What Buyers and Sellers want!

Realtor magazine did a end of the year survey with buyers and sellers to find out what they want and expect. The top answer to each question is as follows:

1. What is the primary reason buyers give for purchasing home?

Answer: Desire to own a home

2. What do home buyers cite most commonly as a benefit that real estate agents offer them during the purchase of a home?

Answer: Helped understand the process

3.What do buyers look for the most in finding the right neighborhood?

Answer: Quaility of the neighborhood

4. What age range represents the largest segment of home buyers?

Answer: 25-34

5. What’s the first step that buyersmost often take in the home buying process?

Answer: Searching for properties online

6. What do buyers most value when visting a real estate web site?

Answer: Photos

7. What was the primary reason given for selling a previous home?

Answer: Job relocation

Why do I need a home inspection?

Considering that buying a home might be the biggest investments you’ll ever make, wouldn’t you like to be assured that this home is THE RIGHT ONE! Having a home inspection can set your mind at ease by knowing the “ins and outs” of a house, construction methods, operation and maintenance with longevity in mind. There are many home inspectors to chose from.

During a home inspection it is important to let the inspector do their job. While it sounds important and cool to follow the inspector around asking questions and learning, it can be better to save that until the end. You can request for additional time at the end of the inspection for questions/explanations if you would like to have more thorough information. The inspection will begin with the exterior and continue to the inside. The crawl space or basement will be towards the end. An inspector will check electrical, structural, insulation levels, plumbing, mechanics (furnace, a/c, hot water heater, etc), and many more items. They will give you a complete report which will show the age and condition of everything checked. The end of the report will show the minor repairs which normally consist of smaller items that are more informational to watch or fix if you desire. The major repairs are in need of a closer look as these could be expensive to repair. You will need to negotiate with the seller to either repair or give a concession to repair after closing. It is advisable to request that a licensed contractor repair the major items.

While purchasing a home can be over-whelming, finding a trustworthy inspector is one step to take that lessens the stress of this important event! Let us help you out!

Why Buy?

9 Reasons to Buy Versus Rent your Home!

1. Pride in Owning: Most people buy homes to have control over where they live. Although investment features are important, the psychological reasons for buying–the satisfaction of owning and freedom from paying rent–are at least as important.

In a survey done by the National Association of Realtors of 6,000 homeowners and 2,000 renters–perhaps the largest survey ever of attitudes toward home ownership–it was shown that 76% of owners and 66% of renters considered pride of ownership an important reason for buying.

2. Dislike paying Rent: Close to 7 in 10 of almost equal portions of owners and renters expressed a dislike of paying rent as an important reason to buy. Renting offers a lifestyle that’s nearly maintenance-free. That may appeal to you, but consider that renting offers you no equity, no tax benefit, and no protection against regular rent increases. Writing a rent check is just like watching your hard-earned money sail away!

3. Settling Down: More than 6 in 10 renters said “settling down” was an important reason to by.

4. Good Investment: 76% of owners and 69% of renters said that the investment aspect of ownership was important.

5. Tax Advantage: Property taxes and qualified home interests are deductible on Schedule A, for itemized deductions.

6.Long-Term Appreciation: People consider homeownership a good investment because they view it as a long-term venture. Historically, home prices have risen at relatively steady rates. Existing home prices rose an average of 4% per year between 1980 and 1992.

7. Leverage Investments: People borrow a great deal to buy homes, yet they receive the full benifits of price appreciation. In the long run, investments in homes far out pace inflation rates.

8. Source of Savings: Homeownership always has been and continues to comprise the singel largest source of savings for American households. Howeowners build equity and can borrow against it.

9. Sacrifices Are Worth It: Almost 7 in 10 renters in the National Association of Realtors homeownership survey said that they planned to buy a home in the future. More than three-quarters of these people said they were willing to sacrifice to do that.

Tax Credit May Be Extended

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There has been a push in the House to get the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit extended, as well as expanded.  Last week the House passed a bill extending the $8,000 tax credit into next year for military, diplomatic and intelligence workers who have been working overseas.  This bill’s passage leaves many hopeful that an extension for regular first time home buyers will pass as well.  Much of the increase of real estate sales has been attributed to the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

There is a strong sentiment to extend the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit because the real estate market is not seen as completely stable yet.  The hope is that if the tax credit is extended then real estate sales will continue to improve.  If the credit gets opened up to include all home buyers, as some would hope, then real estate sales volume is expected to pick up quite a bit.

For the latest from Realty Times regarding the tax credit click here.

