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Are You Still Doing the RENT Rat Race?

by Pat Argo

How much evidence is needed to make a decision to get out of the rent race and become a homeowner?

Compare your rent with a mortgage payment on a similar size property. If you want a larger home than your current one, use the rent that property would require instead of what you're currently paying. If it's considerably cheaper, you may not need any further encouragement.

By the time you consider the principal reduction, appreciation and tax savings, your monthly cost of housing could be much less than the rent you're paying.

The principal reduction included in each payment is like a forced savings account that increases as your mortgage balance decreases. Your equity in the property will also grow due to appreciation.   The equity is part of your net worth and an investment in your family's future.

The income tax savings can be an additional financial consideration if the combined interest and property taxes exceed the allowable standard deduction.

Trends are showing that both tenants and homeowners are staying in their homes longer. It's been said that whether you rent or own, you're paying for the home. Do you really want to buy the home for your landlord? Check out your numbers on a Rent vs. Own.

Prices are still right for first homes and rates are sneaking up. Let's talk this week about what it would take for you to buy your own home!

Why Are You Waiting???

by Pat Argo

 

Buyers who have delayed purchasing a home due to concerns about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel comfortable about getting back in the market. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to value homes as a favored investment.

For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the "Fiscal Cliff" billclick here.

Whether the delayed purchase is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, taking action sooner is better than later.

Reasons to buy now:

  1. The house payment with taxes and insurance is probably cheaper than the rent.
  2. Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
  3. Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
  4. 30 year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
  5. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for the majority of taxpayers.
  6. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
  7. Prices are going up due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.
Contact me about any specific questions you have or information you need. 321-537-4721

Rental Properties ROI

by Pat Argo

 

Rental properties have four primary factors that contribute to a return on investment. Based on market conditions and investor strategies, the individual motivating factor can change for property owners.

There was a time when the benefit of tax savings to offset income from other sources was considered important to some investors. However, in today's environment, they  are more likely valued as incidental benefits.

Some investors expect appreciation to deliver the satisfactory results which can be reasonable over time if a reliable appreciation rate is used. Savvy investors today are using conservative estimates for long-term holding periods.

Leverage occurs when borrowed funds are used to control a larger asset. Positive leverage can actually increase the yield on an investment.

The fourth component that contributes to a property's yield is the cash flow. When the rents are greater than the expenses of operating the property and servicing the debt, there is a positive cash flow. A property with a good cash flow doesn't have to go up in value to justify the investment.

The combination of lower prices, incredibly low mortgage rates and rising rents are attracting investors to rental properties that include single-family homes in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods.

Even if you were to ignore the benefits of tax savings, potential appreciation and leverage, the attractive cash flows make rental property a very smart investment alternative. If you're curious, contact me for more information. There are still some great opportunities available. We can set a time and just talk about the possibilities.

No pressure... just honest answers.

Is It Time To Change Your Locks?

by Pat Argo

 

There are times when you may need to change the locks on your home to protect your family and possessions. It should always be considered when you move into a new home; when keys are lost, stolen or even unreturned; or a cleaning or other service provider hasn't returned the key.

Replacing the lock set would give you a totally new mechanism that should work better and if you go back with the same manufacturer, you'll probably avoid any carpentry. You can order the locks online and have them work with the same key at no extra charge.

Another alternative is to have a locksmith re-key them. The locksmith can easily make all of the locks work with the same key. Compare the cost and decide which would be a better expenditure.

My favorite Move-In Gift to first time Home Buyers at closing is a Gift Card for my favorite Locksmith or Hardware store. I remind them that who knows how many people may have keys for the house... friends, family, neighbors, service providers, etc. I even change mine out every few years, just in case. I also re-key my locks on rentals when the tenants change.

While you're considering your security, a key safe might be a very convenient addition. Most makers say that it is much easier to break into a home than a key safe. The cost is reasonable and you can attach it to your exterior wall. Generally, they're combination locks that would allow you access if you or another family member forgot their key.    It's also convenient to give a house keeper the combination and can be easily changed if necessary.

This may also be a good alternative for when you have family or friends staying over for awhile such as the Holidays. I have kept locks I've removed from other properties and installed them temporarily on my home and let them use those keys.

