Wed Feb 05 22:23:00 UTC 2014

Find a Better Return

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Return on Investment.pngA certificate of deposit will generate a cash flow based on the interest rate that it pays which is the only way it generates a return for the investor.

An investment in a stock that doesn’t pay dividends, would need to be worth more than you paid for it to earn a profit.  On the other hand, a stock that paid dividends could make the investor a profit even if it sold for the same price that he paid for it.

Investors can profit four different ways with an investment in rental real estate.

1. Cash flows that result from having a surplus after collecting the rent and paying the expenses.

2. Equity build-up results from a portion of each monthly payment reducing the unpaid balance.

3. Tax benefits can result from the depreciation allowed on the property and the preferential long-term capital gains tax rate.

4. Appreciation benefits the investor when the value of the property increases.

The most conservative investors in real estate make decisions to purchase a rental property based on its ability to generate a cash flow and reduce the mortgage through normal amortization.  If the property can offer an acceptable rate of return compared to other available investments, the tax benefits and possible appreciation become an added bonus.

With increased rents and low mortgage rates for investors, rental property can offer significantly higher returns than many of the available alternatives.  Contact me for more information- Lisa@LisaAThompson.com; you may be amazed about what is available in the market.

Tue Dec 27 20:32:00 UTC 2011

"This Year I'm Going To..."

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Every year, it seems like the same things are on the list but this could be the year you really do invest in a rental home.

Rents are climbing, home prices are cheap and mortgage rates are low for even non-owner occupied properties. A $125,000 home with 20% down payment can easily have a $300 to $500 monthly cash flow after paying all of the expenses.

There are lots of investment strategies that work but one that is easy to understand and execute is to stay with below average price range homes in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods. These properties will appeal to the broadest range of tenants while you hold them and buyers when you're ready to sell.

Single family homes offer an opportunity to borrow high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed rates for long terms on appreciating assess with tax advantages and reasonable control

This is the year to make some real progress on your resolutions. First, invest some time learning about rental properties by attending a FREE webinar on January 4th at 7:00 PM Central time by national real estate speaker Pat Zaby. Click here to register.

Tue Dec 20 19:06:00 UTC 2011

Last Minute Gifts Without Shopping

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

What do they want? What do they need? Will it fit? Do they already have one? These are the common thoughts running through our minds when trying to find the perfect gift.

The gift of really listening with no interrupting, no daydreaming and no planning your response is exactly what people want when they have something important to say.

The gift of affection with appropriate hugs, kisses and pats on the back can demonstrate your love for family and friends better than words.

The gift of laughter by sharing cartoons and funny stories will say "I love to laugh with you."

The gift of a simple written note shows sincerity and real heartfelt sentiment that may be remembered for a lifetime and could even change a life.

The gift of a sincere compliment supports a person's need to be accepted and appreciated. "You look great in that color", "That was outstanding" or "I really enjoyed that" can make someone's day.

The gift of random kindness or good deeds like holding a door or allowing someone to move ahead of you in a checkout lane shows respect for others.

Your smile, however, may be your most rewarding gift. Invariably, the person receiving the smile will in turn, smile back. The gift you gave will now be given back to you. It will be the right size and you can always use one more.

Tue Dec 13 19:33:00 UTC 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

You don't have to be Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to feel like there's no place like home.

Home is a place to call your own. It's a place to raise your family and share with your friends. It's a place to create memories. A home is a place to feel safe and secure.

Inspect all of your decorations and electrical lighting before using them. While you're enjoying the holidays this year, it's important to pay attention to some of the things that may affect your safety.

  • Extension cords should not be placed under the carpet or rugs or bundled together which could cause overheating.
  • Limit three standard size sets of lights to a single extension cord.
  • Consider using portable or permanent ground fault circuit interrupters with all lighting to avoid possible shocks.
  • Turn off holiday lights when you leave the home or got to bed.
  • Avoid using candles near trees or wreaths.
  • Do not allow natural trees to dry out during the time they're displayed to potential fire hazard.
  • Make certain that all trees are on a firm, steady base to avoid tipping over.
  • Don't burn wrapping paper in fireplaces.
  • Small children are particularly susceptible to accidents and should be protected from potential harm.
Here's hoping your time at home is special during this holiday season. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

Wed Dec 07 15:45:00 UTC 2011

Finding the Best Deal

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Consumers are vigilant about buying opportunities like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday along with sales, coupons and rebates.  Some cautious buyers will even risk shopping early to find exactly what they want to waiting until the last moment for potentially lower prices.