If  want to find a home in Cincinnati go to http://www.cincinnatimls.com/homesearch

Breaking Down the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

There is no doubt that the first time home buyer tax credit is a great thing but there are a few things to know before you assume that you qualify for the full $8,000.  The tax credit breaks down as follows:
Who qualifies? First time home buyers and people (or spouses) who have not owned a home for the previous 3 years.  You must purchase your home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

  • What qualifies for the first time home buyer’s tax credit? Only a primary house qualifies.  It does not matter if it is a single family home, duplex, townhome, condo, apartment or co-op, if it is a primary residence it will apply.
  • What is the amount of the first time home buyer’s tax credit? $8,000 is the maximum amount of the credit.  There are 2 factors at play when it comes to getting the credit: The cost of the home and the income of the person or married couple purchasing the home.  The credit can be 10% of the closing price up to $8,000 or a person making $75,000 or less or a married couple making $150,000 or less are eligible for the full $8,000.
  • Do you qualify for the first time home buyer’s tax credit if your income is higher? Yes and no.  If you make more than the $75,000/$150,000 limit you get less of a credit.  The maximum income is $95,000 for singles or $170,000 for couples.  If you make more than the maximum income you are not eligible for the tax credit.

The tax credit is a real boon for first time home buyers and does not have to be repaid.  If you qualify for the tax credit and have been considering purchasing a new home there could not be a better time.  Low interest rates, low home values and the first time home buyer tax credit all add up to the right time to call an experienced local Realtor.

Resource and for more information: Realtor.org

Attention: First-Time Home buyer $8,000 Tax Credit Expires 12/01/2009

American flagwater ripple and water drop falling in the middleIf you decide to purchase a home by December 1, 2009, you will be entitled to an $8,000 tax credit. This amendment to the economic stimulus bill will be available to if you purchase your first home between 1/1/2009 and 12/1/2009. Home buyers will be entitled to claim a total tax credit of $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less.  To avoid possible abuse of this credit, it is only allowed for your primary residence and will only have to be re-paid if said house is sold within two years of purchase. Keep in mind that you must close on or before December 1, 2009 to be eligible for the credit. Most closings take about sixty days, so with that in mind you must go under contract by October 2nd, 2009 – this gives you seventy-three days from today to find your first home. If you manage to meet these deadlines, all you have to do to claim your credit is fill out I.R.S. Form 5405.

For more information about this credit go to the IRS website.

Learn How To Figure Out Exactly How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

Pink calculator close-upIf you are a first-time home buyer, before you even look at houses for sale, the most important thing you can do is figure out exactly how much you can afford on a mortgage payment per month. This will save you wasted time and the disappointment of looking at houses that you may later learn that you simply cannot afford. You first must figure out your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders prefer that you use 36% and under, but you might want to consider using 28% of your gross monthly income for housing expense. Following are the steps to figure out the math:

  1. Figure out all of your debt. Multiply your gross monthly income by .36 to find your total allowable monthly debt.
  2. Add up all of your fixed monthly expenses.
  3. Subtract your fixed monthly expenses from your total allowable monthly debt.

This number is the amount that you have for your mortgage payment, your home owner’s insurance and your property taxes.

For more help figuring out your total allowable monthly debt see a home affordability calculator.

If You Are Buying Now, Know These Ins-And-Outs To Get The Most For Your Money

Daffodils in brown potIf you are in the enviable position right now of looking to buy a home, enjoy the current market: the buyer’s market! Many folks that have to sell their homes right now are happy to start a dialogue with a potential buyer, so arm yourself with any and all information to get the best deal possible!

  • Right now you have more time to look, so you will be better armed with the knowledge of which houses have been sitting on the market for a while. These homeowners might be more likely to negotiate.
  • Consider looking at new construction. Builders sometimes offer incentives and sometimes have very attractive financing programs.
  • In certain areas that have been hit a bit harder by the market downturn, you certainly do have the upper hand whilst negotiating – and can always ask for an upgrade or a major repair before finalizing the deal.
  • Some buyers are asking for a written warranty on appliances and certain structural repairs. Down the road this could be a big money-saver for you.
  • Motivated sellers are more likely to work with your timeline. Don’t be afraid to ask if the closing can be pushed out.
  • Even some lenders are willing to negotiate. You might ask for free private mortgage insurance, a better interest rate or even lower closing costs.

For more information on the current real estate market go to Housing Predictor.

Closing Procedures 101

Take it, it's yoursIf you are planning to become a first-time home buyer, the following information about what occurs during a closing will keep you in-the-know.

  • When you are ready to make an offer on a home, it is good to make an offer that is less than the asking price., in order to give you to negotiate with the seller.
  • When you make a formal offer, you normally deposit $1,000 or  1% of the sale price as “earnest money”. This lets the seller know that you are serious about your offer. 
  • You will have contingencies, such as getting proof of proper financing and a good house inspection where the results are to your satisfaction.
  •  You will hire a home inspector that will give the home a complete inspection, to catch any possible problems the home may have.
  • When your offer is accepted by the seller, a legal and binding contract is drawn which states sell price, details of buyer’s or seller’s obligations, and date of possession.
  • The required “settlement sheet” provides a list of all monies paid at closing, including commissions and escrow amounts.
  • There will be a mandatory title search, and title insurance and an application for homeowners insurance is required.
  • Various closing costs will be paid such as the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, your taxes and the document preparation fee, to name a few.
  • Utility service and mortgage payment transfers will need to be arranged.

For more information on the closing process visit Survival Guide To A Real Estate Closing