Posted tagged ‘homebuying tips’

Do you know everything you should about home inspections and warranties?

February 13, 2014

Home Inspection

If you have spent any time on HGTV or are familiar with Mike Holmes, Canadian’s “Make it Right” guy, you know how important it is to get a home inspection before you sign on the dotted line.

Trying to rush things because you are hopeful things will just work out, or trying to beat out other offers by not having any buyer stipulations just isn’t wise. Moving into a home without a previous inspection can leave you saddled with emergency roof repairs, plumbing issues, hazardous wiring, insulation and asbestos issues, and so much more. Don’t leave it up to chance – invest in a home inspection.

In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of “Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide,” Chronicle Books, San Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. “Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations.”

So where do home warranties come in? For home ownership, you can expect at minimum 1% of the home’s value each year in maintenance costs. This could come in big chunks like replacing your AC, fixing your roof after a hail storm, or fixing damaged pipes after a freeze. This type of protection simply saves you money in the long run, and could really help you in the event of large home repair expenses.

There are a lot of home warranty plan options out there, so again, due diligence is wise. Sites like can be helpful in determining which plan is right for you.

For more tips on buying or selling your home, visit our Resource Page for Home Buyers

Can your home save you money on your Taxes?

February 6, 2014

Tax time - your home - deductibles1
It’s tax time, and homes all across the Dallas / Fort Worth area are being overtaken by receipts, spreadsheets, last years tax return, and the furrowed brows of home owners everywhere.

To deduct, or not to deduct, that is the question. For help on these issues, you can educate yourself by visiting the publications page on the IRS website, and looking up these specific forms:

  • 521 “Moving Expenses”
  • 523 “Selling Your Home”
  • 527 “Residential Rental Property”
  • 534 “Depreciation”
  • 541 “Tax Information on Partnerships”
  • 551 “Basis of Assets”
  • 555 “Federal Tax Information on Community Property”
  • 561 “Determining the Value of Donated Property”
  • 590 “Individual Retirement Arrangements”
  • 908 “Bankruptcy and Other Debt Cancellation”
  • 936 “Home Mortgage Interest Deduction”

Something else to consider is a Mortgage Credit Certificate. For rules on how that might apply to you, and tips on how to use your home to save on taxes, visit our Ideal Real Estate Group Resource Page for Home Buyers and take a look at the article Buying Your Home – Tax Considerations

A knowledgeable real estate agent can help first time home buyers recognize the tax benefits of home ownership, and when the best time might be to make that first home purchase. If you have questions or want to explore your options in buying or selling your home, we are here to help. Please contact Sandy Luedke and Ideal Real Estate Group at any time and let us help you find your way home.

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.

What do you consider when buying a house?

January 2, 2014

Buying a new home, what can I affordIn starting out the new year, many people talk about adding the purchase of a new home to their list of resolutions. However, many don’t pursue it due to some common fears. One of the biggest fears for home buyers, especially for first-timers, is that they end up buying a home more expensive than they can actually afford. We’ve all heard the stories of people losing their homes. What is sometimes comes down to, aside from the economy and other factors outside of people’s control (like losing a job), is that even though a house payment may fall within a budget, many people fail to consider everything else that comes with home ownership, like yearly home-maintenance costs, homeowners insurance, HOA fees (if applicable), and renovation costs if purchasing an older home.

So how do you know what you can afford? When considering the budget for a new home, there are six factors to consider:

  1. Gross income
  2. The amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender
  3. Your outstanding debts
  4. Your credit history
  5. The type of mortgage you select
  6. Current interest rates

Another very important fact to consider is just because a mortgage company may approve you for a certain loan amount, you still have to be prudent and consider what it is you can actually afford. Remember that the family still has to eat.

For more tips on what to consider when buying a home, click here to visit a page on Ideal Real Estate Group’s website for more answers to questions like:

  • How much does my real estate agent need to know?
  • When is the best time to buy?
  • What if I have a bankruptcy or foreclosure on my credit?
  • What is the standard debt-to-income ratio mortgage companies are looking for?

Sandy Luedke and Ideal Real Estate Group is here to help you find a home you can live with for a long time, that perfectly complements you, your family, and your lifestyle. Sandy will also make sure you are in-the-know on everything you need to consider when purchasing or selling a home. Call today and don’t wait another year before making your home-buying dreams come true!

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'...

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 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.
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