DON’T run out and GET MARRIED (yet)!

Planning your wedding without planning your future is planning for disaster. Take some time to set yourself up to win!

All partnerships should be planned well, and the LGBT community has been waiting for this news for so long, that many will not think about all of the financial consequences of their timing and we have all done things quickly and passionately and later said “I wish I had thought that through better”. Getting married is about planning a life together, so ask your partner, “do we want to buy a home?” If the answer is “yes”, then the next question should be, “when?”.  Then go and talk to a mortgage specialist to find out if you should get married first or buy a home first.

Why? Here is a real scenario that happened to one of my clients; Gina was about to buy her first house, with her dad co-signing. Gina was dating Brad at the time. We were about 2 weeks from closing the deal when Gina and Brad, decided to suddenly get married without telling anyone. Now I don’t care that they did not tell their parents or their friends, but they did not tell their Realtor or Loan Officer. Guess what? Brad had bad credit. Gina could buy the house easily unmarried, but as soon as she married someone with bad credit, they hit a huge stumbling block. Had they just asked a couple of questions before they tied the knot, they could be married and living in the house that they owned together (Community Property State). If he had good credit and IRS liens, it would have been the same result!

I read a blog yesterday that said that Friday’s Supreme Court decision will make it easier for the LGBT community to get mortgages, now that they can get married. What an ignorant statement! Mortgage lenders cannot discriminate for or against married couples and unmarried people have been buying homes for years successfully. Sometime they are able to do it because they are unmarried! (one get’s a mortgage and then puts the other on Title after the close of escrow) **

Love is great! I a huge fan! And planning a life together should involve a good plan. By the way, I’m sure their are other financial considerations 2 people should consider in their plan . . . this is just the biggest one that I can think of at the moment.

If you are in Nevada or California, Call Tracy Logan with W.J.Bradley Mortgage Capital. She is a rock star! 866-563-0727

** By the way, if one of you has IRS liens, do not put that person on Title even after the close of escrow, or you will not have a happy relationship, and in certain states, you would want to pay the IRS liens before getting married.

The Mechanics of Buying Real Estate

I talk a lot about the good deals in Las Vegas, but I think it’s fair to say that some of you who read this may not even be familiar with how to purchase a property, for an investment or personal use. If you have only done it once or twice, or if you have never done it, there may be some things you don’t know.

Unless you are paying cash, finding the right home starts with finding a good lender. You need to know how much home you can afford, how much money you will need for down payment, and closing costs, and what your monthly payments will be, before your real estate taxes and insurance. A lender can pre-approve you for a loan and issue an approval letter. This is imperative when you are negotiating on real estate! If more than one comparable offer has been received and none of them are cash offers, the seller will always choose the buyer who has the financing in place. Many sellers will not even look at your offer without a pre-approval letter. (If you need lender recommendations, I have them for you!) Of course, cash is still king!

The next step is determining which neighborhoods you prefer within your budget. Since the first rule of real estate is location, location, location, if the property will be your home, I suggest choosing the best community you can afford even if it means choosing a somewhat smaller or less luxurious home, as long as it will accommodate your lifestyle comfortably. Then when you are ready to sell the home and move on you will be assured of a better pool of buyers. Of course location is important for investment properties as well. You want to be in a neighborhood poised for appreciation, but where the tenants are not going to have the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) after you all of the time. Make sure you look into the real estate taxes and insurance costs when determining affordability, and know that landlords have different types of insurance coverage than homeowners. (If you need a great insurance agent, let me know.)

Once you have identified several neighborhoods to look in, I can customize your search to fit your special needs. I can search by size, number of bedrooms & garages, school zones, lot size, pools, fireplaces, floor plan style, etc. I will preview the homes for you, and only show you the ones I know are the best on the market for price and condition. And don’t worry, you will know the home when you walk into it! It will feel like your space. For investors, the best buys typically have more bedrooms and less square footage.

Next we need to negotiate an offer with the seller, often a bank. The two most crucial points in the contract will be the selling price and the closing date. To find the proper offer price, we will do a market analysis on the neighborhood for you and determine how much other similar homes have been selling for. The seller will not want to spend a lot of time waiting for you, however you must have a reasonable time to inspect the property and evaluate the HOA. Then your lender’s job (if you have one) is to close quickly.

Don’t be afraid to offer the seller an amount that the property is really worth – having said that, if a property is priced right to begin with and you waste time making low offers to save even more, someone else is likely to swoop in and buy it out from under you. Sometimes trying to save a couple of thousand dollars is not worth losing the home of your dreams or a great investment property.

After the offer is accepted it is time to choose a home inspector. I always recommend having one. In fact, if the property is bank owned, I suggest spending a few dollars more and getting an engineer to inspect. Your inspector will go through the home and up in the attics checking all the major systems. They will find defects a normal buyer could not reasonably expect to discover and often the seller doesn’t know about them either. A few hundred dollars invested here can save you thousands. Of course also understand that the inspector’s job is to point out every single defect in the property, so don’t let your inspector scare you away.

The lender will eventually be sending out an appraiser. The appraiser’s job is to make sure you are not paying more than fair market value for the property.

Just before you have ‘closed’ on the purchase, contact the utilities to get those into your name including water, sewer and trash. If you will be hiring contractors to do work, you will want to schedule them now, as the good ones are usually busy.

The day of the closing you will want to do a final walk through of the home. (I can do that for you if you are not in Las Vegas) You will check to make sure everything in the home is still in good working condition and anything that the seller was supposed to fix has been. Then we will go to the escrow office to sign the final loan documents and turn in a cashier’s check for the balance of the down payment and closing costs. Of course if you aren’t in Las Vegas, this will be done by overnight courier and wire transfers.

The day your home is recorded at the county recorder’s office is the day you get your keys. You can now either begin to work on it, move in or get it rented!

Are you ready to buy real estate in Las Vegas? Visit www.MyFastEasySale.com, click the “Wholesale Buyers” link, and fill out the form. Let’s get you going.

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Understanding the new homebuyer tax credit for first-time buyers

If you have recently purchased your first home, or are considering doing so in the next year, here is good news for you . . .

If you have recently purchased your first home, or are considering doing so in the next year, here is good news for you!

One of the programs included in the new housing bill signed by President Bush recenlty is a $7,500 homebuyer tax credit.  While this tax credit has benefits, it is important to understand that this “tax credit” is actually an interest-free loan which will be repaid over a period of 15 years. 

Below is a Q&A that summarizes the program’s features that was put together by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Q: What is the Amount of Credit?
A: 10 percent of the cost of home, not to exceed $7,500

Q: What properties are eligible?
A: Any single-family residence (including condos, co-ops) that will be used as a principal residence.

Q: Is the tax credit refundable?
A: Yes.  It reduces income tax liability for the year of purchase.  Claimed on tax return for that tax year.

Q: Is there an income limit?
A: Yes.  The full amount of credit is available for individuals with adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return).  The benefit of the credit phases out above those caps ($95,000 and $170,000, respectively).

Q: Is this program for first-time homebuyers only?
A: Yes.  A portion (6.67 % of credit) has to be repaid each year for 15 years.  If the home sold before 15 years, then the remainder of credit recaptured on sale.

Q: What is the effective date of the program?
A: The credit is good on home purchases on or after April 9, 2008

Q: When does the program conclude?
A: July 1, 2009

Q: What is the tax credit’s interaction with Alternative Minimum Tax?
A: The credit can be used against AMT, so credit will not throw individual into AMT.