Homeownership equals significant tax benefits!

July 23rd, 2015

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It has long been understood that there are considerable financial benefits to owning a home. You are paying money into an investment instead of your landlord’s bank account. But beyond this basic financial investment benefit come other benefits at tax time.

When you own a home you can enjoy a number of tax advantages that renters just don’t have access to. These tax advantages of owning a home, along with fulfilling the American dream are what causes many to abandon there plans to continue renting for an indefinite period of time.

With rents around the country skyrocketing the tax benefits of owning a home only become more magnified!

The exact tax benefits that you will get from owning your home will vary based on a number of factors, but suffice it to say that the average homeowner typically gets thousands of dollars in tax deductions related to ownership. The value of these deductions is considerable, and will be especially notable if you have always rented before. Deductions include mortgage interest, discount points, property taxes and mortgage insurance.

There are more than just tax benefits for owning a home. Over the long haul a home is an investment. While owning a home each month you are building equity in the property every time you make a mortgage payment. Even though we have just come out of one of the toughest times for real estate in decades, historically it is a wealth builder. In fact from a long term perspective it is one of the best investments you can hold. Finally, the enjoyment derived from having something tangible they own can’t be discounted. Years of memories and enjoyment are made in our homes. All together, these things make the American dream of home ownership alive and well.

 

Foreign Buyers

July 21st, 2015

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Foreign buyers purchase U.S. residential properties for a variety of reasons—vacation, investment, asset diversification, and residential use.  How do they decide where to buy?

Based on information from NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients, proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives, friends and associates, jobs and educational opportunities, and climate and location appear to be important considerations to prospective buyers. Europeans and Canadians are attracted to Florida and Arizona for their warmer climates. California and Texas are favored by purchasers from Asia/Oceania. Buyers from Latin America, including Mexico, favor states in close proximity such as Texas and Florida.

The top five countries with international buyers purchasing in the United States are Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Foreign sales volume is estimated at $104 billion or approximately 8% of total existing home sales volume.

Will my new house flood?

June 29th, 2015

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Tis the season – June 1st marked the beginning of hurricane season and as witnessed with the torrential rain that fell in the area at the end of last month, flooding knows no boundaries.  The impact can be devastating. Concerns over flooding and weather related events are common for people who live in Houston or are planning to move here.  While certain areas are called preferred flood zones, meaning that they are at low or moderate flood risk, the Houston area as a whole is in a flood zone, which puts everyone’s property at risk. When the Houston area is hit with a deluge of rainfall, the areas affected the most could be anywhere due to the random nature of weather related events, and how fast the storm might be moving.

A great tool for reviewing a home on the market is the Seller’s Disclosure notice. This notice provides vital information regarding the condition of the home, including whether or not any previous flooding has occurred.  Homeowners policies do not cover rising water. This exposure can only be addressed by flood insurance. It is important to note that there is a 30 day waiting period associated with the purchase of flood insurance.  The only exception to this rule is a lender required policy. Those policies can be effective the day of closing since the mortgage company requires them. This is a great opportunity for new buyers to get coverage on their home immediately.  

Know the risks. Be prepared.

Millennials Face Challenges as 1st Time Home Buyers

June 27th, 2015

First-time home buyers are back but a new wave of these (mostly) millennial prospectors is more likely than other buyers to face certain obstacles to closing the deal. According to the latest resale home sales report by the National Association of Realtors®, first-time buyers in May represented 32% of all sales, up from 30% in April and 27% a year ago. Among the serious house hunters, the share of 25 to 34 year-olds—the upper reaches of the millennial generation—has substantially increased. In January 2015, about 54% of these older millennials said they were planning to buy a home within three months. By mid-June, that figure was 65%. In addition, older millennials and first-time buyers are more optimistic than the average buyer, saying that they are “very likely to purchase within the next 12 months.” These buyers are more likely to struggle to find an acceptable property within their budget, to gather funds for a down payment, and to improve their credit score.

Key Challenges:

  • 60% cite needing to improve their credit score, the No. 1 issue for this type of buyer; that rate is almost 7 times that of the typical buyer.
  • 52% cite lacking funds for a down payment.
  • 39% say they cannot find a good house in their budget.
  • 15% cite being on a lease, which is 2.5 times that of the typical buyer.

Despite the challenges, these would-be buyers clearly aren’t giving up—they are 85% more likely to say that they plan to buy even if it takes a year or more.

Want to know what your mortgage could look like? Use this handy mortgage calculator to see.

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Mortgage Rates Drop Again

January 27th, 2015

In Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended January 22, national average mortgage rates dropped again. As bond yields and oil prices fell, national average fixed mortgage rates hit their lowest levels since May 2013. 

Lower Down Payments!

January 23rd, 2015

Good news on the lending front!  Conventional loans minimum down payment is now 3% (previously 5%).  This applies to primary residence purchase transactions only.  Combined with historical low rates, there’s not been a better time to buy.