As a fairly general rule, homes appreciate about five percent a year. Some years will be more, some less. The figure will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and region to region.
Five percent may not seem like that much at first. Stocks (at times) appreciate much more, and you could earn over six percent with the safest investment of all, treasury bonds.
But take a second look…
Presumably, if you bought a $200,000 house, you did not pay cash for the home. You got a mortgage, too. Suppose you put as much as twenty percent down – that would be an investment of $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 earned $10,000 with an investment of $40,000. Your annual “return on investment” would be a whopping twenty-five percent.
Of course, you are making mortgage payments and paying property taxes, along with a couple of other costs. However, since the interest on your mortgage and your property taxes are both tax deductible, the government is essentially subsidizing your home purchase.
Your rate of return when buying a home is higher than most any other investment you could make.
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.
Property taxes are deductible, too. Whatever property taxes you pay in a given year may also be deducted from your gross income, lowering your tax obligation.
When you rent a place to live, you can certainly expect your rent to increase each year – or even more often. If you get a fixed rate mortgage when you buy a home, you have the same monthly payment amount for thirty years. Even if you get an adjustable rate mortgage, your payment will stay within a certain range for the entire life of the mortgage – and interest rates aren’t as volatile now as they were in the late seventies and early eighties.
Imagine how much rent might be ten, fifteen, or even thirty years from now? Which makes more sense?
Some people are just lousy at saving money, and a house is an automatic savings account. You accumulate savings in two ways. Every month, a portion of your payment goes toward the principal. Admittedly, in the early years of the mortgage, this is not much. Over time, however, it accelerates.
Second, your home appreciates. Average appreciation on a home is approximately five percent, though it will vary from year to year, and in some years may even depreciate.. Over time, history has shown that owning a home is one of the very best financial investments.
When you rent, you are normally limited on what you can do to improve your home. You have to get permission to make certain types of improvements. Nor does it make sense to spend thousand of dollars painting, putting in carpet, tile or window coverings when the main person who benefits is the landlord and not you.
Since your landlord wants to keep his expenses to a minimum, he or she will probably not be spending much to improve the place, either.
When you own a home, however, you can do pretty much whatever you want. You get the benefits of any improvements you make, plus you get to live in an environment you have created, not some faceless landlord.
Both indoors and outdoors, you will probably have more space if you own your own home. Even moving to a condominium from an apartment, you are likely to find you have much more room available – your own laundry and storage area, and bigger rooms.
Apartment complexes are more interested in creating the maximum number of income-producing units than they are in creating space for each of the tenants.
If you are moving to a home for the first time, you are going to be very pleased with all the new space you have available. You may have to even buy more “stuff.”
The Business Cycle and Buying a Home
There are times when the economy is brisk and everyone feels confident about his or her prospects for the future. As a result, they spend money. People eat out more, buy new cars, and…they buy new homes.
Then, for one reason or another, the economy slows down. Companies lay off employees and consumers are more careful about where they spend money, perhaps saving more than usual. As a result, the economy decelerates even further. If it slows enough, we have a recession.
During such a time, fewer people are buying homes. Even so, some homeowners find themselves in a situation where they must sell. Families grow beyond the capacity of the home, employees get relocated, and some may even find themselves unable to make their mortgage payment – perhaps because of a layoff in the family.
In the business cycle of real estate, there are buyers’ markets and sellers’ markets…and some markets in between. It is all based on supply and/or demand.
During sellers’ markets, homes sell quickly and sellers have a lot of pricing power. As a result, prices rise more rapidly than at other times. During buyers’ markets, homes may sit on the market for a while before selling, so sellers become more flexible and may even drop their prices.
The market is determined by supply and demand.
In real estate, the relationship between supply and demand is calculated as “available inventory.” At the current sales pace, how long would it take to sell the total number of houses available on the market? That is how the real estate industry measures inventory. Inventory is measured in weeks and months. Longer inventory times are associated with buyers’ markets. Shorter inventory periods are associated with sellers’ markets. Some buyers and sellers hope to time their purchase to take advantage of market cycles.
If you are thinking about buying a home in the near future, call us today and we will get you a complete buyers packet FREE of charge that will guide you through each step of the buying process.
Right now we are also offering BUYER INCENTIVES. When you buy a home through us we will give you, at closing, a gas card, a home warranty, or a Visa Gift Card just for using us to purchase your new home!
