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Real Monetary Advantages of Home Ownership

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

Homeownership has always been the "great American dream". Here is an article from "Realty Times", that talks about some real monetary advantages of home ownership.

To foster and encourage this dream, Congress has consistently enacted tax legislation which favors homeowners. Indeed, much has been written that our tax laws discriminate against renters, by giving unfair and unequal tax benefits to those who own homes.

Every four years, some candidate for high political office tries to focus our attention on equalizing the tax laws, and repealing the homeowner benefits, but these arguments have consistently fallen on deaf ears. And this coming election year is no different.

For those of us who own homes, here is a list of the itemized tax deductions available to the average homeowner. Every year, you are permitted to deduct the following expenses:

TAXES. Real property taxes, both state and local, can be deducted. However, it should be noted that real estate taxes are only deductible in the year they are actually paid to the government. Thus, if in year 2015, your lender held in escrow moneys for taxes due in 2016, you cannot take a deduction for these taxes when you file your 2015 tax return.

Mortgage lenders are required to send an annual statement to borrowers by the end of January of each year, reflecting the amount of mortgage interest and real estate taxes the homeowner paid during the previous year.

MORTGAGE INTEREST. Interest on mortgage loans on a first or second home is fully deductible, subject to the following limitations: acquisition loans up to $1 million, and home equity loans up to $100,000. If you are married, but file separately, these limits are split in half.

You must understand the concept of an acquisition loan. To qualify for such a loan, you must buy, construct or substantially improve your home. If you refinance for more than the outstanding indebtedness, the excess amount does not qualify as an acquisition loan unless you use all of the excess to improve your home. However, any other excess may qualify as a home equity loan.

Let us look at this example: Several years ago, you purchased your house for $150,000 and obtained a mortgage in the amount of $100,000. Last year, your mortgage indebtedness had been reduced to $95,000, but your house was worth $300,000.

Because rates were low last year, you refinanced and were able to get a new mortgage of $175,000. Your acquisition indebtedness is $95,000. The additional $80,000 that you took out of your equity does not qualify as acquisition indebtedness, but since it is under $100,000, it qualifies as if it was a home equity loan.

Several years ago, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that one does not have to take out a separate home equity loan to qualify for this aspect of the tax deduction. However, if you had borrowed $200,000, you would only be able to deduct interest on $195,000 of your loan -- the $95,000 acquisition indebtedness, plus the $100,000 home equity.

The remaining interest is treated as personal interest, and is not deductible.

POINTS. When you obtain a mortgage loan, some lenders will allow you to pay one or more points to get that loan. The more points you pay, the lower your mortgage interest rate should be. Whether referred to as "loan origination fees," "premium charges," or "discounts," these are still points. Each point is one percent of the amount borrowed; if you obtain a loan of $170,000, each point will cost you $1,700.

The IRS has also ruled that even if points are paid by sellers, they are still deductible by the homebuyer. Points paid to a lender when you refinance your current mortgage are not fully deductible in the year they are paid; you have to allocate the amount over the life of the loan. For example, you paid $1700 in points for a 30 year loan. Each year you are permitted to deduct only $56.66 ($1700 divided by 30); however, when you pay off this new loan, any remaining portion of the points you have not deducted are then deductible in full.

Needless to say, if you have any questions about these tax benefits, discuss them with your financial and legal advisors.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

5151 & 5153 Trevon St

Price: $235,000    Beds: 4    Baths: 2    Sq Ft: 1879

Wonderful updated duplex! Each unit has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, vinyl windows, garage with roll-up door and large fenced backyard with patio. This 0.23 acre lot located on the corner of a culdesac is within 2 miles of schools, shopping and bus route....
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A Potentially Costly Mistake to Avoid

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

As I have mentioned previously, one thing that you can bet on is that things are not going to stay the same in the world of Real Estate for any long period.  Our extended run of historically low mortgage interest rates could be close to ending.  It now appears that the Fed will soon begin raising interest rates.  This could indicate that the Fed is putting the steps into place which will eventually normalize interest rates in this country.  How fast this all takes place is anybody's guess, but it has to happen and it now looks like this is the scenario that is rapidly approaching.

