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Showing posts from 2024

Bridging Wealth Gaps: Homeownership's Stand Against Inflation

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When exploring the benefits of homeownership, it's more than just having a place to call your own. Among its many advantages, homeownership stands as a formidable safeguard against inflation and a strong vehicle for long-term wealth accumulation. This article will delve into the dynamics of appreciation and amortization, explaining why owning a home can be one of the most impactful financial decisions you can make. Inflation, the overall upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, erodes the purchasing power of money. In simpler terms, as inflation rises, each dollar you have buys a smaller percentage of a good or service.   The same inflation that is driving rising mortgage rates is putting upward pressure on home prices and rents. Over the past sixty years, homes have appreciated in value at an annual appreciation rate of 5.56% according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data.   As a homeowner, you want to benefit from the appreciation.   Inflation for th

Baby Boomers' Wave to Downsize

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As the first groups of baby boomers gracefully rides the wave of aging, they are setting new trends in the housing market, giving birth to what experts fondly refer to as the "Silver Tsunami." This phenomenon is not merely about a change in address; it's a lifestyle transformation tailored to meet the unique needs of the golden years. With approximately 10,000 people reaching the age of 65 every day, the United States is witnessing an unprecedented demographic shift. By 2030, all baby boomers will have passed this milestone. Among these remarkable statistics, the AARP's estimate stands out: a staggering 74% of total U.S. homeownership belongs to individuals over 50, with more than half of this demographic opting for downsizing their home as a strategic move. The Silver Tsunami is, in essence, a testament to the demographic strength of the baby boomer generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation has played a pivotal role in shaping American soci

Keep more profits from home sales

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In recent years, home values have soared, presenting an opportunity for homeowners with substantial equity to consider a unique tax benefit. Section 121 in the IRS code allows for homeowners who meet certain requirements to exclude up to $500,000 of capital gain on the sale of their principal residence.   Single or married taxpayers filing separately can exclude up to $250,000 of capital gain.   Taxpayers must meet the following requirements: They must have owned and used the home as a principal residence during at least 2 out of the last 5 years. They should not have excluded gain from another home during the two years before the current sale. The property should not have been acquired through a 1031 exchange during the past five years. Capital gain is determined as selling price, less sales costs, less basis in the property which is the purchase price paid for the home plus capital improvements made during the tenure.  Capital gains more than the exclusion amounts are t

Smart Home Tech: Is It Real Property or Personal Belongings in a Home Sale?

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Many of today's homeowners have accumulated multiple high-tech "smart" devices to make their home more convenient, economical, and fun to operate.   When they decide to sell the home, they need to make the listing agent completely aware of whether they will be included in the sale of the home.   Some of these things easily meet the definition of real property because they are permanently installed like thermostats, doorbells, cameras, garage door openers, and pool equipment monitors.   A rule of thumb mentioned frequently is that if it were removed, the functionality would cease or if there would be evidence of where it had been, it is probably real property and is included in the sale. Other devices like virtual assistants made by Amazon, Apple, or Google, may not specifically meet that criteria but they are needed to operate things like electrical switches and plugs, or lamps.   It becomes a grey area of whether it is real property when TV's, doorbells,

Leverage your home's equity into rental property

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There can be many reasons homeowners aspire to have their home paid for.   They can include no mortgage payments, financial security, debt reduction, lower expenses, retirement planning, financial freedom, legacy planning, no risk of foreclosure, and reduced stress, just to name a few. All those things have a cost attached to them which is the loss of the earning power which is tied up in an asset that only benefits the owner by appreciation.   In the past few years since the pandemic began, homeowners have experienced a dramatic increase in equity due to appreciation. As an example, let's set up a comparison of how the yield on equity decreases as the property appreciates.   A homeowner has a debt-free home worth $400,000 that is expected to appreciate at 4% a year for the next five years. The future value of the home would be $486,661 and the owner would have earned a 4% return on his investment in the property. In scenario #2, the homeowner refinances the property t

Adapting to Life's New Chapters

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All of us encounter major life events and they have the possibility of disrupting our lives temporarily, if not permanently.    The homes we live in may have met our needs originally but due to a change in our life, it may no longer be adequate or the best fit for us, which will require a move. The decision to change one's living situation often comes as a response to these pivotal moments, and the reasons behind such changes can be as diverse as the events themselves.   The number of things that can influence these changes is numerous.    It may be the birth of a new child, or the ages of the children are getting such that you simply need more room.   Marriages generally merge two households into one.    The possibilities are endless, but it could be two single people or two single parents each with children who need the right space to blend the families. A promotion, transfer, or a new job could require a change in housing, or maybe just make it more convenient

House-Hacking your way to multi-unit rentals

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House-hacking refers to buying a multifamily property on an owner-occupied mortgage, living in one unit and renting the others.    If you're thinking about becoming a rental mogul, starting early is an advantage.    Not only will you have longer to accumulate a larger portfolio, but you can also increase the leverage on the first owner-occupied acquisitions.   Leverage is the use of other people's money to finance an investment.    The higher the loan-to-value, the greater the leverage which can increase the yield.    The lower down payment gives the investor more leverage which can increase the return on their investment.   FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac each have programs for buying owner-occupied two-to four-unit properties with the same minimal down payment required for a single-family home.    The advantage is that non-occupant investors must have a 20-25% down payment where the owner occupant is much less. A qualified veteran could get into the first

The relationship between homeownership and net worth

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During the span between 2019 and 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted both society and economic activities. Nevertheless, the latest Survey of Consumer Finance , which has recently been unveiled, highlights widespread enhancements in the financial well-being of American families during this timeframe, especially concerning their net worth. The median net worth of homeowners increased 37%, after adjustment for inflation, between 2019 and 2022.   This is the largest three-year increase in the history of the modern Federal Reserve Board's triennial survey dating back to 1989 and more than twice the next largest one on record. The survey showed increases in both median and mean net worth were near universal across different types of families, grouped by either economic or demographic characteristics. For families who owned a home, the median net housing value, the value of the home, less secured debt, increased 44% between the same three-year period.   The

Understanding Credit Life Insurance for Home Buyers

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Credit life insurance is a specialized type of insurance designed to provide financial protection for borrowers and their families in the event of the borrower's untimely death. This insurance is often associated with loans, including mortgages, and is specifically tied to the outstanding balance of the loan. In the case of a home purchase, credit life insurance will cover the remaining mortgage balance if the homeowner passes away before the loan is fully paid off. In some cases, lenders may include the expense of credit life insurance in your loan principal. This arrangement means that you'll accrue interest on the combined amount, potentially resulting in increased costs over time. Consequently, opting for traditional life insurance, as opposed to credit life insurance, might be a more financially prudent choice to protect your family's financial well-being. Credit life insurance offers peace of mind to homeowners, knowing that their loved ones won't be b

Discover how to make a difference in your neighborhood

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Whether you're a seasoned homeowner or just starting this thrilling chapter, every time you turn your key, you're not just entering a house but also embedding yourself in a neighborhood. The heartbeat of a vibrant community doesn't solely rest upon pristine lawns or architectural beauty, but predominantly on its residents � wonderful folks like you! Consider these suggestions to enjoy your new neighborhood and actively contributing to making it a wonderful place to live. Foster Connection - Begin your journey by fostering connections. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, participate in or organize social events, and involve yourself in local gatherings, HOA, Next Door, or forums. Establishing a network of friendly faces creates a sense of belonging and shared responsibility towards the well-being of the neighborhood. Create a Safe Environment - A safe community is a serene community. Be mindful of adhering to speed limits while driving through your neighborho

How Home Value Growth Beats Renting

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Over the last 60 years, the average sales price of homes has appreciated at a rate of 5.56% annually, according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data . During the same period, rent has increased at a rate of 3.88% annually which presents a compelling argument in favor of homeownership. When we analyze these figures, it becomes evident that homes have not only appreciated in value at a faster rate than the increase in rental costs, but they have also provided homeowners with a substantial asset that builds equity over time. This discrepancy in growth rates means that, in the long run, homeowners are likely to experience a greater return on their investment compared to renters. Renters, while they may have the flexibility of moving without the ties of property ownership and might have lower upfront costs, do not gain any equity from their monthly payments. Their money goes straight to their landlord, and they are subject to the annual increases in rent. Over time, as rent con

Bridging Wealth Gaps: Homeownership's Stand Against Inflation

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When exploring the benefits of homeownership, it's more than just having a place to call your own. Among its many advantages, homeownership stands as a formidable safeguard against inflation and a strong vehicle for long-term wealth accumulation. This article will delve into the dynamics of appreciation and amortization, explaining why owning a home can be one of the most impactful financial decisions you can make. Inflation, the overall upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, erodes the purchasing power of money. In simpler terms, as inflation rises, each dollar you have buys a smaller percentage of a good or service.   The same inflation that is driving rising mortgage rates is putting upward pressure on home prices. Over the past sixty years, homes have appreciated in value at an annual appreciation rate of 5.56% according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data.   As a homeowner, you want to benefit from the appreciation.   Inflation for the same per

Access "Trapped Equity" without Refinancing

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American homeowners have a record amount of equity in their home.   Many of these homeowners would like to cash out part of that equity but don't want to trade an historically low interest rate for one that is as high as it's been in 20 years. Instead of refinancing their home, an option is to get a fixed-rate second-lien.   This is different than a HELOC, home equity line of credit, which gives you continual access to your equity at a variable rate.   A HELOC has a draw period where you only must pay the interest. A second mortgage is a loan against the equity where the homeowner will receive a lump sum and will make payments to repay the loan and interest over a specified period.   Generally speaking, lenders want the combination of the existing first-lien and the new second-lien not to exceed 75-80% of the home's current value. To calculate how much would be available in a second-lien, subtract the existing unpaid balance on the first-lien from 75-80% of t

Navigating Closing Costs During Your Home Sale

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Buying or selling a house is an exciting and sometimes confusing experience that includes expenses called "closing costs" that can often catch us by surprise. Closing costs are simply the fees and expenses incurred by buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction's closing or settlement process.   Typical closing costs can vary depending on what is customary in an area, the mortgage type, property value, and other factors.   The largest expenses can be the real estate commission and the title policy.   Total closing costs for a buyer can characteristically range from 2% - 5%   of the sales price and 4% - 7% for a seller. The most common buyer's closing costs include loan origination fee, title insurance, attorney fees, appraisal, homeowner's insurance, underwriting, miscellaneous fees associated with a new mortgage, and prepaid interest to the end of the month. Interest is paid in arrears on mortgages after the borrower has used the money.  

Tap into your home equity five ways

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Your home is not just a place to live; it's a valuable asset that can serve as a financial resource when you need it most. One of the significant advantages of homeownership is the opportunity to build equity over time, which can be accessed in various ways to fund life's important milestones or unexpected expenses. Whether you're looking to undertake a home improvement project, consolidate debt, cover education expenses, or simply ensure financial flexibility for the future, your home equity can be a powerful tool to achieve your goals. By understanding the options available and the implications of each, you can leverage your home's value to enhance your financial well-being and seize opportunities that come your way. Home Equity Loans are a fixed amount loan using the equity in the home as collateral. The borrower receives a lump sum and pays it back in regular monthly installments over a fixed term, typically at a fixed interest rate. A Home Equity Line