In retail, the hype is more obvious and the signs may be easier to read than that of the home market.  Certainly, volumes have been written about the record low mortgage rates and that home prices have adjusted considerably lower in the last four years.

A more subtle indication of a home buying bargain is that statistics indicate that year-after-year, the average home prices fall in the fourth quarter.  The holidays beginning with Thanksgiving, winter weather and the distractions of gift purchases certainly contribute to lower home sales.  

Regardless of what is causing the reduced volume, the smart buyer can take advantage of the end of the year to get their best possible deal on a home purchase.  The buyers willing to buck the trend could easily benefit from lower prices and less competition from other buyers.

Tue Nov 29 22:40:00 UTC 2011

Why Pay Full Price?

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

No one wants to pay more than its value regardless of the product. When you buy bananas for 49 cents a pound at one store and see them for 39 cents a pound at another store, it's not the ten cent difference as much as it is about overpaying.

It seems like the natural way to start the negotiation process is to offer less than the asking price for the home. However, instead of the price, a buyer could negotiate condition, timing or terms. A few thousand dollars off the price may not make much difference in the monthly payments but it might make a big difference if it was negotiated in one of the other areas.

A buyer who only has enough available funds for down payment and closing costs will have to live in a home exactly the way it is for some time. They may not be able to make the changes that would really make it feel like home until they've saved more money.

Let's say you found a home that needed $5,000 worth of improvements and the seller would lower the price by that amount. Financing those improvements with a separate bank loan will result in higher payments due to a higher interest rate and shorter term than your mortgage.

Offering full price and asking the seller to make the improvements will result in lower monthly payments based on today's low mortgage rates and 30 year term. Another alternative is to negotiate with the seller to pay your closing costs so you'd have the cash to make the improvements.

Paying full price may cause the seller to consider concessions regarding condition or terms which can be balanced to affect the value of the property. Buyers can and should negotiate to acquire the home that meets their needs at the lowest possible cost of housing.

Tue Nov 22 18:22:00 UTC 2011

The Best Way Home

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

"It's not far, if you know the way." Maybe it is an obvious statement but there are some definite steps that will improve your success in buying a home in today's market.

  1. Know you credit score - the best mortgage rates are available to borrowers with the highest scores. Unless you know what your credit score is at all three major bureaus, you don't really know what rate you'll have to pay.
  2. Clean up your credit - it is estimated that about 90% of credit reports have errors. Some are not serious but others could affect a borrower from getting the best loan terms. It is your responsibility to know what is on your different reports and correct them if possible. You're entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.
  3. Get pre-approved - Taking the time to make a loan application with a qualified lender even before you start looking at homes will provide peace of mind, make sure that you are looking at the "right" homes and may help you negotiate the best price on the home you select.
  4. Do your homework - when you find the home that meets your needs and desires, research the tax assessments, school ratings, crime activity, possible zoning changes and comparable sales in the area.
As your real estate professional I can definitely help you with these important strategies to invest in a home to call your own, raise your family, feel safe and secure and share with your friends. Call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional; there really is a difference.

Tue Nov 15 23:13:00 UTC 2011

Waiting Might Cost MORE!

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

The housing market has been in a downward trend for four years. There is some speculation that inventories will not reduce any time soon which will be necessary for prices to rise. However, there are other factors that can increase the cost of housing, specifically mortgages. FHA accounts for a large percentage of the current housing loans and is expected to be even more prominent when the Qualified Residential Mortgage Guidelines go into effect next year.

  1. Rising rates are almost certain, due to looming inflation fueled by higher gas and food prices and the enormous amount of deficit spending
  2. FHA loan limits have been reduced – they are lower than conventional limits in most markets and FHA has suggested that they might be reduced further.
  3. FHA might increase the down payment to 5% or higher in an effort to have a more secure loan that will have less likelihood of going to foreclosure.
  4. FHA might decrease the amount of seller contributions in a similar move to require the buyer to have a larger investment in the home and therefore be a more “qualified” borrower.
  5. Congress may decide to increase the up-front MIP to build up the FHA reserves. The annual MIP has been adjusted twice since October 2010 when the Up-Front MIP was actually reduced.
  6. Due to tougher conventional requirements, demand for FHA loans could exceed maximum annual insurable limits. If Congress is having a hard time raising the limit on national debt, they might not even consider raising the limits for FHA.

In an effort to solidify the lending industry, qualifying is becoming harder for the buyer and more expensive at the same time. Many of the rules changes could go into effect next year. In addition, market factors could easily play a role in increasing buyer’s costs. Waiting will very probably require a larger up-front investment for buyers in the future.

