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Showing posts from September, 2013

Equity Dynamics

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Equity is the difference in what your home is worth and what you owe. Ideally, as the value goes up and the unpaid balance goes down with each amortized payment made, the equity grows from two directions. This dynamic leads to increasing a person’s net worth much faster than many other investments. A homeowner has minimal control over value. It is necessary to maintain the property to avoid depreciation and make good decisions on capital improvements. After that, appreciation is generally controlled by supply and demand and the economy. Mortgage management is something that the homeowner does have control. Making the decision to select a shorter term mortgage at a lower interest rate can have an impact on equity build-up. Lower interest rates amortize faster than higher interest rates which will also affect equity growth. Currently, it is possible to get a 1% lower rate on a 15 year mortgage than a 30 year mortgage. Compare two alternatives of a 30-year and a 15-year mortgage. The pay…

Who is my agent?

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More often than you’d expect, homeowners refer to the person they bought their insurance from as their agent. It sounds reasonable but it’s definitely not accurate. That person is the agent of the insurance company and they legally represent the company, not the customer. Even an independent agent who can place a policy with different companies is still an agent of the company. A mortgage officer, in most cases is an employee and represents the company. And the same is true for a title or escrow officer. It’s important to understand the actual relationship to know what you can expect from them. Any business person who wants to stay in business must treat their customers fairly and with a high degree of service. As a customer, you should be able to reasonably expect honesty and accountability. The difference is that employees owe their loyalty to their employer and agents owe their loyalty to their principal. An agent owes more than just honesty and accountability. The principal can ex…

Mortgage Interest Deduction

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Originally, in 1913 with the Sixteenth Amendment, Income Tax allowed a deduction on any interest paid by a taxpayer. Prior to World War I, most interest was paid for business purposes and very little paid by individuals. Credit cards, revolving credit, student loans and home equity loans that would charge interest would not become popular for decades. However, by the 1930’s, the Federal Housing Authority was created to help people to finance homes. Later, other quasi-governmental agencies like FNMA, FHLMC and GNMA were created to help facilitate mortgage lending. Even though, Congress never intended to use this deduction to encourage homeownership, it has certainly benefitted millions of people who couldn’t pay cash for their home. This deduction has made owning a home more affordable for tens of millions of people. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 eliminated the deduction of interest on most personal debt with the exception of qualified mortgage interest debt. Two new terms were introduced…

The Rules

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The profit potential in single family homes for investment has been a consistently good long-term investment. They offer investors the opportunity of high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates for 30 years on appreciating assets, tax advantages and reasonable control that other investments don’t offer. Last year, Warren Buffett said that if he had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes, he would load up on them. Blackstone group L.P. (BX) has now purchased over 30,000 homes and American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) has more than 19,000 for rental purposes. Individual investors actually have an advantage over the institutional investor but if they are not familiar with rental real estate, some basic rules could be very helpful.Invest now to get more in the future. 
Whether it is time, effort or money, the prudent investor is willing to forego immediate gratification for something more at a later date.Real estate is an IDEAL investment. 
IDEAL is an acronym that sta…