The housing market is growing, especially here in Northeast Ohio. In 2017, home sales across the region rose 1.6% with annual average sale prices increasing 6%. Sure, this is great news! But, the rise in sales has created a bit of a shortage in terms of available properties. Prospective homebuyers are now getting crafty with their tactics, including one of the best-kept secrets in the market today. Continue reading

When buying a home, the buyer always has closing costs to consider, if using a loan to purchase the property. And negotiating with the seller to cover a specific amount of closing costs does not mean all the additional costs can be paid by the seller. Certain lending guidelines must be followed to ensure the proper amount of money is accounted for in the offer. When a seller pays closing costs, the money to pay those costs comes from the sale of the home – also known as the seller’s proceeds. So a seller is quite likely only interested in the bottom line. However, let’s also remember that a seller may decide against including credits to cover a buyer’s closing costs and prepaid expenses. Having sufficient cash reserves can ensure a successful and smooth closing process. Learn how to buy, and then execute your strategy. Be smart. Ask us how – we can help!

Mortgage interest can only be deducted if you itemize on your tax returns. Another factor is that nearly 70% of tax filers take the standard deduction, thereby disqualifying the mortgage interest deduction. If you’re married filing separately, it’s important to note that both parties must choose the same deduction. And the standard deduction was $12,700 in 2017, meaning if you itemize your deductions, it must be more than that. Overall, I suggest some tax planning advice. Would you like a CPA or a tax planner? We can refer one. Simply ask us how.

There’s a new way of thinking as Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley have undergone an identity transformation, but this hasn’t come without its challenges. The latest setback involves General Motors announcing it would eliminate the second shift at its Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, affecting as many as 1,500 jobs. Sure, we’ve endured hardships and experienced decades of economic decline, and relocating elsewhere may seem like the only viable option, but really, better days are ahead and are taking shape in the form of new opportunities in business, entertainment and redevelopment. Continue reading

If the home was priced fairly, lowballing the initial offer can offend the seller. They may choose not to work with you, even if you then increase your offer. Emotions can run high during a real estate transaction, so proceed with caution. On the flip side, sometimes a house is way overpriced and a lower offer is warranted. It’s important to have reasons supporting your stance. Real estate agents will help with this. A good realtor seasoned in the market where you are buying a home will ensure better negotiations. Following the advice of a true professional can be tough though, especially when the relationship is new and not built on years of interaction. So, referrals oftentimes help bridge the gap when considering how to structure your offer. We refer good realtors quite often. Ask us for one. Learn how to buy a home the right way.

When buying a home, down payment in combination with other costs are associated with loan closing figures. Proper terminology is, cash to close, which consists of a down payment, closing costs and prepaids. But, let’s also remember the cost of inspections and sometimes immediate repairs or improvements that need done if the seller doesn’t fix them prior to closing. Earnest money is also necessary most times when your offer is accepted. Also, there are other costs to consider for when you move in; furniture, deposits to open utilities, like electricity or gas or water. It’s important to look at the big picture and not just the immediate cost to purchase a home. Mortgage money and all the factors involved with buying a home are important. Learn your options. Get educated. Ask us how.

Media reports will vary throughout time. Interest rates will change up and down. An increase in rates may mistakenly convince you that refinancing is not worth looking into. The reality is that rates are still favorable and low. Mortgage loans, generally speaking, are the cheapest and safest type of money to borrow. Consumer debt on the other hand is quite expensive. Debt consolidation, home improvements, removing PMI, and other financial needs should be evaluated to determine the net tangible benefit of refinancing. And while it may sound a little whacky, there may be benefits to refinancing coupled with an increase in your mortgage loan interest rate. Sounds nutty, maybe not. Ask us how.

Most times, there are too many variables to consider having a hard and fast rule about debt to income ratio. Your lifestyle needs to play a factor when making a decision. Your total household income impacts various loan programs. And while it’s important to evaluate current monthly expenses, true income, versus qualifying income, along with your financial reserves should be considered. Overall, while debt to income ratios are a critical component when qualifying for a mortgage loan, isolating this variable and capping the ratio at 30 percent is many times not the correct approach. Learn about mortgage money. Ask us how.

If that were the case, lenders would only offer 30-year loans. It is true that 30-year mortgages guarantee the lowest monthly payments. However, 30-year mortgages do not offer the best lending terms. You will spend more money over time because it equates to a greater amount of interest and a shorter amount of principal paid at each payment. Shorter term loans, at 15 years for example, have higher payments, forcing more money to principal sooner. Considering your lending options and getting educated will help you make smarter lending decisions. Ask us how.