How To Create Equity Within Your Home

Home EquityHome equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build.

This is money you can use before you sell your home through a home equity loan. Just keep in mind that a home equity loan is secured with your home. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home.

Use Your Home Equity In Smart Ways:

  1. Remodel Your Home – If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make Needed Major Repairs – Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs like plumbing problems and re-roofs. Once again, this is an improvement for your home that will help keep its value up.
  3. Buy Another Property – Real estate is still a safe investment. You can use your home equity to buy a second property when home values are down. When the market recovers, you can sell the investment property for a profit. This also works if you have to move out of town and are still trying to sell your home. If you can afford the payments, use your home’s equity to purchase your new home until the current one sells.
  4. Pay For Unexpected Medical Expenses Or Job Loss – You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will leave you in debt. A home equity loan can give you the money you need to get through this difficult time.

As your agent, Debra Obrock will make sure your home is ready to sell fast and t top dollar. Call Debra today: 480 688-2000

The Importance of Credit Repair

Credit ScoreCredit repair is the perfect solution for all your financial worries. The process of credit repair is used to identify mistakes, correct the relevant information, and monitor the credit bureaus to ensure that your credit reports are accurate and error free.

Whether you want to apply for an auto loan, insurance policy, employment or a home mortgage, the decision of the lender and employer is largely influenced by your credit reports. Your reports are issued by Experian, Equifax and Trans Union, the 3 major credit bureaus.

Credit Report

A credit report includes comprehensive details about your credit related activities including current debt, type of accounts, history of accounts, positive accounts and negative reporting accounts. Included are inquires that have been made by others to view your credit report and any late payment information. The ‘credit report’ is basically used to identify your credit score, financial strength, credit history and whether or not you pay your bills in a timely manner.

According to recent research almost 79% of Americans have some type of inaccuracy, miscalculation and questionable negative accounts in their credit report files. Regardless of how big or small the error is, it can damage your credit score greatly and lower your financial strength.

Let’s say you want to purchase a dream home for your family. You apply for mortgage and it gets rejected just because the information in your credit report reduces your credit score badly. To avoid this, credit repair is the perfect way to ensure your credit reports are accurate and up to date.

Credit Repair

Through credit repair you can say goodbye to your financial worries and credit issues and enjoy a host of benefits like:

  • Better insurance policies premiums
  • Best loan terms
  • Mortgage loans with low interest rate
  • Ability to improve and achieve a good credit score

Self-Managing Your Credit Repair vs. Hiring a Professional?

It is advisable to hire a professional and a reputable credit repair service for the job instead of trying to manage this tedious job yourself. Hiring a professional service is a good idea simply because of their wealth of experience, impeccable expertise, comprehensive knowledge, and access to cutting edge tools.

So, what are you waiting for? Do it now!

What Homeowners Should Know at Tax Time

taxes“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”

— Mark Twain

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service circulates a large publication, entitled “1040 Instructions” which is available on its Web site. According to the IRS, the average time required to complete and file Form 1040 (the most commonly used income tax return form) is 15 hours. The bulk of this time – eight hours – involves only record keeping; tax planning accounts for two hours, completion of the form and submission another four hours, and one hour for miscellaneous.

You should have received statements from your employer and lender at the end of January. By law, any lender (private or commercial) that receives $600 or more in mortgage interest must send the borrower Form 1098. Although in recent years, most consumers were not paying points to buy down a mortgage loan, any points that were paid must also be listed on this form. The form will also include any mortgage insurance premiums that were paid last year.

If you paid such insurance premiums on policies issued on or after Jan. 1, 2007, and if the policy was for “aquisition debt” – which refers to a home that you purchased or substantially improved – those payments may be deductible on your 2013 tax return. Unfortunately, this was one of the many tax benefits that Congress did not extend for this year.

When you get Form 1098, don’t just put it in your tax file. Review it carefully, since the same information has been transmitted to the IRS. Get an amortization table – available on the Internet or in local bookstores – and make sure that all of your payments have been properly credited. This is especially important for those of you who have been making extra principal payments over the years, so as to reduce your loan obligation as quickly as possible.