What does this mean for home buyers and home sellers?  Our long run of low mortgage rates has heated up a Real Estate market that otherwise would have been flat.  Low rates have kept buyers very active and this has created high demand, which in turn has created low inventories of homes from sale.  This situation has lead to home price increases across the country.  Higher mortgage interest rates will decrease buyer demand, allowing invetories to rise and this will in turn put pressure on home pricing.  This will not happen over night, but it will happen.  Also, remember that this country has struggled to fully recover from the recession and household incomes have not really increased in a long time.  All of this points towards a much slower housing market in the months ahead. A market that may not be nearly as attractive to buyers and sellers as the one we are currently enjoying.

If you are considering a home purchase or a home sale, don't hold off.  Don't wait for Spring.  This could be a very costly mistake.  Mortgage interest rates remain low at this time and buyer demand is high.  For sellers, this may be the be time to sell your home that you will see for years.  For buyers, home affordabilty may suffer when rates climb as well as your ability to qualify for financing.  Don't wait, as I mentioned above, the current mortgage rate situation is about to change and we may never see mortgage rates back at the levels they are today.

If you would like some information on buying or selling a home in this market, get in touch.  I would love to assist you.  As always there is no obligation, just good, honest information that will help you make the right decision.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



2231 Sandy Drive

Price: $330,000    Beds: 3    Baths: 3    Sq Ft: 2720

In highly desirable Ferry St Bridge area! Delightful 0.21 acre property on quiet street. Features recessed lights, skylights, vaulted ceiling and Pergo wood floor. Huge master suite with 3 closets and 5-piece bath. 3 bedrooms plus additional room th...
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Good Morning!

Winging it on your own with a home purchase today is much harder than it has been in the past.  It has never been more important to seek out a Real Estate professional who is an expert in the mortgage world, home values by neighborhood and area, home inventories, market trends and is a great negotiator.  It's just as important to find a trusted Real Estate expert as it is to find the best lawyer or doctor.  It can make a huge difference during the purchase process and it can pay you huge dividends down the road.  Here is an article that was published in "Realty Times", that speaks to the importance of hiring a professional Real Estate expert for your home purchase.

Getting a purchase closed in today's market is complex. The real estate market has changed greatly from only a few years ago. Buyers face many more hurdles including stricter financing, low housing supplies, higher mortgage rates, and rising prices.

To negotiate today's challenges, you need a real estate sales professional to help you close the deal. A good real estate professional understands current market conditions. He or she has house-by-house neighborhood experience and can help you obtain the right home at the best price and terms.

Your agent can help you find a home quickly. Not only do real estate agents have access to the local multiple listing service, they also share knowledge of homes coming onto the market with their colleagues. Your real estate professional will tell others about your requirements for a home so they can also be on the lookout for you.

In fact, networking is one of the biggest industry advantages. Many homes are bought and sold without a sign ever going into the yard. But, for buyers to be shown the latest homes on the market, or to hear about homes about to come onto the market, there has to be a strong relationship between the buyer and the real estate professional.

If you want to be the buyer positioned to make first and best offers on the most desirable homes, make certain your agent knows you are committed. How do you show you're serious? There are several ways.

Get prequalified with a lender. Share your financial records so you know exactly how much home you can buy. Your agent won't go over your limit because it would be a waste of time to show you homes you can't afford to buy.

Work with only one agent. You can do this by signing a buyer's representation agreement, if it's customary in your area. If not, show your loyalty by telling other agents you may meet at open houses or socially that you are represented and give them your agent's name.

Don't shop for homes without your agent. If you want to look at open houses or builder homes, invite your agent to go along. If your agent can't go, make sure you register your agent's name with builder sales reps and open house sellers' agents.

Be loyal. Real estate professionals work primarily on commission. If the deal of the century is about to come on the market, who do you think your agent will tell first - the buyer with five other agents or the buyer who is loyal? If you're playing agents against each other thinking you'll get people to work for free and that you'll have your pick of homes to choose, you're wrong. Agents talk, and they'll find out they're working for the same buyer. If you want great service, show appreciation, confidence, and commitment.

Once you find the house you want, the work really begins. You'll have to navigate negotiations, loan approval, seller's disclosures, inspections with environmental and structural reports, and so on. From helping you make a reasonable offer, to providing for the discovery and disclosure of material facts, your agent can help protect your interests.

Buyers and sellers are natural adversaries. Agents must be skilled negotiators and problem solvers, as well as anticipate problems before they happen. Pride, ignorance, or stubbornness can get in the way of a fair deal for both sides.

Your agent will share your risk, and will make sure you go into any home purchase with your eyes wide open. Take advantage of the greatest homebuying resource available -- your own real estate agent.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



2685 Valley Forge Dr

Price: $524,900    Beds: 3    Baths: 2    ½ Baths: 1    Sq Ft: 2302

Anslow & DeGeneault 2015 Tour of Homes model home. Gas forced air 92% efficiency, exquisite single level, located in beautiful Hawthorne Estates. Easily entertain in Great Rm overlooking backyard. Escape to luxurious owner’s ste w/ tray ceilin...
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A Few Realities that May Be Surprising When Buying a New Home

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

With the housing market improving in the Eugene and Springfield area, new home construction is taking off again after a long slow period. Right now there is a variety of new homes and new areas to choose from in a wide range of pricing.  If you are thinking about buying new instead of an existing house, here are some tips from "Realty Times" on purchasing a new home.  Please remember that the Galand Haas Team has over 20 years of new home purchase experience.  Our experience ranges from finding you the perfect new home to helping you find the right builder, right area and leading you through the construction process.  Please contact us if you want to look into the purchase or construction of a new home.

Buying a new home can be a truly exciting experience. Choosing your lot and floorplan, picking out all your fixtures, watching the progress from foundation to framing to finishes. Makes me want to run out and tour a model home right now!

Through all the excitement, though, there are a few realities that may be surprising for those buying new for the first time.

1. You probably won't be able to negotiate the price. New homes are not like resale, where there is the expectation of price negotiations back and forth. The price set by the builder is most likely the price you're going to pay. The exceptions are when there are just a few homes left and when there is standing inventory that needs to be sold.

"Look for builder inventory homes that have been on the market for 45 days or more," said Inman. "These are the homes in which a buyer might be able to get a good deal."

 

2.  But you may be able get some upgrades at no cost.

   More typical in a new-home community is getting some upgrades thrown in—things like window coverings or nicer flooring. Negotiating a few must-haves into your deal can help offset your costs. Some builders may also help with closing costs as an incentive to buy.

3. There might also be incentives to using the builder's in-house lender.

 Many builders have an in-house or preferred lender they work with to provide financing for buyers. There may be advantages to using this lender—better terms or a rate that's bought down. By law, the builder can't make you use their lender, so if you feel pressured, be sure to discuss with your real estate agent.

4. Use a REALTOR®.

 Speaking of Realtors…you can use your agent to buy a new home, and, in fact, you should.

"In general, builders' model homes are staffed by agents who work directly for and represent the builder. A buyer also needs to have a real estate agent who represents them and looks after their best interests," said Inman. "Keep in mind that most builders will require that the real estate agent accompany and register the buyer on their first visit to the builder's model home or community."

 

5. Your home will not look like the model.

 When you tour a model home, it's decked out with pretty walls and floors and lighting and countertops. The furniture is to scale and the fabrics are custom and the pictures are hung perfectly. It's pretty seductive. But the empty shell you buy won't look like this if you go with all the standard configurations and finishes. Be realistic about what you want, what you need, what you can afford, and how that translates to what you are seeing. The salesperson can point out which of the items you love in the model come standard and which are pricey upgrades.

6. The price of the home as advertised is not what you'll pay.

 Typically, it will take many tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades and options to get the home you buy to look like the model. This can be a rude awakening for buyers who are trying to stick to a strict budget. The good news is rolling some of those upgrades into the mortgage can make good financial sense, according to Money Crashers.

"Upgrading during the initial construction phase is generally cheaper than updating your home later on. For example, if you choose to upgrade from laminate flooring to hardwood, you'll pay the difference in material costs—but you won't necessarily have to pay extra for the installation itself, since your builder needs to install floors in the first place. The same goes for things like windows and bathroom features."

7. You'll be dealing with construction noise and traffic. For a while.

 The peaceful life you envision can be a reality, but probably not from the get-go. Depending on the community, it may take time to complete construction. Which means dealing with congestion and hassle for the time being. Amenities like pools, sport courts, and trails may also not be built out by the time you move in. Asking ahead of time about the construction schedule can help you manage expectations.

