Posted tagged ‘home buying’

Are foreclosures really a bargain?

March 6, 2014

foreclosed in flower mound, texasLife is full of twists and turns. As much as we try to plan for every possible contingency, there are simply factors that affect our lives over which we have no control. A foreclosure is not typically the desired outcome of any new home owner, yet it happens. If you have a previous foreclosure and are wondering about your options regarding future home ownership, be sure to check out our blog post titled: After a foreclosure how to own a home again.

For those of you looking to purchase a home on a smaller budget, there are several options available for “bargain house hunting.”

First, you might want to investigate purchasing a foreclosure. However, this is not a process you should go through alone. Many experts advise buyers to hire an expert to ensure the house is thoroughly inspected and that any liens, undisclosed mortgages or court judgments are cleared or at least disclosed.

Another option, if you are a veteran, is to look into veteran loans which can offer up to 100% financing. There are specific stipulations with this, so be sure you are dealing with an agent familiar with the process. The Veteran’s Association (VA) also has VA foreclosures, and if you are interested, you can call 1-800-827-1000 to request a current listing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also acquires foreclosures, and if you (and the house) meet certain criteria, you could purchase a house with a down payment as low as $100.

Buying foreclosures are risky because you are buying the property “as-is.” This is why it is difficult to get a bank loan, because the bank knows if you default on your loan, they might get stuck with a money-pit.

For more information regarding purchasing a foreclosed property and where to find foreclosure listings, visit our Buyer’s Resource Page on Ideal Real Estate Group’s website and select Foreclosures. As an experienced real estate broker, Ideal Real Estate Group can walk you through the process.

If you feel you might be coming close to facing foreclosure, please pick up the phone and call me or email me, Sandy Luedke. I have decades of experience in the real estate market and have discovered options that may save you, and your home, from a foreclosure. Don’t wait until it’s too late and be proactive in exploring your options.

Relocating to Texas? Here are some things you need to know about Property Taxes!

February 20, 2014

Property Taxes
Because Texas does not have a state income tax, it makes us a popular place for relocations. When you dig a little deeper, you realize our property taxes may be higher than some states, but when all is considered, the various trade-offs for calling Texas your new home are worth it.

However, if you are a transplant from another state, your former state may still expect you pay their property tax. It pays to plan ahead and make sure you have cut the proper ties. Just because you many no longer consider yourself a resident of your previous state, there may be some other factors that cause them to think otherwise.

Here are a few points to review. If any of these apply to you, it will be wise to be proactive and get it handled and changed over, instead of procrastinating and receiving a penalty letter from the IRS:

  • The amount of time you spend in your previous and current state
  • Where your spouse and children live, and where your children go to school
  • The state where your driver’s license is issued
  • The state where your vehicles are registered
  • Where your professional licenses are maintained
  • Your location of employment
  • Where you file your tax returns
  • The address of any professional listing (online, social media, yellow pages, etc.)
  • The location of any property tax exemptions you claim

If you are planning on making a move from one state to another, be sure to get professional advice from a tax specialist on what your particular tax caveats might be. It is not wise to assume the tax laws will be logical.

Please visit our Buyers Resource Page regarding Property Taxes for more information you may find useful.

For any of your relocation needs, whether you’re selling your home in Flower Mound, looking for a family home in Colleyville, or you simply want to explore your options, Sandy Luedke and Ideal Real Estate Group have the expertise and long-standing record of Texas hospitality and service to help you get where you need to go.

After all, there’s no place like home, and we’d love to help you find yours!

Buying Your Home – Finding the Right Home

January 4, 2014

Buying your homeWhat are the pros and cons of adding on or buying new? Before  making a choice between adding on to an existing home or buying a larger one,  consider these questions:

  • How much money is available, either from cash  reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel your current house?
  • How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a  second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
  • What  do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
  • How much equity already exists in the property?
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that  would satisfy your changing housing needs?

