If you are moving to a South Central Vermont home, you can, with prior planning and these tips, make your move a smooth, less stressful experience. After you have gathered recommendations from friends and checked out moving companies on the web, you should narrow your choices to three or four. At this point you can avoid moving mistakes by using these guidelines to make informed, intelligent choices.
1. Insist on an in-home survey and estimate. Movers have to actually see what needs to be moved and be aware of items requiring special attention, such as pianos or valued art pieces. In addition,, by meeting the mover’s representative in person, you can get a feel for the way customers are treated by the company. It is also important that you disclose at this time any details, such as elevator availability, street restrictions, etc., to avoid unpleasant surprises on moving day.
2. Beware of too low a price. While price is certainly a major consideration in making your selection, you need to question a low-ball estimate, Are there hidden charges? Is the firm reliable? Does it value your business? Is it a licensed, insured mover? Check the web at www.protectyourmove.com for this information and for a record of customer complaints.
3. Avoid the busy season. Good moving companies are especially busy in the summer and in the first and fourth weeks of the month. Plan ahead and reserve early to get the mover and time frame you want. Remember that the best deals can usually be found in the winter and in the second and third weeks of the month.
4. Sign a contract. Do not begin a move without first signing a binding agreement which spells out all the services you are to receive and the total amount you’ll be expected to pay. Do you have insurance options? What is the charge for that? If you’re not comfortable with the document, trust your instinct and don’t sign!
5. Have a budget. Be informed and realistic about your overall moving costs. Be sure to include travel to your South Central Vermont home, any hotel and meals expenses, auto transport, and insurance.
6. Do unto others… Your movers will respond well to smiles and a positive attitude
They also appreciate offers of coffee, water, soft drinks, and tips for quality service.
The city has many reputable and reliable moving companies who want your business and will work with you to make your moving experience as stress-free as possible. By following these six steps, your relocation to your new South Central Vermont home can actually be rewarding!
The $8000 first-time home buyer tax credit was scheduled to expire in just a few short weeks…Nov 30, 2009. I say ‘was’, because the Senate voted unanimously to extend the credit on Monday and the House of Representatives approved the extension yesterday afternoon by a vote of 403-12. The extension includes an expanded tax credit to repeat home buyers. The bill now goes to the President for his signature which is expected to happen today.
Home Buyer Tax Credit Expansion and Extension
- The $8,000 tax credit will be extended and available for first-time home buyers through May 1, 2010.
- A new $6,500 tax credit will be available for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009, and May 1, 2010. To qualify, buyers must have used the home sold or being sold as a principal residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
- Prospective buyers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
- Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return.
- Limitation on the cost of a purchased home is $800,000.
If you know anyone looking to buy their first South Central Vermont home at a time when prices and interest rates are still down, or if you are thinking of buying another home and getting the new $6,500 credit please contact me today.
Many South Central Vermont renters are finding that they get more ‘bang for their’ buck if they buy a home rather than rent one. With affordable prices, low interest rates and tax incentives, South Central Vermont home ownership makes more sense than ever.
7 Reasons to Buy Rather Than Rent South Central Vermont Home
1. Buying doesn’t always cost more.
The Associated Press reports the gap between buying and renting has decreased $550 in the last three years.
2. Affordability is at an all-time high.
Nationwide, prices have declined by nearly 20-40%.
3. Tax benefits for home ownership saves money.
The biggest tax break is the mortgage interest deduction. Most of your mortgage payment goes to interest which is tax deductible. Property taxes and mortgage insurance are also tax deductible.
According to Realestate.com, buyer’s remorse is one of the top ten mistakes made when purchasing a home. Finding the perfect home and making the decision to buy a home are not easy tasks. First, you spend hours on the computer researching South Central VT real estate and neighborhoods, perfecting your search criteria on MLS websites, and viewing many virtual tours. Then, you begin making appointments to go take a look at the ones you think stand a good chance at being the future home of your family.
As you walk through the house you envision the happy life you and your family would live and the future décor for this room and that room. You see houses that “require too much work,” “don’t have enough storage,” ones that are “too small” or maybe even one that is “do-able but not perfect.” Finally after weeks or even months of searching, you find “THE house.” Now you send in a promising offer and anxiously wait for feedback. You and seller come to an agreement and the offer is accepted. Once the papers are signed you can relax and enjoy the excitement, right?
The recenlty enacted “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” provides an $8000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. But what does this mean to Okemo Mountain home buyers? Here are the highlights and important facts to know about this legislation:
- It is a tax credit to home buyers, not a loan as in last year’s program.