Things to Consider before Purchasing a Home
When you get a raise or accumulate some savings, you may find yourself confronted by an innate instinct of modern civilized men and women.
The desire to spend money.
It begins simply, by going out to restaurants, then accelerates to purchasing clothing, electronic gadgets, and since North Americans have a special fondness for the automobile, you may even buy a “brand new car.”
If you’re married or ambitious, a few months later your thoughts eventually turn toward buying your own home. Or a move-up home, if you are already a homeowner.
Next, you contact a loan officer to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. You state your desired price and how much you can put down. You provide your income and may even supply pay stubs and W2 forms. The loan officer methodically crunches the numbers (by telephone, in person, or even over the internet).
“If only you didn’t have this car payment…”
Take this advice and apply it to any major purchase that would create debt of any kind. This includes furniture, appliances, electronic equipment, jewelry, vacations, expensive weddings…
…and automobiles, of course. Wait until after you purchase a home and then decide how much you can afford to put towards the extras that you WANT not necessarily NEED!.
When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are 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.
Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it “easier,” could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.
So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer.
Oh…don’t change banks, either.
For most people, changing employers will not really affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan, especially if you are going to be earning more money. For some home buyers, however, the effects of changing jobs can be disastrous to your loan application.
If you are a salaried employee who does not earn additional income from commissions, bonuses, or over-time, switching employers should not create a problem. Just make sure to remain in the same line of work. Hopefully, you will be earning a higher salary, which will help you better qualify for a mortgage.
If your income is based on hourly wages and you work a straight forty hours a week without over-time, changing jobs should not create any problems.
If a substantial portion of your income is derived from commissions, you should not change jobs before buying a home. This has to do with how mortgage lenders calculate your income. They average your commissions over the last two years.
Changing employers creates an uncertainty about your future earnings from commissions. There is no track record from which to produce an average. Even if you are selling the same type of product with essentially the same commission structure, the underwriter cannot be certain that past earnings will accurately reflect future earnings.
Changing jobs would negatively impact your ability to buy a home.
If a substantial portion of your income on the new job will come from bonuses, you may want to consider delaying an employment change. Mortgage lenders will rarely consider future bonuses as income unless you have been on the same job for two years and have a track record of receiving those bonuses. Then they will average your bonuses over the last two years in calculating your income.
Changing employers means that you do not have the two-year track record necessary to count bonuses as income.
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.
Since all employers award overtime hours differently, your overtime income cannot be determined if you change jobs. If you stay on your present job, your lender will give you credit for overtime income. They will determine your overtime earnings over the last two years, then calculate a monthly average.
If you are considering a change to self-employment before buying a new home, don’t do it. Buy the home first.
Lenders like to see a two-year track record of self-employment income when approving a loan. Plus, self-employed individuals tend to include a lot of expenses on the Schedule C of their tax returns, especially in the early years of self-employment. While this minimizes your tax obligation to the IRS, it also minimizes your income to qualify for a home loan.
If you are considering changing your business from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation, you should also delay that until you purchase your new home.
Assuming you have the financial resources and the desire to eventually own your own home, there are very few good reasons to put off the purchase. You can miss out on years of appreciation if you do.
The main thing you want to avoid when buying a home is being put in a position where you will have to sell it too soon. If you have to sell a home before it has appreciated enough to cover the costs and commissions of selling, you could find yourself in a financial bind. This is especially true for those who buy a home with a down payment of ten percent or less.
Real Estate commissions traditionally run around six percent of a home’s sales price. The seller’s closing costs generally come to about one and a half percent. You can see how this can easily exceed the first year’s appreciation. If you made a minimal down payment, you could actually have to come up with cash out of pocket to sell your home.
A very good to reason to delay buying a home is if you have just moved to an unfamiliar area or region of the country. It makes sense to rent for a number of months before deciding on exactly where you want to live. Often when people buy a home immediately they find that they might have made a better decision if they had waited awhile.
You could be right out of college or expecting a promotion and a transfer. Or your company has announced an impending “restructuring.” If any of these apply, it might be best to wait to buy a home. When you have a more accurate picture of what your next few years will be like, that will be the time to buy.
Real estate agents see a lot of life unfold before their eyes. One of the saddest occurs when former clients divorce and are forced to sell a recently purchased house. It happens all too often when a family in turmoil decides that buying a new home may help resolve their problems. Perhaps it is inevitable that such problems occur, but selling a home before it appreciates can create an additional financial burden in an already difficult situation.
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