10 Real Estate Abbreviations All Homebuyers Should Know

December 23rd, 2011

As a homebuyer, it’s very possible you feel overwhelmed and confused about all the jargon you have to wade through just to communicate with your real estate professional. Despite appearances, REA, PMDT and SEM are not rare neurological disorders. This article outlines ten abbreviations you might find in your search for a new home.

ASHI- American Society of Home Inspectors. This is a non-profit professional society that governs ethics and best practices for inspectors. It is the largest society of its kind in North America and is recognized in the buyer-protection legislation of many states.

DIM- Deferred Interest Mortgage. Fairly straightforward, the DIM is a mortgage option wherein buyers pay no interest for a pre-determined period. After that time, the accrued interest is added to the original loan. There are several different ways to calculate the deferred mortgage payment. Depending on the market, this can be either be a great deal or a very expensive mortgage type.

DS- Due On Sale clause, also known as an acceleration clause or an alienation clause. This clause gives the lender the right to call the entire balance of a loan due. This usually happens when the property is transferred to the buyer subject to the mortgage, without the lender being notified. Oftentimes, a bank or other lender acting on a DS can result in foreclosure.

HOA- Home Owners’ Association. Many condos and planned communities benefit from governance by an HOA. It enables those with a shared vision for their community to make decisions about such things as the usage of common areas, the design and architecture of homes in the neighborhood, community services, operating costs, maintenance, and repairs.

PMDT- Purchase Money Deed of Trust. When a buyer does not qualify for a bank loan, she will sometimes enter into a PMDT or a Purchase Money Trust, wherein the buyer borrows from the seller, instead of borrowing from a bank. This can be risky if the bank forecloses the property.
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PMI- Private Mortgage Insurance. Usually, buyers must pay mortgage insurance if their down payment is 20 percent or less. Primarily a protective measure for lenders, PMI mitigates lenders’ loss if a homeowner defaults on a loan. It is also a benefit to homeowners in that it allows them to buy a home without waiting to save up a down payment.

PV/PW- Present Value or Present Worth. There are quite a few factors that go into the calculation of present value, most notably the time value of money and investment risk. Present value/worth calculations have an impact on the value of a home as well as the terms of the mortgage.

REA- Reciprocal Easement Agreement. Put simply, an REA is a written contract between a pair of homeowners that allows them access to, or use of, a common area. An example of an area that would fall under this kind of agreement is a shared driveway or a privately-owned lane between two houses.

SEM- Shared Equity Mortgage. A shared equity mortgage is one in which family members invest in the property purchase of another family member and make money from. For example, Jill would like to buy a $200,000 house, but cannot afford the 25% down payment. Her mother contributes the $50,000 and will make it back, with interest, either when Jill refinances or sells her home. Equity-sharing allows buyers to purchase outside of their financial means without taking big risks.

PITI- Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. To be succinct, this refers to all the factors that come into play when calculating mortgage payments. It could be thought of as the “bottom line”, or the sum of all costs associated with one’s mortgage payment.

When your REALTOR® is talking to you about DS, HOA and PMI, you don’t have to be confused. The above definitions should help you keep your head above the murky waters of jargon that are likely to flood your negotiation process, mortgage, and purchase agreement. Now all you have to worry about is keeping track of your packing boxes when you move into your new home.

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Source: Admin

Creating Home Value Without Breaking the Bank

December 23rd, 2011

Home values have fallen drastically in the last few years and many home owners are desperately looking for ways to boost their value before the time comes to sell. You may think the solution is costly renovations and add-ons, but in reality the best way to add value to your home is to make the best use of what you already have. Here are a few tips.

Creating More Space
Buyers love open floor plans and they want to get the most living space for their money. Big open rooms are in, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to add square footage to your home. Knocking down a key non-structural wall or two creates a better “flow” and can make your home look larger.

The best place to do this is in the kitchen. Buyers consistently prefer more open kitchens so if you have a wall separating your kitchen from your dining room or living room, consider knocking it down and creating one large, open room. Additionally, if your kitchen has an island that is taking up a great deal of floor space, you might want to think about removing it. Islands are wonderful for providing extra counter space and storage but if your kitchen already has enough of both, you can remove the island and make the room seem much larger.

It’s true – proper landscaping boosts the value of your home. Overgrown plants and trees obscure your home, keeping buyers from getting a good look. Additionally, these overgrown plants can block windows and not allow natural light into your home, making it feel darker and dirtier than it actually is. Cosmetics aside, there’s even the possibility of real damage to your home. Poorly cared for trees can drop damaging branches on the roof and cause more damage than a buyer will be willing to pay.