My favorite Titusville Locksmith is A-1 LockSmith  at 269-5522. They have always been very professional and courteous. He even stayed with me after eviction of a client's tenants when the teen-age boys came back after the deputy left, looking for "something" they'd left behind inside.  (This was before cell-phones!)

Rent... vs Buy?

by Pat Argo

The question plaguing every tenant who wants a home of their own is whether they should continue to rent... or is it the right time to buy?

The combination of good prices and low mortgage rates make it considerably cheaper to own than rent in most markets. Assuming a person is qualified with a down payment and won't be moving for several years, there may not be a better time to buy a home.

In the example below, the total house payment is $1,281.01 compared to $1,500 to rent the same home. Before you consider any of the financial benefits attached to home ownership, it's cheaper to own than to rent.

The net cost of housing falls to $764 or just more than half the house payment when you consider the principal reduction due to normal amortization, a modest appreciation and the tax savings along with a reasonable maintenance expense that a tenant would not have to pay.

One of the biggest benefits is the growing equity. As the value goes up, the unpaid balance goes down. A favorable leverage causes their low down payment to grow to $40,609 in a short seven years based on a modest 1% appreciation.

There's an expression often heard in real estate circles: "Whether you rent or buy, you pay for the house you occupy." You're either buying it for yourself or you're helping the landlord buy it.

Check out a Rent vs. Own to see how your numbers will compare to this example or call me to do it for you.

Seized or Missed?

by Pat Argo

We've probably all said or at least thought "IF I knew then, what I know now, I would have done things differently." We should have stayed in school longer. We should have listened to our parents. We should have bought Apple stock in 2002 for $8.50 or gold in 2000 for $300.

Years from now, if we look back at 2012, it may be clear that this was the best buyer's market ever. The prices are down nationwide 35-40% from four years ago, mortgage rates have never been this low and rents are rising. Few homes have been built in recent years to keep up with a growing population. There may never be a better time to buy homes than now.

The housing affordability index which is considered to be good at 100 has increased to over 200 for several months. Shrinking inventories and rising prices in some markets are causing the index to fall for the first time in years.

This 'buying" opportunity applies equally to acquiring a home to live in or to rent as income property. It is estimated that about one-third of the homes purchased last year were done by investors. It is reasonable because the positive cash flows far exceed most other investment alternatives.

The question we're all faced with this year is whether we'll be saying we seized or missed an opportunity of a lifetime.

Never Too Early To Think About Retirement

by Pat Argo

Maybe you're not ready to move into it but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take advantage of the present opportunities to acquire the home you want to live in during retirement. The combination of the low interest rates, reduced prices and lower competition may never be this good again in our lifetimes.

The rental market is strong and a tenant could pay for your retirement home. The cash flows are attractive and the yield is bound to be stronger than what you're currently earning. Even if you don't retire to this home, it could be a placeholder to control the costs of the home you do move into.

One thought would be to finance it with a 15 year loan that will have a lower rate than that of a 30 year loan and it will obviously amortize in half the time. Even if you don't have the home paid for by the time you retire, your equity will be larger.

Ideally, if you sell your current home when your move into this retirement home, you may be able to take up to $500,000 of tax-free gain for a married couple. That profit could be used to fund your retirement.

With home prices and mortgage rates certain to rise, this may be one of the best decisions you can make. We want to be your personal source of real estate information and we're committed to helping from purchase to sale and all the years in between. Let me know if you would like to receive free email Home Alerts for your Retirement or any other homes!  Or I am always just a phone call away 321-537-4721.

Still Heating Up in Brevard

by Pat Argo, CRS

     Well... Summer is in it's last few weeks. It does not seem to be cooling down temperature wise nor housing wise. I typically take some time off in July since my youngest daughter Stacey, my Daddy (dec.) & I all celebrate our birthdays with special fun of some sort. This has been the hottest & driest summer I recall. Winter was a bit out of kilter as well.

     The Housing Inventory is rising but most prices are not. However I have enjoyed several sales over the past 3 months as well as rentals placed. One was a cash buyer transferred in from Alabama who called me, asking for my help... since 3 other agents just coudn't find time to work with him! I found him a joy to work with and we found him a great Titusvillage home in wonderful condition for only $150,000.!! His sons are excited about starting school here soon!

