The Obvious Alternative Investment

Rental homes can be a natural alternative investment choice for homeowners because they are already familiar with houses. Maintenance on a rental is not that much different than on your personal home. The same plumbers, painters and other workmen can be used to make repairs.

Single family homes offer an investor high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates for long terms on appreciating assets with defined tax advantages and more control than other investments.

  1. High loan-to-value mortgages – most investments require that you pay cash but rental properties can be purchased with 20% down payment.
  2. Fixed interest rates – most commercial loans are based on a floating rate such as prime interest plus one or two percent compared to real estate loans as fixed rates for the term.
  3. Long terms – commercial loans are generally short-term such as six months or a year with the possibility of being renewed for another six months or a year unlike real estate where a 30-year mortgage is commonplace.
  4. Appreciating assets – real estate has a long-term history of going up in value.
  5. Defined tax advantages – many investments are taxed as ordinary income but rental real estate enjoys a non-cash deduction called cost recovery, the profits from sale are taxed at lower long-term capital gains rates or may be eligible for a tax-deferred exchange.
  6. Control – rental homes don’t require partners and afford the investor more options than investing in mutual funds and other traditional investments.

The demand for good rentals is strong and the rents continue to go up in most markets.  There are people who choose not to buy or cannot buy a home who would prefer to live in a single family home rather than an apartment.

Father’s Day Gift Giving Ideas He’ll Love

Every June, we celebrate our love for dad with Father’s Day and, although we don’t always know exactly what gift to give that could possibly express our gratitude, it is possible to get him something that he will love.

Boys & Their Toys

Doesn’t every dad love his remote control, his comfortable chair or a trusty weather scanner? If you really want to make dad smile on Father’s Day, consider giving him a gift that will make life a little easier. Whether it’s a universal remote control or an armchair attachment that allows him to keep all of his favorite magazines, a cold drink and the remote within arm’s reach, your dad will love you for it.

 Membership Must-Haves

Forget the common membership clubs; what dad really wants is a membership to something that he loves. If he’s a golfer at heart, consider buying him a membership to the nearest golf club/course. If he loves to fish, why not think about getting him a lifetime fishing license that will never expire? You get the idea!

 Revved Up On Racing

If your dad is a big fan of racing, you can treat him to his very own ride around the racetrack with any one of the driving schools that offer training and/or ride-along programs. One of the more well-known companies to offer this service is the Richard Petty Driving Experience. If dad prefers to watch the action from afar, that’s okay too. A great gift idea for the race fan is an authentic piece of race-used memorabilia. In addition to being produced on trading cards from popular manufacturers, race-used memorabilia is also available for purchase from the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame & Museum.

Something Timeless

Everyone needs to know what time it is and, yes, this includes dad. Every man would appreciate having a watch that is made to last, which is why one of the most popular gifts for Father’s Day is a watch. One of the many timeless designs is that of the gold watch face with a genuine leather band. Because most men prefer brown or black leather watch bands, these are the most commonly found styles in the marketplace. A yellow gold face with a solid white dial will create a rich and timeless look that every dad will love.

Now that you know some of the ways to give dad a gift that he will love this Father’s Day, remember that the one gift he will cherish most in this world is time with you! After all, it’s because of you that he is a dad. Make sure to spend time with your dad and always let him know how much you appreciate him.

 

A Single Woman’s Guide To Home Ownership

The traditional view of home ownership usually includes a married couple, but times have changed, and more and more single women are entering the housing market. In fact, almost twice as many single women are purchasing homes than single men, and almost one in five homes purchased today are purchased by single women. So why are single women making up such a large part of the housing market, and what are the special considerations single women should make when purchasing a home?

What Women Want!

The demographics of single women buying homes are quite diverse. From young professional women in their 20s to divorced mothers in their 40s, there are really no typical single women making home purchases, and their needs are just as diverse. Overall, however, there do appear to be a few trends in the market, and here is a list of what the average single woman is looking for in a new home.

Most spend less than $200,000
Prefer two bedrooms or more
Less likely to choose new construction
Will compromise size and cost to get other amenities, but not location
Smaller spaces are acceptable, and many prefer condos
Desire security and safe neighborhoods with a strong community feel
Look for close proximity to stores, shopping, and fitness centers

Things To Consider

If you are a single woman looking to enter the housing market, or know someone who is, then what should be considered before making the leap into home ownership? Essentially the considerations are much the same as those of any homeowner. Taking a realistic look at your financial situation is always important. Seeking out the advice of a qualified financial advisor and a REALTOR® can make the process less difficult. It is also important to be sure you are not entering into any unwise loan agreements that may not be wise down the road, such as no-money-down deals. It is also important to have a clear picture of what your needs as a homeowner are, and that you don’t settle for something that will not work with your particular lifestyle.

You may never stop paying for some improvements

You’ve saved the money and are ready to pay cash to build a new pool for your home.  However, that’s just the beginning of your soon to be increased expenses which will include maintenance, higher utilities and higher taxes.

Homeowners obviously benefit by a larger equity when their home increases in value due to appreciation.   A not-so-obvious effect that will also more than likely take place is that their property taxes will increase.  In most cases, a property’s assessed value is generally tied to market value to calculate the property taxes based on the tax rate for that year.

Similarly, a homeowner can affect the value of their home by making capital improvements.  Some small items may never be recognized by the taxing authority but items that require a permit, certainly are brought to their attention.  Items such as a fence, roof, remodeling, windows, new rooms or swimming pools can easily increase the assessed value of a property.

Most states have an established time frame in which to challenge the current tax assessment for that year.  The process is relatively simple and doesn’t require professional representation.  It generally involves showing that there is an error which has overstated the value or that current comparable sales indicate a lower value.

If you’d like more information or need the comparable sales data, please let us know.  We would be happy to help you investigate the possibility of lowering your property taxes.

7 out of 50 Could Save You Money

It is estimated that seven million out of 50 million homeowners could save money by refinancing their existing mortgages. Obviously, if the replacement mortgage has a lower rate than your existing one, you will save money.

If you bought a home before 2011 and are paying mortgage insurance, you should investigate refinancing to eliminate that requirement. Even if you don’t get a lower interest rate, the savings could amount to hundreds of dollars a month.

If a home you purchased since 2011 has appreciated enough, it could easily justify refinancing to eliminate the required mortgage insurance. Most loans don’t require mortgage insurance if the loan-to-value is 80% or less. There are some programs for 90% mortgages that don’t require mortgage insurance. It is certainly worth investigating with a trusted mortgage professional.

Continuing to pay mortgage insurance that could be eliminated is like having a broken cell phone and continuing to make the monthly payments for something you can’t use and don’t need.

If your current mortgage is several years old, instead of getting a new 30 year mortgage, you might consider a 15-year term. The money you save with a lower interest rate could help you to retire your loan in a shorter time so that your home would be paid for.30 year fixed rates 2nd week of may