8. Not everything will work perfectly.

 In any house, there are bound to be issues. New homes are no different. Builder warranties will help.

"Warranties for newly built homes generally offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials relating to various components of the home, such as windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, and electrical systems for specific periods. Warranties also typically define how repairs will be made," said the FCC. "The duration of coverage varies depending on the component of the house. Most warranties on new construction cover siding and stucco, doors and trim, and drywall and paint during the first year. Coverage for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems is generally two years. Some builders provide coverage for up to 10 years for "major structural defects."

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

 



4215 Heins Ct

Price: $239,900     Beds: 3     Baths: 2     Sq Ft: 1489

Beautiful Brand New Home! Another great home from builder Gary Konold. Located in cul-de-sac w/ shopping only a 2 minute drive away! One level home offers laminate wood flrs, granite counters, vaulted & high ceilings & Great Room layout. Dining area...
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The Best Way to Save Money During the Home Buying Process

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

Finding the perfect home to buy is only a part of the home purchase process.  Getting a mortgage loan is the second part and it can be complicated.  Not knowing the facts can cost you thousands up front and cost you far more down the stretch.  With mortgage loans, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.  Do your research and don't fall for gimmicks or rates that seem to be much lower than the norm.  My suggestion is to find a qualified mortgage professional in your market area.  You can find them typically by asking your Real Estate agent, asking friends, etc.  Ask for references and talk to them.  This is serious business and you want to make sure that you get the best mortgage package available.  

Most of your "money" challenge rests, not with the purchase price, but with the cost of borrowing money to buy. Saving a few thousand on the purchase price, but jumping into a mortgage without any research may mean that apparent purchase savings disappear into massive accrued interest costs.

The cost of borrowing someone else's money to buy a house or condominium can add interest and other charges that result in you paying two or three times the original purchase price after a couple of decades of ownership.

Invest "brain time" learning about how to finance the purchase and you'll get pay-back in how much less you spend on borrowing the money.

For instance, if you want to buy real estate, have you taken time to…

  • Understand how to present the best possible credit rating to qualify for the best rate and terms?
  • Learn which mortgage terms, including amortization period, prepayment options, frequency of interest compounding, and many more, can cost you money and how to protect yourself before you sign on the dotted line?
  • Discover how and why you should repay your mortgage loan as quickly as possible and save on years of interest payments?

Once again, talk of rising interest rates has us mesmerized. Whether you are selling to buy, purchasing a new build, or entering the real estate market for the first time, mortgage rates are a topic you've been following. Unfortunately, tracking rates alone won't teach you enough about how to save and how to protect all your interests when buying a home. While borrowing rates are important, they are one of many factors to consider when arranging a loan.

The internet offers many good sources of refinancing information mixed in with sources of too much bad advice, dated content, and devious promotion. Stick to solid, reputable sources, including government agencies and consumer associations, and remain skeptical of all you hear and read. Ask a lot of questions and take notes. The "exam" is your financial wellbeing.

Our tendency to click around popular sites, which may have sometimes undisclosed agendas, can make learning about mortgages harder, not easier. Jumping from site to site, blog to blog, author to author can be confusing. Learn the basics, including terminology, before you look for slick tricks. Master the language of mortgages, so you can comfortably discuss your options with mortgage and real estate salespeople.

One great educational opportunity is to learn from the mistakes and mishaps of others. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), established in 2010, describes itself as "a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives."

Make a Complaint: If you've experienced difficulties with a financial product, they want to hear from you.

They'll forward your issue to the company involved and provide you with status updates.

Read about Complaints: Complaint Database.

CFPB also provides educational support to head-off problems and explain new disclosures: Know Before You Owe.

If you are looking for a mortgage professional in the Eugene/Springfield market area, contact me.  I have a list of the best mortgage professionals in our area.  I can save you both time and money.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



4215 Heins Ct

Price: $239,900    Beds: 3    Baths: 2    Sq Ft: 1489

Beautiful Brand New Home! Another great home from builder Gary Konold. Located in cul-de-sac w/ shopping only a 2 minute drive away! One level home offers  laminate wood flrs, granite counters...
View this property >>


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8 Major Steps You Will Take When Buying a Home

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

With mortgage interest rates continuing to hover at historic low levels, the number of people buying homes continues to increase. If you fall into this category, here are just a few tips from "Realty Times" about purchasing a home.

