Monday, December 12, 2011

Real Estate Mortgage Tax Deductions

Original article source: Home buying tax deductions

If there is anything in this world that is certain it’s the fact that everyone likes to save on their taxes when April rolls around. If you have purchased a home in the last year you are going to want to make sure that you have remembered all the allowable tax deductions.

When taking out a mortgage to buy a home, there are certain deductions that the IRS allows that you are going to need to remember. The list below summarizes the deductions that many people forget about when buying Real Estate:

Points paid when taking out a mortgage are tax deductible if they are used to reduce the mortgage interest rate. In the event you don’t know, a point is 1% of the loan amount. For example on a $200,000 mortgage a point would equal $2000.00.

Typically most people would not want to pay points on a loan unless the expectation was to be in the home for a while to recapture the cost of such points in the form of reduced payments. In order to figure out if paying points makes sense, you need to calculate the mortgage payment amount both with and without points.

By looking at the spread between these figures you can determine how long you would need to be in the home before it would make fiscal sense. For a complete explanation see when to pay points on a mortgage. Points or origination fees paid when you buy a home or other Real Estate are generally tax deductible in full for the year that you pay them.

It should be made clear that origination charges from the lender that constitute a “service fee” are not tax deductible. Another method you could make is to amortize the points over the term of the mortgage. This choice is usually made only when your itemized deductions are less than the standard deduction for the year you purchased the home.

Additionally when you refinance a mortgage the points must be deducted over the term of the loan. If you deduct points over the term of the loan and sell the home or refinance it again before the loan expires, you can deduct in the year of the sale or refinancing any points that you didn’t previously deduct.

Keep in mind that you will be able to get the best mortgage interest rates when you have a great FICO Credit Score.See how to increase a credit score to help in your efforts to get a terrific interest rate.

To continue reading the full article see home buying tax deductions.

 About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Real Estate mortgage tax deductions was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homestead Protection Massachusetts Real Estate

If you are considering purchasing a Massachusetts home one of the things you may be asked at some point, more than likely by your attorney or even possibly by the bank’s attorney, is whether you would like to have Massachusetts Homestead Protection.

Folks this is one easiest Real Estate decisions you could have make! Raise your hand immediately and say you want it.

What an estate of homestead does in protect a persons residence from most creditors. The Massachusetts declaration of homestead protects the equity in your property for up to $500,000 in the event a lawsuit is brought against you.

So if you are sued, $500,000 of your equity could not be touched by an attachment and subsequent levy on execution of sale. As most people realize, we live in a litigious society. The chances of getting into an accident and someone suing you should not be taken lightly! It happens to quite a few people everyday.

The Homestead protection document is filed at the registry of deeds in the county that your residence is located in.  All that is needed is the preparation and recording of a Declaration of Homestead as well as the payment of a state recording fee. The total cost is usually only around $100 to prepare and record the document.

I am sure your attorney would be happy to prepare this document for you or possibly even the banks attorney if you don’t have legal representation at your closing. To see the full article visit homestead protection Massachusetts.

 About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts homestead protection was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Massachusetts For Sale By Owners Typically Fail

The typical driving force behind most for sale by owner homes (FSBO) is to save a Real Estate commission. Even though I am  in the business of selling Real Estate I can clearly understand a home seller’s motivation to save the kind of money that is handed out in a typical sale.

There are not too many people I know who don’t like to save money where ever they can especially in a tough economy.  In a Real Estate sale saving a commission translates into a tremendous amount of money. It is hard to blame any home seller for their desire to save the type of dollars that are made when a Realtor sells a home or condo.

While commission rates are negotiable, in most parts of Massachusetts if you are selling a home you will more than likely be paying a Real Estate commission between 4%-6% on the sale price of your property.
On a $450,000 home a commission of 5% is $22,500. There is no doubt that is a lot of mullah! Selling a property for sale by owner however is not an a simple task and that is why most home owners end up hiring a Realtor.

Nationally the success rate of a for sale by owner (FSBO) is very low. Over 80% of all FSBO’S end up hiring a Realtor to get the job done after unsuccessfully trying on their own. Why is going the route of selling without a Realtor such a difficult task? There are quite a few reasons why selling FSBO is a difficult task to pull off. To continue reading the full article see Massachusetts for sale by owner.


About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts for sale by owner homes was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Real Estate Title Insurance Explained

When buying a home or other Real Estate one of the things that buyer’s will try to figure out is whether or not they should purchase Real Estate title insurance. Often times I find that some buyer’s really struggle over this decision because of the pretty hefty expense involved. Real Estate title insurance is certainly not inexpensive!

