Archive for Real Estate Tips

Should Your First Home Be A Starter Home Or Forever Home?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 17th, 2022

Should Your First Home Be A Starter Home Or Forever Home?If you are looking for a house for the first time, you might be wondering whether you should purchase a starter home or a forever home. A starter home is a home in which you intend to live for a few years before you sell it and upgrade to a better home. A forever home is a home that you intend to be in for ten years or more. You can see yourself moving into the house and potentially spending your entire life there. How do you decide which type of home you should purchase?

A Starter Home

If your budget is relatively tight right now, you might be thinking about purchasing a starter home. A starter home is typically smaller than a forever home, which makes it more affordable. On the other hand, if you plan on having kids in the near future, you might want to purchase a larger home instead. Furthermore, you need to think about capital gains taxes when you sell your starter home. If you take the proceeds from your starter home and use them to purchase a larger house immediately, you might be able to avoid capital gains taxes. 

A Forever Home

If you could see yourself spending the rest of your life in a certain place, you may want to consider buying a forever home. This is particularly helpful if you can secure a low-interest rate, as the interest rate might not change during the life of the mortgage. Interest rates could go up in the future, so you may want to lock in a low-interest rate for your forever home now. You will also need to think about your future cash flow to ensure you have the money to cover a larger mortgage. Do not forget to think about real estate taxes and home insurance as well.

Find The Right Home For Your Needs

These are a few key factors you should think about if you are looking for your first home. There are starter homes and forever homes available, but you need to think about which option is best for your needs. 

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The Pros and Cons of ‘Mortgage Before Marriage’ for Young Couples

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 10th, 2022

The Pros and Cons of 'Mortgage Before Marriage' for Young CouplesThere was a time when a higher percentage of people were married before they committed to buying a home together, but it’s a lot more common to co-habit and invest in a home together. If you’re considering the commitment of a mortgage without being married, here are some things to be aware of before you start searching the market.

Relationship Status Won’t Affect Your Rates

It might seem like there are greater risks involved if two individuals purchasing a property are not legally bound, but it actually makes no difference to the mortgage lender. If two people are buying a home together, the lender is going to be assessing their credibility based on their individual credit reports and financial history, not on their relationship to each other. While it may seem like co-habiting will have an impact, the proof – as far as lenders are concerned – is in the numbers.

What’s Your Credit History?

Most people are aware of their credit history, whether they’ve had financial hiccups in the past or are still paying off a significant amount of debt. However, it is more difficult for some to know the financial background of their partner, and this can be more common when it comes to co-habiting. Because the lender will be looking at both credit scores, if you or your partner have had financial issues in the past, it can have an adverse impact on your application. While you may have a nearly perfect credit history, if your partner does not this can make mortgage approval more difficult.

In The Event Of Separation

Home ownership can involve significant hurdles after a divorce, but there will still be some legal and financial issues to wade through if you’ve never been married. Since it’s likely that you won’t want to continue to co-habit, there’s the possibility that one party will have to buy the other out, which can be a sizeable financial burden. While this type of situation may never come to fruition, it’s important to be aware of what might occur so you can be prepared.

There can be a lot of complexities involved in co-habiting whether you’re married or not, but it’s important to have an awareness of your partner’s financial history and be prepared for financial hurdles. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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The Top Ways To Use Home Equity

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 5th, 2022

The Top Ways To Use Home EquityEquity is a powerful tool. As homeowners pay off the mortgage, the amount of equity in the house grows. As the house appreciates in value, homeowners accrue even more equity. Then, homeowners can tap into this equity for a variety of purposes. What are a few of the ways homeowners might be able to use this equity? 

Purchase A New House

One of the top ways homeowners can use the equity in their existing home is to purchase a house that better suits their needs. Even though homeowners may find a house that is right for them now, it might not be right for them 10 years from now. For example, homeowners may have children, meaning they need more bedrooms. In this case, homeowners can leverage the equity in their house to purchase a bigger home. 

Complete A Renovation Project

Homeowners can also use the equity in their home to complete a renovation project. If homeowners have a significant amount of equity in the home, they might be able to refinance their house, tapping into the equity to complete the project. For example, homeowners might want to renovate the kitchen. Or, they may want to add a gym or a home theater. They might even want to complete an addition. Instead of having to save up the cash to do so, homeowners might be able to tap into their equity to do this.