Adding More Light
Bright rooms look bigger and cleaner, and well-used lighting can give a home a rich, sophisticated feel. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go through and install more lighting in every room. Simply opening your curtains and blinds and allowing natural light in can make a huge difference. However, if you have smaller rooms that seem dark and cramped and don’t have enough windows to let in natural light, consider adding some of your own. Bright, high-wattage bulbs will make a small room seem larger, while softer, warmer lights will make a room seem cozy and inviting.

When people think about home improvement before selling their home, they usually think they’ll need to remodel. Luckily, that isn’t the case. Sometimes the most effective home improvement that you can do is simple home maintenance. Most buyers don’t want to buy a home that they will need to fix up. Before putting your home on the market, make sure you tackle any repairs and basic maintenance that you’ve been putting off. Fix any leaks, put in proper insulation in the attic, make sure your air conditioning system is in tip-top shape. Even simple lawn maintenance like weeding makes a big difference. For a couple hundred bucks of repair work, you could boost your home’s value on the market by thousands of dollars and help it stand out in a sea of run-down, un-loved foreclosure properties.

Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency, or “green efficiency”, is becoming increasingly popular. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s better for the wallet. A greener home requires less energy can bring huge savings on your energy bills. That sort of thing is very attractive to buyers in this economy. Increasing energy efficiency in your home can be as simple as replacing an old air conditioning unit or switching out your appliances for newer, more efficient models. You can also take a look at adding solar panels, which will not only bring savings in your energy bills, but will also qualify you for certain tax credits!

Your Front Door
Curb appeal is a huge factor when it comes to determining how valuable your home is to a buyer. This doesn’t just mean nice landscaping and fresh paint. Sometimes to most effective update you can make is to your front door. Replacing an older door with a new, stronger, more attractive model will add an automatic boost to your home value. As another bonus, newer doors are designed to let out less air, increasing that oh-so-desirable energy efficiency.

One of the most effective changes you can make to your home is to update the flooring. Whether you simply need to repair a few pieces of tile or nail down some floorboards, or completely overhaul your home and tear out that out-dated carpet, flooring is important and one of the biggest things that buyers notice.

Updating the Kitchen and Bath
Experts across the board say that your kitchen and your bathrooms are the rooms to update if you want to add to your home value. Like everything else, this doesn’t necessarily require a complete remodel. Replacing fixtures, updating cabinets, cleaning and rethinking outdated design elements (like frosted glass in the bathroom) can give you a big boost in both value and appeal.

A new coat of paint inside your home is always a good idea, and an affordable one too. Remember, when choosing colors, it’s important to go with light, neutral colors. Bright colors add personality but they’re very subjective and you want potential buyers to be able to project their own vision on your home.

The Little Things
If you only pick one tip out of this list, pick this one. This is the most important. If you have any little problems with your home, anything at all – a loose floorboard, a creaky step, chipped paint, a leaky faucet, a broken screen – fix it before putting it on the market. Buyers will notice the little things and even the smallest problem will knock value off your home. Tackle all of those small repair jobs before you try to sell.

The theme of this article is that, in most cases, smaller, more affordable updates can have a more noticeable impact on the value of your home than large add-ons and remodeling. If you’re getting ready to sell, I hope you keep some of these tips in mind.

source: admin

Paying Your Property Taxes

May 28th, 2010

Many of us pay there property taxes in the tax year and claim there taxes on their earnings taxes for that year. As an example, the year 2007, you receive your property tax assessment in December and pay the tax right away. you may then claim the property taxes on your tax. If your wait till Jan of 2008, you’ve got to claim the property taxes for 2008. There are numerous reasons for paying your taxes immediately and there are reasons for waiting till the next year. Deciding when to pay your taxes could be identify by considering your present tax responsibility. If you’re in a higher tax bracket in 2008 than you are in 2007, you might want to wait and pay your property taxes in Jan of 2008. This is going to help lower your total tax culpability in 2008. Other reasons to attend or pay your taxes might also include other discounts you might or might not have in a stipulated year. Everybody has different circumstances for having to pay property taxes in a fixed year. If you sometimes pay your property taxes with a tax return, you have to make certain that you receive the cash before the cut off point established by your community.

If you fail to pay the taxes on time, you may face a penalty and some interest costs. This is so regardless of if you miss it by 1 or 2 days. It is always sensible to have an holding account either established by your home loan bank or one you have yourself in the bank. When you pay your property taxes, you need to make efforts to receive an invoice. This is required for your tax records as well as showing explanation of payment if the community would ever say you continue to owe cash on your taxes. After paying your property tax assessment, you can then claim it on that year’s tax return. Individuals who are low-income and can make an application for a homestead credit will need a copy of the tax demand to send to the state agency that handles the homestead credit.

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