Archive | January, 2021

Moving UP or DOWN

26 Jan

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Staying at home in 2020 caused of lot of owners to think about how nice it would be to have a larger home to accommodate the additional activities that come along with isolating. Particularly for people with children at home or possibly, the potential of either adult children or parents coming to live with them.

There are other owners who are trying to weigh the pros and cons of selling their larger home and downsizing. For entirely different reasons, the advantages could be very appealing to an owner. A smaller home is easier to maintain and usually, has lower utilities, insurance, and property taxes.

Some people might be considering the convenience and ease of mobility of a single level home. It may be finding a location with proximity to the activities they are now interested in. A newer home might have less maintenance and be more energy efficient.

Married taxpayers who have owned and occupied a principal residence for two years can exclude up to $500,000 of capital gain while a single taxpayer can exclude up to $250,000. Liquidating the equity in their home without a tax liability could have multiple benefits.

Some people might choose to pay cash for the replacement home. Others might put 20% down to avoid mortgage insurance and possibly, even get a 15-year loan to get the lowest rate. The balance of the equity could be invested at a rate higher than the interest on their new mortgage. Still, others might want to have some reserve funds available for whatever the next unanticipated crisis might be.

It could be a way to fund a longtime goal like children’s or grandchildren’s education, or wedding, or a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Maybe part of the equity could be used to start a business or make a grant to a worthwhile charity.

Selling a home and purchasing another will have expenses involved that have to be taken into consideration. Purchase costs could be 1.5 to 3% while sales expenses could be easily be 2.5 times that much.

Regardless of whether it is moving to a larger home or a smaller one, now is a good time to make the move. Due to the low inventory in most markets, homes are selling quickly, many times, in less than three weeks. Normally, the winter months have less activity which means less competition also.

And then, there are the mortgage rates. As of 1/21/21, the 30-year fixed rate was at 2.77% and the 15-year at 2.21%.

Like any other big change in life, it is recommended that you take your time to consider the possible alternatives and outcomes. Your real estate professional can provide information that can be valuable in the discernment process such as what your home is worth, what you will net from a sale as well as, alternative properties for your next stage in life.

1505 Shady Lane, Decatur

21 Jan

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Rental Home Investments

19 Jan

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Rental homes whether they be single-family detached properties, condos, two, three or four-unit properties share many of the same benefits. Most people instinctively understand many of the working parts because they are the same as their home. They have a basic understanding of value and how to maintain the property. The service providers for a home would be the same for a rental home.

These properties allow an investor to obtain a large loan-to-value mortgage at fixed interest rates for up to thirty years. They appreciate in value, currently exceeding many other assets; have defined tax advantages and allow an investor more control than many alternative investments.

Most lenders require 20-25% down payment and will finance the balance at rates close to owner-occupied homes. Buyer closing costs will add another three to four percent to the amount of cash needed to close. It is also prudent to have available funds for repairs and maintenance.

There are successful real estate investors in every price range and part of town. If your ultimate goal is to have the rent handle the holding costs and to sell the appreciated property at the end of a seven to ten year holding period, it might be advantageous to stay in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhood. They usually appreciate faster and will appeal to a buyer who wants it for their home. Chances are, this type of buyer will pay a higher price than an investor who may not be willing to pay as high a price.

By staying in an average price range, or possibly, slightly lower, you’ll be able to appeal to the broadest group of not only buyers but also tenants while you are renting the property. Even during the mid-80’s when FHA interest rate was 18.5%, buyers were still purchasing homes. Whereas the higher priced homes have a tendency to slow down during trying economic times.

Ask your real estate professional what price ranges sell the best, rent the best and have mortgage money available.

Some investors manage their properties themselves and others don’t want to be involved. Professional property management has advantages like expertise, established contacts, operating statements and economies of scale. The main disadvantage is the cost factor but if they can rent it for a higher price and keep expenses lower than you can, it could minimize the difference.

A possible consideration might be to have a real estate professional place the tenant, check the credit and write the lease. There would be a one-time fee for this, but the owner/investor could then, manage the property, saving the expense of a monthly fee.

Understanding the landlord tenant laws would be particularly important to an investor managing their own property but regardless, the investor needs to have a basic familiarity of the law. There can be civil as well as criminal aspects. Examples might be that a landlord is required to change the locks on a property for a new tenant; the number of days before a landlord must return a deposit and what to do if there are damages causing all or part of it to be withheld.

Another tool that can be very helpful for investors is an investment analysis that will assist them in selecting a property that is likely to provide a satisfactory rate of return. Ask your real estate professional if they can provide this for you. They should be more familiar with rents and expenses to be able to determine the cash flow and what kind of yield you may be able to expect over your intended holding period.

For more detailed information, download our Rental Income Properties and contact me to schedule a meeting to talk about the possibilities.

Pre-Listing Inspections

12 Jan

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Imagine what happens when there is not a pre-listing inspection. The buyer contracts for the home with a provision for professional home inspection. When it is made, there could be things that the buyer didn’t expect or even, anticipate. If it doesn’t trigger an action to terminate the contract, the buyer will inevitably, ask the seller to make all the repairs.

When presented with the buyer’s request, the seller may take the opposite position of not wanting to do any of the repairs. The buyer could accept the property in its “as is” condition or negotiate the repairs or a reduced price with the seller.

Any experienced agent can tell you that sometimes a mutually agreed negotiation is reached and other times, an impasse is met that cannot be resolved. The contract is terminated, and the house has to go back on the market but this time, a disclosure has to be made to all parties looking at the home which may deter showings.