Launch A New Business

Some homeowners might decide to use the equity in their homes to launch a new business. Getting a new business off the ground can be expensive, and the cost of taking out loans can be daunting. Instead of having to take out a loan, homeowners can use the equity in their existing house to launch that business. 

Fund Higher Education

The cost of higher education can also be expensive. Even though parents might save up to send their kids to college, the cost of education is growing quickly. Instead of having to take out a student loan, consider tapping into the equity in the house to pay for that college education. Homeowners may want to work with a financial advisor that can help them make the right decision for themselves and their children. 

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7 Quick And Inexpensive Ways You Can Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 2nd, 2022

7 Quick And Inexpensive Ways You Can Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal

We have all  heard the saying, “You never get a second chance for a first impression?”

If you are selling your home, it is important to appreciate the significance a first impression has on your potential buyer.

When buyers drive up to your property and take their first look at your home, they will instantly be forming ideas about your house and how it might fit for their family.

When you are trying to entice a buyer to make an offer on your house, you must consider the curb appeal – how your house looks from the outside, or while standing on the curb – of your home for sale.

In fact, some surveys show that curb appeal can affect a buyer’s decision even more than price or square footage.

Below are seven simple and inexpensive things you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal.

  1. Plant a few shrubs or decorative flowers in the front yard to bring color to your lawn.
  2. Is your front door looking a little worse for wear? Give it a fresh coat of paint or replace it with a new one.
  3. Keep your grass well watered so it appears green and lush.
  4. Remove anything your pet leaves lying around, such as bones, chew toys or droppings.
  5. Take a look at your gutters. If they look damaged or are hanging loose from the roof, be sure to have them repaired before showing the house.
  6. Clean up your flowerbeds by removing weeds and trimming overgrown plants.
  7. Add a bench, a garden ornament or a couple of beautiful pots to make your front yard more attractive. 

These are just a few ways you can improve the curb appeal of your home for sale and make a great first impression on buyers.

A good next step for preparing your home for sale is inviting a trusted, licensed real estate professional to your home for a preview.

An agent’s experience in the real estate market can help you plan your strategy to get top-dollar for your home and help you improve the curb appeal at the same time.

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Buying or Selling a Home This Winter? Keep These Tax Tips in Mind!

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 22nd, 2021

Buying or Selling a Home This Winter? Keep These Tax Tips in Mind!With all of the expense that can go into buying and selling a home, it’s good to be aware of what you can claim and how a home can benefit you come tax time. When the New Year rolls around and you’re sitting down to the task of completing your taxes, here are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Gaining from Capital Gains

In the event that you’ve made money off the sale of your home through a capital gain, it’s possible that you may be able to exclude this amount from your tax filing. If you’ve lived in the home you just sold for at least two of the five years before the sale date, not having to report this amount on your taxes may come as a financial win.

Reporting Your Gain

If you have not lived in your home for two of the five years, you will have to report the sale of your home and the capital gain when you file your taxes. This is necessary whether or not you decide to claim the amount. If this happens to be the case for you, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on ‘Net Investment Income Tax’ before filing your return so you can ensure your claim’s accuracy.

A Two-Year Claim For Capital Gain

While there is definitely a great financial benefit in not having to report your gain in all situations, it’s important to be aware that you can only exclude any gain you’ve received from a home sale every 2 years. So, if it happens to be the case that you’ve moved more than once in the last few years, you will have to report any amount that you’ve made from these home sales.

Selling Your Home At A Loss

The boon of a capital gain is certainly ideal if you’ve made some money on your home, but if you’ve sold your home for less than you paid, you won’t be able to claim this. While the end result may be a bit disheartening, this amount cannot be deducted off of your tax return.

Beyond the benefits of buying or selling your home, there are ways that your tax filing can be more pleasant next year if you know some of these tips. If you think you may be perusing the real estate market in the near future, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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Qualifying For A Mortgage Credit Certificate

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 8th, 2021

Qualifying For A Mortgage Credit CertificatePurchasing a house can be expensive, but there are measures in place to make it easier, particularly for people buying a home for the first time. One option is a mortgage credit certificate. What is the certificate, and how does it work?

