(Courtesy of FloridaRealtors.org)
(Courtesy of FloridaRealtors.org)
THE HIDDEN VALUE OF HOMEOWNERSHIP
Owning a home doesn’t just help you build wealth. It also impacts your life and your children’s lives. Here are some of the specific benefits homeowners may enjoy over renters:
1. Homeowners are healthier and live longer. Owning a home reduces the likelihood of divorce. Homeowners are less likely to suffer from depression.
2. City homeowners are less likely to be victims of crime. Children of homeowners often achieve a higher level of education.
3. Children of homeowners are likely to earn more over their lifetimes. Children of homeowners have signicantly lower teen dropout and pregnancy rates.
4. Homeowners are more likely to be involved in neighborhood groups. Homeowners have a better understanding of politics and are more likely to vote.
Sources: National Association of Realtors®, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Personal Finance Hacks for Homebuyers
If you’re in the market to buy a house but don’t like doing things like everyone else, try hacking your way to your goals. Conventional methods exist for a reason — they have been proven to work time and time again. They’re not the only way to operate, though, so we’re turning conventional wisdom on its head and giving you a few hacks you may not be familiar with that just might make a difference. Here’s a look at a few options.
Down Payment Options
First, do your research. The average down payment on a home mortgage loan in the US is about 11 percent — much lower than the traditional 20 percent we have known for so long. Find out what the average down payment is in your area of the country so you know if the percentage you have in mind is in the ballpark.
If you don’t think you have enough money saved for a down payment but you still want to buy a home, you do have options. Loans from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and the VA (Veterans Administration) offer no-down-payment mortgages, while the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) provides low-down-payment options if you have a credit score of at least 500.
Save on Taxes
If you do end up buying your home for less than it appraised for, you might be in for a tax break. Take your information to your county tax assessor, and they can lower your taxes to match the purchase price. This just might save you some money every year.
Buy Less Than You Can Afford
If you are a prepared home-shopper, you will already know how much house you can afford. Don’t forget, though, that houses always cost more than you think in terms of maintenance and repairs, so you don’t want to max out your mortgage payment budget. Stay a little below what you think you can afford to give yourself some breathing room for when the hot water heater dies or your washer leaks all over the floor.
Buy a Home Below Its Listing Price
You should also look up the percentage of homes that sell under their listing price in your area. This number likely won’t be high — it’s 4.2 percent of homes in Bonita Springs, Florida, for instance — but it will give you some idea if buying below value is even possible.
Here’s one strategy for buying a home below its listed price: look for a home in a neighborhood where you want to live that has been on the market for some time. There may be a reason it hasn’t sold that is not a deal-breaker for you. For instance, maybe it’s too cluttered, has too much furniture in the house, or looks too dark. If you have vision, you can see opportunity. Because the house has been on the market for so long, you will likely be able to get it below the listed price. A few minor renovations later and you will have instant equity.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a down payment and the options listed above don’t work, consider the concept of sharing equity in a home with an investor. You and the investor would pool your money for a down payment and then you would live in the home for an agreed number of years. At the end of that time, you would either buy out the investor or sell the house and divide the profits with the investor. It may take some time to find just the right person to invest, but if you choose the right house, it could lead to a good return on their investment.
Finances don’t have to be a barrier to buying a home. With the right strategy and a willingness to think differently, you can still find some great deals. Don’t be boxed in by conventional thinking — try a few of these personal finance hacks to end up in the house of your dreams.
Picture from Unsplash
This guest article is provided by Brittany Fisher. Brittany is a professional CPA and loves to share her knowledge about taxes, personal finance, and general financial literacy with others. You can find even more resources on her website at FinanciallyWell.info
Newlyweds: Here Are 5 Factors to Consider when Buying Your New Home
Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: homeownership. There are so many factors you need to keep in mind and you want it to be a pleasant house-hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should take into account when you’re in the market for a new home.
Article written By Kyla Stelling Courtesy of RISMEDIA
Sharing from the AmeriSpecSWFL Team:
Congratulations homeowner! You’ve found a home, signed the papers and are either getting ready to move in or have already started to enjoy your new home. But what about home improvements? Here are some easy tips to help you stay on top of those new tasks.
Top 10 Home Improvement Tips every homeowners need to know:
10. Make Improvements That Add Value
When you’re starting out, you’ll want to focus on projects that add equity to your home. Unless you have an unlimited budget for home improvements, consider whether your next project has a good return on your investment.
9. Start With Quick, Timely Projects
As weather shifts with the seasons, you’ll need to focus on projects that will prepare your home for that upcoming season. Take an hour or two every week, even if it’s only ten minutes a day, to see to the most pressing tasks for your home.
Even weekend DIYers (do it yourself) need to know their limits. Start with smaller projects that build on your existing skills and don’t be afraid to call in the professionals instead of getting in over your head.
Many tasks are easy to learn and provide you options to add to your existing skills. Volunteer at construction organizations, watch a YouTube video or pick up a book to expand your knowledge.
In your spare time, browse the internet for inspiration for your new home. Pinterest, Houzz, Wayfair and many other sites not only give you inspiration, but also allows you to organize your ideas in the process.
Don’t think that you need to buy a huge number of tools. Start with the basics, then add to your kit as you undertake other projects. If a tool is too expensive to justify the expense, see about renting it.
Learn whether you can use utility rebates, tax credits or other benefits for particular projects. If you can’t pay cash, look for long-term interest-free financing offers or find a loan that doesn’t put your home at risk.
Much like hiring other professionals, you’ll want to hire a contractor based on good reviews, checking references and looking at their previous work. Take time to check out your contractor before you hire.
Reuse stores, surplus stores and online ads allow you to save cash on DIY projects. Take the time to explore the steps of your project, figuring out where to invest and where you can make do with what’s available.
If you start projects without a plan, it can really cost you in the long run. Plan the entire project and create a budget. Nothing makes a project more expensive than having to change it in the middle.
Homeownership creates great opportunities to learn and grow your home, your equity and your skills, but it will take some work. By following these easy tips, you can become a home improvement pro in no time!