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August
20

Have you been thinking about buying a home?  Here are five good reasons published on the KCM Blog from Eric Belsky, Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University.  He published a paper on homeownershipThe Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America in which he detailed the points below:

 

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

"Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more."

2.) You're paying for housing whether you own or rent. 

"Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord."

3.) Owning is usually a form of "forced savings".

"Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people's tendency to defer savings to another day."

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

"Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income...On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain."

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

"Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition."

 

If you are considering purchasing a home, contact a Lawyers Realty Agent today to learn about the home buying process and representation that protects your interests.  717-364-3000

February
13

The internet continues to grow as the primary resource for home buyers.  According to The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate the internet is a primary research tool for 90% of home buyers.  The study also found that real estate Google searches have increased 253% over the past four years.  Internet home searchers are also going mobile in large numbers.  

What does this mean if I'm selling my home?  Exposure on the internet is key, including appearance in pictures and virtual tours (attracting buyers to look at your home in person).  Lawyers Realty is exceptionally positioned for the internet age buyer - our website features our listings as well as those across Central Pennsylvania.  Our mobile site will also allow buyers to find the information they need where they need it.

Contact a Lawyers Realty Agent today to talk about the importance of the internet in buying or selling your home (717) 364-3000.    

July
27

The search for a new home can be an exciting one; however, before you begin your quest for that dream home, your REALTOR® would require that one of your first steps would be to meet with a mortgage lender.  This individual will help you determine the price range at which you should be looking and at the end of the meeting if all goes well you should find yourself pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. 

What is one of the primary factors that go into a lender's decision of whether or not to grant a loan? Credit scores.  It has been estimated that nearly 75% of all mortgage loan decisions are made with the applicant's credit score in mind. 

The importance of credit scores in mortgage decisions and real estate transactions has risen over the past decades, and this is in large part due to what the lenders call risk-based mortgage pricing.  Essentially, the lender will make a decision on a mortgage based on how much risk is involved in the transaction.  If an individual has a credit score below 700 (which I'm sure none of you do), then that tells the lender that they are at higher risk of defaulting on their obligation to pay, and that will be reflected in the loan that they propose.  They may be offered a higher interest rate.
 
Now before you rush off to a free credit report website in a wave of panic, please keep in mind that a credit score is not a permanent and accurate representation of who you are as a person, and many mortgage lenders understand that.  It is important to find a lender who can see you as an individual with your own story.  That is not to say that you should ask them to completely disregard a credit score of 450 and give you a loan for that million dollar home, but there are some lenders out there who are willing to work with a low credit score, owing to the fact that you are not a number, but a person.  They will take into account things like your rental history.
 
That being said, it can't hurt to try and raise your score before meeting with a lender, and there are many ways to do this.  Getting a credit card and keeping up with the payments is a quick and easy way to improve your credit and show lenders that you are serious.  In the end, that is all the lenders want.  They want to know that you are a responsible borrower and understand the value of a positive credit history, and a high credit score will give them a good first impression. 

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