Questions to ask when choosing a Custom Home Builder

When choosing a custom home builder, asking these questions to each builder you interview will provide an apples to apples comparison.

 

  • How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you  built?
  • Are you licensed (where required) and insured?
  • How do you compare yourself to other builders? What are the most important benefits of the homes you build?
  • What type of warranty do you offer?
  • Can you give me references from prior home buyers? Do you build model homes I can tour? If not, can you help me make an appointment to see a home you built for another customer?
  • What are the major energy-saving features of homes you build?
  • Do you build only from home plans you supply? Or can I provide my own  set of plans?
  • What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I  select?
  • Who will oversee the construction of my home? Who should I contact with any  questions I may have?
  • How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during  construction?
  • How and when will the final price for my home be determined?
  • How often (and when) will I have access to the home during the building  process?
  • How long will my home take to complete?
  • Does the community have a Home Owners Association and/or an Architectural  Review Committee? If so, may I get a copy of their rules and the amount of any fees?
  • What’s your process for inspection at key points of construction, at final  walk-through, and to address any matters that need to be corrected or  finalized?

Of course, there are many more questions that one could ask, feel free to add any you’d like. Following a framework for the builder selection process will provide confidence down the road when you are frustrated, and wondering, did I make the right choice?

10 GREAT Reasons to Buy a Home in 2013

 

1.        Quality of life – a home provides stability and security for you and your loved ones, and membership within a community of neighbors.

2. Pride of home ownership – a home is a personal haven, a place that you can decorate, shape, and share over time because it’s yours.

3. Excellent affordability – lower home prices combined with low interest rates means there are tremendous opportunities for buyers.

4. Historically low interest rates – around 4 percent in the U.S. gives better purchasing power to those who qualify.

5. Appreciation potential – your home investment can grow in value.

6. Equity buildup and debt pay down – homeowners enjoy an average net worth of approximately $184,000 vs. $4,000 for renters.

7. Leverage – where else can you buy an investment of this magnitude with 5-10 percent down?

8. Tax deduction advantages – property tax and mortgage interest write-offs (in Canada, home owners gain a tax benefit upon selling).

9. Tax exemption – up to $500,000 per married couple or $250,000 per person on sale of a primary residence in the United States (no tax upon sale in Canada).

 

Fewer Markdowns – Homes Selling ABOVE List Price!

Fewer Markdowns On For-Sale Homes This “Bargain” Season

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist

January 16th, 2013

Now is the bargain real estate season: asking home prices typically hit their seasonal low point from November through January. This winter, however, markdowns are harder to find. Among all non-foreclosure homes for sale on Trulia, in early January, 33.6% of homes were priced lower than their original listing price. (For homes originally listed more than six months ago, we compared the current price to the price six months ago, not the original price.) One year ago, in early January 2012, 36.7% of homes for sale were marked down from their original listing price.

However, the national average of 33.6% hides huge local differences. In January 2013, the share of homes with price reductions ranges from just 15% in Oakland to 48% in Springfield, MA. Among markets with the fewest reductions today, Miami and Fort Lauderdale stand out as the two locales that also had relatively few reductions one year ago, in January 2012. In contrast, Las Vegas and the seven California markets that round out the top-10 list all have far fewer reductions today than a year ago: in these metros, markdowns have become much harder to find.

Where   Real Estate Discounts Are Harder to Find

#

U.S. Metro

% homes with price reductions, Jan   2013

% homes with price reductions, Jan   2012

Change in % with price reductions,   2012-2013

1

Oakland, CA

15%

31%

-16%

2

Las   Vegas, NV

16%

36%

-20%

3

Miami, FL

16%

15%

1%

4

San Jose,   CA

20%

31%

-11%

5

Sacramento,   CA

22%

35%

-14%

6

Los   Angeles, CA

23%

38%

-15%

7

Ventura   County, CA

23%

38%

-15%

8

Fort   Lauderdale, FL

23%

23%

-1%

9

Riverside
  San   Bernardino, CA

23%

35%

-12%

10

Orange   County, CA

23%

41%

-18%

Among 100 largest metros. Based on   all listings on the second Wednesday in January (January 9, 2013, and January   11, 2012). Changes might not equal the difference due to rounding.

Springfield, MA, has the most price reductions in the country, followed by Hartford, CT, and Omaha, NE. Of the 10 metros with the highest share of price reductions, five are in New England. The rest are in the Midwest (Lake County–Kenosha County, Chicago) or nearby (Omaha, Buffalo, Kansas City). Most of the markets with lots of markdowns at the start of 2013 had even more price reductions at the start of 2012. In fact, among the 100 largest metros, 83 have fewer price reductions now than one year ago.

Where   More Home Sellers Are Cutting Prices

#

U.S. Metro

% homes w/ price reductions, Jan   2013

% homes w/ price reductions, Jan   2012

Change in % w/ price reductions,   2012-2013

1

Springfield,   MA

48%

48%

0%

2

Hartford,   CT

45%

45%

-1%

3

Omaha, NE-IA

45%

46%

-1%

4

Worcester,   MA

44%

47%

-3%

5

New   Haven, CT

44%

46%

-1%

6

Buffalo, NY

44%

50%

-6%

7

Peabody, MA

44%

48%

-4%

8

Lake   County-
  Kenosha County, IL-WI

44%

48%

-4%

9

Chicago, IL

43%

47%

-4%

10

Kansas   City, MO-KS

43%

45%

-2%

Among 100 largest metros. Based on   all listings on the second Wednesday in January (January 9, 2013, and January   11, 2012). Changes might not equal the difference due to rounding.

What explains why some metros–like Oakland, Las Vegas, and Miami–have few markdowns, while others–like Springfield, MA, and Chicago–have many? Two factors stand out among markets with fewer reductions: bigger price gains and a lower vacancy rate. In metros where prices are rising, asking prices are less likely to start out too low: Oakland, Las Vegas, and Miami all had big price gains in 2012, according to the December Trulia Price Monitor. In metros with low vacancy rates, buyers are competing with each other for the few available homes on the market, so sellers don’t need to lower prices to attract buyers: Ventura County, CA, for instance, had only a 0.9% year-over-year increase in prices in December 2012, but has among the lowest vacancy rates in the country, which means sellers don’t need to drop prices to attract interest. Overall, a decline in price reductions is yet another sign that the housing market is tightening.

 

August – 2012 – Real Estate Trends

AUGUST – 2012 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter


Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and Realtor.org reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.



Please click here to view the AUGUST – 2012 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.

Here are 10 facts the IRS wants you to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Expires in 2012

  • No closing cost
  • No commission
  • No property taxes
  • No Insurance

Image

Here are 10 facts the IRS wants you to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

San Diego has seen it’s share of short sales since 2007. If you purchased your home between 2001 and 2008 you are most likely upside down in your mortgage. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 has provided an opportunity for many to get out from under the house debt which far exceeds the market value. WWW.DREAMHOMESMATCHMAKER.COM has helped many homeowners get out of sticky situations through a short sale. This is not recommended to everyone, and you should consult a tax attorney/accountant to review your specific situation.

1. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. Refinanced debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes – for example, to pay off credit card debt – do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the qualified debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans do not qualify for the tax relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax relief provisions – such as insolvency – may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit http://www.irs.gov. A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.

You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to determine if the cancellation of debt is taxable. The ITA tool is a tax law resource that takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions