As a rule of thumb, many experts will recommend that you put down 20% or more when buying a new home. The reason they cite is that this huge sum paid before the mortgage will show lenders that you are a trustworthy borrower serious about paying off the home yielding a lower interest rate.
Is 20% still the tried-and-true standard or is it possible to buy a home with a smaller down payment? Here are the pros and cons of each option.
The Pros of Putting Down 20%
When you put down 20%, you’re more likely to secure a loan from reputable lenders with a lower interest rate. By putting down 20%, the lender then knows that in the worst-case scenario, they only need to recoup 80% of the home’s value should the borrower fail to pay the loan back. Since you’ve paid more up front, your monthly mortgage payment will be smaller.
Why Less Can Sometimes Be More
Usually, the minimum that you must put down to secure a 30-year mortgage is 3.5%. This is quite a bit less than 20% and will save you some money up front before the mortgage starts. By putting down less initially, you will be able to move into your new home sooner than later without having to spend months or years trying to scrape together the funds for a traditional 20% down payment.
You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to secure a mortgage loan, however, the more you put down up front, the less you’ll have to pay over time. Consider both of the options carefully, and do your research and crunch the numbers before signing any paperwork.
If you’d like to talk about selling your house in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC so you can buy another one, head over to our Contact page.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes time to purchase a house in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore, buyers have a lot of options. Some of the most commonly compared housing options comes down to condominiums versus single-family houses right now.
Aside from location, housing type is one of the most important decisions for an individual or family to make. It’s important to sit back and really consider the unique pros and cons that accompany condos and single family homes today, as they could make or break your living experience. By focusing on lifestyle and cost, you can better determine which is right for you.
PROS: In recent years, there has been a huge upswing in condo purchases over homes due to a resurgence in urban living. Condos are most typically located in urban areas, with walkability to shops, restaurants, and other places of interest and entertainment. Condos come with resort-like amenities, including pools and fitness centers, cleaning services, and 24-7 support. Especially with people living busier lives today, condos offer a convenient solution to a low-maintenance lifestyle.
CONS: As you could guess, this kind of convenience plus luxury amenities does not come at a cheap cost. One major drawback to the condo life is association fees, collected outside the monthly mortgage payment and put towards building maintenance and amenities. These fees can be expensive, and they can increase at any time when extra money is needed. Additionally, condos mean you’re sharing a building with other homeowners, presenting a potential for noise and other disturbance complaints.
Single Family Home
PROS: The best advantage of buying a single-family home is that you have total control over the property. It is all yours. You can remodel, make changes, and do whatever your heart desires without the consent of others. Homes also allow for extra indoor and outdoor space, providing you with much more wiggle room than a condo. Accommodating for families and pets, your home can expand with your family, equipped with closets, attics, basements, and garages. Lastly, homes offer you more privacy, placing outdoor space between you and your neighbors.
CONS: Homeownership is tough work, however. As part of the privacy and personal control perk, you are completely responsible for maintenance inside and outside the property, including upkeep of the yard and trees. You also need to factor in buying equipment and tools for the maintenance when purchasing a home, as well as the service costs for bringing in professionals to make repairs. Finally, utility bills with homes are much higher than condos, as you have to heat/cool and power up much more space than that of a condominium.
What’s Right For You?
If you’re single, looking for an urban setting and working long hours at work, a condo might seem appealing. However, if you’re newly married, looking to start a family and add personal touches to your living space, then consider the single-family home option.
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.
How long have you been thinking about selling your house in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC? Is your current property too large? Too small? Too expensive? Too hard to manage? Are you ready to travel more? Whatever the reason, you’ve been thinking about a move but you don’t know if it’s the right time to move?
The right time might have arrived!
The truth is that whenever you need to sell is the right time. There are advantages and disadvantages for all seasons. Certainly the spring selling season gets the most attention, but selling a home during the slower winter months has advantages as well. For one thing, in the winter there is less competition as home sellers wait for the warmer months to list. Additionally, buyers tend to be more serious as the effort it takes to view homes in the ice and snow is less appealing than dropping into an open house while out for a summer drive. Finally, your house in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC never looks better than when it’s dressed for the holidays.
The first step in making a good decision is information. You would be amazed how many people will use stories they’ve heard at the grocery store to make the decision to sell a home. Selling a property is one of the largest financial transactions a person makes in a lifetime, you have to get all the information you can to make that informed decision.
So is it time to sell?
You might have more money sitting in your home than you expect. If selling this time of year makes personal and financial sense for you and your family, then sell. Take the time to learn more about the current market and available properties and then examine your own goals. Selling a home in any season has advantages; the timing has more to do with your own needs and wants.
As always at 8 Day Home Sale, we buy houses in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC for cash. If you need to sell your house fast, let us know.
