Posted by Roberta K. Hergt on 2/17/2019

For most people, the idea of moving conjures up dread and stress. There are things to sort, boxes to pack, fears that the dishes might get broken because you didn't add enough padding to keep them safe, and concern that you'll lose something, miss something, forget something.

But moving doesn't have to be all stress and bother. You can make a game of moving and have some fun while you do it. Look for the easiest ways to arrange things so that both packing and unpacking go more quickly.

  • One down - leave things as they are: If your dressers are full of clothes, instead of removing the clothes and repacking them in boxes. Just leave them in the drawers. Grab some plastic wrap—available at most moving rentals stores, big box DIY stores, and office supply outlets—and wrap the furniture to hold the drawers in place. If you're not sure how to complete this yourself, ask your movers to wrap it for you. And use a garment box for hanging clothes. Just grab a group of hangars and move them from the closet onto the bar in the box. They’re all set to transfer back into the new closet.
  • Two or more - leave utensils and flatware in their trays. Find boxes that will fit the whole tray but slip a plastic or paper shopping bag over the entire thing before you slide it in the box. That way, the bag holds the items in the tray and protects one tray from rubbing on another. When you get to the new home, just move the trays directly into the new drawers. Easy as pie!
  • Three to go - Race to see who can fill the most boxes. Give kids easier options such as games and books and other flat objects that fit into boxes easily. And have a bigger box for stuffed animals and dolls.
  • Four on the floor - use smaller boxes. A tendency for novice movers is to fill large boxes that are then impossible to move. The problem is, you often fill large boxes with a mixture of things that may not even belong in the same room, merely to fill the box. Using smaller boxes more strategically might give you more boxes overall, but will save you time, effort, and an aching back when you reach your destination. Label each box as you go, then stack them like a Jenga puzzle until moving day.
  • Five-minute rule - if you're trying to pack yet keep your regular life flowing smoothly, spend just five minutes at a time packing. Grab a packing box and fill it up, then go back to putting on makeup or finish your workout.

If moving seems daunting to you, download a moving app to help you stay organized and keep you moving.




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Posted by Roberta K. Hergt on 2/10/2019

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most useful investments that you’ll make in your lifetime. One thing you should understand when you're making big improvements to a home or doing any kind of high return renovations is that of the Capital Gains Tax. This tax can take away from the return on your investment, especially under the right circumstances. Even with minimal improvements to a home, if an area has seen an upswing in popularity, you could end up paying the price when you go to sell. 


Taxpayer Relief Act


The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 can help many people to hang on to the returns they see from the sale of their home. 


Previously, homeowners could qualify for a one-time tax exemption of up to $125,000 on the sale of a home. They also could combine the earnings in on the purchase of another home. Currently, there are a few ways that you can save on the Capital Gains Tax thanks to the TRA. 


House Flippers And Homeowners Aren’t Equal


Not all home sales receive an equal tax treatment. If you are flipping houses, you’re out of luck when it comes to receiving profit-friendly tax breaks. You need to have lived in a home as your primary residence for two out of five years of owning a home in order to qualify for tax breaks. If this isn’t the case, you’ll end up paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. If you’re a professional house flipper, your homes are considered inventory and taxed as income. The tax on this can vary from 15% to 20%, depending upon the tax bracket you fall into.



The Type Of Property Matters When It Comes To Taxes


Whether the property is a primary place of residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, the gains are all taxed differently. If you own a second home that you’re interested in selling, it’s not treated the same as a primary residence for tax purposes. You’ll be taxed based on the amount of time that you owned the property, or the amount of time that the property was used as a second home. The taxes are based on a prorated amount of time.


The Price Of The Home Doesn’t Matter


You may think that higher priced homes are taxed more heavily than less expensive homes. This would be the case when it comes to property taxes, but it isn’t so when we’re talking about Capital Gains Taxes. These taxes are based on how much profit is made from the sale of the home. If a loss was taken, or the homeowner “broke even,” they may not owe as many taxes. A smaller home that had significant improvements made could be taxed a bit more than a home that was sold at a higher price with fewer upgrades.





Posted by Roberta K. Hergt on 2/3/2019

The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, you’ll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you can’t go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, it’s something that you’ll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, you’ll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.  


