The Potential Pitfalls of Buying a Second Home for Income

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 11th, 2021

The Potential Pitfalls of Buying a Second Home for IncomeAside from owning a business, owning rental property has been one of the top investment choices for people, most commonly done through buying a second home. Handled right, income properties can generate significant gains for investors, both in terms of real estate appreciation as well as monthly income from tenants. However, it’s not sure a surefire approach to financial success. There are a lot of ways that a budding real estate investor can go sideways with an investment property home purchase as well.

Watch Out for the Seller-Renter

Many times people will sell a home but then offer to rent it from the buyer, essentially trading their home title for ready cash but not really moving out. These situations come up a lot where someone wants to stay where they are but doesn’t want to deal with a mortgage anymore and would rather rent. They are also frequently listed as buyer-direct home sales versus using a traditional route through a real estate agent and broker. The big risk here is that the seller is able to unload the home on the buyer, and then stop paying the rent a few months in. The deal allows them to avoid foreclosure but then it becomes the landlord’s problem to actually evict. By the time the legalities are done and eviction is finally achieved, many landlords have taken a loss on the property and end up selling again. It’s better to have a clean sale with no further obligation between the parties and start with brand-new renters altogether.

Have a Good Strategy Ahead of Time

There are different ways to make a net profit from a rental property. Depending on the cost of financing, down payment and expectations of holding a residential property the driver for profit can be different. Some expect to make a gain both from rental income as well as equity growth. Some realize with the cost of financing, the better plan is to use rental income to pay for the mortgage as much as possible and make the net gain on the property equity appreciation over time. How long a property will be held can come into play as well. Knowing going in what one’s strategy is can help avoid mistakes once a commitment has been made or being surprised if the market has a downturn etc.

Tax Benefits are Different

An income property doesn’t get the tax same deduction benefits of a first home. The mortgage interest deduction, one of the biggest tax benefits possible for an individual is not possible with a rental income property. However, if you are operating your rental property purchased as a business, many of the expenses of running that business can be deducted through the Schedule C form process with an income tax return. Check with a tax advisor or attorney to be sure for your specific situation and interests.

Owner Responsibilities

Just because you rent the property doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. As a new buyer and owner, you’re still responsible for the property taxes due, HOA assessments, utilities and other costs tied to the property. Unless you contractually make the renter responsible, the tax, HOA and utilities will address the property in your name as the owner. Some forget this fact and get a nasty surprise in the mail with a tax or assessment lien on their property.

In short, buying a second home as an income property has the potential for significant investment gain, but it doesn’t operate on auto-drive. You need to still be involved quite a bit and watch whom you rent to when protecting your property interest.

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3 Things You Must Do after Inheriting a Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 10th, 2021

3 Things You Must Do after Inheriting a HomeThere can be a lot of excitement when it comes to the realization that you’ve inherited a home, but simply because it’s an inheritance doesn’t mean there aren’t a few strings attached. Whether you’re expecting to be gifted with a home in the future or you’re currently going through this process, here are a few things you may need to watch out for.

The State Of The Mortgage

Once a home has been effectively handed over to you, it’s important to determine the status of the mortgage with the lender and if anything is still owed. While you have the option of taking over the mortgage in a lot of cases, in the event that there’s a reversible mortgage or you’re choosing to rent it out as a second property, you may not be able to transfer the mortgage. While this can often be a rather seamless process, if money is owed there can be other factors to consider.

Determine If You Want It

If you already have a first home and don’t want to take care of your second property as a rental unit, it’s important to realize that keeping the home may not be the best decision for you. While you have the option of organizing a short sale if you’d like to get it off of your hands, you can also contact a real estate agent who will be able to provide you with advice on how to proceed if you’re unwilling (or unable) to take control of the property.

Is It In Good Condition?

Whether you want to keep the home or not, there can be cases where it’s not even a question if it’s a home that you’re going to end up investing money into without much return. In the situation that a lot of money is owed on the house or there are serious issues with its general condition, you may want to release yourself from the inheritance and move on with your financial situation still intact.

There can be an instant feeling of acquired wealth in the event that you’ve inherited a home, but a home in bad condition or that you don’t want to take care of can end up being more of a headache than anything else. If you’re currently considering your options when it comes to a home inheritance, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

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Stimulus Checks And Your New Mortgage

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 7th, 2021

Stimulus Checks And Your New MortgageMost of the focus on stimulus checks has been on “when” they will arrive, but if you are in the market for a new home (and mortgage) you should know how that payment will impact your financing. Part of the latest Covid 19 relief package includes payments and protections for existing borrowers and renters, but what about those who are looking to buy? According to the IRS, here are a few things to know about how your stimulus impacts your upcoming mortgage. 