As a landlord with a rental property in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC, you want tenants that will not make your life and property a living hell. At 8 Day Home Sale, we have years of experience managing rental properties. If you are looking for a good tenant to rent your house in Maryland or Washington DC, here are a few things you should do:
1. Perform background and credit checks
Figure out your prospective tenants credit score, past evictions, past rental records, potential criminal records, bankruptcy, etc. This might cost you $30 but will be worth it in the long run. Do not rent to people that you do not know the history of.
2. Ask for their references.
References include previous landlords, employer, etc. You tend to get first-hand information about the person coming to rent your property if you are able to have actual discussions with the people involved with them. Bad tenants will have a very hard time providing references.
3. Meet them physically.
It’s impossible to get a real feel for a person without meeting them. It’s tempting to just let them sign a lease without seeing them. However, it will benefit your rental property in Maryland or Washington DC in the long run if you actually meet them.
4. Take a large security deposit.
This is usually done to cover damages should your tenant turnout to be the troublesome. Protect yourself in case the tenant causes problems or breaks the lease.
5. Know who will be living in the house and add it to your lease.
It’s very common for tenants to bring in family members to live in the house. This can be fine unless the family members are high risk individuals. Have your tenant commit to who will actually be living in the house.
6. Verify employment.
Check your prospective tenants employment history and ensure they have a stable job. Good tenants almost always have stable jobs.
7. Use a good lease agreement.
Make sure to use a legally sound lease agreement. 8 Day Home Sale has a lease agreement ready-to-use for Maryland.
Almost everyone will sell their house at some point. Here are some indications that will help you find the right time to sell my house fast in Maryland, balancing market conditions and your life situation.
Many people will tell you “if your house has increased this much in value, it’s time to sell”. In reality, no one can predict the market or how much your houses value will rise. Aside from massive economic corrections, home values tend to rise except in specific circumstances. You certainly don’t want to sell if your house’s value hasn’t risen enough to cover the closing costs and realtor fees that you’ll have to pay. Look for comparable home sales in Maryland on Zillow to better understand your house’s value.
If you’ve had a major life event, such as having a child or losing a spouse, it could be time to sell my house fast in Maryland. If your lifestyle does not fit your house, e.g. the house is too big or not in the right school district, it’s time to sell. The quality of your life is more important than losing thousands of dollars in the short term.
If you can’t afford a house any longer, either because you are burdened by mortgage, taxes, or upkeep. It might be time to sell.
As always, if you are looking to sell my house fast in Maryland, 8 Day Home Sale can help. We buy houses in Maryland for cash, paying all closing costs and charging no fees. We even clean out the house for you.
While terms like car insurance and homeowners insurance are quite familiar to most of us, most are unaware of title insurance and its importance. It is a crucial part of any house purchase.
What is title insurance?
When selling your house, your closing attorney executes a title search to ensure that the property is free of any existing liens or zoning restrictions. For this, he looks at the deed papers as well as court records for ownership history verification. Title insurance plays a crucial role here. A special type of indemnity policy, it safeguards your financial interests if you face any type of defect with the property’s title. If you are trying to sell my house fast in Maryland or Washington DC, title issues can be a huge problem.
At the time of title insurance policy purchase, an independent search is conducted by the title company to verify that there are no disputes or legal issues surrounding the property’s ownership. Usually, you are required to pay a one-time premium for the policy at the time of closing. Any future discrepancy when the house is sold that needs to be fixed by an attorney will be covered by title insurance.
Protection provided by title insurance
The coverage provided by the title insurance typically depends on whether the policy belongs to the lender or the owner. A lender’s policy is purchased if you are taking a loan from a public mortgage lender. It provides insurance to the full loan amount to the lender if any dispute or problem arises with the home’s title post financing. The policy remains valid until the time you pay off your entire loan, sell the house, or get it refinanced.
The owner’s policy covers the amount paid for purchasing the home. It covers numerous problems like tax liens, deed errors or omissions, fraud, mistakes in public records, forgery of deed documents, etc. It also provides protection in scenarios of unknown heirs surfacing to stake a claim on the property. Few of these policies can also offer extended coverage like protection against structural damage, building permit violations, zoning law violations, etc.
In case of title dispute, both policies cover all legal costs and losses including your down payment, principal payment or any other improvement cost incurred by you.
Is the title insurance really worth it?
The one-time premium amount of title insurance depends on your area of residence and the policy itself. Usually, the cost can be about $2.50 for every $1,000 of coverage. The owner’s policy is slightly more expensive than the lender’s policy. The total title insurance amount can range from few hundreds to few thousand dollars which may look big but is trivial compared to the cost of facing a lawsuit later and getting a complete peace of mind.
Title insurance is worth the money. Without it, the cost of defending a title claim can prove so expensive that you may lose your property.
As always, at 8 Day Home Sale, we buy houses in Maryland and Washington DC for cash. If you want to sell your house, contact us for a cash offer. We will handle title issues for you!