There are eight major steps you will take when you buy a home and each one is as important in its own way as the last.

Make your wish list -- Decide where you want to live and how many bedrooms and baths you'll need. Consider lifestyle -- condominiums offer shared amenities, with little responsibility. Single-family homes offer more space and privacy, but they also require more exterior and yard maintenance. Consider buying a fixer-upper for a reduced cost so you can remodel it to suit your needs.

Get preapproved -- You can prequalify yourself on the internet, but it takes a lender looking at your personal financial information to get prequalified. Your income, credit scores, revolving debts, obligations such as child support as well as the type of loan you choose will influence how much home you can buy. Other factors such as the down payment, interest rate and terms (30-year fixed or an adjustable rate) will determine what you can afford in monthly payments.

Hire a real estate professional -- Armed with a sensible price range, you're ready to hire a real estate expert to help you find the right home. Your real estate professional should be expert in the area where you want to live and familiar with the type of home you want to buy. Your agent should have house-by-house experience in the neighborhood you want so she or he can advise you.

Select your home -- No home is perfect, so don't let minor flaws influence you. Think long-term. Which available home best suits the needs of your household now and in the years ahead? Consider the amount of space, the floorplan, privacy, entertaining options and potential upkeep. Don't buy more than you need or can comfortably afford.

Make an offer -- Your offer should reflect current market conditions. If a home has been on the market a long time, you can ask the seller for a price reduction, but if it's new on the market, the seller is unlikely to comply. Sellers are more likely to respond to how much you love the home, than all the reasons why you don't think it's worth the asking price. Ask your real estate professional for advice on how to negotiate.

Get an inspection -- A home inspection is a professional third-party opinion of the home's condition. The inspector will point out the age of systems, and large and small repairs that are needed, so you'll know what you're facing as the next owner. Don't sweat small cosmetic flaws. Concentrate instead of high-cost items to replace such as air conditioners and roofing.

Get an appraisal - The bank appraisal determines market value to the lender. The appraiser will use comparables of similar homes that have recently sold. If the home doesn't appraise for the purchase price, the bank will refuse to make the loan unless you renegotiate with the seller. If it appraises for the asking price, the lender will move toward closing.

Go to closing -- Once final negotiations are complete, the parties to the transaction meet at the escrow office. This could be a title company, real estate attorney, or other closing agent customary in your area. All paperwork is signed by both parties. The lender pays the seller, minus any liens against the home such as the seller's mortgage. Once all the disbursements have been made, you get the keys to your new home, according to your agreement.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



2511 Garfield St

Price: $435,000    Beds: 3    Baths: 2    ½ Baths: 1    Sq Ft: 3908

Spacious custom home w/ tree views! Beautiful 3 levels offer amazing treetop views from lg private master ste which occupies entire upper level. Grand KIT w/ very lg cook island, eat-bar, cherry cabs, corian counters & Wilsonart lam flrs that lead t...
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Best Time to Buy a Home - By the Numbers

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!


Not a day passes without someone asking me if they should buy a home now or wait until the market slows down and homes are more affordable.  This is an easy question to answer, because we still have affordability and we also have historic low mortgage interest rates that won't be here for ever.  The following is a recent article from "Realty Times", that talks about our current market and addresses the home purchase question.

Right now, buyers have the best of both worlds -- home prices have risen, but they're still below the bubble of 2005, and mortgage interest rates are just above record lows. Yet, many buyers are still waiting for a sign that it's the right time to buy.

Should you wait for prices to go down or for lower interest rates? We advise that you do neither. The price of a home is fixed, so it makes sense to wait for prices to go lower, but you may not realize is that prices have to drop significantly to beat a minor fluctuation in mortgage interest rates.

Home prices have been rising for the past five years, sometimes in the double digits. Between January 2014 and January 2015, home prices rose over six percent. If sales continue at the current pace, it's more likely that the home you don't buy today could be more expensive later.

In the time you wait for price reductions, you could effectively build equity, or ownership in your home. Few homeowners keep a loan for 30 years anymore. People change jobs, get divorced, move up, downsize, refinance and have other reasons for not keeping their original mortgage. So the time is now.

So let's look at a few what-ifs and see when it's best for you to buy a home. Using round numbers, on a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.00 percent, your monthly payment starting May 2015 will be $955. At seven years, the average length of time that most buyers occupy their homes today, you'll pay $52,898 in interest and the remainder of your loan will be $171,738.


If you wait around and interest rates go up, you'll be paying more monthly, plus you won't build equity as quickly. At 4.5 percent, your monthly payment will be $1,013 and you'll pay $59,828 in interest. Your loan remainder is higher - $173, 692. A half a point increase in interest will cost you $58 more per month, $6,930 more in interest, and you'll end up with $1,954 less in equity.

If your home dropped 5% in value and you were able to get a loan for $190,000 and 4.5% interest, your payment would be $963, a difference of $51 less per month than if you'd paid $200,000.

But what if you're wrong and prices go up by five percent? At $210,000 and 4.5 percent interest, you'll pay $1064 per month, $62,820 in interest, and the remainder on the loan will be $182,376. That's a difference of $109 more on your monthly payment and $9830 more in interest, plus you'll lose $10,638 in equity.

Why not buy now when both prices and interest rates are lower?

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



649 ST ANDREWS LOOP
 

Price: $495,000     Beds: 5     Baths: 4    ½ Baths: 1     Sq Ft: 5568

Outstanding value at $88 per sq ft - Hardwood flooring, granite counters, travertine tile, hickory cabinets, two walk-in closets, solid core 8ft doors, creek views, next to Emerald Valley Golf Resort. Too many high end amenities to list. Less than 2...
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The Best Time to Buy a Home is Now

by Galand Haas

Good Afternoon!


There may never be a more opportune time to purchase a home than right now for a variety of reasons.  The following is an article from "Realty Times" that explains why!


"If you don't buy a home right now, you are STUPID!"


That's what Bloomberg said back in 2009. Actually, they said, "If You Don't Buy a House Now, You're Stupid or Broke."


They continued, "Well, you may not be stupid or broke. Maybe you already have a house and you don't want to move. Or maybe you're a Trappist monk and have forsworn all earthly possessions. Or whatever. But if you want to buy a house, now is the time, and if you don't act soon, you will regret it. Here's why: historically low interest rates."


They were talking about rates hovering around five percent. Today, rates are under four percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.


Reason No. 1 to buy now: Rates are low


"Low mortgage rates continue to keep ownership less expensive than renting," said Investopedia. "Even a small change in interest rates has a significant effect on what you'll pay each month and over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Take a $172,000 30-year mortgage, for example ($172,000 is 80% of the median sales price for existing homes of $215,000 after a 20% down payment). With an interest rate of 4%, you would pay $821.15 each month. At an interest rate of 5%, the monthly payment would be $923.33, and at 6%, the payment rises to $1031.23."


Reason No. 2: Rents are high


In many markets, rents are rising to unsustainable levels, reports the National Association of Realtors (NAR). "In the past five years, a typical rent rose 15% while the income of renters grew by only 11%."


The cities with the highest rent increase since 2009 include New York, San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle. For the rest of the list, click here, and to see how much more renting can cost you over a lifetime, check out Riskology.

Reason No. 3: Qualifications are easier

During the real estate downturn of the mid-2000s, banks and lenders tightened the reins, and often only the most qualified applicants could get approved. Post-recession, qualifications have loosened. Buyers who can't show solid income and a minimum credit score probably won't be offered a risky interest-only ARM today, however, those with less-than-perfect credit and minimal funds still have options. The Federal Housing Association (FHA) minimums are a 620 credit score and a 3.5 percent down payment.

 

Reason No. 4: Private mortgage insurance fees are down

Buyers who put less than 20 percent down on their home generally incur a monthly fee in the name of private mortgage insurance (PMI). In January 2015, the government announced lower PMI rates on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, which equates to a savings of about $900 a year. Seventy-five dollars a month may not seem like much, but every little bit helps when you're committing to an investment as large as a home.

Reason No. 5: It's still one of the best investments out there

In fact, some would say it's the very best investment out there.

"Buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high," said CNBC.