While title insurance is a one time expense, it can be tough for a buyer who lacks a lot of funds in reserve to come up with such a substantial expenditure at closing. Real Estate title insurance can easily run into thousands of dollars in a home purchase.

Real Estate title insurance policies however differ from other types of insurance as there is no monthly premiums .Title Insurance is a one time expense covering the owner until the property is sold to the next buyer. One of the questions I often get by my clients is “should I purchase title insurance’?

Let me first explain the definition of title insurance is and what this special insurance covers. Real Estate title insurance is an insurance that covers financial loss from defects in title to real property and from the invalidity of mortgage liens.

A title policy is put in place to protect an owner’s or lender’s financial interest in a property against loss due to title defects, liens or other matters. This type of insurance will defend against a lawsuit attacking the title as it is insured, or reimburse the insured for the monetary loss incurred, up to the dollar amount of insurance provided for in the policy. To see the full article with an in depth discuss on what Real Estate Title Insurance does click the link which will take you to the Massachusetts Real Estate Blog.

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Real Estate title insurance was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Monday, September 19, 2011

3 Types of Home Equity Loans

When looking to take money out of an existing home or other Real Estate borrowers often have a decision to make on what is the best method to do so. There are basically three financing options that are available to home owners. These include a cash out re-finance, home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Determining which of these type of loan options will work best basically comes down to what purpose the money is going to be used for.
Unfortunately being in the Real Estate field, I often come across folks who have over extended themselves and find that they have created undue hardships .

Going back ten years ago this was not so much of a problem as Real Estate markets around the country were booming and a home was an investment windfall.  Every few months the value of homes would continue to rise and did so for over a decade. Of course all good things must come to an end eventually and now we are left with property values decreasing in most areas.

When the economy and Real Estate values are soaring it is hard not to look at a home as a giant piggy bank from which you can tap at a moments notice. When times are tough however, you may regret taking your equity for granted by pulling it out of the home.

If you click on the link below you will find a guide to help you determine whether borrowing against the equity in your home via a home equity line of credit (HELOC), home equity loan or a cash out refinance makes the most sense. To continue reading see home equity loans.

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on home equity loans was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Repairing Home Water Damage

Original article source: Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

If you have ever been in the unfortunate position of having a pipe burst in your home, a washing machine hose give way while you were gone for the weekend, or a finished basement become flooded by a 100 year storm, you know what a royal pain in the $#@ it is to clean up and remedy water damage!

There are few things that can damage a home more than water. One of the most important things you can do when faced with a water damage problem is to tackle it right away. Without taking immediate action the threat of getting mold becomes very likely which can further increase an already expensive proposition.

If you can get take care of the water in under 48-72 hours you stand a much greater chance that you can keep the mold at bay.

If it all possibly the 1st thing that you are going to want to do is take everything out of the area where the water damage has occurred and get it into a warm and dry environment. Even if it means taking these things outside that is what you should do.

The next step will be to either get in touch with a water damage and restoration company or take the same steps they would make in getting the water re-mediated from the home.

To finish reading the article and to see all the ways to fix home water damage click the link.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Buying a Home After a Short Sale

Original article source: Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

As a Realtor who has been heavily involved closing Massachusetts short sales over the last five years, one of the questions that I get asked quite often from home sellers is how long will it take before I will be able to buy a home again.

The answer to this question does not have any clear cut and dry answer. There are quite a few variables involved when trying to figure out when someone will be able to purchase a home after a foreclosure or short sale.

Going through either a short sale or a foreclosure has the potential to seriously impact ones credit.  Government entities Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA do not directly loan money to individuals but are the governing body that work with lenders to guarantee loans and free up money to provide mortgages.

Banks typically have the authority to lend to whoever they want but will generally follow the guidelines set forth by these entities. There are some lenders of course that will take greater risks with some borrowers than others.

Below are the general guidelines that FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac follow when considering whether to fund a mortgage loan to a borrower after they have completed a short sale or foreclosure:

See Buying a home after short sale for a complete understanding of how your credit will be impacted, as well as the time period before a borrower will be able to get financing to purchase another home or other Real Estate.

There are different guidelines for getting a new mortgage based on circumstances as well as the type of mortgage loan.

In this article the time periods for getting a mortgage after both a short sale and foreclosure are discussed. On of the top concerns of any borrower after completing a short sale or foreclosure is how to increase a credit score.

If you are needing to complete a  short sale of your home or condo in Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopedale,  Medway, Mendon, Milford, Hopkinton, Southboro, Westboro, Natick, Northboro, Northbridge, Whitinsville, Upton, Uxbridge, Shrewsbury, Worcester, or Douglas Get in touch! I would love to interview for the chance to represent your best interests.

