Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What to Avoid When Buying a Home

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, there are some major things you will want to avoid. While some of them may seem like common sense, it can never hurt to see them in writing.

Don’t Move Money Around

When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are most concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.

If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them. The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious and stall progress.

The Effect of Changing Jobs

For most people, changing employers will not really affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan, especially if you are going to be experiencing an increase in pay. For some homebuyers, however, the effects of changing jobs can be disastrous to your loan application.

For salaried employees, it is only beneficial to switch jobs if you will be earning a higher salary. Otherwise, changing positions won’t really affect your mortgage.

For hourly employees, as long as you work around forty hours a week without over-time, your job shouldn’t create any problems.

For commissioned employees, it is important not to change jobs before purchasing a new home. Since changing employers can create uncertainty about your future earnings, it could negatively impact your ability to buy a home. This has to do with how mortgage lenders calculate your income. They average your commissions over the last two years.

For part-time employees, if you earn an hourly income but rarely work forty hours a week, you should not change jobs. There would be no way to tell how many hours you will work each week on the new job, so no way to accurately calculate your income. If you remain on the old job, the lender can just average your earnings.

Avoid Major Purchases of Any Kind

Making major purchase right before you go to get a loan for a new home may not be the wisest decision. Should you buy that motorcycle you have had your eye on? No. Should you splurge on a vacation to a private island? Probably not. What about that 60” LED TV for Sunday’s football game? Uh-uh. You are going to want to avoid making any major purchase that would create additional debt of any kind.

Keep your goal of purchasing St. James NC real estate in your mind at all times. It will keep you from making impulse purchases and ruining your chances of getting a loan. Contact Sea Coast Realty today to start searching for Southport NC homes for sale.
Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nationally: Home building permits soar 17%

Permits for housing contruction soared in December, while initial construction of homes declined, the government reported Wednesday.

"Last month didn't look so hot for construction, but the future looks a lot better," said Mike Larson, a housing industry analyst for Weiss Research.

The number of permits for future housing construction surged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000 last month, up 16.7% from the revised rate of 544,000 in November, the Commerce Department said.

That was the biggest monthly rise since June 2008 and leaves the total number of permits at the highest level since last March, said Larson.

The reading was much higher than expected, with economists surveyed by Briefing.com looking for 560,000 permits.

"We're seeing confidence creeping back into the market -- and while we're not ready to go nuts building yet, with jobs starting to improve I think that's going to be a catalyst to get contruction going," said Larson.

Multi-family home construction -- which tends to be volatile month-to-month -- likely gave a boost to the overall number of permits. But single-family permits also remained solid, rising 5.5% last month and coming in at the highest level in several months, said Larson.

But the picture wasn't as bright for initial construction. Housing starts, the number of new homes being built, slumped 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 in December from a revised 553,000 in November.

Economists were expecting a rate of 550,000 housing starts.

Construction of single-family homes, viewed as a more stable indicator of new homebuilding activity than multi-family home construction, slipped 9% to a rate of 417,000.

New construction has remained sluggish for the past couple years, with starts hovering between the high 400,000s and 600,000s since late 2008. That compares to the peak of the market in 2005, when more than 2 million homes were built.

"It's been a sideways chop, but I think that sideways chop will continue pointing higher as the year goes on," said Larson. "Until you chew through that backlog of inventory, you're not going to have motivation to build more -- but that backlog is being worked on."

Larson said he expects housing starts to head into the 600,000 range again over the next year as the economy continues to recover and builders whittle down their inventories.

"Is 600,000 anything to write home about? No. But right now, I think builders have the once-burned, twice-shy mentality when it comes to real estate," he said. "I don't think we're going to see a huge rebound in construction any time soon, but the market is healing slowly."

Original Article

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Buying a New Home: The Best Investment

When is the right time to purchase a new home? While having your finances in order is a major factor, it can still be challenging to know when it is the right time to make such a large purchase. Understanding the financial benefits of purchasing a new home may help you realize, the right time is right now!

Return on Investment

As a general rule, homes tend to appreciate at about five percent each year. Some years this figure will increase, some years it will decrease. The figure can also vary depending on the neighborhood and region you choose to reside in.

While five percent probably doesn’t have you jumping out of your chair, it may be beneficial for you to take a second look…

Imagine if you bought a $200,000 home, odds are you didn’t pay cash. Instead, you got a mortgage. Supposing you put as much as twenty percent down – that would be an investment of around $40,000.

At an appreciation rate of 5% annually, a $200,000 home would increase in value $10,000 during the first year. That means you would have earned $10,000 on an investment of about $40,000. Your annual “return on investment” would be a whopping twenty-five percent!

Of course, with a new home you are making mortgage payments, paying property taxes and paying for a variety of other miscellaneous costs. However, since the interest on your mortgage and your property taxes are both tax deductible, the government is essentially subsidizing your home purchase.