Not only as a comparison between buying and renting, but as a measurable asset, homeownership stands up—as long as buyers make a smart decision.

"The largest measurable financial benefit to homeownership is price appreciation," said Investopedia. "Price appreciation helps build home equity, which is the difference between the market price of the house and the remaining mortgage payments."

Reason No. 6: It feels good

You know that pride of ownership thing? It's true. Really. Nothing compares to the feeling of walking into a home that's yours for the first time. Or painting the walls a color other than white. Updating the kitchen. Making it your own. Not worrying about your rent being raised. And, of course, watching your equity grow over time.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!


 


3985 Monroe St


Price: $450,000     Beds: 4     Baths: 3    ½ Baths: 1     Sq Ft: 3142


Picturesque property in the hills! This 0.45 acre property backs up to a creek offering expansive views of the trees and sounds of nature. Entertain easily on 2 decks in the fenced backyard and in large bonus room on lower level. This home has an op...
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AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Helpful Tips for First Time Home Buyers

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

With mortgage interest rates remaining extremely low, many first time buyers are making the choice to purchase a home now instead of gambling on waiting.  If you are a first time home buyer or if you know of someone thinking about purchasing their first home, here are some tips that just might help with the home purchase process.

First-Time Home-Buyers: Know What You Can Afford


The hardest part of the home-buying process is figuring out what is affordable. Some first-time buyers rely on the amount the bank is willing to lend. Others use a lender’s mortgage calculator to crunch a couple of numbers. However, banks are often willing to lend much more than you can afford, and mortgage calculators don’t always tell the whole story. To learn how much home you can afford, start with the basics.

 

How Much Can You Pay Each Month?

Rather than focusing on the purchase price or lender offers, decide how much you can spend on a mortgage payment each month. A common rule of thumb is that your mortgage payment should be between 25 and 30 percent of your income. In truth, 30 percent is too high for many people. The only reliable way to determine what you can afford is by adding all of your monthly bills and expenses. Make sure to get estimates of what your new utilities will cost based on the size of the home you plan to purchase. For area specific rates, consult local service providers or your real estate agent.

Remember to include cost of living changes as well. Even over small distances, the price of gas, groceries and other necessities can change dramatically. Long-term savings is another overlooked cost. Do not make the mistake of assuming that future wage increases will allow you to save money later on. It is a good idea to plan for savings right from the start. Once you are comfortable with your estimates, you can start looking at the other costs that factor into mortgage payments.

Striking the Right Balance with Your Down Payment

The next step of the process is to determine how much you can put down on a home. Save as much as you can, but make sure to set aside some money for appraisals, inspections, closing costs and moving expenses. If you can save enough to put 20 percent down, you will be much more attractive to lenders. Additionally, loan products with a 20 percent down payment requirement are easier to obtain if your credit is less than perfect.

However, if you can’t save that much, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of ways to buy a home with little to no down payment. However, your interest rates may be a little higher, and you will have to pay private mortgage insurance.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is what lenders use to protect themselves from risky borrowers. If you put down less than 20 percent, you will probably have to pay PMI every month as part of your mortgage payment. As your down payment decreases, PMI rates go up. Speak to as many lenders as you can to learn what rates to expect. Make sure to ask how long you will need to pay PMI. Some loans, such as those backed by the Federal Housing Administration, will require you to pay PMI for the life of the loan. Other products will allow you to cancel PMI after you have paid enough towards the principal balance.

How Much Difference does Interest Make?

Interest rates can make or break a loan deal. A slightly higher rate can add a large amount to your monthly payment.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!



4220 Heins Court

Price: $235,000     Beds: 3     Baths: 2     Sq Ft: 1489

Brand New Home with RV Parking! Another beautiful home from builder Gary Konold. Located in cul-de-sac with shopping only a 2 minute drive away! One level home offers laminate wood flrs, granite counters, vaulted & high ceilings and Great Room layou...
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AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

The Importance of Having a New Home Inspected

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Afternoon!


Home inspections are an essential part in the process of purchasing a home. This even means they are important when purchasing a brand new home from a builder.  The following article from "Realty Times", talks about the importance of having a new home inspected.


Question: We are looking to buy a new home from a builder. We like the neighborhood and the price has been reduced to make it very attractive. Additionally, the builder is throwing in a number of extras, including paying all of our closing costs.