The Elements Of Your Buying Power


Your Credit Score


This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:


  • Payment history
  • How much you owe
  • Length of your credit history
  • Mix of credit accounts
  • How much new credit you have opened


A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn't necessarily mean that you’ll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan you’re offered can be impacted. You’ll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score. 


Down Payment


The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that you’ll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You’ll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.


How Your Financial Picture Appears


Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you can’t show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that you’ll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.


The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that you’ll have. If your numbers are good, you’ll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, it’s a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.




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Posted by Roberta K. Hergt on 1/27/2019

If you want to purchase your dream house at a great price, you should monitor the real estate sector closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you track the housing market so you can speed up your home search.

1. Analyze the Prices of Recently Sold Houses

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. Then, you can use this housing market data to understand the average price range for houses in areas where you want to live.

As you review the prices of recently sold houses, you may want to narrow your homebuying criteria as well. With homebuying criteria in hand, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.

2. Find Out How Quickly Houses Are Selling

Differentiating a buyer's market from a seller's market is key, particularly for a buyer who wants to achieve the best-possible results. If you find out how quickly residences are selling in your preferred cities and towns, you can distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's one.

In a buyer's market, there is an abundance of sellers and a shortage of buyers. This means buyers will find lots of outstanding houses at their disposal.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is an abundance of buyers and a shortage of sellers. If you're a buyer operating in a seller's market, you likely will need to bid competitively to acquire your ideal residence.

Once you determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead for the property buying journey as much as possible. If you know exactly what you want to find in your dream house and where you want to live, you can quickly and effortlessly discover your ideal residence in any housing market, at any time.

3. Assess Houses That Fall Within Your Price Range

Many houses are available in cities and towns nationwide, but it is important to determine exactly how much you can spend on a residence prior to entering the real estate market. If you establish a homebuying budget, you can review the prices of houses that fall within your price range. Perhaps most important, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire your ideal house.

As you kick off a home search, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent too. A real estate agent is happy to help you pursue houses in your preferred cities and towns and find one that matches your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will help you submit an offer to purchase your dream home that hits the mark with a seller.

Ready to conduct a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can perform an extensive analysis of the real estate market and boost the likelihood of a successful property buying experience.




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Posted by Roberta K. Hergt on 1/20/2019

A first-time homebuyer may believe that he or she can submit a "lowball" offer on a residence, even if a house has been available for many weeks or months. However, the risks associated with submitting a subpar proposal are significant, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to purchase a top-notch residence as soon as possible.

Ultimately, a lowball offer may result in an instant "No" from a home seller. Perhaps even worse, the proposal could sour potential negotiations between a homebuyer and home seller and cause a property buyer to miss out on an opportunity to acquire his or her dream residence.

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, there is no need to risk submitting a lowball offer.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time homebuyer avoid the temptation to make a lowball proposal.

1. Evaluate a Wide Range of Houses

An informed first-time homebuyer may be better equipped than others to provide a competitive offer to purchase his or her ideal residence.

For example, a homebuyer who assesses a broad range of houses in a particular area can determine a price range for similar residences. Then, if this homebuyer would like to submit an offer on a house, he or she can use housing market data to submit a fair proposal without delay.

With housing market data, a homebuyer can determine whether he or she is operating in a buyer's or seller's market too. That way, this homebuyer can leverage housing market insights to quickly and effortlessly put together a competitive offer on any residence, at any time.

2. Understand Your Finances

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is a great idea for a first-time homebuyer. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will be able map out a homebuying journey based on his or her finances.

To receive pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders can offer details about a variety of mortgage options and help a homebuyer make an informed mortgage decision.

After a homebuyer is pre-approved for a mortgage, he or she can submit an offer on a house and understand exactly how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this homebuyer can put his or her best foot forward with an initial offer, thereby reducing the risk of submitting a lowball proposal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

The homebuying journey can be long and complicated, especially for those who are pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can collaborate with a real estate agent to obtain deep housing market insights.

A real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased home offer recommendations. By doing so, this housing market professional can help a first-time homebuyer submit the best offer on a residence – without exception.

Ready to purchase a home for the first time? Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can avoid the danger of submitting a lowball offer on a residence.




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