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Home Buying & Real Estate Research From a First Time Home Buyer

Resources

How To Write A Real Estate Love Letter And Save Big Bucks

“The keys to a good real estate love letter are: Finding a common connection with the seller Increasing the perception that you are a dependable buyer who won’t flake during escrow Reducing or eliminating the perception that you are a profiteer/flipper Pointing out specific things you love about the property Describing why you would be the perfect owner of the property Sharing information you feel that will make the seller like you Keeping the letter to 600 words or less (two pages)”


Tips for Buying a House That Needs Work

“If the home has been on the market for a while, with longer days on the market than the average sale time of other homes there could be other problems. Perhaps the work that is needed exceeds the seller’s expectations or it could be that the home appeals to a smaller pool of buyers. Don’t make the mistake of automatically assuming longer days on market means the home is overpriced because that’s not always a true assumption.”


Population Growth and Household Growth

Our population is growing. We have the highest record household growth. We’ve got wage growth. We’ve got, you know, growth. Lots of growth and not enough housing to keep up with it. And based on some of the studies that I look at, one is, it was metro study. There was a chart that showed that we may not be at equilibrium with supply and demand until 2025.


Books

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home (Nolo’s Essential Guidel to Buying Your First House) by Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, Marcia Stewart

Tax credits for energy efficiency. Homeowners who install solar, geothermal, or wind systems to generate electricity, or in some cases hot water, are eligible for a tax credit worth 30% of the cost of the system, with no upper dollar limit. One can take this credit against the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). It covers purchases made as far back as 2015. The credit expires at the end of 2016 with respect to geothermal and wind systems. For solar, however, it’s available at 30% through December 31, 2019; then goes down to 26% for tax year 2020; then reduces to 22% for tax year 2021; then expires, on December 31, 2021.


Interest on a home improvement loan. If you take out a loan to make improvements that increase your home’s value, prolong its life, or adapt its use—for example, by adding a deck or a new bathroom—you can deduct the interest on that loan, with no limit. But you can’t deduct interest on loans used to make normal repairs, such as repainting the kitchen or fixing a broken window.


When it comes to the long-term value of your home, location really does matter. If you have a desirable piece of property that’s also in a desirable location, more people will want to buy it. That keeps its value relatively high compared to nearby homes in less sought-after locations (which people may buy partly because they can’t afford anything else).


Not surprisingly, many of the features that attract first-time homebuyers boost resale value, like high-quality schools, low crime rates, convenient amenities, and neighborhood character and community.


Another major factor affecting resale value is conformity. Buying a house that’s much bigger than the houses around it is usually a bad idea. Your house will appreciate at a slower rate, because buyers drawn to a neighborhood of smaller homes won’t be able to afford the larger home, and buyers drawn to larger homes won’t be drawn to that neighborhood. And if a house is just too unique—because the owner has customized it too much—it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Being young, we hardly thought about the flight of steps as
If you plan to work at home, spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or entertain frequently, plan adequate space for that.


Do you love the idea of remodeling an old home or creating a beautiful garden?


Older homes are often built with high-quality materials such as thick beams, solid-wood doors, and heavy fixtures.


Crown molding and built-in cabinetry are just a few of the fun features found in older homes—but rarely in newer homes.


Older houses tend to be less energy efficient than newer ones.
Older houses were built for another era . . . an era before plasma screen TVs and home offices.


Buying a house means some new expenses beyond the purchase price. A first-time homebuyer should plan to drop some cash for: • the down payment • the loan principal, loan interest, taxes, and homeowners’ insurance • up-front costs, such as conducting inspections and taking other steps to close the deal, and • recurring ownership costs.


If you pay just half a percent more than you could have if you’d done some research—say, 4.5% instead of 4.0%, on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for $200,000—you could end up paying almost $21,000 more in interest over the life of the loan.


the typical homebuyer spent ten weeks searching before settling on a house.


principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, all of which must be factored into your homebuying plans. Here’s the breakdown on these expense items:
Principal. The amount you borrow from the lender and must pay back, month by month.


Interest. A percentage of the overall borrowed amount that the lender charges you to use its money. The exact rate varies widely.
Property taxes. Taxes vary by state and sometimes by local area, but expect to pay somewhere between .5% and 2.5% of the house purchase price each year.


Insurance. Coverage for theft, fire, and other damage to the property (required by your lender) and usually for your liability to people injured on your property or by you. Average rates run upwards of $600 per year, and over $1,000 annually in many locations. Private mortgage insurance or PMI also factors in here. If a homebuyer puts down less than 20%, the annual PMI cost can range from ½% to 1.5% of the loan amount.


for some homebuyers (usually those whose down payment is less than 20%), all four must be paid into an escrow account managed by the mortgage lender each month.

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