Tag Archives: closing costs

Interesting Stat Regarding Staging

“According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are staged sell in 73% less time than homes that are not staged (RESA, 2012). This means that while buyers may say that home décor does not matter to them while shopping for a home, stats show that it does. ”  – Mckissock CE

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Why I Love My Job

Always appreciate a happy customer. This is why I like my job. Thanks to Chris and Faith L of Apollo

See more: REALTOR.com

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Not All Home Improvements will Help Your Homes Property Value

Chairs on patio and porch at luxury hotel

If you want to prepare your home in thoughts of selling in the near future or making the right choices for resale even further down the road, think twice about doing the following home improvements:

1) TURNING YOUR GARAGE INTO A MAN CAVE – Believe it or not, that awesome hide-away for the kids or the football game can hurt the value if you are loosing your garage. It did happen to one of my sellers in the past. First they took away the garage for more living space (even though they left the door in). This change took away value mostly because it no longer conformed to the neighborhood even though the living space increased. The garage was in the basement and sometimes below grade finished living space does not always get a return on its cost (according to an appraiser I know). This property took a hit on the appraised value and my clients actually had to lower the price for the buyer to cover it. Not to mention the price hit but not having a garage is less attractive to buyers. So so many people want a garage, especially in Pennsylvania.

2) INSTALLING A DECK OR PATIO (This is something that you are better of doing) – If all your neighbors have a deck and you don’t that is typically a reason for the appraiser to give you a hit in value. You don’t confirm to the neighborhood comps. Who does not love outdoor space, anyway? I had a house that had trouble selling and I can tell you a buyer bought the neighbors listing because it was cheaper and had a deck. It was the same square footage. Ouch!

3) DONT REMOVE OR COMBINE BEDROOMS – If you have gone from 4 to 3 and have the same space, keep in mind you would be comparing to 3 bedroom homes which are typically lower in price thus loosing value. Square footage does not always matter. It has been my experience that buyers want a 4 bedroom rather than a 3. Alway keep that extra bedroom if you have it. It will generally give you more value.

4) DONT REMOVE CLOSETS – If you can make more or make a walk-in closet. If you remove a closet, the room may not always be considered a bedroom. Women today have so many clothes, and even some of those men do. Closets are always a perk!

5) REMOVE WALLPAPER – Wallpaper may not decrease the value on an appraisal but it will make the buyers walk 99 percent of the time and the home harder to sell. Wall paper is an immediate check list for work and it is a bear to get off no matter how you do it. It is very hard to change and get to the popular neutral colors . I have literally had people refuse to go into a house because the every wall in the home was wallpapered. There have been sellers that have issued credits to have wallpaper removed and have removed it all. Be wise.

6) POUR A NEW FRONT WALK – I have sold new construction homes and one builder in particular gives the buyer temporary pavers to start for the front walk way. The pavers can look nice if they are cared for. After a couple of years they often need to be reset and adjusted if you are keeping them. I asked an appraiser if the value increased if the seller poured new walk way for $5000. The answer was no. There is still a walk way just made of something else or replaced with different material. If it was a high end finish then maybe an increase in value.

Talk to your real estate agent before you do anything major if you are even considering moving. You will be glad you did.

Condo Living at Its Finest

Fabulous New Condo in Murrysville that is ready to move into. The community has a club house with a Kitchen, Gym, and Pool. Contact me to set up a showing. Amy 724*448*0085 cell/text

Click here to view listing

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Fall In Allegheny Twp, PA

October 2015 -Allegheny Twp, PA

Photo by Amy S Myers

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Closing Costs – Transfer Tax

In my last post, I mentioned title insurance as a big part of closing. Another larger fee in closing is transfer tax. This fee is also based on the sale price of a home. The amount of the fee can depend on your county and municipality. In Pennsylvania, the buyer and the seller typically split this fee at closing and it can range from 2-4 percent of the sale price.

A few years back I was involved in a sale and was delighted to know that at that time State of Pennsylvania had waived the property transfer tax because the buyer was the brother of the seller. At that time the state was waiving transfer tax for next of kin. It saved them both $750 each at the closing table.


Here is some info from Wikipedia
:

“Real estate transfer tax is a tax that may be imposed by states, counties, or municipalities on the privilege of transferring real property within the jurisdiction. Total transfer taxes range from very small (for example, .01% in Colorado) to relatively large (2.2% in the District of Columbia).[1]

Some states have a variety of transfer tax laws which may include specific exemptions for certain types of buyers based on buying status or income level (e.g. Maryland exempts certain “first time buyers” from a percentage of the total [2] or excludes a portion of the property’s sales price from taxation altogether).

