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Down Payment Found!

by John Riggins

Saving the down payment may be unnecessarily keeping would-be buyers from getting into a home. They may be unaware that the funds might be available.

The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 81% of first-time buyers got all or part of their down payment from savings. Less than 4% said that all or part of the down payment came from a withdrawal in their IRA and 8% from their 401(k) or pension fund.21330457-250.jpg

Traditional IRAs have a provision for first-time buyers which include anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the previous two years. A person and their spouse, if married, can each withdraw up to $10,000 from their traditional IRA for a first-time home purchase without incurring the 10% early-withdrawal penalty. However, they will have to recognize the withdrawal as income in that tax year. For more information, go to IRS.gov

Allowable withdrawals from traditional IRAs can be from yourself and your spouse; your or your spouse’s child; your or your spouse’s grandchild or your or your spouse’s parent or ancestor.

Roth IRA owners can withdraw their contributions tax-free and penalty-free at any age for any reason because the contributions were made with post-tax income. After age 59 ½, earnings may be withdrawn as long as the Roth IRA have been in existence for at least five years.

Up to half of the balance of a 401(k) or $50,000, whichever is less, can be borrowed by the owner at any age for any reason without tax or penalty assuming the employer permits it. There can be specific rules for loans from a 401(k) that would determine the repayment; interest is usually charged but goes back into the owner’s account. You can consult with your HR department to find out the specifics.

A risk in borrowing against a 401(k) comes if your employment ends before the loan has been repaid. The loan may have to be repaid as soon as 60 days to keep the loan from being considered a withdrawal and subject to tax and penalty. Even if you continue with the same employer, failure to repay the loan could be considered a withdrawal also.

Your tax professional can provide you specific information on how making a withdrawal from your retirement program might affect you. Additional information can be found on www.IRS.gov.

Forced Savings

by John Riggins

Forced Savings...Really? -



Part of the American Dream is to own a home. A home is a place to call your own; a place to raise your family and share with your friends. A home is a place to feel safe and secure. A home is a good investment?

In a recent report* by Beracha and Johnson, it is suggested that buying a home is the right thing to do but not necessarily for the reason that people expect. A home is, in many instances, the largest investment that homeowners have and it accounts for the majority of their net worth.

The report suggests that the self-imposed savings due to amortization has a significant contribution to a person's net worth. The premise was determined by comparing the net worth of buyers to renters over a 31 year period of time.

When the savings in rent and down payment were reinvested, renters had a greater net worth than buyers after each 8-year cycle by a margin of 91% to 9%. On the other hand, when the requirement to reinvest the savings was dropped and renters were allowed to spend the savings on consumption, the Buyers had a greater net worth 84% compared to 16% for renters.

Appreciation, tax savings and amortization contribute to lowering the cost of housing and help homeowners build equity. The forced savings due to amortization benefits the individuals who may not be disciplined enough to invest the savings otherwise. Regardless of which benefits apply in different situations, owning a home can be a satisfying investment both emotionally and financially.

*Factor Sensitivities in the Making of Buy vs. Rent Decisions: Do Homeowners Make the Right Decision for the Wrong Reason by Eli Berach and Ken J. Johnson of Florida International University writing for the Journal of Housing Research.

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Contact Information

Photo of John Riggins REALTOR RB11175 Real Estate
John Riggins REALTOR RB11175
John Riggins Real Estate
1003 Bishop Street, suite 2700
Honolulu HI 96813
808.523.7653
808.341.0737
Fax: 888.369.3210