What You Should Know Before Trying to Obtain Credit

good credit vs bad credit 300x300 What You Should Know Before Trying to Obtain CreditIn today’s world of credit there are primarily three 800 pound gorillas that lending institutions use to determine your creditworthiness, how much credit they will afford you, and how expensive that credit will be in the future. In addition to lending institutions, insurance companies also look at credit when assessing insurance risks and determining insurance rates for auto, home, health, and life insurance. It is therefore critical as a consumer; you monitor your credit regularly.

The three gorillas are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. In Colorado, and many other states, consumers are entitled to a free credit report annually (annual credit report.com). It is recommended that each consumer take advantage of these three free credit reports each year. My suggestion would be to check one agency approximately every four months so perhaps one in early January, one in early May and perhaps one in early September. This way, if there are any discrepancies, like identity theft, or a creditor has inappropriately reported a transaction, you are able to take action quickly. These discrepancies can adversely affect your credit causing your credit score to be calculated incorrectly. This may also increase your insurance, or if you are applying for a loan significantly affect the terms you would be offered in the loan.

The three credit reporting agencies each have different ways they score your credit. These measures are generally called a FICO score. Fico scores vary between credit agencies and are based upon a proprietary algorithm, which has been established by each of the credit reporting agencies. There is a wealth of information about FICO scores and a BLOG where you can ask questions on My Fico Beware that My FICO wants money. If you want to find out about your FICO score free use Credit Karma

These tips can help you find the home you are dreaming of by qualifying for your loan first. If you have, questions about how to shop for a good lender give us a call. At Terry Robinson— the Early Group, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the very best in customer service. We can be reached, if you would like to buy or sell your dream home, at 303-748-3838 or info@early-group.com. Our web site is The Early-Group

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more.  Early-Group

When it comes to owning a home, there are several benefits that tax payers may take advantage of when filing their itemized return. Here are just a few to consider when preparing your taxes:

  • When purchasing a home, some closing costs may be deductible. Discount points and origination fees are tax deductible to the buyer. If these apply to your mortgage.
  • If you took out a loan to purchase your home, the mortgage interest is typically deductible in the year in which it was paid. This adds up quickly in most federal tax brackets. Your deduction may be limited if certain circumstances apply in higher tax brackets, or if you took out a mortgage for reasons other than to buy, build or improve your home.
  • Real estate property taxes also provide a tax benefit. In the year you purchase the home, you are entitled to deduct the real estate taxes paid on your settlement statement either to an escrow account or directly to the taxing authority. You may continue to deduct property taxes annually during your home ownership.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) may also be deductible when your down-payment is less than 20 percent. Several changes took effect on June 3, 2013 regarding cancellation and increases to the annual MIP, so it is best to consult your accountant or tax preparer to ensure you accurately claim any deductions
  • Do you work from home? If you have a home office that you use only for business, you may have a deduction for a portion of some items such as mortgage, insurance, utilities or other expenses relative to the office space. There are many considerations when deducting home office expenses, and it may or may not be a benefit to you based on your occupation and overall business use.
  • When selling your home, there are potential tax deductions as well as possible implications to consider. Some closing costs may be deductible including and not limited to real estate commissions, title insurance, legal fees, and surveys. Capital gains or losses may apply, and your tax expert can advise you on determining your basis and adjustments.

Some online resources that may be helpful regarding other home ownerships tax benefits include the Internal Revenue Service or National Association of Realtor (NAR).

A recent item to note regarding married tax filings… A new federal ruling now recognizes married same-sex couples just as their heterosexual counterparts for federal tax purposes regardless where they ultimately live. The Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, including income as well as gift and estate taxes, but this ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships/civil unions. This covers couples who marry in one state and move to another that may not recognize their union. As a result, lawfully married same-sex couples no longer have to declare themselves unmarried on federal income tax returns, and spouses will not have to pay tax on health insurance benefits received through a spouse – an average savings of $1,000 tax per year for same-sex couples. Changes could be especially significant on estate taxes, where spouses benefit from tax advantages. For more information, the Wall Street Journal published a review.

Disclaimer: The links to articles and resources here are only to be used for informational purposes. Tax payers should always seek professional advice on financial and legal matters from a tax preparer, accountant, attorney or other legal counsel.