Wed Nov 09 16:21:00 UTC 2011

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Rarely, does one size fit everyone and the same goes for advice. The following suggestion is not right for everyone. However, for people with job security and who don't own a home; for people with good credit and enough savings for a down payment, there may never be a better time to buy a home.

Homes have had a significant price correction but in many markest, they have started to rise again. The lower prices combined with historically low interest rates make this an opportune time to buy a home if you can afford it.

One of the reasons homes are an attractive investment is that fact that you can use a small down payment and finance the balance for 30 years. The principle, called leverage, allows you to earn a return on the value of the home rather than the actual cash investment. Small appreciation can create a large rate of return on the initial investment of the down payment and closing costs.

The following example is a projection at the end of five years for a $175,000 home with 3% closing costs and a 5% interest rate for a 30 year term. The rate you see in each column is an annual rate of return based on the equity of the home at the end of the five year period due to both appreciation and amortization of the loan.

The nature of positive leverage will cause the returns to be higher with a smaller down payment. As you see in the table, the return is higher on the 3.5% down payment than with the 10% or 20% down payment.

If you're curious to see if this advice might fit your situation, you really need to sit down with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can help you assess your position. It's worth the time because there may never be a better opportunity than now.

Tue Nov 01 15:11:00 UTC 2011

Family & Friends' Mortgages

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

It all seems perfectly reasonable: one person is not satisfied with what he can earn currently in the market and another wants to find the most attractive mortgage to purchase their home. It can be a good match but the IRS has specific rules that govern the transaction.

The loan must be done in a business-like manner with a written note specifying the loan amount, interest rate, term and collateral. IRS requires that the mortgage be a recorded lien in order to allow the interest deduction.

Sometimes, these friends and family situations have a less than normal interest rate on the mortgage. However, the rate charged in the note is regulated by the minimum applicable federal rate which is published monthly by IRS according to current Treasury securities. For October 2011, the rate is 2.95% for terms over nine years.

The seller must report the interest paid to them along with the name, address and Social Security number on schedule B when the buyer uses the property as their principal residence.

A mortgage between family and friends can be good for both parties. It may allow the borrower a slightly lower rate without the expenses of a traditional lender while giving the note holder a higher rate than they can earn in available investments. Your tax professional can guide the transaction whether you're a buyer or seller and your real estate professional can help arrange to have the documents drawn and filed.

Wed Oct 26 01:11:00 UTC 2011

Yours or Theirs

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

It takes money to buy a home: yours or theirs. If you're not going to pay cash for a home, you need to find out exactly what you can borrow and what it will cost before you start looking at homes.

The mortgage process is not as clear cut a path as it was a few years ago. It is certainly more complex, takes longer and assumes that you're credit worthy. If you have less than stellar credit, a trusted mortgage professional can advise you how to improve your individual situation.

You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get a copy of each from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Read the reports to determine if they're accurate. Surprisingly, about 90% of all reports have errors.

You can try to correct them directly with the credit bureau, but a trusted mortgage professional can help you with this process too. They have tools that are not available to individuals. Some errors may not be serious but others will keep a person from qualifying.

Housing affordability is at a near record height due to the incredibly low interest rates and low home prices. Some areas are experiencing absorption of the inventories which could impact price. If you're going to use "their" money to buy a home, the first step is to talk to a trusted mortgage professional. Call me for the name of a trusted mortgage professional.

 

Sat Oct 22 03:36:00 UTC 2011

Do you know someone struggling with their mortgage?

Posted by: Lisa Thompson


I'm writing because our area had an alarming up-tick in foreclosures in the last 30 days. We all know someone who is struggling to make their mortgage payments. Those of us who bought a home over the past few years, had no idea about the kind of economic upheaval that was going to follow. I have been watching trends in real estate for over 25 years and while I knew a bubble was coming, even I did not see the magnitude of this mortgage crisis. In fact, it appears that no one actually anticipated what was in store for those of us here in the epicenter of the auto industry.

But here we are. An estimated one fourth of the mortgage holders in the country owe more on their home than its current market value and I suspect that number is higher in Oakland and Macomb counties. One out of seven are in some state of default or foreclosure. And possibly, the most troubling statistic of all: the vast majority of homeowners who end up foreclosing on their home, do so without ever reaching out for help or attempt a short sale. Sad!

As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) it is my mission to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and to help them get their lives on a positive path. If you, or anyone you care about is faced with an unmanageable mortgage, please know that I am here to help. My team's goal is to make a positive impact on those affected here in Metro Detroit. I invite you to visit my website or forward this link www.GwenCanHelp.com, for a copy of my most recent report entitled, “Need a Helping Hand? If your Mortgage and the Market Have Tossed You a Curve, You’re Not Alone.”

