What’s It Going to Take?

How much evidence is needed to make a decision to get out of the rent race and become a homeowner?thumbsupdown.jpg

Compare your rent with a mortgage payment on a similar size property. If you want a larger home than your current one, use the rent that property would require instead of what you’re currently paying. If it’s considerably cheaper, you may not need any further encouragement.

By the time you consider the principal reduction, appreciation and tax savings, your monthly cost of housing could be much less than the rent you’re paying.

The principal reduction included in each payment is like a forced savings account that increases as your mortgage balance decreases. Your equity in the property will also grow due to appreciation. The equity is part of your net worth and an investment in your family’s future.

The income tax savings can be an additional financial consideration if the combined interest and property taxes exceed the allowable standard deduction.

Trends are showing that both tenants and homeowners are staying in their homes longer. It’s been said that whether you rent or own, you’re paying for the home. Do you really want to buy the home for your landlord? Check out your numbers on a Rent vs. Own.

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Selecting the Right Color

Have you ever picked a color from the myriad of paint samples available, put it on the wall and decided that it was all wrong? It shouldn’t have to be that difficult but trying to pick the perfect color from those little swatches is just not that easy.paintcolor.jpg

Painters and decorators suggest you buy a small amount of the colors you’re considering. Your paint store should be able to mix them in any brand and any color. Once it’s on the wall, it will be easy to determine if it needs to be lighter or darker or if it’s completely wrong.

Take them home and paint a 2′ x 2′ area on the wall. If you’re concerned about testing the colors on your wall, you can paint some sample boards that can be easily moved around to see how they’ll look with the furniture, floors and other items in the room.

Instead of guessing what it’s going to look like, you’ll actually see how it looks during different times of the day, in natural and artificial light.

While $30 to $40 a gallon for paint may seem like a lot of money, the cost in time and labor to put it on the wall is even more. It’s worth taking the time to test the color on the wall before you buy all the paint needed

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Sooner is Better than Later

Buyers who have delayed purchasing a home due to concerns about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel comfortable about getting back in the market. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to value homes as a favored investment.soonorlater.png

For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the “Fiscal Cliff” bill, click here.

Whether the delayed purchase is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, taking action sooner is better than later.

Reasons to buy now:

  1. The house payment with taxes and insurance is probably cheaper than the rent.
  2. Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
  3. Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
  4. 30 year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
  5. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for the majority of taxpayers.
  6. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
  7. Prices are going up due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.

Contact me about any specific questions you have or information you need.

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Get Your Offer Accepted

As the market shifts from a buyer’s market, it’s good to know how to improve your chances to have the seller accept your offer.signature.jpg

Once you decide on a home, don’t waste time; write an offer and submit it as soon as possible. Competing with another buyer happens more frequently than you’d expect. Multiple offers are a seller’s advantage but here are some tips to level the playing field:

  • Realistic offer – don’t give the impression you’re trying to “steal” the property. Submit comparable sales that justify your offer.
  • Pre-approval letter – this satisfies seller’s biggest concern that an unqualified buyer will unnecessarily take the home off the market and the seller will lose other opportunities.
  • More earnest money – it shows you’re serious and makes the seller feel like the contract will actually close.
  • Minimize contingencies – from a seller’s standpoint, each contingency is one more reason why the sale won’t go through. They feel the home is “off the market” and they’re in limbo.
  • Shorten inspection period – your agent can help you set a reasonable date but let the seller know you’re willing to close prior to that if possible.
  • Write a personal letter to the seller telling them why you want their home – this can be the emotional connection to the seller that makes the difference in you getting the home.

A seller wants to feel confident that the offer they accept will actually close so they can plan for their next move. Following tips like these can definitely affect negotiations and help put together an offer that is more likely to be accepted.

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Resolutions

resolutions.jpgAfter spending the holidays with family and friends, this is a time of the year to start thinking about changes to make in our lives, both personal and in business. We wanted to share one of ours with you.

Our goal is to become your REALTOR® for life. We want you to think of us first when you need to buy or sell and that you’ll recommend us to your friends too. That kind of trust has to be earned and we’re committed to helping you be a better homeowner even when you’re not buying or selling.

The strategy is simple. A well-informed homeowner will make better decisions. We’ll periodically offer information through articles and social media on a wide variety of home-related topics like maintenance tips, tax law changes, financing suggestions, insurance, equity building strategies, and rental property investments.

Please contact us if you need a recommendation on a service provider. Our experience has built a list of reputable and reasonable contractors that you can rely upon. When you have any kind of home-related questions, I hope you’ll have the confidence to call us.

Happy New Year. We sincerely look forward to helping you or your friends.

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Take a Year End “Let it go!”

“Gloom despair and agony on me … OHHHHHHH … deep dark depression excessive misery … OHHHHHHH … if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all … OHHHHHHH … gloom despair and agony on me.”  If you’re old enough to remember or have seen the reruns of Hee Haw then you recognized the lyrics and remember the skit.  I sing it every time I watch the news on television or listen to it on the radio.  The thing I remember most about the Hee Haw skit is that everyone singing was positioned on the porch in such a way as to say: “I’m quite content with my bad luck and I have no intention of moving from the porch.”  Maybe I’m just on a rant this morning but it seems to me we need to sing about our misery and bad luck a little less in 2013 and get off the porch.  However, I realize that 2012 may have been a rough year so I’ve got a little exercise for us to do.  Select a balloon of your choice, color and size.  Now blow it up as large as you can without popping it due to over inflation.  Here comes the fun part; “Let it go!”  Didn’t that feel good?  Let’s do that with 2012 and enjoy our production in 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

www.larrystarbuck.com

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Avoiding Unexpected Expenses

It’s common for sellers to consider offering and buyers might find it an incentive, but a growing number of homeowners are purchasing the home warranties themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs and replacements.protection.png

A home protection plan is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the components in a home. Some homeowners especially like the convenience that it organizes a qualified service provider as well as the cost of the items.

There are a variety of companies that offer home warranties and the coverage may differ but the majority of things will include heating, air conditioning most built-in and some free-standing appliances, as well as other specific items. Additional specific coverage may be available for other things like pool and spa equipment.

Some investors are even placing this coverage on their rental properties to limit the amount of maintenance repairs during the year. It is a viable alternative to managing the financial risk and the stress dealing with unexpected expenses.

If you’re interested in home warranties, I’ll be happy to send you more information.

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