negotiations.

An Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is simply held by a third-party escrow company according to the terms of the executed purchase contract.

For example, there may be a contingency period for appraisal, loan approval, property inspection or approval of HOA documents.

In most cases, the Earnest Money held by the escrow company is credited towards the home buyer’s down payment and/or closing costs.

*It’s important to keep in mind that the EMD may actually be cashed at the time escrow is opened, so make sure your funds are from the proper sources.

The Process:

  1. Earnest Money is submitted to an escrow company with the accepted purchase contract
  2. At the close of escrow, the EMD is credited towards the down payment and / or closing costs
  3. If there are no closing costs or down payment, the EMD is refunded back to the buyer

Who Doesn’t Get Your Earnest Money:

  • Selling Real Estate Agent – A conflict of interest
  • Sellers – Too risky
  • Buying Agent – They shouldn’t have your money in their account

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Related Articles – Closing Process / Costs

March 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

Renting vs Buying A Home

Buying a home versus renting is a big decision that takes careful consideration.

While there are several biased sources that can make arguments for or against owning a home, we’ve found that most home buyers base their ultimate decision on emotion.

Yes, there are some tax advantages of owning real estate, as well as the potential to earn equity or pay a mortgage note off after several years.

However, let’s address some of the more obvious topics of discussion first.

Benefits Of Renting:

Lower Acquisition Cost –

Unless you’re able to qualify for a mortgage loan with zero down and have your closing costs paid for by the seller, a typical investment to purchase a home is around 3.5% – 7% of the purchase price for down payment and closing costs on an FHA mortgage, and an average of 13% – 23% for a home secured by conventional financing.

Compared to the cost of about 1-3 month’s rent payment, it’s obvious that renting a home makes financial sense in the short-term.

Lower Qualifying Standards –

While the FHA and other government insured mortgage programs have more flexible credit / qualifying guidelines than most traditional home loan programs, there is certainly a lot less paperwork and personally invasive probing required by most landlords and property management companies.

Generally proof of employment / income and a decent credit history (or a good explanation) is needed to rent a home.

Freedom To Move –

It’s easy to find a home through a reputable property management company, move in that weekend and then leave a year later when the rental contract expires.  Not being tied down by a long-term mortgage liability is ideal for people new to a community, in a career that keeps them on the go or for parents with children that prefer a certain school district.

Plus, if you’re planning on moving in the next 3-5 years, then it may become cost-prohibitive due to the amount of equity you’ll have to gain in the short-run just to cover the cost of paying an agent, buyer closing costs, transfer taxes…. so that you can at least break even at closing.

Less Maintenance and Cost –

If something breaks, a simple call to the property management company will generally solve the issue in 48 hours or less.  Plus, renters don’t have to carry expensive homeowners insurance, pay property taxes or worry about interest rates adjusting.

Benefits of Owning:

Pets Are Allowed –

Well, according to the rules and regulations of your county or neighborhood HOA, you can pretty much have as many domestic and exotic pets without having to pay extra deposits.

It may seem like a funny benefit to mention first, but the millions of dog and cat lovers would definitely rank this towards the top of their list.

Pink and Purple Walls –

Yep, you can paint the inside of your house any color you choose.  And depending on whether or not there is an HOA in place, you could probably do the same thing on the home’s exterior.  Landscaping, flooring, built-in shelving… it’s your property to renovate and grow in.

Peace-of-Mind and Security –

The only way you would be forced to move is if the bank forecloses on your property due to a default in mortgage payments.

So basically, you don’t have to worry about a landlord’s financial ability to make mortgage payments on time. Plus, you can stay in your own property as long as you wish.

Tax Benefits -

The US government has created certain tax incentives making it possible for many homeowners to exceed the standard yearly deduction.

*Disclosure – Check with your CPA or Tax Attorney to verify your own unique filing scenario*

The following three components of your home mortgage may be tax deductible:

a) Interest on your home mortgage
b) Property Taxes
c) Origination / Discount Points

Stability -

Remaining in one neighborhood for several years lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, as well as offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Appreciation of Property -

Historically, even with other periods of declining value, home prices have exceeded consumer inflation. From 1972 through 2005, home prices increased on average 6.5%, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Forced Saving -

The monthly payment helps in repayment of the principal amount. Also when you sell you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

*Disclosure – Check with your CPA or Tax Attorney to verify your own unique filing scenario*

Increased Net Worth

Few things have a greater impact on net worth than owning a home. In a comparison of renters versus homeowners, the Federal Reserve Board of Consumer Finance found that the average net worth of renters was just $4,000 compared to homeowners at $184,400.

While the available tax advantages and potential for earned equity are generally highlighted by most industry professionals as the top reasons to own real estate, it’s important to remember that markets go through cycles.

However, owning real estate that appreciates more than the rate of inflation may help contribute towards your overall investment portfolio, provided your maintenance and mortgage costs are kept low.

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Related Articles – Home Buying Process:

March 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

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