Thursday, January 31 2013
After the holidays, buyers tend to start getting more aggressive with their house hunting. Search activity usually peaks around March or April in most states, according to a new study of home searches from 2007 to 2012 conducted by Trulia.
In September, searches slow down. By December buyer searches ebb to their lowest point of the year.
“Home-search activity swings with the seasons in every state,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia. “Buyers and sellers can use these ups and downs to their advantage. Sellers looking for the most buyers should list when real estate search traffic peaks. Buyers, however, should think about searching off-season, when there is less competition from other searchers.”
The study revealed seasonal patterns of search activity state to state. Here are the months when online real estate searches peak in every U.S. state:
Source: “Trulia Reveals Best Home-Searching Season,” HousingWire (Jan. 29, 2013)
Monday, April 30 2012
This is usually the time of year when Evansville residents have gotten through tax season, heaved a sign of relief, and gone back to working on more important matters – like earning enough to make reducing taxes a goal worth pursuing.
This year, the latter part of April may be a little different. Because this is an election year, tax matters are already being widely debated, and changes that could affect everyone are more possible than usual. I am bringing these topics up for discussion with the firm caveat that your own planning (includingEvansville home buying decisions) should always be made after consultation with the financial experts you trust. Currently, federal and Indiana rules carry tax benefits that can greatly reduce a homeowner’s tax liability. They are very unlikely to be eliminated, but you may want to keep your ear tuned whenever you hear these topics under discussion, because seemingly minor changes can have major impacts.
Mortgage Interest and Points
Many renters found that they were able to use the standard deduction tables to simplify their federal filings. Homeowners, on the other hand, were usually better off using itemized deductions because of the welcome mortgage interest deduction. Qualifying points paid to obtain a mortgage can also generally be deducted in the year they are paid.
Everyone with a standard Individual Retirement Account has heard about the penalties for withdrawing funds before retirement age. But currently there is an exception in some home buying situations. Generally, some IRA funds can be applied to home buying (or building) a first home without those tax penalties. The catch is that you can only withdraw up to $10,000 over your entire lifetime (not annually). Those with Roth IRAs may find additional tax advantages, too.
Real Estate Taxes
Qualifying local and Indiana property taxes can amount to sizeable deductions. If, in the home buying process, you reimbursed a seller for prepaid property taxes, that amount can qualify, too.
As in all financial planning, you should consult your accountant or other tax professional before making any important decisions. And whenever buying or selling a Evansville property makes sense for your family, I’m standing by to answer all of your real estate questions.
You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Thursday, April 07 2011
More investors are finding a sweet spot in flipping foreclosures, but it’s not the same type of house flipping seen during the real estate boom.
Tuesday, March 29 2011
Home buyers and -sellers alike often bristle with anticipatory irritation at the mere thought of all the paperwork they expect they’ll have to come up with to do their transaction, above and beyond the basic loan application, contract, disclosures and closing docs. And these worries start way in advance; it’s as though, before they even start visiting open houses, buyers begin to visualize - and dread - spending hours upon hours in the dank catacombs of the Vatican (à la Da Vinci Code) combing through ancient files, seeking some rare and precious artifact documenting their childhood dental history or genealogy.
Wednesday, November 10 2010
1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
10. Contact a REALTOR®. Call me at 812-499-9234 for all of your Real Estate needs. You can also rech me by email: Rolando@TheTrentiniTeam.com
Friday, October 15 2010
Nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial decision, despite ongoing challenges with the economy and housing market. That’s according to the 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual report released today by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.®
Tuesday, August 10 2010
If you're planning to buy a house, rent a different apartment or relocate your family anytime soon, chances are you didn't think that moving could make you the victim of identity theft.
But during a move, homeowners and renters alike are particularly susceptible to identity theft -- a crime which is especially prevalent during the summer, since half of all moves in the United States take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
So in addition to packing and coordinating with the moving trucks, you also need to safeguard yourself from fraudsters.
"Regardless of what people say, you can't prevent ID theft. But you can be a lot more aware and take some strong precautions," says Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services for Intersections Inc., an identity protection company.
Schwartz provided a rundown of simple steps that you can take to minimize your risk of identity theft and maximize your safety and security before, during and after a move:
Top 10 Safety Steps for Homeowners and Renters on the Move
1. Write everything down
Before you move, make a list of all the personal mail you routinely receive. Tell your banks, financial institutions, creditors and others of the move and redirect all correspondence, statements and sensitive mailings to your new address.
Be sure to notify:
a. Retirement accounts/banking institutions/credit card companies
b. Utility companies (electric, gas, water, cable, etc.)
c. Insurance companies (medical, property, renters, fire and auto)
d. Local government agencies, federal agencies & the IRS
e. Healthcare providers
g. Publications to which you subscribe (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
h. Clubs you have memberships in
Alternatively, consider switching to online statements. According to the 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers with electronic statements needed less time to detect fraud and paid lower consumer costs ($116 vs. $274) than those monitoring paper statements.
2. Submit a change of address form to the U.S. Post Office
Once your form has been filed, double-check the confirmation from the Postal Service to make sure that they list your new address correctly. Your mail should start being delivered to your new residence within seven to 10 business days after you submit a change-of-address filing.
3. Shred all sensitive documents that you won't take with you
Don't leave behind any paperwork, including credit card offers, that con artists can use if they go through your trash. Instead shred them yourself. A good shredder will cost just $50 or so.
4. Thoroughly research your moving company
Mover fraud is on the rise nationwide. To thwart this crime, properly investigate local moving companies by getting recommendations from trustworthy friends, family members, and real estate agents. Also, check a mover's rating with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, only pick a mover that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and that has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDDOT) number. The most reputable ones will supply you this information on request.
5. Remain present during the entire move
This may not always be possible, but just being there with the movers could help deter potential identity theft. Plus, you'll get to oversee any remaining packing or moving activities to make sure things are being handled properly.
6. Transport important physical documents properly
Transfer all sensitive documents – like wills, insurance policies, stock certificates or bonds – to a safe and secure place, such as a locked box, and keep these items with you personally during the move; don't hand them off to your moving company. You can also transfer sensitive documents to an online secure vault.
7. Lock down your computer
Don't make the mistake of leaving your computers (desktops and laptops included) readily accessible to your movers. Instead, secure those items before the movers even arrive. Take all computers, hard drives and other external storage devices with you during the move.
During his last move, "I packed my computers myself and they went in my car," says Schwartz, adding, "That's not a box you want to go with the mover."
8. Monitor bank and credit card statements
After your move, watch for unexplained charges or suspicious activity on your debit and credit cards. But also be aware that credit-related fraud "accounts for only about one-third of identity theft," Schwartz says. Non-credit related problems actually make up the bulk of problems, with thieves stealing your personal information in order to open new cell phones or bank accounts, establish utility services, or even get payday loans and fake driver's licenses in your name.
9. Verify all mail, post-move
Use your previously-created checklist to make sure that everyone you notified about your move has, in fact, started sending your mail to your new address. If something is missing, follow up immediately to make sure mail isn't still being routed to your old address.
10. Create a secure zone
After your move, even though there may be loads of boxes and furniture everywhere, carve out a secure zone – preferably one that's off-limits to movers and others. This is where you'll store computer items, check your data files or do personal financial record-keeping, like balancing your checkbook or reviewing credit card statements.
Regardless of whether you're relocating across town or clear across the country, a move can be hectic and stressful. But by taking some or all of the steps above, you'll help ensure that one important thing – your identity – doesn't get overlooked during your busy transition.