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If I'd Known...

by John Riggins

If.jpgIf I'd Known...

 

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 that sells for $400 today. Or we could have bought gold in 2000 for under $300 for a four-fold profit today.

Years from now, if we look back at 2012, we may say that it was the best buyer’s market ever. Even now, in 2013, it’s apparent that both housing and mortgage prices are going up and they may never return to the record low levels.

The housing affordability index, which is considered to be good at 100, had increased to over 200 this past December, January and February. Shrinking inventories and rising prices in most markets have caused the index to fall to 172.7 for May 2013.

This market applies equally to acquiring a home to live in or a home to use as a rental. It is estimated that about 30% of the property purchased last year was done by investors. It is understandable because the positive cash flows far exceed most other investment alternatives.HAIndex.png

Homeowners moving up in a rising market may sell their home for more by waiting but it will also cost them more for a new house. Typically, a person buys a 50% larger home when they move up. If they wait for prices to go up 10% on the $150,000 home they're selling, they’ll realize $15,000 more but will pay $22,500 more for the new home purchase. They’ll actually net $7,500 less by waiting for prices to go up and may have to pay a higher mortgage rate too.

The question homebuyers and investors alike are faced with today is whether they will be saying years from now that they seized or missed an opportunity of a lifetime.

When to Sell the Temporary Rental

by John Riggins

When to Sell the Temporary Rental

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Some homeowners, who were not able to sell during the Hawaii Real Estate recession, chose to rent their homes instead.  In some cases, they didn't need to sell their home at the depressed prices and opted to rent it until the market recovered.

It's a valid strategy but there are time restrictions that could have serious tax implications for some homeowners.

The section 121 exclusion for gain in a principal residence requires that the home is owned and used as a main home for at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the sale.  This allows a homeowner to rent their home for up to three years and still have some part of the exclusion available.

The sale of a home with a $200,000 gain that qualifies as a principal residence would result in no tax being paid by the owner.  Comparably, a rental property with the same gain could have a $30,000 or higher tax liability depending on the length of ownership and tax brackets of the investor.

The housing market has dramatically improved in the last year.  If you have a gain in a home that has been your principal residence and it has been rented less than three years, you might want to consider selling it while you qualify for the exclusion.

If you are considering a sale on your principal residence that has been rented, consult with your tax professional for advice on your specific situation.  For additional information, see IRS Publication 523.

Converting a Home to a Rental

by John Riggins

 

What's keeping you from taking advantage of the low prices and mortgage rates available today? Concerned that you may need to sell in a few years and won't be able to get your equity out of your home?

Suppose a buyer purchases a home and finds out that they need to move in two years. Instead of selling the home, they could convert it to a rental. It's possible that it could have a positive cash flow even with the small down payment. In most cases, the conversion would not accelerate the mortgage.

The price of homes and low interest rates combined with a very strong rental market in most areas has attracted a lot of investors. Non-owner occupied mortgages generally require 20-30% down payment compared to a 3.5% down payment for a FHA owner occupant.

The following example looks at a home that might have been purchased as a principal residence and then converted to a rental at the end of two years. There are certainly lots of variables to consider but the high indicated rate of return merits closer examination of the possibilities.

For the buyer who has good credit and ample funds for down payment and acquisition costs, there may never be as good a time to buy a home as now. For the buyer who is concerned that they might have to move in the near future, converting it to a rental might make a great investment opportunity.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

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