Taking a pro-active approach, by obtaining a pre-listing inspection, the seller can find out about things that will probably show up in a buyer’s inspection. They can get them repaired before the home is shown and it will help the buyer feel more confident with the home. Another option would be to disclose them as not working and make a price adjustment, either way, the seller is in control and is taking a position of transparency with potential buyers.

In some cases, the pre-listing inspection may show things in working order that the buyer’s inspection indicates as needing repair. With two disinterested parties having opposing opinions, negotiations have a more likely chance for a mutual agreement.

Disclosing things that are not in working order can reduce liability in the future. Some deficiencies with the home are not discovered prior to the closing and the surprise issues could lead to liability. The pre-listing inspection by a professional combined with the seller disclosing it properly can reduce potential liability.

For the small investment in the pre-listing inspection, the benefits are well worth the expense. You and potential buyers will have a better idea of the condition of your property and know what to expect. You can present the property in a transparent way that will build confidence with the buyer. You’ll avoid unpleasant surprises as well as possible delays. Pre-listing inspections can lead to faster sales and satisfaction for everyone involved.

For more information, download the Sellers Guide.

1215 Wills Point Drive, Allen

6 Jan

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14709 Holly Leaf Drive, Frisco

6 Jan

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Gorgeous and Remodeled Stunner in Hunters Creek!

4 Bedrooms / 3.5 Baths / Study / Game / Outdoor Fireplace
3049 sq ft / Built 2003 / Frisco Schools

CLICK HERE TO VIEW HD TOUR

This gorgeous and remodeled Highland home in sought-after Hunters Creek offers rich
updating and is within walking distance of 3 of Frisco’s finest schools. Flagstone accents and brick landscaping borders, as well as a leaded-glass front door enhance the curb appeal and elevation of this home and upon entry your guests will be greeted by rich hand-scraped hardwoods that extend into the study, formal dining room and kitchen with neutral tones throughout. The executive study offers privacy with French doors and is just adjacent to an elegant and open formal dining room.

Spend hours entertaining or relaxing in the spacious family room that opens to the kitchen and has a floor-to-ceiling custom stone fireplace with hidden media niche and gas logs. The fully remodeled kitchen would delight any chef with its beautiful upgraded granite countertops, contemporary-styled cabinetry and pulls, granite wet bar with beverage fridge, freezer with ice-maker and wine rack, built-in breakfast table and custom-built buffet area for storage with plantations and designer lighting.  You will love to stock the re-designed walk-in pantry with barn doors and coffee station. The kitchen also boasts a granite island with storage, additional canned lighting, 6-burner Kitchen-Aid cooktop with pot filler, custom backsplash, Kitchen-Aid dishwasher and built-in Sharp microwave. Across the hall you will find the utility room that has a cubby for additional storage and convenient countertop over the washer and dryer.

The owner’s retreat is completely split from other areas of the home and boasts a stunning and remodeled master bath with a barn door, a relaxing ball and claw soaking tub, frameless glass shower and trendy surround tile, hardwood-style ceramic tile flooring, light fixtures, marble counters and a custom-designed walk-in closet with shoe and clothing shelving. Upstairs includes upgraded carpeting, 3 spacious bedrooms, one split guest suite with a full bath and 2 bedrooms with large walk-in closets and a Jack and Jill bath. The expansive game room is perfect for gameday and move nights.

Another outstanding feature is the spacious covered flagstone patio with arbor, huge stone fireplace with hearth and a built-in TV area, Bull built-in grill and all is surrounded by a Board on Board fence. This home presents outstanding value and Hunters Creek is an incredible neighborhood with parks, pools, walking trails along the creek and community events.

Please contact Jeff Jacobs at 972.978.6539 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out www.myrealtytown.com 

Would you move if it was to your advantage?

5 Jan

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A much-repeated investment strategy is to buy low and sell high. Some people who purchased around the financial crisis of 2010-2012 are poised to make considerable profits.

The median home price in America is now $295,300 up from $155,600 in February 2012 which calculates close to an 8% annual increase. The median equity that homeowners have earned during the same period is $140,000.

Inventory is in short supply while demand is high which has caused prices to increase. Factors that continue to contribute to the lower number of homes on the market are record low mortgage rates and housing starts have not met expectations since the Great Recession. This year, people spending more time at home due to the pandemic has caused some people to rethink their current living space which has added to the demand.

Some experts believe that a significant portion of the workforce will continue to work from home after the pandemic has passed making the motivation for a larger home more of a long-term effect.

The median days on the market for a listing is 24 which is a direct result of the low inventory and heightened competition. Sold homes are receiving an average of three offers with some situations ending in a bidding war. This is an advantage for a seller who can not only realize a higher sales price but also accelerate a move into another home.

While the pandemic has certainly wreaked havoc on some businesses like the hospitality industry, real estate has continued to boom. Seven out of ten sales contracts are closing on-time which can give sellers a great deal of confidence.

Taxpayers can exclude up to $500,000 of qualified gain if they are married and up to $250,000 if single. Some homeowners are taking the profit from their homes while at the top of the market, reserving part of their equity for investments, and purchasing another home with a higher loan-to-value mortgage at the incredibly low mortgage rates now available.

If you’re curious to see if this might work for you, contact us at (972) 978-6539 to find out what your home is worth now and what homes are available that may fit your lifestyle better. Download our Sellers Guide.

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