Do we dig deep and buy a dream home or settle for a starter  home? Choosing between a smaller house in an affluent neighborhood, an  older, bigger house in a more working-class community or a brand-new home is not  easy. If you’re in this situation, start by examining your priorities and asking  the following questions:

  • Is the surrounding neighborhood or the home itself  the most important consideration?
  • Is each of the neighborhoods safe?
  • Is quality of the schools an issue?
  • Do any of the areas seem to attract  more families with children or adult residents? And where do you fit in?

As for the return on your investment, home-price appreciation is hard to  predict. In the late 1980s, and again 10 years later, the more expensive move-up  housing appreciated wildly. But during the recession that followed, smaller  homes tended to hold their value better than more expensive ones.

How  do you choose between buying and renting? Home ownership offers tax  benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. An advantage  of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations  associated with owning property. There also are a number of economic  considerations. Unlike renters, home owners who secure a fixed-rate loan can  lock in their monthly housing costs and make prudent investment plans knowing  these expenses will not increase substantially. Home ownership is a highly  leveraged investment that can yield substantial profit on a nominal front-end  investment. However, such returns depend on home-price appreciation.

After a foreclosure how to own a home again

December 28, 2013

After a Foreclosure: How to Own a Home Again

swinging house and business man'...
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By AJ Smith
If your home was foreclosed upon during the recent housing crash, you might think there’s no chance for you to ever own a home again. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although lending standards are tighter than they were pre-recession, there are still a few steps you can take to put yourself on the path to homeownership again.
The biggest hit you’ll take after a foreclosure is to your credit score. You may see a drop anywhere from 100 to 300 points depending on your credit history. But a foreclosure only stays on your credit report for seven years and there’s a lot you can do in that time to improve your score.
Rebuilding Your Credit Score: The first thing you’ll want to focus on after a foreclosure is rebuilding your credit. There are lots of paid services out there that claim to boost your score. But there are many things those services do that you can actually do for yourself. Focus on paying all your bills on time to prove that you can be trusted with credit again.
Anytime there’s a negative action on your credit report (foreclosure, missed payment, etc.) your score is going to take a hit. The seven-year waiting period should give you sufficient time though to take corrective action so that you’ll be prepared for homeownership the next time around.
Adding Positive Events to Your Credit History: In order to show lenders that they should lend to you again, it’s important to take small steps here and there. In addition to paying your bills on time, ensure that you pay off past-due accounts and pay off any outstanding credit card bills. It’s important to have a low utilization rate on your credit report. A utilization rate of 10 percent or less is what consumers with the highest credit scores have.
Things like lowering your utilization and opening new lines of credit that you can manage responsibly go a long way to show lenders you’ve learned from past mistakes. If you want to track your progress as you work on your credit, the free Credit Report Card gives you a monthly snapshot of your credit scores and credit history.
Avoiding Another Foreclosure: Although a single foreclosure won’t be devastating to your finances, you’ll want to ensure that it never happens again. Here are some things to focus on to avoid a future foreclosure.
• Don’t buy more house than you can afford. Just because a lender will loan you a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you should borrow that much. You should determine how much you can afford and borrow no more than that. And don’t forget about the extras that go into buying a home like maintenance and repairs. These added costs will be on top of mortgage, property tax, insurance and HOA fees.
• Establish an emergency fund. One way to be better financially prepared is to start an emergency fund. Save three to 12 months of expenses so that if you lost your job or had some other life-changing event, you’d still be able to make your payments.
• Make a larger down payment. First, a larger down payment means you have more equity in your house, so you can meet refinance requirements faster (you have to have 80 percent equity generally to refinance). Second, it means you have lower monthly payments (compared to a smaller down payment on the same loan amount), so you can weather a job loss or income reduction more easily.
More about homebuying and foreclosure from Credit.com: Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home

