If you’re in the market to buy a condo, freestanding home, or townhouse in a shared community, chances are the areas are maintained by a homeowners’ association. What are homeowners’ associations and how will they affect your life? Here are the things you need to know.
What is a Homeowners’ Association?
A homeowners’ association helps ensure that shared living communities look their best and everything functions smoothly. This could mean maintaining the neighborhood pool, tennis courts, landscaping, security gates, garbage collection, etc. Communities can’t expect individual homeowners to fix the pool pump when it breaks so the homeowner’s association will take care of the problems should they arise.
Who pays for their services?
These repairs and services aren’t free, so the community pulls together to pitch in. Homeowners’ association fees are typically monthly or annually, and the price that you would pay depends on the size of your home in the neighborhood. A family of six in a large home will probably use the shared facilities more than the single person in a small studio apartment, so the rates are adjusted accordingly.
How are they organized and what are the rules?
Homeowners’ associations have a board made up of homeowners in the community. These board members are elected by other homeowners in the community, and they make all decisions related to the community. Most associations typically hold regular meetings to discuss important issues or decisions and all homeowners are welcome to voice their opinions.
Each community will have its own set of rules or “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” that homeowners will sign and agree to once they move in. These rules can stipulate anything from the size of your mailbox, the type of dogs you’re allowed to have, and more. Associations put these rules in place to make sure the community runs smoothly and is consistent.
If you are buying a home in the Washington DC location, Virginia location, Maryland location, or Baltimore location. It is worth researching the rules of any homeowners association for a prospective property.Read More
Are you interested in purchasing property to rent to others in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore? Whether this is your first time investing in rental property or if you have some experience, there are a few characteristics you should take into account when considering a property to make sure that you are getting the most for your investment.
The area and neighborhood where the property is should play a crucial role in your decision process. The area will significantly affect the rent prices, the type of tenants that you will attract, and potentially your vacancy rate.
Referencing the location, what changes will the area experience in the coming years? If there is significant development planned around the property including shopping centers, apartment complexes, and business parks, it is a good sign and can have positive impacts on the property’s value over time.
If you are in the market for family-sized rental properties, the quality of the local schools should play a significant role in your decision-making process. Having quality schools close to your property will significantly improve its value in many ways besides price. For instance, families will be willing to stay longer if their kids are enrolled in a school they like which helps you reduce your vacancy rates.
Work that Needs to Be Done
When looking at rental properties, you should perform an adequate evaluation of the condition of the home. If you aren’t very experienced, you can hire someone to take a look at the property to make sure that you know what you are buying. If the home needs extensive work and you don’t have the skills or desire to fix it, it’s best to pass and find a property that is in better condition.
Property taxes will vary from area to area, and because you are hoping to generate income from the rental property, you need to know how much you’ll be losing to taxes. Visit the local assessment office to see the property tax rates for the area so you can accurately include it in your revenue estimates.Read More
With Congress passing their new tax overhaul bill in late 2017, many Americans are wondering how it will affect them individually. The overhaul stretches far and wide and will likely impact every single American in one way or another. Let’s take a look at a few key points of the bill and how they will affect homeowners.
Changes in Property Tax Deductions
With the new plan, U.S. taxpayers and homeowners won’t be able to completely deduct local and state property taxes in addition to income or sales tax. The new plan allows individuals a $10,000 deduction to go towards state and local income along with property taxes or sales taxes.
This means that homeowners that live in a high-tax state might see an increase in their tax bill because they lost the deductions they had been able to take advantage of before.
You Won’t Need to Itemize as Many Things
The new Tax Cuts bill nearly doubles the standard deduction you can take from $6,350 to $12,000, which virtually eliminates the need to itemize mortgage interest and property tax bills if they fall below the $12,000 threshold.
Also, if you file jointly, the standard deduction increases to $24,000, meaning that most housing expenses won’t even come close to the threshold providing more tax savings for the future.
A Possible Benefit for Home Buyers
Many predict that home prices might temporarily drop in parts of the country once the new tax plan goes into effect. They believe demand may decrease because of the new stipulations added to the sale of primary residences. Before the plan, homeowners could deduct up to $500,000 for couples for the gross income made from a home sale.