Stimulus Money Is Not Taxable

Any funds you are qualified to receive are not taxable; this is important to know as you move forward with your purchase because it allows you to properly anticipate your tax burden for the coming year. 

Stimulus Money Is Not Income

While funds from the stimulus can be used however you’d like, including as part of your downpayment, they are not considered income. If you currently qualify for an income-based mortgage incentive or program, having a one-time boost in income could work against your housing plans. If those extra funds counted as income, some families could find themselves no longer qualifying for programs and loans that have income guidelines. 

Stimulus Money Can Be Used For Your Mortgage

Whether you use it for your down payment, pay points to reduce interest, or even pay off remaining debts to improve your ratios, this money can benefit your home buying plans. 

Every debt you pay regularly impacts the amount of money you can afford to borrow for your mortgage — using a stimulus payment to eliminate one or more credit cards or even car payments can increase the amount of monthly payment you can afford. Making these payments can also improve your credit score, which could qualify you for a better rate. 

Since the current stimulus program can benefit home buyers in several key ways, there is no better time to buy than now. Use your stimulus to maximize your buying power and get the best possible mortgage terms and you’ll be able to access a wider variety of homes.

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VA vs FHA vs USDA What’s the Difference?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 21st, 2021

VA vs FHA vs USDA What's the Difference?You may have more options than you think when it comes to securing a mortgage for your new home. While many buyers opt for conventional financing, another option or program might be a better choice for you, depending on your personal and financial situation. Learning more about FHA, USDA, and VA loans ensures you get the best possible deal for your mortgage and that you secure the loan that you need for your new home. Here’s what you need to know about these useful mortgage options.

FHA Loans
These are traditional mortgages that are backed by the FHA: when you take out an FHA loan, this government agency is insuring the loan. This makes your loan more appealing to lenders who might otherwise feel your credit or income history is not strong enough. An FHA loan is available to a wide range of buyers and price points and offers a low-down payment, reasonable interest, and other perks that make it worth exploring for your next mortgage. 

VA Loans
If you are a veteran then this program, which offers loans insured by the VA, is a great option for you as they do not require money down so you can buy immediately, rather than saving for years for a down payment. The VA loan is available to those who have served or are serving in the armed forces and is a good option to help you get the home you want with no money down, unlike a conventional mortgage loan.

USDA Loans
One of the most useful and often overlooked loan programs is from the USDA. While this government office offers direct loans, far more people qualify for their insured loan programs. USDA loans are for rural areas, but a surprising number of suburban communities and locations qualify as well. With a low-down payment and interest, this subsidized loan program is well worth it if you plan to live in a rural or suburban area. 

Not every borrower will qualify for the mortgage options above; the USDA has guidelines on income and the home you are interested in. The FHA does not have income requirements, but you will need to prove your income and this option also has a loan limit.  If you do meet the guidelines of any of the above programs, they can help you access the home you want by dramatically reducing your upfront and deposit costs. 

The right loan for you will depend on your income, credit, and the home you’ve selected. Your agent can help you find the home that suits the program you want and make it easy for you to secure the financing you qualify for. Get in touch today to talk about your home buying options and see which loan option is right for you. 

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Do Not Procrastinate On These Spring Maintenance Tasks

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 14th, 2021

Do Not Procrastinate On These Spring Maintenance TasksAt the flowers begin to bloom and the weather starts to warm up, everyone is thinking about spring cleaning. It is critical to make sure the house is ready for the warmer weather. What are the top spring maintenance tasks that have to be completed? Do not procrastinate on these tasks, as the price could be high.

Prune The Trees Before They Start To Bloom

Take a closer look at the trees, particularly those that hang over the house. As they begin to bloom, the weight on these branches could start to increase. If that happens, branches could snap over the house, leading to serious roof damage. Prune these trees before they start to bloom. If they are too high, it may be better to reach out to a trained professional who can prune them safely. 

Always Look For Signs of Leaks And Water Damage

Check around the house for signs of leaks and water damage. If the floor is buckling, the walls are starting to change color, or the water bill is going up without an explanation, these could be signs there is a leak somewhere. Address any signs of water leakage now. Waiting to address a water leak could lead to serious repair bills down the road. Be sure to get the plumbing system maintained regularly. That way, these leaks can be avoided. 

Inspect The Water Heater

Take a closer look at the water heater. It is important to get it inspected by a trained professional once per year. Over time, mineral scaling and gunk can accumulate in the water heater. It needs to be flushed regularly. Even though online tutorials can be helpful, it may be better to reach out to trained professionals who have the equipment to do this properly. In addition, professionals may take a look at other areas of the water heater that might have to be addressed.

Get Ready For Spring

These are a few of the most important spring cleaning maintenance tasks that have to be completed now. Make sure these systems are ready to go before they are called upon. If homeowners do not procrastinate on these important tasks, they could save a lot of money down the road.