And if you bought or refinanced a house (including a condominium or a cooperative apartment) last year, there may be real estate tax adjustments or interest payments reflected on the HUD-1 settlement statement which may not be included in the1098 form.

Every year, there is always something new in the tax law. Sometimes, it will cost you more money. For example, beginning in 2013, a 0.9 percent Medicare tax may be imposed, depending on your income.

But you may also get a tax benefit. If you have a same-sex spouse whom you legally married in a state (or even a foreign country) that recognizes same-sex marriage, you and your spouse generally can use the married filing jointly or married filing separately on your 2013 return. According to the IRS, this is true even if you and your spouse now live in a state that does not recognized such marriages.

I am always asked – especially by homeowners who for the first time will be able to itemize their tax deductions – what’s the best way to start. My suggestion: Go to the IRS Web site, and download a number of its helpful publications.

Recently, the IRS announced that it has significantly updated “Your Federal Income Tax” forms. According to the IRS, Publication 17 includes important changes to help taxpayers “get the most out of various tax benefits and get a jump on preparing their 2013 federal income tax returns.” This 292-page guide contains thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly get answers to their questions.

Other publications which may assist you include: No. 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer;” No. 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses;” No. 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals;” No. 523, “Selling Your Home;” and No. 530, “Tax Information for First Time Homebuyers.”

A complete list can be found at www.irs.gov, click on Forms and Publications.

Additionally, you can obtain free help with problems you cannot resolve on your own by contacting the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service. According to the IRS, there are offices in every state as well as in the District. For more information, Click Here.

Finally, beware of scam e-mails or phone calls. The IRS periodically issues a warning not to provide any personal and financial information – such as name, Social Security number, bank account and credit card or even PIN numbers – to anyone calling or e-mailing claiming to represent the IRS.

The IRS makes it very clear: It does not send taxpayers e-mails about their accounts. And the only way to get a tax refund or to arrange for a direct deposit is to file a tax return. For more information, see “Suspicious e-mails and identity theft” on the IRS Web site.

How To Measure Your Home’s Real Value

Home ValueAs a society, it seems like we’ve gotten away from appreciating our homes for their emotional and sentimental worth. Instead, we focus solely on their monetary value.

An Appraiser Can Estimate A Home’s Monetary Value, But To Gain A True Concept Of Your Home’s Worth, You Must Also Take Into Consideration:

  1. Pride Of Ownership. You don’t buy a pair of Prada shoes because you’re going to be able to resell them and make a profit. You buy them because they make you look good and feel good.
  2. Security And Stability.Your home provides a roof over your head that’s in your control. You can decorate it how you want. You don’t have to worry about a landlord selling the property or asking you to move out. In the “olden days” (or should I say “golden days”), we called our homes our castles because, as owners, we felt like the kings and queens of our homes. You can still feel that way! Claim your castle and crown yourself king or queen today.
  3. A Safe Haven.After a tough day at work or a day of disappointments, where’s the first place you think of going?  Home! As Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”
  4. A Place To Make Memories.  Your son’s tree house and daughter’s playhouse. The markings on the wall that tracked your children’s growth. The porch swing where you start and end every anniversary celebration.
  5. A Neighborhood Full Of Friends. In the event of an emergency, your neighbors are your first line of defense. They’re also the simplest, best and least expensive form of security. Additionally, they may have the exact tool you need for a project; the extra pair of hands you need to complete a project or children to become playmates with yours. Neighbors also give you that much needed in-person, up-close social network.

Even if your home’s economic value has dropped, you continue to benefit from its emotional values of community, stability, security and success.

Thinking of buying a home? I can help you evaluate the emotional and monetary worth of homes and find a home that fits your values and lifestyle. Give me a call today:480 688-2000.

Home Equity Returns For Homeowners Who Held On

Home EquityHome prices surged 11.3 percent this year compared to 2012, the latest housing data by the National Association of REALTORS® shows. A rise in home prices has pulled more home owners out from underwater with the return of equity this year, NAR notes.

Home Equity Increases

 
On NAR’s Economists’ Outlook blog, researchers explain that a borrower who bought a median-priced home in 2004 and held it for nine years – the average tenure in a home – would now have $28,114 in equity (includes combined price appreciation and paying down mortgage principle).