The new plan stipulates that you must live in the home as your primary residence for five of the last eight years. Experts think this would reduce demand momentarily resulting in a small drop in home prices so if you’re in the market to buy a new home, this could be your opportunity to save some money.
Here’s a useful tool for determining how the tax cuts affect your tax bracket.Read More
If you are looking for a house in Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC, either to inhabit or as an investment, you might have heard the term “short sale” before. It can seem confusing, but in reality, it is an incredibly simple real estate term to understand and could save you thousands on your next property purchase.
In the real estate industry, a short sale is basically when the proceeds of a property sale aren’t enough to cover the balance remaining on the property’s mortgage loan. To put it simply, the seller of the property owes more to the mortgage lender (the bank) than what they are selling it for.
For the seller to do this, the bank must agree to discount the loan balance which is essentially agreeing to take less money than what is initially owed. The owner will have to prove they are dealing with financial hardships before the lender will accept a real estate short sale. It will have severe consequences on the seller’s credit.
Why Would a Lender Accept a Short Sale?
It is worth asking since any lender in their right mind would want only to accept the amount of money owed to them and nothing less, right? In reality, if a house is foreclosed upon by the lender, they must still list the home on the market and sometimes wait months or years to sell the home.
Foreclosure is expensive for all parties, and most lenders would rather go through with a short sale, cut their losses, and avoid the hassle of reselling the property themselves altogether.
Pros and Cons Buying a Short Sale
Short sales are not necessarily better deals than regularly listed homes. For example, if someone bought a house at the height of the market and went underwater, their loan amount could be way more than the house is worth. Short sale houses are also sold “as is”. This means you could be left holding the bag on issues. Banks are also notoriously difficult to deal with when buying a short sale as they are effectively losing money. All that said, the right short sale can be a great buy.Read More
Though we don’t always want to think about the worst case scenarios of homeownership, they can happen. Tax default is one of them.
What is Tax Default?
Tax default happens when you don’t pay property taxes for a duration of time set by your county. The past-due amount becomes what is known as a tax lien on your house. Your house cannot be sold without paying off the lien. Eventually, the lien can be sold to someone at auction, called a “Tax Sale”. The winning bidder will collect interest on the tax lien and eventually be able to take over ownership of your house, if you don’t pay off your delinquent tax amount with interest.
What Should You Do?
If you know are in tax default or know a tax sale is coming, your options are limited. Presumably, you don’t have the money to pay the back taxes. If this is the case and you have equity in your house, your best bet is to sell.
Since the typical home-selling process can take up to 6-months before a buyer closes on the house, you want to consider real estate investment companies who will pay, in cash, for the house in just a few days time. That way, you will receive the proper compensation for the value of your home, and be free of the impending governmental burden that will be used against you for back taxes, fees, and interest.
At 8 Day Home Sale, we are here to help, and we buy houses in Maryland, Virginia, Baltimore, and Washington DC for cash. Contact us if you are facing tax default.Read More
If you’re considering the sale of your house in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore, you have lots of questions. Selling your house is one of the largest financial transactions most people do in a lifetime, you want to make sure you make the right decisions and avoid unnecessary costs which eat into your profit. Perhaps you’ve even wondered if you really need an agent to sell your house; after all, you can easily meet potential buyers and show your home…but is that all there is?
Before you decide to try and sell your house without an agent, learn the pros and cons associated with the “go it alone” technique known as “for sale by owner”.
Pros of Selling Your Home as a FSBO
Save Money on Commissions
Selling your home as a FSBO (for sale by owner) will certainly save you the cost of commissions for the listing agent. While all commissions are negotiable, most range from 4-6% nationwide. Typically, half of the negotiated commission is then offered to the agent who finds the buyer. Most FSBO listings still sell to a buyer with their own agent, thus you save only half the cost of commission.
No Strangers in Your Home
By selling your home as a FSBO, you never need to worry about who’s in your home or with whom. You will arrange all showings yourself and will be present for the visits.
Control of the Process
By representing yourself in the transaction, you can control what is communicated to the other party. You control the negotiations at every stage of the process.
Cons of Selling Your Home as a FSBO
While overpricing a listing is bad, underpricing the listing is worse. When you are not privy to the market analysis in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), you do not have the most comprehensive data to use when pricing your home for sale.
Arranging home showings takes time. Not only is it common for buyers and their agents to run late, or early, but you must be there to meet each party.Read More