Understanding Your Foreclosure Rights: A Review How to Improve Your Credit Score
More on AOL Real Estate: Find out how to calculate mortgage payments. Find homes for sale in your area. Find foreclosures in your area. Find rental housing in your area.
Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Starting to work with your Agent

October 10, 2009

The first thing that your real estate agent will do for you is to have a relaxed, but thorough, conversation about what kind of home you are looking for. He or she will listen carefully at what you want in your new house and clarify the main details so that he/she will have a very clear picture of it. Another main consideration to be discussed is of course, your price range.
Having the right information about what you are looking for will help the agent in focusing their search, and will avoid wasting the time of both parties. Once the agent is clear on everything, including how much you are willing to spend, the search for the most fitting home will speed up.

Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

January 12, 2009

With the tough times many of us are facing today due to the economic downturn, we’re all re-evaluating the fixed costs in our lives and businesses and seeing where we can cut corners.

For those of us living in Texas, we now have a valuable resource to determine if we are paying a competive rate on our home and auto insurance. Consumers can now shop for better rates at a new state web site: www.helpinsure.com

The site, run by the Texas State Department of Insurance, offers a breakdown of premiums for areas around the state. Comparisons show that the cost of homeowner’s policies can differ by hundreds of dollars a year for similar houses within the same zipcode!

An example based upon rate from the 27 largest home insurance companies in Texas reveals, that a typical $150k brick home in Dallas County, where the owner had an average credit rating and no insurance claims for the previous 5 years…shows a range from $704 to more than $2200 a year. Now that’s a significant spread and worth looking into!

Consumer watchdog groups have contended for years that we in Texas pay rates that are far too high (one of the highest in the nation), so this service may be invaluable, especially in these penny pinching times.

Bottom line…rates can vary dramatically and it pays for people to shop around for home insurance, just like we now do with car insurance!

-Sandy Luedke
Broker
Ideal Real Estate Group

A New Opportunity For Realtors in ’09?

January 12, 2009

After about 30 years of being a successful Real Estate Agent in DFW, in late 2008 I finally made the decision to get my broker’s license and create my own Real Estate company. Thus, Ideal Real Estate Group, was born!

How many realtors have you known over the years that get frustrated by: Giving away a significant portion of their commissions to their brokers; unreasonably high monthly office rent and overhead; and not getting a significant level or training and/or on going support from their broker.

Having personally experienced all of these things at one time or another during my career, I made the call that I was going to put together a different kind of opportunity for Realtors to take advantage of that would address these issues. That’s where the name Ideal came from…for I wanted to create the ideal environment for Realtors to become successful!

At Ideal Real State Group, we provide an effective solution to basically two types of real estate agents. For the experienced agent, we offer the opporunity to greatly reduce their monthly overhead, with a pricing structure that is one of the best deals in all of DFW, while still providing them with access to a professional, state of the art and brand new office infrastructure. For the new or struggling agent, we offer something that’s hard to find in this profession…an environment that provides them with ongoing training, weekly support and mentoring sessions, while still keeping their overhead at the lowest possible level…to better faciliate them being able to build a successful business quickly.

Here’s an overview of Ideal’s Realtor fee structure.

BASIC PROGRAM FOR EXPERIENCED REALTORS:
-$200.00 a month office fee
-$200.00 per transaction
-E & O fees will be deducted out of the first closing.
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).

BASIC PROGRAM for NEWER AGENTS:
-$200.00 a month office fee.
-20% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.

INTENSIVE MENTORING PROGRAM for NEWER AGENTS:*
-$200.00 a month office fee.
-50% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.
-Total mentoring environment, where I will personally work with you hand in hand on all aspects of the profession, including: Writing the paper correctly; Going along with you on your listing appointments, new buyer appointments and showings.

*This package is designed stictly for either, new agents or agents who once licensed, have never gotten proper intruction on not only to the technical aspects of this business, but more importantly, how to deal with the different kind of people you’ll encounter in this profession.

Agents can start at any level that they feel they need and can switch to another to lower their overhead as their business begins to develop.

Compare these programs to what you’re paying now and I think you’ll find this is one of the most competitive in all of DFW!

If you’d like more information, or would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact me directly by phone at, 469-635-3234, or by email at: sandy@idealrealestategroup.com

I’m here to help you succeed!

Sandy Luedke
Broker
Ideal Real Estate Group

Want a $7500 Tax Credit for Buying A Home?

November 7, 2008
If you’re considering taking advantage of this incredible buyers market to purchase for your first home, here’s some more good news that will help lesson the financial sting.  The $7,500 home ownership tax credit, which the federal government created earlier this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221) is a tool created by our government to encourage buyers, who may be sitting on the fence, to jump off and get into the real estate market.   

When you combine the tax credit with today’s low interest rates, wide selection of for-sale inventory, and affordable home prices, many of the pieces are in place for you to buy now.  But I understand that our tax codes and system of tax credits can be confusing. So, to help you understand how the credit works and why it would help you…you must learn the details.  

HERE ARE 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CREDIT

1. Buyers have until July 2009 to make a purchase that qualifies. 

The tax credit was passed in July of this year (2008) as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221). It’s worth up to $7,500 and can be taken in a single tax year. Authorization for the credit ends July 1, 2009, so if you wait to buy in the first half of 2009 they can take the credit on your 2009 tax return. Taxpayers can take the credit on their 2008 tax return if you bought your house this year after April 9. 

2. Buyers don’t really have to be “first-timers.”

The tax credit is actually available to any individual or household that hasn’t owned a home for at least three years. And the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) has asked Congress to expand the credit to all buyers, not just those who haven’t owned a primary residence in recent years. 

3. Even if buyers exceed the income limit, they can benefit from the credit. 

The actual credit amount is set as a percentage of the home purchase amount. That percentage amount is 10 percent, so you can get 10 percent of the home price credited against you tax liability, up to a maximum $7,500.  Sounds like a great deal.  But what if you make more money than the income limit of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households?  Good news: Individuals whose income exceeds the $75,000 limit but don’t make more than $95,000 can still take the credit but on a reduced basis. The same thing applies to households earning up to $170,000.  By the way, any house is eligible as long as it’s a primary residence and is in the United States. 

4. Think of it as an interest-free loan.  

The federal government requires the tax credit to be paid back in small, 6.67-percent increments over 15 years, although repayment will be no more than $500 yearly and payments will not start until 2011. For that reason, some analysts have likened the credit to a 15-year, interest-free loan to help make home buying affordable.  NAR is pushing congress to remove the repayment provision, making this tax credit a true tax credit rather than an interest-free loan.  

5.  You don’t have to be authorized before making a home purchase. 

There is no pre-purchase authorization, application, or other approval process. Eligible buyers simply have to claim the credit on their IRS Form 1040 tax return and/or any form that the IRS might devise.  Check with your tax professional at Tax time to make sure all the i’s and dotted and t’s crossed. 

6. New-home construction qualifies. 

For a home that a you construct, (or contract for), the purchase date is the first date the buyer occupies the home.  However, any home that is not a primary residence, such as a vacation home or income property, does not qualify.    

NAR Asking Congress to Expand Credit   

As mentioned above, NAR has asked Congress to do away with the repayment provision of the first-time buyer tax credit and expand the credit to all home buyers, not just first-timers. The proposals were part of a four-point housing stimulus plan the association submitted in mid-October.  “Housing has always lifted the economy out of downturns, and it is imperative to get the housing market moving forward as quickly as possible,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord.It is vital to the economy that Congress take specific actions to boost the confidence of potential homebuyers in the housing market and make it easier for qualified buyers to get safe and affordable mortgage loans.”

For more information about this, Here are some resources to check with:  

Sandy Luedke-

www.idealrealestategroup.com


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