     Rates are down! Financing is the most affordable I've seen since I started in 1973!  4.5% +/- In fact, I can remember one client jumping at a house some years ago simply because it was an area he liked, and the owner would finance it at 5%, back when rates were over 8%. Unfortunately for many lower end buyers, the foreclosed or short sale houses available just do not qualify for the FHA home loans without repairs and/or financial help. News from Realtor.com announces that rural financing is back this week! Thousands of Rural Home Buyers Aided by Passage of Housing Funding... Realtor.org This may help out for some of these houses. I do have a nice pre-approved couple looking for a home with 1+ acre, zoned for horses for $90,000 or less. Please let me know if you hear about one that might work!

     Enough for today and I promise to be more regular with my blogging. I do participate in several... plus I still need time to sell homes and enjoy life! Make it an awesome month! Laughing

   

 

Mid-Year Market Report

by Pat Argo, CRS

Pat’s Mid-Year Residential Report for North Brevard

Everywhere I go, people are always asking me “Pat, How’s the real estate market doing around here now?”  I decided it’s time for a real report vs. my humble opinion, but of course I will share some of that with you as well!  These stats are gathered from the Brevard MLS system. areas 101-210.  Private & builder non-mls sales are.excluded.

 

In 2008: 1st 6 months: 411 closings with average of 125 Days on Market

High $899.000.         Low $32,000.         Average: $150,000    Median: $135,000.

In 2009: 1st 6 months: 533 closings with  average 119 Days on Market

High: $745,000.        Low:$10,500.         Average: $108,000    Median: $92,000.

 

So what everyone is saying IS partly right. It is taking longer to sell… the ones that closed and the final prices are even lower. To put this into perspective, I did the numbers by price range as well for the same 6 months.

Under $100K      $100K>     $150K>     200K>     300K>      $400K>     $500K>

2008:     109         142           80             56            14              3                 3

2009:     260         155           56             38              9              1                 1

 

Inventory today is 902 residences priced from $9,900. to $2.5million, average 193 DOM  

Actually we have 5 Million $+ Listings, all but 1 were on in 2008!

Important in the 2009 numbers is that there were less than 50 closed sales priced at $150,000. or more, about a 50% drop! And those closed under $100,000 were more than doubled!  (2.38 times).

 

Here’s what that could mean for you! 

If you are able to buy, especially if you qualify for the Tax Incentives, you really need to get serious about looking for the right home while the selection is good.

If you are considering selling vs leasing, weigh your options carefully. It may take longer than you are thinking for market recovery.

If you are an Investor, even a first timer, the choices could be outstanding. Figure out your financing options before you make the offer. Cash talks, particularly in condos and lender owned properties. And be prepared to be a bit more liberal with your new tenant prospects because their credit may be bruised.

If you really want or have to sell now, for whatever reason... remember that curb appeal is still important, but pricing right is absolutely King! Be sure to use "internet price points" to your advantage when you enter the market. Be prepared to help the first time buyers with closing costs since they are prime buyers now.

If you or a family member/friend is a Snowbird, empty nester, or retiring soon, now could be an excellent time to find the next nest before the best ones get picked over. You can even use a reverse mortgage to BUY!

Regardless of all of the above, there is an important fact I learned back in 1973 when I first started in real estate. “UNDER ALL IS THE LAND.”  Buying, selling or leasing, the one thing you cannot change is a property’s location. That’s in Gods hands. You are better off with a smaller place in a nicer area than the best place in a less desirable one. The only thing that “fixes” a poor location is dropped price and owner terms!

 

If there is anything I’ve said that you would like to discuss, please fel free to contact me. I am always pleased to be able to share my knowledge and experiences as well to help you understand the market or explore your next move.  

 Pat Argo, CRS, SRES  321-537-4721

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of Pat Argo, Broker Assoc, CRS, GRI, RECS, SFR, S Real Estate
Pat Argo, Broker Assoc, CRS, GRI, RECS, SFR, S
Keller Williams Realty of Brevard
6905 N Wickham Road #405
Melbourne FL 32940
Cell/Text: 321-537-4721
Office: 321-259-1170
Fax: 321-435-3124