Thursday, October 27, 2016
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The more equity in your home, the more options you have. Since equity is determined by the difference between value and what is owed on a property, when homes lost value during the Great Recession, homeowners’ equity decreased.
Negative equity occurs when the value is less than the mortgage owed. According to CoreLogic, 91% of all mortgaged properties have equity and only 4.4 million properties remain in negative equity at the end of the second quarter in 2015.
A homeowner, who qualifies, can release part of their equity by refinancing the existing loan and taking out additional cash or by getting a home equity loan. The benefits include:
- To get a lower rate on your current mortgage
- To finance capital improvements on your home
- To payoff higher interest rate debt such as credit cards or student loans
- To purchase items that would not have deductible interest like personal cars, boats, etc.
It could be as simple as waiting for positive home equity so owners can move to another home without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to sell their home.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
The first thing every homeowner needs to know about plumbing is how to turn the water off in case of an emergency. It’s like having a fire extinguisher; you hope you never need it but you want it just in case you do.
Generally, the cutoff is in the front of the home. There may be a separate cutoff box on the owner’s side of the meter. If not, the owner needs to be able to open the water meter and turn it off there. This will require a water meter key which can be found at a local home improvement store and a wrench. Once you have the key, practice opening the meter door and check out how the shutoff valve works. Then, put the key in a quick and easy place to find when you need it.
The second thing a homeowner needs is a recommendation of two good plumbers. Having a backup name is always good in case your first choice can’t make it when you need them.
Some homeowners prefer to go the do-it-yourself route. There are plenty of DIY videos on the Internet but having the name of a good plumber if the job gets out of hand can be the tool that saves the day.
Our business puts us in touch with some of the most reliable and reputable service providers and we’re willing to share their names with you. Regardless of whether you “do it or delegate it”, being familiar with the basics can be very helpful.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Appreciation, tax advantages, cash flow, leverage and equity build-up contribute to the rate of return on rental real estate. If that sounds confusing and it’s keeping you from investing in rentals, try looking at it a different way.
Consider this, look at only cash flow and equity build-up to determine whether to buy the property. They are easy to calculate and their outcomes are both reliable and predictable.
Most homeowners, based on their familiarity with their own home, should feel more comfortable with a rental than alternative investments. A conservative strategy is to purchase slightly below average price range homes in a predominantly owner-occupied neighborhood. Collect the rent, pay the bills and make necessary repairs.
A cash on cash rate of return is determined by dividing the cash flow before taxes by the cash invested in the property. It considers all of the “real world” income and expenses related to the property.
The equity build-up occurs from the normal process of amortization with an increasingly larger portion of each payment applied to reduce the principal loan amount.
In this hypothetical example, the combination of the Cash on Cash and the Equity Build-up is almost 12% which is considerably higher than certificates of deposit and bonds and nowhere near as volatile as stocks or mutual funds.
In most of today’s markets, rents are expected to continue to rise and due to a low inventory of homes for sale coupled with growing demand, prices will continue to rise. Even though there is value in appreciation, tax advantages and leverage, they could be considered an unexpected bonus to this basic rate of return.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
An Automated Valuation Model, AVM, is a computer approach that looks at public records to make a determination based on square footage, comparable sales and other elements. It is as easy as putting your address in a blank but unfortunately, AVM results may only be accurate about 20% of the time.
A popular AVM, Zestimate®, states “It is considered a starting point at determining a home’s value.” While an AVM contains some of the same information as a comparable market analysis, it lacks a critical human factor.
Having a pair of experienced eyes consider aspects that are not easily quantified can make a big difference. A skilled professional can tell which properties are truly comparable. A knowledgeable expert can recognize features, floorplans and other things that can affect value but are difficult to quantify.
Even if a person isn’t ready to sell their investment, they like to know its value. It is easy to find the price of stocks or mutual funds on any given day but the value of a home is more difficult.
Regardless of whether you’re just curious as to how much your home is worth or are ready to monetize your equity, I’m available to give you that information without obligation. If you’re not ready now, just keep this letter for when you are.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Homeowners should recognize that the same trusted professional who helped them buy or sell their home can be a valuable resource while they own their home too.
Think of your REALTOR® as an indispensable homeowner’s resource who can make recommendations about a variety of services that homeowners will use throughout the tenure in their home. This experience far exceeds personal experience because of the day-to-day activities working in the industry.
- To recommend reputable and reasonable service providers.
- To offer information about your community, nearby businesses and local agencies.
- To solicit general homeowner knowledge such as protesting your property tax assessment, determining fair market value, determining the best improvements and other things.
- To assist with advice and suggestions about maintenance, protecting value and saving money.
Our goal is to have a long-term relationship with you. We want to help you be a better homeowner not only when you need to buy or sell but all of the year’s in-between. We want to earn a recommendation to your friends. We want you to consider us your REALTOR® for life.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Affordability and stability are reasons homebuyers choose a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. It makes the payment lower than a 15-year mortgage and the principal and interest portion of the payment will be constant for 30 years.
A common belief among homeowners for decades was that they would always have mortgage payment. The Great Recession has caused many individuals to rethink that concept and make plans to get their home paid for sooner.
For people who can afford it, shorter term mortgages will provide a lower interest rate and build equity faster. A 3.09% 15-year fixed-rate mortgage compared to a 3.87% 30-year loan will have a $562.42 higher payment.
The equity would be $66,903.04 greater on the 15-year term at the end of seven years. Even after you consider the higher payment on the shorter term, the equity difference is still almost $20,000 greater.
By choosing a 15-year loan, a borrower is committing to the higher payment for the term of the mortgage in exchange for a slightly lower interest rate. Another approach would be for the borrower to acquire a 30-year mortgage and make payments as if it were on a 15-year term. The slightly higher rate would allow the borrower the flexibility of not having to make the higher payment in the event he could not afford it on any particular month.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Insurance and homeowners go together like peanut butter and jelly. Lenders require fire insurance at a minimum for homes with a mortgage but many owners opt for a more comprehensive coverage with a homeowner’s policy.
However, comprehensive doesn’t mean that everything is covered. Filing a claim is not the time to learn that you don’t have the right coverage. Discuss the following issues with your insurance agent to get a better understanding of your policy and whether some adjustments might be in order.
- Rising water?
- Certain kinds of pets or breeds of dogs?
- Limits on jewelry and cash?
- Deductible amount?
The whole concept behind buying insurance is to transfer the risk of loss that you cannot afford for an annual premium that you can. Price and coverage need to be considered when comparing policies. Call your agent and make sure you understand what you’re insured for and if there are alternatives available.
Monday, November 02, 2015
Sunday, November 01, 2015
10 Rolling Wooded Acres Near Trails and State Land. You will love the scenery!
Beautiful, rolling property with lots of colorful Maple trees and a variety of other trees. There is a nice trail leading back behind the mobile. great hunting spot! The mobile home makes a nice get away, back in the woods. Watch deer, turkey and squirrels from your windows.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Cute home on a paved country road, on approximately 2.5 acres, surrounded by nice trees and across the street from the Gladwin Recreation Area. Walk across the street and enjoy beautiful walking and bike trails. This spacious contemporary style home features cathedral ceilings, stone fireplace, some hardwood floors and spacious rooms. It also comes with a 30x40 pole garage located towards the back of the property, a 12x16 storage shed and a play-scape for children to enjoy. All of this is located in an area of nice homes, just a few short minutes from Gladwin and a short drive from Pratt Lake and Wiggins Lake accesses. Must see!