- It is only for first time home buyers, defined as someone who has not had an ownership interest in a principle residence in the 3 year period prior to the date of the 2009 purchase.
- The buyer must remain in the home for a minimum of 3 years.
- It is applicable to purchases between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009; and
- Full credit is available to those with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less ($150,000 for married filing jointly). The credit is phased out entirely for those with adjusted gross income over $95,000 ($170,000 for married filing jointly).
If you bought a home last year under the old $7,500 tax credit rules, those rules still apply to your 2008 home purchase.
If you purchased a home after January 1, 2009, or are thinking of buying an Okemo Mountain home this year and want to learn more about the $8,000 tax credit, give me a call or visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com.
Issues you will want to consider are the definition of adjusted gross income, how to apply for the credit, what happens if your total tax liability is less than the credit, definition of ‘principle residence’, and other issues. I am happy to advise you as to how you can benefit from the tax credit.
You’ve probably seen lots of financial arguments about why you should invest in Luldow VT real estate and own your own home rather than rent. This includes budgeting (no rent increases) and the tax savings you’ll most likely have. Now we’re going to give you some reasons you probably haven’t heard.
1. Freedom to pursue other goals in life once the major goal of home ownership is achieved.
Strange as it sounds, many of our first-time buyers have told us that once they bought the house, other things in their life started to fall into place. It’s as if not owning took so much of their mental energy that other goals were not worked on until that big goal was reached. So buy a home and get on with your life!
2. A greater sense of belonging to the Ludlow VT community.
Once you own a home, you feel more attached to the city in which you live. You’re more interested in what happens in Ludlow, to the roads, schools, and shopping areas. Some people even become involved in local politics.
3. A commitment to something, a sense of stability.
Home ownership is an anchor, something that cannot be pulled out from under you. You’ll never get a notice that you have to move. You’re kids will never have to change schools. It gives you freedom to plan years ahead.
4. You can change things, a feeling of being in control.
It’s your home. You can add to it, remodel it, change the landscaping, do whatever projects you want. You have a feeling of being in control of something in your life. At work we don’t always have control of what happens, but your home is your castle and you have dominion over it. You can see what you’re building take shape before your eyes.
5. More control over the children than in an apartment complex
In a neighborhood, kids usually play in the yards or go to friend’s houses a few doors away. Our clients have told us that in an apartment complex they never knew where the kids were. They could be in any of hundreds of apartments, doing who knows what. In a home you get to know the neighbors and watch out for each other’s kids.
6. Children do better in school and feel more secure.
This one surprised us, but buyers have reported to us that their kids calmed down in school after they bought a house. We don’t know why, but it seems to work that way. We remember a single mom watching her son play in the yard, making steps in the slope and building things. She didn’t have to tell him to leave everything alone, like she did at the apartment complex. I guess kids feel the same need for control we adults do.
7. Time and money saved by not going to the Laundromat.
A small point, but if you have kids, you know the value of this one. You gain a whole evening a week when you buy a house! The wash gets done in between other things, or while you’re at work. What would you do with the extra evening you’ll have? How about going out for dessert with your spouse with all those quarters?
We’ve been in a home of our own for so long; we take these benefits for granted. We forgot what it’s like to be renters! If you have anything you can add to the list, please let us know via email. We would love to hear from you!
As of July 14, 2008, upfront MIP premiums became risk-based on credit scores and the annual premium increased across the board. Instead of the original plan of making FHA loans more affordable for potential Okemo Mountain home buyers; the new legislation is doing the exact opposite and makes it more expensive.
Details of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act:
Here are some key provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act that most affect Okemo Mountain home buyers:
- GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
- FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The down payment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
FHA Reform Chart (PDF)
- Homebuyer Tax Credit – a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).
First-time homebuyer tax credit chart
Frequently asked questions about the first-time homebuyer tax credit
- FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.
FHA Foreclosure Rescue Chart
- Seller-funded down payment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of down payment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members. This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.
More about the seller-funded down payment assistance provision
Tips to finding down payment assistance programs (PDF)
- VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
- Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
- GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
- Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
- National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
- CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.
More about the CDBG funding provision
- LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
- Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.
It remains to be seen the overall effect the Recovery Act will have on both the individual home buyer and the housing industry as a whole.
From the Experts:
“We’re going through a major financial crisis…let’s be clear: Fannie and Freddie can’t be allowed to fail. With the collapse of subprime lending, they’re now more central than ever to the housing market, and the economy as a whole.”
– Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton and New York Times columnist, 7/14/2008