The rate of return on your Jacksonville NC new home or Wilmington NC real estate would be higher than almost any other investment you could make.

Income Tax Savings

Understanding your income tax savings can help you better comprehend how investing in a new home is practical. Because of income tax deductions, the government is basically subsidizing your purchase of a home. All of the interest and property taxes you pay in a given year can be deducted from your gross income to reduce your taxable income.

For example, assume your initial loan balance is $150,000 with an interest rate of eight percent. During the first year you would pay $9969.27 in interest. If your first payment is January 1st, your taxable income would be almost $10,000 less – due to the IRS interest rate deduction.

Not to mention, property taxes are deductible, too. Whatever property taxes you pay in a given year may also be deducted from your gross income, lowering your overall tax obligation.

Forced Savings

If you are thinking, but I’m lousy at saving money, you aren’t alone. Many people struggle with saving money, but by investing your money wisely in a new home, it can be like creating an automatic savings account. Your savings will accumulate in two major ways. Every month, a portion of your house payment goes toward the principal. Admittedly, in the early years of the mortgage, this is not very much. However, over time it begins to accelerate.

Secondly, your home appreciates. While the rate from year to year will vary slightly, your home will appreciate approximately five percent per year. History has shown that over time, owning a home can be one of the best financial investments an individual can make.

How do you begin searching for your dream home? Contact Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty to learn about the Brunswick County Real Estate Market!
Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
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Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate

Brunswick Community College helps foster green business

Politicians are promoting the creation of small businesses, and the nation's environmentalists are advocating for reduced waste and energy consumption and increased productivity.

Brunswick Community College is beginning a new series of courses to meet both of these goals.

This month, BCC's Economic and Workforce Development Center is launching a Green Information and Training Center (GITC) tha twill offer courses to inform and train the community in environmental sustainability issues and practices. The first course, which begins this month, will be “REAL Sustainable Ag-Entrepreneurship Business101 for Farmers.”

It will be a hands-on course focusing on the traits of a successful agricultural entrepreneur.

It will also help students identify business opportunities and develop a business strategy that incorporates a “sustainability score card.

”Future courses will include “The Impact of Building to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) on Contractors,” “Solar Installer Training,” and “How to do a Sustainability Audit & Implement Changes.”

“We're at the beginning of a world that is going to be different,” said Marilyn Graham, GITC coordinator. “In the past, tree huggers and businessmen didn't go together, but that's changing.”
Environmental advocacy groups are putting pressure on businesses, government and educational institutions to be more environmentally responsible.
In addition, studies have shown the favorable economic impact of energy-saving initiatives. More meters Graham said BCC is taking a leadership role in promoting this new movement, both through its new course offerings and through changes recently implemented on campus.
“You can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk,” said Graham, “and BCC has made a number of changes to do that. ”Golf carts have replaced some vehicles, meters have been installed in every building to measure energy usage, light sensors are now in several rooms, low flow water regulators have been installed, and there is increased use of signs for recycling.

Graham plans to expand the program to involve the community. She is establishing a Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from schools, county and local municipalities, and businesses to identify the community's training needs.

The group will hold its first meeting Jan. 27 at BCC's Leland location. This will be followed by a “Sustainability Symposium” on March 25, which will be open to residents of Brunswick and the surrounding counties.

Plans include seminars, a Q&A panel discussion and workshops, along with exhibitors from agriculture, industry, manufacturing and business. As Velva Jenkins, assistant vice president for economic and workforce development, put it, “Sustainability developmentis about making better choices as a community or a business leader. The GITC courses have been developed to provide the tools and information to do exactly that.”Ken
Original Article
Keegan Real Estate Broker
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Year End Sold Stats for St. James

In 2010, a total of 113 properties were sold in St. James Plantation.

Here is a breakdown of those sales:

Total Home Sales: 69
Average List Price: $430,183
Median List Price: $400,000
Highest List Price: $860,000
Average Sale Price: $403,155
Median Sale Price: $397,691
Highest Sale Price: $725,000
Home Sold At An Average of 93.71% Of Their List Price
Average Days On Market: 273

Days on Market Breakdown
Average Days On Market: 273

0-30 Days: 2 Homes Sold
31-60 Days: 3 Homes Sold
61-90 Days: 5 Homes Sold
91-120 Days: 8 Homes Sold
121+ Days: 51 Homes Sold

Total Lot Sales: 44
Average List Price: $153,534
Median List Price: $149,500
Highest List Price: $375,000
Average Sale Price: $136,177
Median Sale Price: $130,000
Highest Sale Price: $360,000
Lots Sold At An Average of 88.69% Of Their List Price

Days on Market Breakdown
Average Days On Market: 189

0-30 Days: 7 Lots Sold
31-60 Days: 5 Lots Sold
61-90 Days: 4 Lots Sold
91-120 Days: 4 Lots Sold
121+ Days: 24 Lots Sold

For More Information Contact:
Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate