Linda M. Lohnes' Blog
If you're currently renting an apartment or house, it makes good financial sense to consider becoming a homeowner in the foreseeable future. There are pros and cons to owning your own home -- and it's not for everyone -- but for most people, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
An exception would be if your job requires you to relocate frequently. In that scenario, the potential benefits of building up equity in a home would be greatly diminished.
On the other hand, if you plan on staying put for more than a few years, then the tax benefits and investment value of owning real estate could put you on a stronger financial track than if you continued shelling out your hard-earned money to a landlord. You've probably heard the argument before: "If you pay rent, you have nothing to show for it at the end of the year". However, when you buy a home, an increasing portion of your monthly payments is applied to your actual ownership of the property (as opposed to how much you owe the bank).
Tax Advantages of Home Ownership
In most cases, you can deduct all of your home mortgage interest from your federal tax returns, according to the IRS. More specifically: "The only costs you can deduct are real estate taxes actually paid to the taxing authority, interest that qualifies as home mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance premiums."
However, since everyone's financial situation is different and there is no "one size fits all" approach to financial management, it's always best to consult with an experienced CPA, enrolled agent, or knowledgeable tax preparer. There may be other tax benefits you could qualify for as a homeowner, too, including getting tax credits for installing a solar energy system. The government's Energy Star program says tax credits on new solar energy systems are available through the year 2021.
Getting the Process Underway
Two key steps to becoming a home owner are finding out your credit score and meeting with a mortgage lender to determine how much of a real estate loan you could qualify for. An experienced real estate agent can also provide you with a wealth of guidance and information on how to become a homeowner. They can fill you in on many of the exact steps, requirements, and advantages of buying your first home. A buyers' agent can also help you assess your readiness to take the plunge into home ownership.
In addition to finding out your credit score, which will impact your mortgage interest rate and the type of loan you may qualify for, other vital information can be gleaned from a detailed personal budget. Although the amount of rent you now pay will provide some insights into your potential house-buying budget, there are a lot of variables which will impact how much of a mortgage you could comfortably afford.
If you know you’d like to buy a home in the future, you’ve probably thought about saving money for all of the upfront costs that buying a home can bring. Saving the sizable amount of money that it takes for a down payment can be seemingly impossible to do. It’s impossible without making yourself seem miserable for a time, at least. You can save money creatively without sacrificing everything. Below, you’ll find some tips for saving money that work for your life.
Put Your Money Somewhere Safe
While investing in the stock market may seem like a good idea to put your savings on hyperdrive, it’s risky. When it comes to your savings, try high interest savings accounts and CDs. The latter is a particularly good option because you won’t be able to touch the money for the time period that the CD will mature. You’ll also earn a bit of interest on the funds that are in there.
If you plan to keep adding to your savings (which you should) a traditional savings account is best. You should have a dedicated account that’s solely for the house fund. Do some shopping around for the savings account that will have the best interest rate and be the easiest option for you. Remember that as boring as a savings account seems, it’s a safe bet for your money.
Apps Can Assist You
There are plenty of budgeting apps and apps that help you to set aside spare change. You should make use of these tools to help you reach your savings goals. Whether you need some help with budgeting or need to find ways to put your spare change to good use, there’s an app for that. You can even find apps that will reward you for good behavior. These apps may “tip” you a few bucks for going to the gym or completing a project on time. You’re saving money and doing good for yourself at the same time! Saving money for your future home can be fun if you find the right tools to help you.
One reason that many people don’t save a lot of money is that they lack specific goals. If you sit down and look at your budget, you’ll see where you can cut expenses. Then, you’ll be able to have clear cut goals of how much you can save on a weekly or monthly basis. With your eyes on the prize of homeownership, you should be motivated to save where you can. Having specific numbers in mind can be a big help in reaching your long-term goals.
When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead. By doing so, a home seller can identify and resolve potential home selling hurdles right away.
With the right approach to selling a house, any seller can minimize problems along the way. In fact, the right approach may increase the likelihood that a seller can enjoy a speedy home selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help sellers streamline the home selling journey.
1. Price Your House Competitively
What is your house really worth? This question is difficult to answer for a home seller, as many factors impact the value of a home.
A home's age and condition likely will play important roles in your residence's value. Furthermore, external factors like the crime rates in the city or town where your home is located or your house's proximity to parks and schools may affect your residence's value.
To establish a competitive price for your house, you'll want to study the local housing market. Look at the prices of available houses that are similar to your own; this data can help you define a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
In addition, it frequently helps to perform a home appraisal. During a home appraisal, a property expert will assess your house and provide a property valuation. Then, you can use this valuation to determine the ideal asking price for your house.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection
Although a home inspection generally is completed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer on a house, there is no need to wait. Instead, a home seller can conduct an inspection prior to listing a residence to learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses.
Review the results of a home inspection closely – you'll be glad you did. After a home inspection, you can identify any underlying problems with your house and take the necessary steps to resolve these issues. That way, you can prevent such problems from cropping up after a buyer submits an offer on your house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about how to price your house or complete other home selling tasks, there is no need to worry. Remember, you can always hire a real estate agent who can provide plenty of support throughout the home selling journey.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house. As such, this housing market expert can teach you about the real estate sector and ensure you can achieve the best possible home selling results.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events, negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf and simplify the home selling cycle. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble receiving expert responses to your home selling questions too.
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a speedy home selling experience.
Selling a house may prove to be a long, complex and stressful process. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to increase your chances of enjoying a seamless house selling experience, such as:
1. Craft an Engaging Home Listing
A home listing allows you to make a positive first impression on prospective buyers. Thus, you should spend some time crafting a house listing that will hit the mark with buyers.
There is no need to stretch the truth in your home listing. Instead, provide clear, concise and relevant details about your home. This ensures a buyer can make an informed decision about whether to pursue your residence.
Also, it often helps to include high-resolution photographs of your home in your listing. These images can help a buyer envision what life may be like if he or she purchases your house.
2. Upgrade Your Home's Interior and Exterior
If your home is filled with assorted knick-knacks, antiques, and photographs, you should remove these items for the time being. By doing so, you can minimize the risk that clutter will negatively affect a buyer's perception of your house when he or she sees it in person.
Don't forget to enhance your home's curb appeal, too. If you mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other lawn care tasks, you will help buyers fall in love with your house. Also, be sure to repair any damaged windows or siding to further boost your house's curb appeal.
3. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price for Your Home
The housing market is competitive, and failing to price your home aggressively from the get-go may make it tough to enjoy a seamless property selling experience. If you learn about your home and the local housing sector, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your listing.
Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a home appraisal. This allows you to receive a home valuation from a property expert.
You also may want to assess the local housing sector. Review the prices of available homes in your area that are similar to your residence. Then, you can use this housing market data to help you determine the optimal initial asking price for your home.
For sellers who want to streamline the home selling journey, you will want to employ a real estate agent. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive assistance at each stage of the process.
A real estate agent is committed to your success, and he or she will work with you to help you achieve the best possible results. This housing market professional will learn about your home selling goals and help you plan accordingly. In addition, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.
Want to enjoy a seamless home selling journey? Use these tips, and you could reap the benefits of a fast, profitable house selling experience.
There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right.
Make Necessary Repairs
Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.
Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.
Find A Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire.
Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed
If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.
Prepare For Home Showings
While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.