 

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Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding In Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 31st, 2021

Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding in Your HomeEven the most aesthetically pleasing homes can have mold issues. A type of fungus that thrives on moisture, mold can trigger symptoms such as itching eyes, asthma attacks and bouts of sneezing or coughing.

As a result of the possible health issues, mold is the sort of problem that should be dealt with prior to listing a home, and people who are in the market to buy a home would do well to have a licensed professional conduct a mold test on any home they’re seriously interested in buying.

What follows is a rundown of five places in the home where mold could be hiding.

The Unwanted Basement Tenant

If climate control measures are not implemented, basements can end up becoming breeding grounds for mold. Most basements get little or no direct sunlight, are often more humid than other areas of the house, and get scant ventilation, which can pose a problem should water somehow get into the basement.

Mold can go undetected for years in such spaces since it can grow behind walls, baseboards and insulation. Fortunately, detecting mold is possible not only by sight, but also by scent. A moldy or musty smell should not be ignored since it could be evidence that there is a mold problem.

The Air Conditioner’s Chilly Reception

Unfortunately, mold can take root in places that people cannot easily access and monitor such as on the inside of their air conditioner units. Mold can grow on the coils and, when moisture enters into the picture, a small problem can become a big one quickly.

People who find themselves coughing or sneezing whenever they turn on their air conditioners ought to be suspicious since mold could be the culprit.

Not On The Kitchen Menu

Leaving leftovers in the fridge for too long can create conditions where mold thrives. The mold can then get into crevices where it will have even more places to grow. The problem can become even more serious if contaminated food and appliances transfer the mold to other areas in the kitchen.

Furthermore, kitchens that are insufficiently ventilated can also have negative implications as far as food safety is concerned,

The Chimney: Where There’s Smoke…

Leaky chimneys can cause mold problems that, if not fixed, may end up infecting other areas of the house. In a leaky chimney, moisture can seep into crevices and create mold areas that may eventually make their way down to the walls. Therefore chimneys that are in need of repair should be fixed promptly so that problems don’t pop up later.

If Walls Could Talk

One of the most common places for mold to form and grow is behind walls. Humid air behind the walls can be problematic, particularly if water finds its way back there as a result of things like flooding.

It’s also possible for mold to form behind wallpaper. People can determine whether or not they have mold behind their walls by having an inspector come in and check.

Mold is no laughing matter. Before listing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to address any mold issues. People who are planning to buy a home should have an inspector conduct a test to ascertain if there are any problems.

Taking the proper steps will help to remedy any mold situation that may be present. Whether you’re looking to sell or looking to buy, the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Call your trusted real estate professional today for more information on how to deal with mold when buying or selling a home.

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In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized Quickly

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2021

In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized QuicklyOrganizing a home seems like a significant challenge. Fortunately, there are easier ways to make this happen. In less than an hour per day, it is possible to organize a home from top to bottom. Getting these unnecessary items out of the way might even prevent people from stubbing their toes! How can this be possible? 

Start Getting Rid Of Unnecessary Items

Start by creating two boxes. The first box should have the word “donate” written on it. The second box should have the “trash” written on it. Then, go through every room in the home. Find items that can be donating. Take them to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Remember to get a receipt because these items may be tax-deductible, as long as you work with a trained tax professional.

Then, take items that can be thrown away and place them in the “trash” box. Be prepared to throw these out. This will instantly create more room in the home. 

Target The Spice Cabinet

A lot of homes have unnecessary space wasted in the spice cabinet. Think about organizing them alphabetically. Be sure to check if any spices have expired, as they might need to be tossed out. Once the spices are all in the right spot, there will be a lot more space in the kitchen. That way, it will be easier to organize utensils, appliances, plates, bowls, cups, and the pantry itself.

Time To Deal With The Decorations

Once the holidays are over, it is time to organize the decorations. Make sure that each holiday has its own separate box. Then, make sure the boxes stack on top of each other. With a separate box for each holiday, it should be easy to store all the decorations in one place. This will free up a lot of other space in closets, storage areas, and cabinets.

Get The House Organized In An Hour Per Day

Concentrate on each small area, going room by room and “decluttering” as it will create a lot more space in the home, and in sections, it is easier to get everything organized. Ensure that everything has its place. It might even be helpful to write this down somewhere. Even though it might take some time to get used to it, having more open space in the home is never a bad thing!

 

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The Top Seasonal DIY Home Improvement Projects

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 11th, 2021

The Top Seasonal DIY Home Improvement ProjectsThere are many people who are spending more time at home these days. As a result, it is important for everyone to take steps to try to improve their quality of life at home. This means seasonal home improvement projects. With the weather nice outside, it is a great idea for everyone to think about how they can get ready for the next season. Therefore, there are a few top seasonal Home Improvement projects everyone should keep in mind.