More help is available for financially distressed homeowners now, than ever before. In spite of what you may read, we have been very successful in navigating these programs for our clients that are affected. This is no time to go it alone, and the time to contact me about getting on the path toward financial stability is NOW! The biggest mistake most people make is waiting until it's too late for us to be able help. Pass this along to anyone who might need advice. We're doing our part to turn the market around, one homeowner at a time.

There is hope,

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Fri Oct 21 02:50:00 UTC 2011

"I Do" Want a Home

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Forget Macy's and Crate & Barrel. Set up your bridal registry at the bank and use the funds for the FHA down payment on a home. This could be perfect for people getting married who already have their household items and really need help getting into a home.

FHA has had this little known program that allows cash gifts since 1996. Sellers, builders, real estate agents or anyone with a financial interest are restricted fom making a gift contribution. It's not difficult to set up and it's available with any FHA lender.

  1. Inform your mortgage professional early of your intention to obtain all or part of your down payment from gifts to the FHA homeowner bridal registry.
  2. Open a savings account at your bank named "bridal registry account"
  3. Friends and family are given account deposit information
Gift registries are commonplace and really benefit both the giver and recipient. Etiquette websites like Emily Post state that alternative registries are acceptable. Couples are now suggesting to friends and family that they want help with their honeymoon, education or furnishing a home.
Interestingly, this program is not limited to people intending to be married. It is available for other situations where gifts are typically received by individuals. Other occasions could include graduation from college or graduate school.

Fri Oct 21 01:49:00 UTC 2011

IRS Rules Regarding a Sale by Surviving Spouse

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

I don't care how expected it is, the death of a spouse leaves the surviving spouse reeling and with a thousand questions. It's good to know that the IRS has given special consideration regarding the sale of their jointly-owned principal residence after the death of a spouse. If the surviving spouse does not remarry prior to the sale of the home, they may qualify to exclude up to $500,000 of gain instead of the $250,000 exclusion for single people.

  • The sale needs to take place no more than two years after the date of death of the spouse
  • Surviving spouse must not have remarried
  • Both spouses must have used the home as their principal residences for two of the last five years prior to the death
  • Both spouses must have owned the home for two of the last five years prior to the death
  • Neither spouse may have excluded gain from the sale of another principal residence during the last two years prior to the death
If you have been widowed in the last two years and have gain in your principal residence, it would be worth investigating the possibilities. Contact your tax professional for advice about your specific situation. Contact me to find out what your home is worth in today's market. See IRS Publication 523 - surviving spouse.

Thu Oct 20 18:24:00 UTC 2011

Sale by Surviving Spouse

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Wed Oct 19 00:06:00 UTC 2011

Home Energy Audit

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Wed Oct 19 00:06:00 UTC 2011

Keep Track of Improvements

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Fri Aug 19 12:35:00 UTC 2011

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

The President predict another two years before the housing market stabilizes. (http://ping.fm/nlRsC). Lisa Thompson

Sat Apr 16 23:35:00 UTC 2011

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

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Sun Apr 10 17:16:00 UTC 2011

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Century 21 SGR participated in the City Of Chicago's Bungalow Expo. It was a fabulous event.  If you weren't be sure to attend next year.Lis
Century 21 SGR participated in the City Of Chicago's Bungalow Expo. It was a fabulous event. If you weren't be sure to attend next year.Lisa Thompson

Sun Apr 10 17:13:00 UTC 2011

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

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Fri Mar 18 11:46:00 UTC 2011

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Free First Time Home Buyer Class held 3/18/11 at 1:00PM @ Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park, Chicago). Please join me it is free. Sponsors Community Male Empowerment Project, Chase Bank, and Century 21 S.G.R.

Tue Nov 30 13:21:00 UTC 2010

It Pays to Help Workers Buy a Home - BusinessWeek

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

Great news, a number of employers are offering home buying programs in which they give its employees funds to purchase a home. Check out this article and let me know if you need more information. It Pays to Help Workers Buy a Home - BusinessWeek

Sun Nov 21 01:59:00 UTC 2010

Solutions for the Economy

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

We must all take steps, together in order to reverse the impact of foreclosures. Solutions for the Economy

Sun Nov 21 01:55:00 UTC 2010

Foreclosure as a Last Resort

Posted by: Lisa Thompson

According to this article foreclosures can be stopped. I attended the National Association of Realtor's conference a couple of weeks ago and based on what Chief Economist Lawrence Yun presented unless we create new jobs at the rate of 100,000 jobs per month it will take us more than six years to recover from our current plight. Foreclosure as a Last Resort