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n 1966, a gallon of gas was $0.32 and today, it is $2.49. A dozen eggs were $0.60 but they’ve only doubled to $1.33. A gallon of milk was $0.99 and today, it costs $3.98. You could send a letter for five cents and now, it costs forty-seven cents.
The average cost of a new car in 1966 was $3,500 and today, it will cost $33,560. New cars have more features than the earlier models but they’re still ten times more expensive. The median price of a new home was $21,700 and now, is $304,500.
Interestingly, mortgage rates are actually lower today at 4-4.5% than they were fifty years ago when they were just under 7%. The rates have been low for long enough that many people have been lulled into believing that they are not going to go up.
Yes, rates are a little higher but in perspective, they’re still a bargain. Years from now, will you be remembering and comparing what they were back when?
Since the election, rates have started going up and it will have a direct effect on the cost of housing. There is a rule of thumb that a ½% change in interest is approximately equal to 5% change in price.
As the interest rates go up, it will cost you more to live in the very same home or to keep the payment the same, you’ll have to buy a lower priced home.
Before rates rise too much may be the best time to buy a home whether you’re going to use it for your principal residence or a rental property. Low interest rates and lower prices make housing more affordable.
A person called into a radio talk program with a situation that was troubling to the caller and disturbing based on the potential tax liability that may have been avoided.
The caller’s elderly father had deeded his home to his daughter a few years earlier because in his mind, his daughter was going to get the home eventually and this would be one less thing to be taken care of after his death. The daughter didn’t really care because the father was going to continue to live in the home and take care of it so that it would be no expense to her.
Obviously, unknown to either the father or the daughter, transferring the title of a home from one person to another could have significant tax implications. In this case, when the father “gave” the home to his daughter, he also gave her the basis in the home which is basically what he paid for it. If she sells the home in the future, the gain will be the difference in the net sales price and her father’s basis which could be considerably higher than had she inherited it.
If the home was purchased for $75,000 and worth $250,000 at the time of transfer, there is a possible gain of $175,000. However, when a person inherits property, the basis is "stepped-up" to fair market value at the time of the decedent's death. If the adult child had inherited the property, at the time of the parent's death, their new basis would be $250,000 or the fair market value at the time of death and the possible gain would be zero.
In most cases, there are less tax consequences with inheritance than with a gift. There are other factors that may come into play but being aware that there is a difference between a gift and inheritance is certainly an important warning flag that would indicate that expert tax advice should be sought before any steps are taken.
During the Great Recession, some homeowners elected to rent their home rather than sell it for less than it was worth.
IRS tax code allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence without losing the exclusion of capital gain based on some specific time limits. During the five year period ending on the date of the sale, the taxpayer must have:
If a home has been rented for more than three years, the owner will not have lived in it for two of the last five years. So the challenge for homeowners with gain in a rented principal residence that they don’t want to have to recognize is to sell and close the transaction prior to the crucial date.
Assume a person was selling a property which had been rented for 2 ½ years but had previously been their home for over two years. To qualify for the exclusion of capital gain, the home needs to be ready to sell, priced correctly, sold and closed within six months.
All of the gain may not qualify for the exclusion if depreciation has been taken for the period that it was rented. Depreciation is recaptured at a 25% tax rate.
A $200,000 gain in a home could have a $30,000 tax liability. Minimizing or eliminating unnecessary taxes is a legitimate concern and timing is important.
Selling a home for the most money is one thing; maximizing your proceeds is another. For more information, see IRS publication 523 and an example on the IRS website and consult a tax professional.
Mortgage approval isn’t final until it’s funded. Things can change prior to the loan being closed that can affect a pre-approval such as changes in the borrowers’ financial situation or possibly, factors beyond their control like interest rate changes.
Good advice to buyers is to do nothing that can affect your credit report until the loan closes. Opening new credit cards, taking on new debt for a car or furniture or changing jobs could affect the lender’s decision if they believe you may no longer be able to repay the loan.
The benefits of buyer’s pre-approval are definitive: it saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer is qualified. The direct benefits include:
It is a very common practice for mortgage lenders to require income and bank verifications and to re-run the borrowers’ credit one final time just prior to closing. Mortgage approval isn’t final until it’s funded.
Most people think they’ll have a house payment and a car payment for the rest of their lives but it doesn’t have to be with a plan and a little discipline. The plan is to make additional principal contributions to a fixed rate mortgage to shorten the term and save tens of thousands in interest.
If a person were to make an additional $100 payment each month applied to principal on a $175,000 mortgage, it would shorten the loan by five years six months. If the person were to make $200 a month additional payments, it would shorten the loan by 9 years. $459 additional payment would shorten it to 15 years.
If a person does make a decision to regularly pre-pay their mortgage, it will be their responsibility to verify that the lender is applying the money to the principal each time as opposed to being placed in the reserve account for taxes and insurance.
In today’s market, a savings account pays around 0.5% or less. Even with the low mortgage rates available, there is still a considerable savings. People who might need the funds in the near future should carefully consider this option due to the difficulty to access equity easily from one’s home.
Make your own projections using the Equity Accelerator.
Homeownership, part of the American Dream: a home of your own where you can feel safe, raise your family, share with your friends and enjoy life. The benefits are easily recognizable but maintenance is just as real and should be considered.
Property taxes and insurance are two of the largest expenses homeowners have aside from their mortgage interest. But, as any homeowner knows, there will be occasional expenses for repairing toilets, faucets, windows and other things. There are also the significantly larger expenses that arise like replacing a water heater or HVAC unit. And don’t overlook the periodic maintenance like painting or floor coverings.
Financial experts suggest that homeowners save one to four percent of the home’s value per year for repairs and maintenance. Two to eight thousand dollars a year may sound like more than you’ll need but the cost of an air conditioning unit can easily be $6,000 and some homes have more than one unit, which hopefully, won’t need to be replaced in the same year.
Some homeowners purchase home warranties to avoid the unexpected costs. An annual premium instead of an unexpected large expenditure. Coverage varies from company to company and are not intended to cover existing conditions.
The alternative to not saving for these anticipated expenditures means that a homeowner might have to put it on a credit card at a very high interest rate or get a home improvement loan. Appreciation is a distinct benefit of home ownership and deferred maintenance can limit the value as well as lengthen the market time when it sells.
Real estate is the overwhelming preferred choice by Americans as identified in a recent survey. With the Dow Jones industrial average reaching record highs, it might be expected that the stock market would be the favored choice but that wasn’t the outcome.
Analysis of the report suggests that the popularity for houses could be that they are tangible assets that you can see where your money is actually invested compared to stocks and bonds which tend to be unclear where the money is invested.
There are several distinct advantages of homes as investments over other popular alternatives.
Another advantage of rental homes is that most people are comfortable with them. It is the same type of property that they live in but used as a rental. They have a tendency to understand the key components such as value, appreciation, rent, maintenance and financing.