However, we do not know this builder's reputation, and would like to have the home inspected before we go to closing. Is this possible?

Answer: In today's buyer's market, most anything is possible, and I think it's a very good idea. However, builders often reject such arrangements, for a number of reasons. Some builders claim that this will void their insurance policy and are afraid that someone will get hurt during the inspections. Other builders don't want their employees bothered by too many questions from the inspector, while other builders just say that "we will provide you with a house that has been approved by the county inspectors, so you do not have to worry."


But you are correct in worrying. According to Frank Lesh, former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), "even new homes have defects that only a professional can detect".

Keep in mind that in many counties, the government inspectors are busy and do not have time to carefully look at all aspects of the new home. Often, by the time the county inspector makes a site visit, your builder may already have put up the drywall, thereby covering up the electrical and the plumbing.

I have been involved in a number of new home warranty issues, many of which could have been avoided had the buyer been given the right to inspect the new home as it was being built. In one case, the new homeowner kept hearing pipes knocking every time the upstairs bathroom sink was turned on. The homeowner forced the developer to open up the walls -- at the developer's expense -- and found that some of the plumbing pipes were not properly affixed to the wall. The building inspector that the homeowner retained -- after the house had been completed -- determined that this was what he called "water hammer".

Indeed, in this case, the builder acknowledged that had there been a periodic inspection, the problem would have been detected earlier, at a significant cost savings to the builder.

ASHI recommends a three-pronged inspection: prior to the pouring of the foundation, prior to insulation and drywall, and finally prior to the final walk-through.

You should tell the builder that you want the right to have an inspector of your choice -- and at your expense -- to conduct these three inspections. The sales contract you sign should spell out this right in clear terms.

There are many components involved in a new home -- such as the roof, the foundation, the electrical and plumbing and the heating and air conditioning systems. I recently heard of a situation where a homeowner complained that the new house was not being adequately cooled, and when a professional inspected the system, he discovered that the builder had made a mistake. The system that was designed for a smaller house was accidentally installed in the house that was inspected.

 

Once again, the developer had to spend a lot of money correcting the situation -- money which could have been saved had there been periodic inspections.

It often amazes me that when consumers buy a new car, they inspect it carefully, even to the point of kicking the tires. But when they buy a new house, they are more concerned about how many bedrooms there will be, and what size television will they be able to put in the family room.

To my knowledge, there are two major home inspection organizations: ASHI and the National Association of Home Inspectors.

If you do not have the name of a competent inspector, you can find one by going to either of these organization's website.

When you contact a home inspector, inquire of his/her qualifications and background and check him/her out on the Web and at the Better Business Bureau.

If you decide to hire an inspector, get a copy of the inspector's contract before you formally commit yourself. Read it carefully, and make sure that the inspector will be doing the job you want.

There is one controversial provision in most home inspector's contract, called "an exculpatory clause". This states that should the inspector make a mistake and negligently fail to pick up problem areas in the house, your only remedy is to get full refund of the contract price. This clause has been upheld in the State of Maryland. However, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that these exculpatory clauses will not be enforced "when a party to the contract attempts to avoid liability for intentional conduct of harm caused by "reckless, wanton or gross behavior." (Carlton v Home Tech, decided June 15, 2006). This was a modest fix but unless you can prove that the inspector was engaged in such behavior, the exculpatory clause will be enforced. State laws differ on this issue.

While not every home inspector will agree to delete this clause, it certainly is worth trying.

Purchasing a new home creates significant anxiety among many potential homebuyers. Why not get an inspector to be on your side to relieve you of at least one aspect -- namely is the house built properly or will we have problems after we go to settlement?

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

 


 

2060 MCLEAN BLVD
 

Price: $330,000     Beds: 3     Baths: 2      Sq Ft: 2180

Beautiful and peaceful residence! From high up on a hill enjoy serene tree views. Sunlight floods inside through numerous large windows and 2 sliders. Relax next to the fireplace in the family room, take in the view from the living room, or outside ...
View this property >>


AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

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Galand Haas Team
Keller Williams Realty Eugene and Springfield
2644 Suzanne Way
Eugene OR 97408
Direct: (541) 349-2620
Fax: 541-687-6411

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