Deborah Keenaghan's Blog
One thing that you’ll need to think about when you’re buying a home is that of property taxes. Many first-time homebuyers don’t even consider the property taxes in the midst of their excitement of buying the perfect home. There’s many different kinds of tax issues that homebuyers might face when they purchase a home. We’ll educate you on how to tackle the issue of property taxes.
Do Your Research
You should most definitely research property taxes before you buy a home. You don’t want to be surprised to find out that your new home will have special assessments or a huge tax rate increase in the near future. Some things to look out for:
- Tax rate increases
- Home reassessments
- Supplemental tax bills
The first question that you should ask your realtor is “What is the current tax bill?” This will give you a good starting point for your property tax research.
Supplemental Tax Bills
A supplemental tax bill is basically a new homeowner’s overlapping bill of the previous owner’s taxes. Sometimes, this can include construction or additions made to the home that have increased the property value. This is also known as a “reassessment of property value.” Work with your realtor to discover whether this will be an issue.
Multiple Taxes For One Property
Depending upon where you are, you could face more than one kind of property tax. Special taxes imposed by states, counties and districts, as well as water and sewer can create additional fees.
Why You Have An Escrow Account
Homeowners are often required to have an escrow account. This will set aside funds for these types of expenses. The loan company will give an estimate of the amount of taxes and insurance due. Then, costs such as taxes and insurance are taken out of this account. If you are paying these fees through an escrow account, you should keep a close eye on it. Sometimes, payments fail to be made on time. You as the homeowner are then responsible for any late fees. You want to avoid these problems by checking the account frequently.
How Property Taxes Are Calculated
Property taxes are generally based on the value of the home. Each state and city uses their own formulas in order to calculate these fees. This is what can make property taxes a bit unpredictable. Property taxes can increase or decrease over time due to these factors that are included in each municipality’s formula.
A tax credit is a rebate that’s provided by the city or state. This could be in the form of an income tax credit. As home values have risen, so haven’t property tax bills, so these credits are welcome in today’s economy.
Some people are eligible for property tax deferrals. This allows the homeowner to pay all or part of the property tax until a later date when a home is sold. Many deferrals are geared towards low-income homes and senior citizens. These people would most benefit from this type of savings. Be careful though if you fall into one of these categories. Some states have much higher income taxes than property taxes, so the fees end up evening out.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to property taxes is your research. Once you have numbers, you can make a more informed decision about purchasing a property.
Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.
With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.
1. Refinance your mortgage
If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.
If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.
This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.
But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.
2. Make extra payments
An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.
Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.
3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year
Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.
The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.
This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.
On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.
Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.
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If you’re making the transition from renting an apartment to buying a home, it can be difficult to ensure you have a place to stay while you search.
There are a number of reasons you may need temporary housing while house-hunting. Maybe you’re moving to a new state and need temporary housing while you search in the area. Or, maybe you just don’t want to sign a year-long lease on a new apartment that you don’t plan on staying in for a full year.
Regardless of the reason, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to find temporary housing while you navigate your way toward homeownership.
Short-term rentals and sublets
One of the most convenient way to rent an apartment while you search for a home is to simply find short-term rentals.
Landlords use leases for a number of reasons. Among them is knowing that they can count on a tenant to stay long enough to be worth the hassle of going through the rental process.
However, there are some landlords who cater to people who need to rent for only a certain amount of time--namely business professionals and college students. Landlords rent to these people with short-term leases because they are certain that they will get the full lease amount in pay.
Similarly, searching for sublets is a good way to find an apartment on the short-term. Sublets are often cheaper than their normal renting price because the tenant needs to find someone soon. You’re especially likely to find a sublet if you plan on moving in May or June when college students are going home for the summer.
Another service that could be helpful is Airbnb. Many people think of Airbnb as a tool for finding a vacation home or spare room while traveling. However, there are also a number of short-term rentals on the site. You can simply enter the dates you’re planning on staying and compare results. Just be sure to read reviews of the house to be sure that you’re dealing with responsible and trustworthy property managers.
Words of caution
While short-term rentals can save you money while you search and help you avoid a lease, they do come with risks. For example, if renting off of Craigslist, never send sensitive data, payments, or bank account information before verifying that they are actually the manager of the property.
If you do decide to sublet an apartment, take photos when you move in so that tenants or landlords don’t try to hold you liable for any damage caused before or after you leave.
Finally, if you decide to go with a service like Airbnb or extended stay hotels because they appear cheaper than renting, remember that you won’t be able to store your belongings there and might have to pay for storage and a moving truck to transport your belongings. These extra fees can add up quickly over a couple months.
Once you’ve determined your options for temporary housing, hunting for your new home will become much easier.