Category Archives: 1st-Time Buyer

Six Steps For a Stress-free Move To a South Central Vermont Home

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!

Learn more about moving to South Central Vermont.

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Tips For South Central Vermont First-time Home Buyers

Low listing prices, reasonable interest rates, and an abundant variety of homes to choose from are among a few of the reasons now is the perfect time for buyers to make a move in today’s real estate market. Current market trends and other factors have made conditions even more favorable for first-time homebuyers. Though becoming a homeowner comes with huge responsibilities and financial commitments, first-time home buyers should take advantage of the market over flowing with opportunities. The following tips will help ease the mind when considering the smart purchase of your first South Central Vermont home

key41. Become familiar with the new first-time homebuyer federal tax credit.  

People who are considering the purchase of their first home, or have not been home owners for at least the past three years can gain great benefits from the first-time homebuyer tax credit. According to FederalHousingTaxCredit.com, qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before May 1, 2010 will receive a tax credit of up to $8,000. Unlike past tax credits from 2008, the money received does not have to be repaid, unless the homebuyer sells the property with in three years. 

2. Determine what is reasonably affordable.  

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Expanded Tax Credit for South Central Vermont Home Buyers

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.

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Reasons To Buy Rather Than Rent South Central Vermont Home

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.

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Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse When Purchasing South Central VT Real Estate

remorseAccording 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?

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Rutland VT Home Buying Tips

The thought of buying your first Rutland VT home can be intimidating…but it doesn’t have to be. Below are tips to guide you through the intial stages of buying a Rutland VT home. 

1st hat1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing. 

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

For more about buying a Rutland VT home or South Central VT, visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com. And give me a call so I can get to work for YOU!

What The $8000 Home Buyer Tax Credit Means To Okemo Mountain Home Buyers

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:  

  1. It is a tax credit to home buyers, not a loan as in last year’s program.
  2. 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.
  3. The buyer must remain in the home for a minimum of 3 years.
  4. It is applicable to purchases between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009; and
  5. 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.

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Ludlow VT Home Buying Mistakes; How To Avoid Them.

No matter what the condition of the housing market, purchasing a Ludlow VT home is a major commitment and a vital financial decision. A home is much more than a financial investment; it is an investment in a new lifestyle and a new way of looking at property. Those who are unprepared to make the leap from renting to home ownership can make some costly mistakes, and learning to avoid those blunders is vital.

Think With Your Head Not Your Heart
One of the most common mistakes made by first time home buyers is allowing emotion to rule the day. Although buying a home can be an emotional process, there are some things home buyers can do to prevent emotional ties from getting in the way of sound financial discipline. 

While it is all too easy to picture your family relaxing in the backyard of a new home, take a step back and look at the home with the eyes of an investor. Pretend for a moment that you are not going to live in the house but are buying it as a pure investment. Is it still just as attractive, or has it lost some of its appeal? Emotional attachment is fine, but it should not overrule your good judgment.

Consider All the Costs of Home Ownership  
Buying more house than they can afford is a classic blunder for many first time homeowners. One of the chief culprits behind this error is factoring in only the cost of the mortgage versus the cost of continuing to rent. While it is certainly appealing to go from collecting rent receipts to building up home equity, keep in mind that the costs of owning a home do not end with the monthly mortgage check.

Don’t Try to Time the Market
Market timing doesn’t work in the stock market, and it doesn’t work in the home market either. Although it can be tempting to try to wait for the market to hit rock bottom, you may be left out in the cold when the market starts to turn around. Many professionals, including home builders, lenders and real estate investors, have a great deal of difficulty timing the market, even with all their specialized knowledge and experience.

While some Ludlow VT home buyers will be lucky enough to sell their existing homes at the top of the market and buy their next one when the market craters, most of us will not be so lucky. There are bargains to be found in every real estate market; the key is to arm yourself with as much information as possible and shop smart. 

Learn more about the Ludlow VT housing market by visiting ISellVermontRealEstate.com or giving us a call 800-659-1819 #103. 

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Reasons To Own Your Own Ludlow VT Home

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! 

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How Does Housing Recovery Act Help Okemo Mountain Home Buyers

President Bush signed into law recently The Housing and Economic Recovery Act. This is the most sweeping change to housing reform since the New Deal of 1934. It is designed to assist more Americans invest in home ownership and shore up the faltering housing and mortgage markets. Like any legislation, it comes with the good and the bad. I encourage you to write your Congressmen to see if we can get legislation to revoke some of the bad.  For example, effective October 1, 2008, FHA will increase the minimum required down payment from 3% to 3.5% for Ludlow and Okemo Mountain home buyers. The legislation also calls for the elimination of seller down-payment assistance programs such as AmeriDream and Nehemiah by October 1, 2008.

 

 

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)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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

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