Category: Homeownership

21 Feb 2011

Health Care Reform Law

The rumors are flying again about the 3.8% Medicare tax in the health care reform law. The messages say the tax is imposed on unearned income that includes the sale of a principle residence. But what you need to know is that the tax is actually far narrower and the $250,000-$500,000 capital gains exclusion for primary residences remains in place.

Understand that this tax WILL NOT be imposed on ALL real estate transactions, a common misconception. Rather, when the legislation becomes effective in 2013, it may impose a 3.8% tax on some (but not all) income from interest, dividends, rents (less expenses) and capital gains (less capital losses). And the tax will fall only on individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 and couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 AGI.

16 Feb 2011

What Did You Say? Now Is the Time to Buy?

What did you say? Now is the time to buy real estate?

It seems like everyone is talking about the fact that now is the time to buy real estate:

  • “With home sales starting to improve, and with prices now possibly forming a bottom, real estate could well be the asset class that represents… the best low-risk buying opportunity out there today.” – Wall Street Journal 1/26/2011
  • “Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys.” – Gallup 1/17/2011
  • “I’m pretty sure this is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say,”You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump.” – Donald Trump January 2011
  • “If you don’t own a home, buy one.  If you own one home, buy another one.  If you own two homes, buy a third.And, lend your relatives the money to buy a home.” -John Paulson November 2010
  • “For people with a realistic version of the American Dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.” – Karl Case of Case Shiller New York Times 9/1/2010
28 Jan 2011

Top Five Do-It-Yourself Tools

I am a lot of things — but handy is not one of them!  I am the idea creator but I fall short when it comes to implementation. Lucky for the people in my life who end up taking these projects on, I am an excellent gift giver and a savvy shopper.

With the way that things have gone lately, many homeowners have turned to the “Do-It-Yourself” mentality to save on expenses that oftentimes add up quickly. That being said, when it comes to DIY, the right tools can make all the difference in the world. I’ve done my research and wanted to share some of the coolest tools for the do-it-yourselfers in your family:

24 Jan 2011

My Wish as a Homeowner

I often run into folks who have owned their home for years, some as long as 20 or even 40 years. That truly says “home” to me! I can’t help but to ask them if they ever wish that they had owned more homes along the way. A resounding “yes” is always the answer.

This speaks volumes to the word “home,” not house, and the memories and the pride that goes with owning your little piece of this earth. It also speaks to the fact that the current readjustment in price is only a reset for steady appreciation in the future, as the population continues to grow.  Who doesn’t want to stand in the yard or on their condo porch and say “This is my solace for old age?”

19 Jan 2011

Net Worth of a Homeowner

With so much mixed media about real estate today, I believe consumers who are considering purchasing a home are overwhelmed by what to believe and, against their best interests, have begun to shut it all out. By doing this, they are missing an unbelievable opportunity. Keeping this in mind, I promise to make this simple and to the point.

One of the main reasons to purchase a home now is affordability, which has never been better. Why you ask?  Increased inventory is to the advantage of buyers and that, combined with historically low interest rates, has created an ideal scenario for home buyers.

18 Jan 2011

Top 5 Tips for the “Accidental Landlord”

Have you become an “accidental landlord”? If so, you are not alone. Here’s my story:

My husband and I got married in July of 2008. Like any good Realtor, I decided to stage his house and make the necessary renovations to get the house sold. It took 3 months instead of 2 weeks…but FINALLY!  I changed the countertops, glazed the bathroom tile, landscaped and repainted.

The day that I put the sign in the yard, the stock market fell 679 points. (Do you remember October 9, 2008?) Needless to say, we decided to rent his house instead of sell it.

17 Jan 2011

When Are Homes Going to Appreciate?

Mortgage CalculatorWill homes appreciate again?

This is a trick question because many neighborhoods have never experienced depreciation.  How does that happen?  It is all about Supply and Demand as well as location, location, location. There are many, many neighborhoods that have been plugging along at 1-3% APPRECIATION PER YEAR. That’s right, appreciation, not depreciation.

For the majority, homes will begin to appreciate in value, but modestly … and from a new reset point (the way that they did over the past 40 years).

14 Jan 2011

Why Home Ownership Matters to America

When people think of owning a home, often times the focus is on the personal impact. There are many positives, from financial and tax benefits to the ability to simply decorate and manage a home as you like. But the American Dream has more than an individual impact.

In our third installment of our series on why homeownership matters, research from the National Association of Realtors clearly shows the positive impact reaches not just the individual, but the entire nation.

10 Jan 2011

North Carolina Homebuilder Bringing “Compact” To Real Estate

My sister bought a “compact car” in 1965…a Rambler. In the 1970s I hauled a used “compact refrigerator” (for soda only!) into my dorm room. “Compact discs” rocked my world beginning in the 1980s, and then came “compact flash memory” for my camera in the 90s. “Compact fluorescent light bulbs” were on my shopping list in this century’s first decade. Now, in 2011, I’m intrigued by “compact cottages.”

North Carolina homebuilder Barry Bialik in Asheville is promoting these “micro houses” through his website, www.CompactCottages.com. Ranging in size from 348 to 640 square feet, his compact homes are tiny and smart. They are capable of meeting North Carolina’s green home standards and receiving the “HealthyBuilt” certification. They’re energy efficient and low impact…and downright adorable.

6 Jan 2011

Why Homeownership Matters To Communities

Whether you prefer tree-lined streets of single-family homes, long drives with pastures right up to the front door or concrete sidewalks fronting majestic walk-ups, your home is always part of a larger community.

In this second part of our series on why homeownership matters, we explore the benefits that homeownership has on a community. According to the 2010 National Association of Realtors survey, there are plenty of benefits to explore:

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