One of the first projects that everyone should work on has to do with their HVAC unit. Right now, people probably are not running their HVAC unit much right now. Therefore, this is the perfect time for everyone to make sure they get their HVAC unit maintained. That way, if there are any issues that are spotted, they can be addressed before the HVAC unit is needed. 

Check The Roof And Gutters For Signs Of Issues

At the least you can fall outside, it is critical for homeowners to make sure they keep their gutters clear. Otherwise, rainwater might not be able to drain from the roof away from the house. This could contribute to roofing leaks that could wind up as expensive repair bills. For this reason, all homeowners should take the time to check their shingles, their flashing, their edging, and their gutters. This will make sure the house stays safe when the weather turns down. 

Look For Entry Points For Any Pests

Finally, homeowners also have to make sure they are able to keep any potential infestations away from their homes. There are lots of pests that are going to try to get inside the home as the temperature starts to drop outside. This could include silverfish, ants, cockroaches, and termites. When homeowners take the time to look for these entry points ahead of time, they can prevent these infestations from taking place. 

Think About Home Improvement Projects Now

These are a few of the top home improvement projects that all homeowners need to keep in mind. It is critical to take the time now to carry out these home improvement projects while the weather is nice. This can prevent problems in the future.

 

There are many people who are spending more time at home these days. As a result, it is important for everyone to take steps to try to improve their quality of life at home. This means seasonal home improvement projects. With the weather nice outside, it is a great idea for everyone to think about how they can get ready for the next season. Therefore, there are a few top seasonal Home Improvement projects everyone should keep in mind.

 

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An Overview Of Private Mortgage Insurance

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 26th, 2021

An Overview Of Private Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are going through the process of looking for a new home, you are probably focused on the sticker price of that home. Even though it is important to think about your down payment, your monthly mortgage payment, and the total amount of the loan, there are other expenses that you might need to cover as well. If you do not put down enough money, there is a chance that the lender could ask you to pay for something called private mortgage insurance. What is private mortgage insurance and how much do you have to pay? There are several important points that you should keep in mind.

Why You Might Purchase PMI

Private mortgage insurance is something that the lender may ask you to purchase as a way to reduce their risk. If you do not make a sizable down payment, then the lender is responsible for funding most of the cost of your home. If you end up defaulting on the cost of that loan, the lender will lose a major amount of money. With PMI, the lender will be able to get his or her money back in the event that you default. Even though the exact cost of PMI will vary, you should expect to pay somewhere between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of the loan. You might be able to ask the lender to check with multiple options to find the least expensive policy possible for you. Once the PMI policy is instituted, this is something that you will have to pay on top of your monthly mortgage payment.

Avoiding PMI Payments

Importantly, there are ways that you can avoid PMI. You might be able to avoid this insurance policy altogether if you are able to increase the size of your down payment. If you cannot do that, the PMI policy will usually be canceled when you reach a certain threshold in equity. This is something that you should negotiate with the lender before you sign on the dotted line. In some cases, the PMI policy as waved when you reach 10 percent of the loan amount paid back. Even though you should check with a professional accountant, PMI is likely tax-deductible, similar to mortgage insurance.

 

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The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of Your Home On A Budget

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 17th, 2021

The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of The Home On A BudgetThere are a lot of people who are spending more time at home these days. As the temperature starts to warm up once again, there are some homeowners who are looking for ways to upgrade the outside of their home. Even though there are some people who are looking at installing a brand new patio or deck, this can be extremely expensive. Fortunately, there are ways that homeowners can completely transform the exterior of their home without breaking the bank. Take a look at a few of the top ideas below.

Consider Adding An Outdoor Rug

First, homeowners should consider adding an outdoor runner or rug to the exterior of their home. Because this run is going to be outside, try to go with bright colors. Furthermore, there are also specific runners and rugs that have been designed specifically to stand up to the wear and tear of the outdoors. Consider adding a rug that leads from the patio door to the deck. Or, think about placing an area rug underneath the table outside. This can completely change the look of the patio.

Think About Installing A Swinging Chair

For those who are looking for a way to relax outside, consider installing a few swinging chairs. In some situations, homeowners might be able to attach a swinging chair directly to the awning outside. In other situations, it might be a smart idea to install a swinging chair that hangs from a tree in the yard. It is important to make sure the awning or the tree is able to support the chair before it is installed. Then, add a bright cushion to the chair and relax outside with a great book! 

Use Citronella Candles

Anyone who likes to spend evenings outside under the stars should consider using candles. Specifically, think not using citronella candles. Citronella candles will help keep the mosquitoes away in addition to adding a majestic fuel to the outdoors. Think about using them on top of poles that line the walkway. This is a great way to add a little bit of ambiance to an evening party.

Consider a few of these ideas to completely change the exterior of the home in a budget-friendly way.

 

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