Archives: August 2011

Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda – Whatcom County Home Buyers & Sellers….

It is the mantra of people who missed a great deal. It’s the theme song of the procrastinator. It’s the refrain that reminds us of the one that got away.


Some people are still beating themselves up because they didn’t recognize the housing bubble was really going to burst. It is impossible to change the past but will they see the signs of the next housing trend?


In the past four years, prices have adjusted with 30% corrections nationally and much more in areas with high percentages of foreclosures. New homes are almost non-existent. Interest rates are slightly above record lows. Consumer goods are skyrocketing; our budget deficit and national debt are staggering and escalating inflation appears certain.


“Forget stocks. Don’t bet on gold. After four years of plunging home prices, the most attractive asset class in America is housing.” states Shawn Tully, Senior Editor at-Large for Fortune magazine in a March 28, 2011 article.


“If I would have known that this was the best buyer’s market ever, I could have taken advantage of the prices and interest rates; I should have fixed my cost of housing for years to come.” Don’t catch yourself saying this. You owe it to yourself and your family to get firsthand information to see what your options really are.

Targeting The Mortgage Interest Deduction…

It’s obviously going to be a Herculean task for Congress to balance the budget and reduce the deficit. It’s sort of like the country song lyric that goes “everyone wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to go now.” It is estimated that the mortgage interest deduction cost the government $100 Billion last year which is why it is a target for cuts.


The Mortgage Interest Deduction has been part of Income Tax laws in this country since 1913. The United States of America is one of the few countries in the world that allow such a deduction. Our goverment has always supported homeownership as is evidenced in the different tax benefits it receives.



  • Mortgage interest deuction up to $1,000,000 in acquisition debt on a principal residence and second home
  • Deduction of interest on Home Equity debt of $100,000 over acquisition debt used for any purpose
  • Capital gain exclusion on up to $500,000 for married couples filing jointly and $250,000 for single homeowners
  • Favorable long-term capital gain rates if gain exceeds exclusion limits
  • Property tax deduction


There is an interesting relationship between a good economy and a healthy housing market. Contrasted to profits from the stock market which tend to be plowed back into other investments, profits from home sales tend to be spent on consumer products that directly benefit the economy.


The National Association of REALTORS supports the MID and reports that one job is created for every two homes sold. It further states that $60,000 is pumped into the economy for each home sold and that homeownership accounts for over $2 Trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product.


American homeowers are currently paying 80-90% of all federal income tax collected. Some economists believe that a healthy housing market is a leading indicator for economic recovery and that tampering with a significant homeowner benefit like the mortgage interest deduction would hurt the economy.

Buying Up In A Down Market….Attention Pacific Northwest Home Buyers!

There are homeowners that would like to have a larger/nicer home but are patiently waiting for the market to improve. A frequently heard objection is that they can’t sell their home for what it is currently worth.


Buying up in a down market is actually advantageous because while you might get less for the home you’re selling, you’re also getting the larger home for less. For instance, if you had to sell a $200,000 home for a 10% discount, you might feel that you left $20,000 on the table. However, buying a $300,000 for the same 10% discount would put you $10,000 ahead on the sale and purchase.


The other obvious matter is that when the mortgage rates increase while you’re waiting for the market to improve, it dramatically increases your cost of housing with higher payments. The cost of housing is affected by price and mortgage rates.


To accurately evaluate your current options, you need facts and assessment tools that will provide you the information to make an informed decision.



 


 


 

Wasted Water…

A typical household uses 185 to 300 gallons of water a day and the majority of it goes down the drain from the toilet and the shower. Updating your commodes will serve as a conservation effort while lowering your water bill.

Today’s toilets use less water, prevent staining and resist clogging better than the older toilets and you might be surprised at how easy they are to install. Replacements generally cost from $100 to $300.

Toilets made in the 1950’s used, on average, seven gallons per flush. Compare that with one that only uses 1.6 gallons per flush and it’s a big saving. Multiply by the times a toilet is flushed in a year and the number of toilets in your home and it will save a lot of water.

Gallons of Water Saved in a Year with 1.6 gpf
Age of Toilet Gallons Per Flush Flush 3 times a day Flush 5 times a day
Prior to 1950’s 7.0 5,913 9,855
1960’s 5.5 4,271 7,118
1980’s 3.5 2,081 3,468
After 1994 1.6 – –

Watch this video to see how easy the project is done and even if you decide to hire a plumber, you’ll have a better understanding of how it works.