Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Interested in buying a home? Here the difference between success and failure (per the NAHB)

August 4, 2014 - Each $1,000 increase in the cost of a new median-priced home price forces 206,000 prospective buyers out of the marketplace, according to a new study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). source: http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?newsID=16947 In all the wrangling over credit, construction and confidence in this housing recovery, the real cost of owning a new home could come down to about the same amount as the cost of a new washing machine. NAHB claims just $1,000 makes all the difference. "Each $1,000 increase in the cost of a new median-priced home price forces 206,000 prospective buyers out of the marketplace," reads the first line of a new report from the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB researchers based their findings on the number of households that would not qualify for a mortgage (factoring income, debt, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance) based on that price increase to a median-priced home. They varied state to state, with a low of 313 borrowers not qualifying in Wyoming, to a high of 18,250 in Texas. "It all adds up. A thousand dollars means an additional monthly cost, based on someone's income. That may make the difference between owning and renting," said Robert Dietz, a tax and market analyst at the NAHB. The NAHB is using the analysis to focus on the effects that building regulations have on affordability, noting that higher regulatory costs for builders are passed on in the price of a new home. That said, the $1,000 figure is striking evidence of just how many Americans teeter on the edge of homeownership. The nation's homeownership rate continues to fall, as job and wage growth does not keep pace with home price growth. Nationwide, home prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.5 percent in June 2014 compared with June 2013, according to a report released Tuesday by CoreLogic, a data company. This is a moderation in the double-digit price gains seen last year, but still represents 28 straight months of year-over-year appreciation. "Home prices are continuing to rise fueled by ongoing tight supply, low rates and aggressive investor buying on the East and West coasts," said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic, in a release. "The expected surge in the number of homes for sale has not materialized to date, as many homeowners are staying put and waiting for better economic times and higher prices." Supply issues are easing somewhat and should continue to moderate price gains, but other issues in the mortgage market are also keeping the price of home ownership higher. While builders complain of construction regulations, mortgage lenders argue they are being handcuffed by a still backward-looking housing finance system. They need to have $1,000 extra, according to the builders, but that is just one small part of a far more complicated housing recovery. Home buyers need good credit, sufficient down payments, proof of solid employment…or cold hard cash as covered by Diana Olick with CNBC. Souce: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101895900 While the national news agencies quickly found this story appealing, the truth behind the matter is if you have been responsible in your borrowing, have shown steady employment for over two years and have at least the required down payment; most everyone can obtain a mortgage. There, we said it. It's really not that hard. We have programs available today which allow 1st time homeowners leveraging FHA financing to have as low as a 580 credit score. They only need steady employment and the HUD required 3.5% down and even that can be a gift from a family member! In closing, don't let the headlines fool you. As in years past, steady income and responsible borrowing have been and always will be the key to homeownership.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's that time again... Property Tax Tips for Filing in 2014

Here are 5 property tax tips for a successful filing in 2014 First off, make sure all your current property taxes are paid. The tax code is very clear in placing the burden of making sure taxes are paid squarely on the taxpayer, not the tax assessor / collector. Failure to receive a tax statement does not relieve you from responsibility that prior year taxes are paid on or before January 31 of each year. Second, take pictures of your property on January 1 each year. The effective date of all tax appraisals is January 1 each year. You are taxed on your property as it existed on the first day of the year. If it burns to the ground on January 3, you still get to pay taxes on it for the entire year. On the other hand, if something is seriously wrong with your property (flooded, torn up for remodel, etc.) and the market value is significantly diminished at the beginning of the year, you will need evidence of this later in the spring when you file your protest. Pictures are the best evidence of property condition on January 1. Next, make home improvements or additions in the winter. If you add that pool or new bathroom in November, it becomes taxable in just two months and you will pay the extra taxes that year. Make the same improvements in February and they don’t become taxable until the next year and you won’t pay the higher taxes until the year after that! Also, it is not “too late” to fix big problems with your tax appraisal. Even if you did not file a protest by May 31, all is not necessarily lost. If you can prove the tax appraisal is at least 25% too high you can still file a “Substantial Error” motion until January 31 of the following year and get the value reduced. Also, if you can prove that the Appraisal District failed to send you a required notice you can file a “Failure to Receive” motion by January 31 and be entitled to an appeal hearing. Lastly, under section 25.25(h) of the Property Tax Code, you can beg the Chief Appraiser to fix just about anything and he has the authority to do it with a signature. Finally, you would be surprised how many people don't do the following: Make sure you have filed your Homestead Exemption. Carefully check your property tax statement to verify that part of the value of your homestead is exempted from taxation. The amount varies by taxing entity, but you should see some discounts off of the total appraised value for the school district and county We hope you find these tips helpful and perhaps save you some money!