Another variation which exists is either the legal requirement to split the taxes between the parties or the local custom to do so. Thus, in Washington, DC, the 2.2% is generally split between the seller and the buyer. Prior to buying or selling, it is advisable to check with the Recorder of Deeds, a Realtor, or title company to confirm a specific jurisdiction’s practices.”

Here what Realtor.org has to say.

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

The president my company, Century 21, Tom Kunz, sent out a letter summarizing the great benefits for this new first-time buyer credit. Please see below an explanation that may be easier to understand but remember to always consult a tax or legal professional to see how it is truly going to help you financially.

“As you may have heard, significant improvements in the temporary First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit were signed into law on Feb. 17 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide a housing stimulus for first-time home purchases that occur between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2009.

This is even better news for first-time homebuyers than the tax credit announced in April 2008 because not only has the tax credit maximum increased from $7,500 to $8,000 – but more significantly – it does not need to be repaid unless the individual re-sells the home within three years.

There are several notable points about this federal income tax credit that I have bulleted for your convenience. They are:

• Credit maximum was increased from $7,500 to $8,000. The credit is calculated as 10% of the purchase price. Example: If the purchase price is $70,000, the credit is $7,000.
• Removed the repayment requirement, provided the homebuyer does not resell the home for three years.
• Eligibility remains for first-time homebuyers only. In this case, a first-time homebuyer is defined as an individual who has not owned a primary home at any time during the three years prior to purchase, but who may have done so prior to that time. Although certain income limits do apply, the amount of the credit is the same for all taxpayers, married or single.
• To be eligible for the full tax credit, the homebuyer can have an annual adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). A homebuyer with an annual adjusted gross income above that level and up to $95,000 ($170,000 on a joint return) is eligible for a reduced tax credit.
• The tax credit can be claimed on one’s individual or joint tax return for the purchase of any single-family home between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2009. It can be claimed on a 2008 tax return (to be filed by April 15, 2009), an amended 2008 tax return, or a 2009 tax return. Individuals should consult a professional tax advisor for exact tax calculations and timing.”

Here is an outline to help you better see how this benefit will work. View the Consumer Guide chart and see the explanation of these important points.  The National Association of Realtors® has created a Major Modifications Chart.

Again please note that Real Estate Agents are not a tax or legal professionals, so as a home buyer you should consult you own advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

Previous Related Post on First-Time Home Buyer Credit

For 2009, Pittsburgh comes in as one of the Best Places to Raise Kids

For 2009, Pittsburgh comes in as one of the Best Places to Raise Kids in the state of Pennsylvania. BusinessWeek just released their second annual list of best places to raise your kids and Pittsburgh made it.

BW worked with OnBoard Informatics, a Manhattan-based provider of real estate analysis, and concluded each state’s most affordable towns when raising children. The analysis was compiled with cities containing 50,000 residents and family median income of $40K to $100K. Other factors came into play as well but affordability came in weighing strong.

Check out the article and see if you have friends and family in some of the other ranked cities.


Photo Copyright 2008, By Amy S. Myers

Attractive Financing Programs Are Still Out There

You know with all the things going on in the financial markets I was quite surprised to get an email from the financing company in our office informing me that 100% financing is out there. Sure there may be some qualifications but wow that is great!

It is available for Select Buyers and Properties through USDA Rural Development Programs.

– 100% Financing Off of the Appraised Value

– No Monthly Mortgage Insurance

– No Cash Reserves Required

– No Limit on Gift Money or Seller Concessions

– There is Flexible Credit and Qualifying Guidelines.

Check the USDA site for eligibility.

Pricing a Home

You know I visit seller’s and everyone has their own reason’s and needs for selling their home. Did you know that the number one thing that sells a home is the price.  Of course, we all want a great price for our home but a seller does need to be realistic. You need to ask your agent to get comparable homes in the neighborhood that have recently sold. Right now it is certainly a buyer’s market.

Your home should be priced properly to avoid getting stale on the market. The most important time for a listing is the first 30 days. If you listed your home at a higher price to start don’t leave it that way too long. If you have it competitively priced, you can increase your changes of getting multiple offers, especially if this is done right when first going on the market.