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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY A HOME

Get Pre-approved! Unless you are paying cash you need to get approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. You will know exactly how much you can afford so you can look in the correct price range and you will need to submit a pre-approval with any offer. If you find the perfect home and you donít have a pre-approval letter you risk losing it. Get pre-approved first and when you want to make an offer you will be ready. Once you have been pre-approved do not make any significant changes in your credit or employment. Do not change jobs or do anything to increase your debt load. That new car will have to wait until after you close on your home. Even a minor increase in your debt load may prevent you from qualifying for a mortgage. When you are ready to make an offer on a home you will need to put down earnest money. You will need to put down a minimum of $1000 on most purchase offers and some sellers require a cashiers check. Be ready to provide this when you sit down to write an offer. Let your Realtor help you decide what to offer by showing comparable sales data for the home you are interested in buying. By being informed on what similar properties are selling for you can make a good decision on how much to offer to get the best price without risking offending the seller. You want to open negotiations, not close the door on them. If you are making an offer contingent on selling your current home,...

TIPS FOR THE HOMEBUYER

You should look at several homes before choosing one so you have a basis for comparison. Don’t be turned off by paint colors- itís an easy & cheap fix. Don’t forget to check the basement- check the age of the furnace and water heater, look for evidence of water damage or mold along the walls. Don’t shy away from homes that are not in move in condition, if a little work will increase the value, it may be worth the effort. Don’t place all damages on the same level, worn carpet is far less serious than a leaking roof. When looking at empty homes, try to visualize the rooms with your furniture to make sure you will have enough space. Take measurements if you need to. Short sales generally take much longer to close than standard sales. Drive by the neighborhood at different times during the day to understand the area. Donít be afraid to talk to the neighbors to get information about what itís like to live there. Remember, bad neighbors and run down houses in close proximity can have an impact on the value of a property. GET PRE-APPROVED FIRST. Unless you are buying with cash this needs to be your first step. Be flexible about your wants. One house will seldom fit all your wants so be ready to compromise. Check the driveway and sidewalks for cracks. Re-placing concrete can be expensive. Donít be blinded by nice dÈcor. The owner will be taking that with him. Remember you are buying the empty house, not the owners high end furnishings. If you plan on re-selling in 5...

10 STEPS TO PREPARE FOR HOME OWNERSHIP

Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage. Do this before you start looking for a home so you know what price range you can afford. When you are ready to make an offer, you will need a written pre approval. Once you have your letter you will be ready to make an offer when you find a house. Develop your home wish list. Prioritize the features and be willing to compromise. Decide where you would like to live. Take into account school district, work commute and any other things that will affect the location of your home. Start Saving. Depending on the type of mortgage you are getting you will need enough money for your down payment and closing costs. You may also want money to pay for inspections, attorney fees etc which are not figured in to basic closing costs. Donít forget moving expenses, utility deposits and insurance. Make sure you have enough cash available to cover these costs plus a little extra cushion for emergencies. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report and make sure it is accurate. Most mortgages now require a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify. If yours is less than that you may want to get some credit counseling to raise your score high enough to qualify. Explore your mortgage options. Talk with your lender about the different types of loans you may qualify for and what the requirements will be so you can make an educated decision. Organize your documentation. In order to get approved for a mortgage your lender will require W2 forms, recent pay stubs, tax returns,...

Tax Time is Coming

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind us and 2015 is here. Before we know it, tax time will be upon us and if you are a homeowner there are some things you will need to think about before you file your income taxes for 2014. In January or February you will receive information in the mail that you will need when you do your taxes. If you have a mortgage you will receive a statement showing the amount of mortgage interest you paid to your lender in 2014. In most cases this amount is tax deductible and can be significant since interest makes up the majority of most peopleís mortgage payment. Property taxes are also deductible in most cases. In order to take advantage of these deductions you will most likely need to itemize your taxes which takes some extra effort but is usually well worth it. Besides the mortgage interest and property tax deductions, there are other deductions which you may qualify for as well. If you have made modifications to your home for a medical condition, some or all of the expense may be deductible. For example, installing a ramp, modifying a bathroom or adding handrails may be deductible as medical expenses. The amounts must be reasonable and medically necessary in order to qualify. Any of these improvements that are done to increase the value of the home will probably not qualify as medical deductions. Another area you may be able to get a tax credit for is installing a qualified energy generating system. There is a tax credit available until December 31, 2016...

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