A Mortgage Certificate Is A Tax Credit

A mortgage credit certificate, usually shortened to MCC, is a credit issued to first-time homebuyers by the local or state government. This certificate allows first-time homeowners to claim a federal tax credit for mortgage interest paid on the loan, with a limit of up to $2,000. When someone takes out a mortgage, the majority of the payments go toward interest. This credit certificate allows homeowners to recover some of the interest paid in the form of a tax credit.

Who Qualifies For This Credit?

Not every homeowner will qualify for this certificate. Usually, this is a certificate reserved for low-income people purchasing a home for the first time. Or, these credits are limited to people who purchase a house in a certain area. Usually, these programs are run by the states. Every state has a slightly different income limit for people purchasing a home. Everyone needs to check the local rules and regulations set by their states.

Is The Certificate Different From A Tax Deduction?

Yes, the mortgage credit certificate is different from a tax deduction. A tax credit is directly applied to the amount of money someone owes in taxes. In contrast, a tax deduction is a deduction from someone’s gross taxable income. A tax credit is better for tax purposes than a tax deduction. It is possible for someone to be awarded a mortgage credit certificate and deduct the interest paid on the mortgage from their taxes. Anyone who has questions about how deductions and credits work should work with a tax professional. 

Do Not Leave Money On The Table

It is true that purchasing a house for the first time can be a challenge; however, there are financial measures in place to make this process easier. Anyone who is buying a home for the first time should take a look at the state qualifications for the mortgage credit certificate program. This could help people save money on their taxes.

 

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Decluttering A Home Can Make A Major Impact

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 1st, 2021

Decluttering A Home Can Make A Major ImpactThere are numerous homeowners who are looking for a way to make more space. Even a small decluttering project can make a significant difference to the amount of space available in a home. This can also make it easier for homeowners to find what they are looking for. Furthermore, if a home is going on the market in the near future, it needs to be as clean as possible. That way, prospective buyers can see the potential of a home. What are a few examples of decluttering projects that can make a significant difference?

Clean Under The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in the home. Therefore, it is critical to keep it clean. Focus on cleaning under the kitchen sink. The easier the cleaning supplies are to locate, the easier it will be to keep the kitchen clean. Some homeowners are more likely to keep the kitchen clean if they have an easier time pulling out the cleaning supplies. Consider using labels, drawers, and boxes to keep the equipment organized. 

Check The Bathroom Closets

Bathroom cabinets are among the most overlooked areas in the home, but they also have a lot of potential. Many homeowners do not have enough linens and towels to fill up the bathroom cabinet, so think of other ways to use this space. For example, homeowners may want to place extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, and cleaning supplies in the bathroom cabinet. It might be smart to use dividers to keep the space in the bathroom closet organized. 

Tidy Up The Refrigerator

Finally, homeowners should also think about cleaning the refrigerator. Stains in the refrigerator can be notoriously difficult to remove, but using a bit of white vinegar can go a long way. Take a look at the expiration dates on the items in the refrigerator and throw away food and drinks that have already gone bad. Then, consider using labels to keep the refrigerator organized. This will make it easier for everyone to find what they are looking for the next time they open the door. 

These are just a few tips on how to declutter the areas that most homeowners often forget about. Just remember that a home can be decluttered in steps and is a process. 

 

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What To Know About Property Values and Refinancing

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 30th, 2021

What To Know About Property Values and RefinancingThere are many people who are thinking about refinancing their homes. For example, some people may be interested in reducing their monthly payments, while other people may be interested in tapping into the value of the home to fund a home improvement project. What is the relationship between property values and refinancing? There are several important points to keep in mind. 

Property Values Tend To Rise

First, it is important for homeowners to understand that property values tend to rise during the life of a mortgage. For example, someone may purchase a home valued at $250,000. Then, fifteen years later, the home might be valued at $350,000. This might mean that homeowners have access to an extra $100,000 in equity. They might use some of this money to put towards a new home when they sell their current home. Or, they might refinance their home and access that equity to complete a home improvement project. 