A home owner who purchased a median priced home in 2012 would have more than $23,000 in home equity, according to NAR research.

Home owners who purchased in 2006  and 2007 – during the peak of the market – have faced the biggest falls in home prices, but NAR researchers note they are “nearly in positive equity” territory. A home owner who bought a home in 2006, for example, and owned through 2012 would have been underwater by about $28,200. However, by this year, that downfall has lessened to $4,700.

Home owners who bought since 2007 are mostly in positive equity, according to NAR research.

A study released last week by CoreLogic showed that more home owners were regaining equity. About 13 percent of all homes with a mortgage remain in negative equity by the end of the third quarter, compared to 14.7 percent who stood in negative equity at the end of the second quarter.

As your agent, Debra Obrock will make sure your home is ready to sell fast and t top dollar. Call Debra today: 480 688-2000

Need Remodeling Tips? There’s an “app” for That!

Smart-Phone Need Remodeling Tips? Consult Your Smartphone

More home owners are turning to technology to help them plan and complete their home remodeling projects, according to a study by Planese Inc., a cloud-based application provider in home improvement.

Twenty-seven percent of home owners surveyed say they’ve used their smartphones to help with the remodeling of their homes. What’s more, 40 percent say they plan to use their smartphones to help guide them in future remodeling projects.

“This dramatic increase in smartphone use to help with remodeling is driven by a variety of changes: greater use of mobile devices, a need of home owners to get better results from their remodeling investments, and better apps,” says Dan Fritschen, founder of www.remodelormove.com. Some of the top things that home owners report using their smartphone or computer to find are remodeling design ideas, cost estimates, names of remodeling contractors, and to conduct research on products and services.

If you are considering buying a home in the Metro Phoenix , give Debra Obrock a call: 480 688-2000 or start your search on my web site.

Cash-out Refinancing as a Way To Get Out of Debt

Cash outCash-out refinancing is a way of accessing home equity by taking out a new mortgage with a larger principal than the current one. The difference in principal in the two mortgages is available to you to use as cash for almost any purpose you choose.

You can use cash-out refinancing to obtain a new mortgage with a higher principal than what you owe. Let’s suppose your home is worth $200,000, and you owe $100,000 in principal. Your equity is $100,000. If you have a $50,000 balance on a credit card that carries an 18 percent interest rate, you can refinance to a mortgage with a principal of $150,000 and receive the difference between your old principal and your new one in cash. In this case, the amount would be $50,000. You may then use that money to pay off your credit card.

Once this is done, you will no longer have credit card debt and, therefore, will have no monthly credit card payment. You will also have a better interest rate on your debt, so you will save quite a bit in interest each month. Even though you may pay more in your mortgage payment, you will be out of credit card debt, so you will have more money free each month.

To use cash-out refinancing you should:

  1. Assess your debt load.
  2. Talk with a lender about using cash-out refinancing.
  3. Apply for the loan, go to closing and pay off your credit cards with the cash-out refinancing.
  4. Save money each month by paying less in interest.
  5. Control your spending.

The key to using cash-out refinancing is to be sure that you curtail your spending. If you use this strategy, but go back to your old spending habits, then you will have made a mistake. Not only will you have increased your mortgage, but you will have high interest credit card debt again. You can easily dig yourself back into the same hole, but this time you will not have the option of using your home equity to help yourself out. Also, remember that the loan is secured to your home with cash-out refinancing. That means you can lose your house if you default on the loan.

If you do use restraint with your spending, however, then cash-out refinancing can be a wise way to consolidate your debt. It can cut back your monthly debt expenses and allow you to pay off your high interest loans with a lower interest rate mortgage. Be sure to carefully consider whether cash-out refinancing is a good option for you before making your decision.

Source:  Lending Tree

There’s Always Something To Be Thankful For…

Savoring The Good Things In LifeThere’s always something to be thankful for….

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I find myself thinking about everything I have to be thankful for. For instance, I’ve been a real estate agent for some time, which is a position that I enjoy and love.

What Am I Grateful For?

I’m also grateful to be able to share the knowledge that I’ve learned throughout the years with my clients and those of you who read my blog. It’s a wonderful and rare thing to do something that you love for a living.

