Been so long……….

Hello! It has been so long since i have posted here and that’s never good. I became distracted (with life and love and children) and disheartened (with my love of real estate) and contemplated whether to give up. Recently though, I figured out that this blog is needed and how I can be of help as well as how it can help me to teach and reach many not clear, muddy and confused in all of this process with buying, refinancing and general closing. So, I am back to answer questions, offer my insight and place my “two cents” in the cyber stratosphere. 

This is what can wrong…

I stumbled across this YouTube video that Angie’s List posted. While  I don’t personally subscribed to Angie’s List, it is a true and horrifying story of what can happen even when you do your due diligence (the work) and have a home inspection.

I should know. I was in a similar predicament and thankfully I didn’t have to take it as far removing the drywall and correcting everything. I am still having issues with my home, albeit not as serious, but still a nuisance. To think I work in the industry and see it everyday, I had a home inspection, a final walk through, assurances from the seller that the contractor had a license and competent and I still fell victim. My biggest mistake was not holding an escrow at the time of closing because it seemed it was corrected and “I didn’t want to cause any problems”.

My two cents to offer on this subject are: make sure you work with a knowledgeable agent skilled in your area of purchasing or can turn to someone who is, get a home inspection and attend it and ask questions, check online or in your Permitting Department for your area to see if the remodel was done with permits and up to code. Also, make sure to follow your intuition and if it doesn’t look right or make sense, don’t believe it and check it out for yourself.

In some upcoming post, I will be going over what makes a good agent and why you should have one, as well as the need for a home inspector and your need to choose it instead of seller or realtor.

Stay Tuned!

NOTE: This is just a disclaimer. I am not affiliated with Angie’s List nor do I subscribe to her services. I just like her YouTube channel and ran across this video. 

Buying your first home alone-after a divorce/breakup

"Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

I had someone ask for a family member how they can buy a home. The person buying supposedly has a great credit score, works and makes enough to buy the home they are seeking. They were denied a home loan from a lender that I had never heard of but with all listed they should have been approved. I asked the person was this the buyer’s first home or an investment property and that is when I was informed that the buyer was married!

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

She still owned a home together with her husband even though they plan on never getting back together. I let the person asking know that is the reasoning behind her denial. She owns a home already and until she removes her name from that house, she will not be able to buy a home as her “principal residence”. Why, you ask? The answer is this-she already has an interest in a property and until she gets rid of that interest, she can buy another home but only as a second home or as an investment with higher interest rates. I advised her to check with an attorney but that it will take either a legal separation or divorce, make hubby refinance and pay her share of the equity out to her for this to be right. Then she is also removed from the loan on the property and no longer responsible for the debt.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

That can then give her the keys to her own home.

Tax Time Cometh….

This post is for the First time Homeowner.

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Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You will still feel in a daze and confused as to what just took place.”I just bought a house and I owe on it for 30 years. I JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE, arghh!”

You will still have items coming in the mail or should (if you changed your mailing address). We will go over one of these documents you will receive around tax time (right now) from each of your lenders that you paid any points and interest to. It is the 1098 mortgage interest form.

At beginning of next year after purchasing your home, you will receive a 1098 tax form showing the amount of Points and Mortgage Interest paid during closing (of $600 or more). Save this form and place it with your W-2 and any 1099 forms you receive.

1098

Also shown on your Settlement Statement (aka HUD or HUD-1) or as I like to call it “your big receipt”. You can verify the numbers with your HUD since they are listed there as well.

This form comes in handy if you itemized your deductions on your tax return. If not, still take this form with you to the Tax Preparer office. You might have other items you can use to deduct and still itemize.

Being able to use the form 1098 can save you a lot of money and cause a refund at tax time or lighten load paid to Uncle Sam.

Also, every year for as long as you have the loan, you should receive a 1098 form if you paid mortgage interest (including points) of $600 or more .

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Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

NOTE: I am NOT a Tax Advisor or CPA and I advise you to speak with one to gather whether it will benefit you personally to itemize or take a standard deduction. All information is just to be helpful =:)

REIMAGINE MLK in CONGRESS HEIGHTS

A great event is taking place Saturday, February 8 between 1pm and 4pm. We can actually see what Martin Luther King Jr Avenue in Congress Heights, SE, Washington DC would look like if we revitalized the area and brought retail and eateries to the neighborhood. This great event is named “Reimagine MLK”. I live in Congress Heights SE and I for one among many would love to have the same atmosphere as Columbia Heights or Navy Yard/Ballpark. 

The New Year of 2014

Okay, so I have been horrible in posting and spreading my knowledge with others and for that I say, I am sorry. I had major burnout and was (am?) ready to walk away from real estate and all aspects involved. I continue to trudge along but I have to get focused and get this lovely information that I come across everyday in my job that can help some buyer secure a sense of what goes on and not from your nice (motivated by money) Loan Officer or Real Estate Agent. So this year, for 2014, I apologize for neglecting all who will read this blog as well as the ones who I lost and hope come back and plan on posting some real interesting info for both first time homebuyers but also for first time home owners. Yes, I stated home owners as well. I am still a first time homeowner and there are items and issues that come up that I have to ask veteran homeowners what to do or google and waste valuable time sorting through.

Happy New Year (albeit a little late!)

Continue reading

My first post/about me

I want to start off this blog giving a little insight as to what, why, and how I do this and where my inspiration comes from. I am a late twenty something mom who bought her first home almost two years ago in 2011. It was a long and daunting process and I closed on my property a month after having my second son. The process started three years before that. It involved discussions of credit scores, dispute letters, multiple programs to fund my down payment and plenty of angst and worry. Did I mention I did all this toward the end alone? My fiance(who would later become my husband) was away and couldn’t be there except through emotional support. It was tough.
First, I wavered as to whether I wanted to buy in MD (nothing against MD since I had lived there for most of my life) or DC. DC won due to the great down payment programs (more on those real soon). Once I decided where, I had to move there and I happened upon a great savings program called an IDA Savings Account. Basically for every dollar I saved, the sponsor would match the amount up to a certain cap.  It helped at closing knowing I had saved towards my home. I also used the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP). This is an excellent program and what actually convinced me to move to DC. It was tedious and I had to open my life to not one but two lenders to buy my home, but it was worth it the day of closing.
Around the time of moving to DC I changed careers. I work in a successful title and escrow company and it came in handy for closing. It’s also how I gained knowledge that a lot of people become overwhelmed and don’t understand what is happening, even after all papers are signed. It’s especially true dealing with lower income households. That’s why I am here! I can highlight and go into depth about the excellent programs, credits, and anything extra to help you OWN your slice of the pie. This doesn’t just apply to DC but MD and VA have great programs as well and I will touch on those as well. So I hope you stay for the wonderful ride!