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True. 

It can be intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership especially as a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths out there about the home buying process.  Such misconceptions have kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses.  If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller may be required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can refuse leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to move forward.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes may have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find a perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers and keep perspective separating little annoyances from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.  Call Terry Robinson and The Early-Group, your trusted Conifer, Evergreen, Pine, Bailey, Morrison and Front Range/Foot Hill Real Estate Team.  303.748.3838

It’s always in your best interest to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent represent you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, ultimately saving you money and a lot of headaches.  A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one.

How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home

How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home.  When it comes to selling your home and getting the full selling price you want, there are certain tactics and methods you can employ to ensure this wish becomes a reality.  Avoiding common mistakes that may lower the value of your home and discouraging people from viewing is ultimately the key to get top dollar and carry out showings in a professional manner.

Listen to the professionals, and make sure you use methods to get top dollar for your home.

Overpricing: Avoid At All Costs

With that being said, you don’t want to overprice your home so to discourage potential buyers from looking at it, or put your home outside of a financial bracket.  Make sure you speak to your realtor about what the right list price should be to obtain your desired value.

Increase Desire: Have Your Home Staged

You need to make a good impression on prospective buyers.  Having your home professionally staged can dramatically increase the amount of interest you receive on your home, perhaps even creating multiple offers – which is the best situation a home seller can be in!

Appeal To Online Shoppers With Professional Photos

With so much of today’s modern real estate shopping happening online, ensure that your home has a strong presence with professional photos and a digital floor plan available to prospective buyers.  Make sure all information is complete and presents your home in the best light possible.

Always Say Yes To Open Houses And Showings

Especially in a hot market, you want to ensure that you leave your home empty for your real estate agent on weekends so they can hold it open to the public.  This is especially important early on in your listing so buyers on the market who are ready to move can see your house right away.

You should apply the same importance to showings, and ensure that each showing request is promptly responded to with an easy “yes.”

If you put these tactics into your home selling plan, you will find that it will be much easier to obtain more interest from buyers.  And with more interest, it will be much more likely for you to obtain the price you want for your home.  Don’t underestimate the importance of these factors, and discuss them today with your trusted real estate professional.

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away.   Any family would feel violated after coming home to a ransacked house. Burglars look for specific things when choosing a home to break into, and many homeowners are unknowingly inviting criminals through the front door.  Below are five ways you can avoid drawing the eyes of thieves and deter your home from becoming a target.

Beware Of Selling To Strangers

If you’re wanting to sell items on Craigslist or another internet-based classified ad website, attempt conducting your transactions outside of the home.  If you must meet at home, screen the person over the telephone to ensure that they are truly interested in the item you’re selling. Thieves have been known to make appointments just to check out your home.

Be Careful If You Tweet About It

Not all of your friends protect their social media information, or may not have the most virtuous acquaintances. If you share your upcoming vacation or big event, then a mischievous friend of a friend will know the perfect time to forcefully check out your home.  Learn how to limit your social media posts to only your trusted contacts.

Mind Your Trash

Be careful when it comes to taking out the garbage, especially around holidays. Criminals will drive around nice neighborhoods and specifically look for empty boxes of high-price items. Then all they have to do is wait for you to leave the house before they force their way in and nab the goods.  Break down boxes and conceal them in garbage bags or trash cans.

Prepare For Your Vacation

Make sure when you leave on vacation that you put a few lights on timers and have someone collect your mail. A home that is obviously vacant is every burglar’s dream.  And if you’re on an extended holiday, ensure you also hire someone to take care of the lawn – overgrown grass is a no-one-is-home indicator.

Secure The Safe

Just because you put your valuables in a safe doesn’t mean they’re secure. If the safe isn’t installed in a wall or bolted to the floor, then a burglar can just carry it through your front door. They can figure out how to break into it later.  Make the additional time investment to ensure your safe can’t walk out the door.

With a little common sense and by following the advice above, you’ll reduce the risk of your home being targeted by burglars. If you would like more information about keeping your Colorado home secure, call your trusted real estate professionals Terry Robinson, Stephanie Foster, Mike Fuentes, Christi Patrick or Deborah Oakes today.



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