Most of us are so busy reaching our goals, making plans for the future, pushing and struggling to rise to wherever we feel our position in life should be, that we very rarely take the time to look back at where we started.

While it’s always a good idea to have goals, to visualize and work towards them, if you never take the time to appreciate what you’ve done then it becomes a constant, maddening race to the finish line. Intangible things, such as happiness and satisfaction, fall by the wayside, considered unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

What Do I Savor?

With Thanksgiving drawing closer, this real estate agent invites you to think about what you have to be thankful for. Whether big or small, you’ll find yourself savoring all the good things in your life.

So what are some of the things that you’re grateful for? It doesn’t have to be a big thing to be appreciated. Was the sky particularly beautiful today?

Maybe you caught the bus on time, or you’re throwing the family Thanksgiving dinner this year and everyone is coming. If it brightens your life, brings a smile to your face, lightens your mood or warms your heart, be thankful for the experience.

Enjoy each moment as if it were your last, sipping from the cup of gratitude and appreciation; you may find that your heart is constantly filled with happiness.

3 Additions That Will Not Add Value to Your Home

 Home AdditionsWhen you own a home, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers.

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value.

However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden

A beautifully landscaped garden might make the home more visually attractive to buyers when they are looking at the property, but it will not likely add to the selling price.

This is especially true if the new buyer is not interested in putting in the effort to keep the garden well-maintained and sees it as a burden. If they don’t have time to do the landscaping, they will need to hire a gardener which will add to their expenses.

A Hobby Specific Room

Are you tempted to convert a bedroom into a room that is specific to one of your particular interests, such as an art studio, a library or a wine cellar? This will not add a lot of value to the home, because the next buyer is not likely to share your passions.

It might even make the home less than desirable, because the next owner will not want to spend the time and money renovating the room back into a bedroom.

You can create a hobby room; just make sure that you make non-permanent chances to the room so that you can quickly and easily switch it back to a bedroom.

A Renovated Garage

Redoing your garage and turning it into a family room or a play room might give you a short term benefit, but you might regret it when you go to sell the home. Most people want a garage to serve its original purpose – as a place to protect their cars from the elements and store their shovels, garbage cans, leaf blowers and other outdoor things.

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees EVERY portion of the real estate transaction give Debra Obrock a call: (480) 688-2000 or send her an Email

Who Should Attend a Home Inspection

Home InspectionThe home inspection should have present the both Listing an Selling agent and both the Buyer and Seller.  Inspection results are sometimes opinions and not a clear cut finding. The time to discuss it is during inspections – not after the fact. However, this is not typically the case. Instead the home inspection is done by the home inspector and the buyer and seller rely on the inspectors report to negotiate further terms before the sale of the home proceeds.

Why The Seller Should Attend the Home Inspection.

Often home inspectors will have questions that theSeller could easily answer and save everyone a lot of time. Also the home Seller will hear from the inspector what would be an acceptable repair to a condition.

Why The Buyer Should Attend the Home Inspection.

Home Buyers should be present to hear the findings of a home inspection. Not only will home inspectors call out what is in need of repair, they will offer advice as to what should be budgeted for, or how best to maintain or extend the life of a component. To read inspection results on a written report may seem shocking, while hearing it from the inspector’s mouth is much more informative.

How to Prepare for the Home Inspection.

Home Sellers should prepare for a home inspection by making sure there is ACCESS to all furnaces, electrical outlets and attic space. At a recent home inspection, I had to move half the clothes out of a closet in order for the inspector to access a furnace. I moved boxes placed in front of electrical outlets also. Often we will find boxes stacked so high in the garage that there is no access to a hot water heater or the attic.

It is not legal or proper for a home inspector to move items to inspect what the Buyer paid them to inspect – that is clearly the home Seller’s responsibility. An inspector’s time is as valuable as yours, so don’t be the cause of a 2nd trip to the property.

All Buyers want their new home to be as worry-free as possible when they move in, regardless of the age of the home. Realtors, Sellers, Buyers and Inspectors work together to make that happen on a budget and in a time frame with which everyone can accommodate.

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees
EVERY portion of the real estate transaction

give me a call: (480) 688-2000