Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

7 reasons to own your home

Friday, October 8th, 2010




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1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.

*Reprinted from REALTOR magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.



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8 Tips to Guide You on Your Home Search

Thursday, October 7th, 2010




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1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
 

3. Get your finances in order.Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

*Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors.


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We had the “talk”

Saturday, March 27th, 2010




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We had the “talk”

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

Yup we had the “talk” and man was it embarrassing. My finances are a mess. My bookkeeping is even worse. Apparently stacking my un-opened bank statements for the last 3 years was enough to put my fiancé over the edge.

She wanted to know how come I don’t open the bank statements and I was thinking why would I??? No news is good news and besides it’s not like they send me money in a bank statement. Than somewhere around the August of 09’ statement she opened there was a check from the bank because they messed up and owed me money. A whopping 8 whole dollars and best of all the check expired as of March 1st.  Whoops.

I see her point of when buying a house every little bit counts, especially what little bit I am contributing because of my start up of my new freelancing writing career. Who would have thought starting a business during the recession wouldn’t bring in money hand over fist??? In my defense I started my business a month before the market crash so I really had no idea what was coming, but still those excuses only get me so far.

It is soooooo important when buying a house with someone to just lay all your finances out on the table. No matter how painful or embarrassing it is. I went from good money to making what I made in high school working at a pancake house, so it was definitely embarrassing. Knowing what your income is and what your expenses are will help you figure out what you can afford when it comes to buying a house.

We figured out we were looking in a price range almost $50,000 higher than what we should have been. We still have a lot of options in our price range, but when you figure on something way more than what you actually have it kind of breaks your heart when reality smacks you in the face.

I’m just glad we didn’t fall in love with any of the houses we looked at in that price range. We only had lust. But even at that the lust was for a place that was even higher than our original price we thought we could afford. My fiancé was a little crushed when that place sold before we even had chance to get our stuff together.

As they say in the business “whatever will be, will be.” Just be prepared for whatever it is. And start getting prepared by sorting through all of your finances and get everything in order. Remember we are in a “prove it” mortgage world. Whatever you say you made last year you better be able to prove it to them when they ask.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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Economic Update – March 1, 2010

Monday, March 1st, 2010




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Last Week in the News


The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December. It was the seventh consecutive monthly gain and follows a 0.2% increase in November.

The consumer confidence index fell to 46 in February from an upwardly revised 56.5 in January. Economists had anticipated a reading of 55. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 11.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 units from a rate of 342,000 units in December. Economists had expected a pace of 354,000.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 22,000 to 496,000 in the week ending February 20. Continuing claims for the week ending February 13 rose by 6,000 to 4.617 million.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 3% in January after a revised 1.9% increase in December. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 0.6%.

Existing home sales fell 7.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units from 5.44 million units in December. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 0.5% to 3.27 million, a 7.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.2-month supply in December and a 6.5-month supply in November.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 5.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, rather than the 5.7% increase initially reported last month.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on March 1, and factory orders and pending home sales on March 4.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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Economic Update – Feb 22, 2010

Monday, February 22nd, 2010




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Last Week in the News


The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose two points in February to 17. It was the first gain in five months. Economists had anticipated a dip to 14. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in January rose 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units. However, applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 4.9% to 621,000 units.

Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.9% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.7% gain in December. It was the seventh consecutive monthly increase. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 72.6% of capacity in January from 71.9% in December.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 1.4% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in December. Economists had expected a gain of 0.8%. The gains were largely due to higher energy costs.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 31,000 to 473,000 in the week ending February 13. Continuing claims for the week ending February 6 held steady at 4.538 million. Experts believe snowstorms in early February may have cost the economy as many as 100,000 jobs.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose a smaller-than-expected 0.3% in January after a revised 1.2% gain in December. It was the 10th straight monthly increase and the longest series of gains since 2004.

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in January. Excluding energy and food, the so-called core index unexpectedly slipped 0.1%, the first monthly decline since December 1982.

The Federal Reserve Board raised the discount rate charged to banks by a quarter-point to 0.75%.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on February 23, new home sales on February 24, and existing home sales on February 26.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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Home Improvement Tax Benefits for 2010

Friday, February 19th, 2010




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David Garofalo

Senior Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
NMLS# 122111
100 Technology Dr., Suite 203
Trumbull, CT 06611
Office: (203) 910-1845
Fax: (877) 298-3986
David.Garofalo@prospectmtg.com
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Home Improvement Tax
Benefits for 2010


For your clients, going green pays and saves. According to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, for every dollar decrease in annual home energy expenditures, house values increase between $11.63 and $20.73.

Also, going green can lower the tax bill. New federal tax credits are now available for green home improvements on a principal residence. Qualifying modifications must meet a certain energy efficiency level to be eligible for the credit.

The credits are available for improvements purchased and in service from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. The amount of the credit is deducted from any income taxes the homeowner may owe. The credit is nonrefundable, allowing taxpayers to lower their tax liability to zero, but not below zero.

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 through December 31, 2010 (for existing homes only) for:

  • Windows and Doors
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Water Heaters (non-solar)
  • Biomass Stoves

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through December 31, 2016 (for existing homes and new construction) for:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Small Wind Energy Systems
  • Fuel Cells

Make sure your clients purchase products that come with a Manufacturer Certification Statement — a statement from the manufacturer that indicates the product qualifies for the tax credit. For record keeping, experts advise that homeowners retain all receipts.

Additional details can be found at www.energystar.gov/taxcreditsand www.homedepot.com/taxcredit

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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