Monthly Payments Might Go Up

If homeowners decide to refinance their houses and take all of the equity out of the home, they might be starting their 30-year mortgage over again. Then, because the property is worth more money, they may end up with a higher monthly payment. That is why homeowners need to work with a professional who can help them figure out how the refinancing process may impact their finances in the future.

Why Property Values May Rise

There are several reasons why property values may go up. First, there might not be enough homes in the local area. Therefore, the ones that are available might be worth more money. The popularity of a specific location might increase as well. There might be a new company moving to the area with attractive job opportunities. Finally, home improvements might also increase the value of the property. 

Why Refinancing Might Make Sense

There are several reasons why it might be a good idea to refinance a home. First, homeowners might use some of the equity to pay off existing debt, such as medical bills. Some homeowners like to refinance their homes to reduce their monthly payments with a lower interest rate. Finally, there are homeowners who refinance to complete home renovation projects. 

 

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The Top Ways To Add Storage To A Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 14th, 2021

The Top Ways To Add Storage To A HomeThere are many homeowners who are looking for help with storage. Even after moving in, many homeowners still have a lot of items they need to get rid of and this is where built-in storage solutions can be helpful. Even though some storage options might be pricey, there are inexpensive options available as well. Take a look at a few solutions below, and improve the storage situation. 

Use Space Under the Stairs

One option that many homeowners overlook is the space under the stairs. If there is a second story, there may be an area under the staircase that looks like a storage space. There should be plenty of opportunities to add a bookcase, a shelf, or even a cabinet. Even a few drawers can make a significant difference. 

Consider Going Under the Bed

Another option is to use storage space under the bed. If the bed is on a frame, there should be room to add a box or two. This could be a great way to create more storage space in the bedroom without adding another piece of furniture. There might even be opportunities to put the bed on risers, creating even more room underneath the bed. 

Use Tilting Drawers

Homeowners may want to get creative by adding tilting drawers. If there is an awkward location in the kitchen, a hinge solution might be the answer. What this means is that it is possible to pull the door out of the drawer and create additional storage inside the area. This is a great way to hide a garbage can or a recycling bin. Most contractors can add this type of storage relatively quickly. This could also be a great solution in the bathroom. 

Take Advantage of Sliding Storage

Homeowners also need to take advantage of sliding storage. This is a great way to get more room out of narrow spaces. For example, there might be room in the kitchen to add a sliding shelf that doubles as a spice rack. One possible location is the area between the refrigerator and the wall or counter. There might also be a small spot between the bathtub and the wall, which could act as a great shelf for linens.

 

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Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 30th, 2021

Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A HomeA lot of potential buyers have a set number of bathrooms they need in their homes. Therefore, one of the possible ways to increase the value of a home is to add more bathrooms. It is possible to add a half bath to some homes. Even a small bathroom on the first floor can make a home significantly more attractive. At the same time, adding a powder room is not necessarily the best renovation project for all homeowners. What do homeowners need to think about before adding a powder room to the home? 

Consider The Space In The Potential Powder Room

Even though powder rooms do not take up a lot of space, homeowners still need to make sure the space is available. A powder room typically has a toilet, a sink, and a small mirror. Most powder rooms are approximately five feet by three feet. Homeowners must make sure they have enough space to add a powder room before they get started on the renovation project. 

Think About Where The Space Is Coming From

Homeowners also have to think about where this space is coming from. Is the space going to eat into a stairwell, impacting its integrity? Is the powder room going to take space from the foyer or the living room? The space has to come from somewhere, and homeowners need to ensure they are comfortable living without it. 

Map Out The Location Of The Pipes 

Of course, powder rooms also need to have a sturdy plumbing supply to power the toilet and the sink. Therefore, homeowners need to make sure there are pipes nearby. The closer the pipes are to the potential powder room location, the less expensive the renovation is going to be. If pipes have to be added to the area, the project will instantly become more expensive, eating into the potential profits on the sale of the home. 

Think Carefully Before Adding A Powder Room

Even though a powder room might be a good decision for some homeowners, it is not necessarily a smart decision for everyone. Everyone has to think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks before getting started. 

 

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