Completing a short sale remains a much better option than letting a property go to foreclosure for a number of reasons centering around credit and your ability to buy another property in the future.

I am successfully completing short sales through out the Metrowest Massachusetts area as well as parts of Worcester County. As of this writing in almost four years, knock on wood, I have a 100% success rate for short sale approval!

I work hand in hand with a local short sale Real Estate attorney who knows how to get short sales done! I will admit there is some luck involved in my success rate but the team I have put together does a stellar job.

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on buying a home after a short sale was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25+ Years.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Home Finance Tips for Increasing a Credit Score

Original article source: Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

Credit scores can have a dramatic effect on a borrowers ability to get the best rates for many types of financing including a home mortgage and a car loan.

If your credit score does not meet minimum standards you may not even have the ability to get a home mortgage period!

There are a number of factors that the credit bureaus use to calculate your credit score. One of the most important factors they use is your past payment history which generally accounts for 35% of your credit score. In the mortgage article how to improve a credit score, all the various ways you can achieve and maintain a great credit score are discussed. If you pay attention to these credit scoring factors you will be well on your way to achieving an exceptional credit score.

When it comes to your home there are ways to improve a credit score with specific home finance tips.

Pay Your Mortgage On Time

It goes without saying that paying your bills on time is a must if you want to have excellent credit. Above all else you want to make absolutely certain you pay your home mortgage when it is due. As mentioned above, past credit history is a critical factor on how you be viewed by a lender when applying for financing.

There is nothing that will hit your credit harder than a missed mortgage payment. Credit scoring agencies will look at a missed mortgage payment in a far more negative light than a missed car or credit card payment. If at all possible you should always consider making your mortgage payment before other bill that are due.

To continue reading and see all of the financial tips view increasing a credit score.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Location in Real Estate|How to Choose The Best Neighborhood

When buying a home, it's important to keep in mind what the neighborhood has to offer just as much as the home itself. A great neighborhood can make the deal much more sweeter if it has the things you expected.
If you think about it, your home is like a spouse, and the neighborhood is like the extended family. You have to live with both so it won't hurt to take a good look at the bigger picture. Here are a few tips to become a neighborhood detective and find the perfect home:

What Do You Want In A Neighborhood?
Before you can scrutinize a neighborhood you have to scrutinize yourself. What do you want in a neighborhood? And what do you need? Of course, you won't be able to get everything you want, but having a list of your must haves and a list of your wants will help you make the right decision. Here are a few things you may want to consider for your list:
  • Do you have kids or are you planning on having kids in the future? As a parent, you'll probably want to choose a neighborhood with a great school system. Also, great schools also raise local property values, so even if you're single, choosing an area with good schools is a net positive. You'll also want to look for close proximity to local parks or community recreation centers to keep the young ones entertained.
  • What type of housing are you looking for? If you're looking for a condo or a townhome, you'll have to deal with a close proximity of neighbors. If this is you, be sure to walk around the neighborhood and see how the neighborhood interacts. If you're looking for a singe-family home, you'll have more freedom from neighbors, but you'll also have to deal with more maintenance issues. Is the neighborhood well maintained?
  • How's the commute? I've had clients find the perfect neighborhood but the drive to work was just to long. You don't want to buy a home and later regret it because the commute is killing precious family time. Do you have a car or do you need a home close to public transportation systems? Are you planning on walking to work? Knowing what you expect is good for you and your real estate agent.
  • Do you want new or rustic? Older neighborhoods are filled with character and can be closer to town. You'll also find older neighborhoods may need more upkeep and maintenance. Newer neighborhoods are usually cleaner and require less up-keep, but you may not be able to find one close to town. Also, new neighborhoods may still be under construction which could cause a headache. Be sure to weigh both options and determine what will work for you.
  • What do you hate about the neighborhood you're in? With the experience you've gained in your current neighborhood, I'm sure there are a few things you'd like to change. Don't move to a neighborhood you already know you won't like.
Choose Your Favorites And Dig Deeper
Using your list of must haves and wants, you should be able to narrow down to a few specific areas. Choose the ones that have your needs and the most wants. Now choose the neighborhoods that meet the criteria we outlined above. Here are a few more things to help you hone in on the perfect neighborhood:
  • Schools - Take a list of schools your kids would attend even if you don't have kids. Remember, good schools increase property values. You can find many great websites online with parent reviews and test scores.
  • Crime - Crime rates have a cause and affect on neighborhood values. You can get crime stats online or call the local police station for up to date information.
  • Parks - Parks are great if they are well maintained. You don't want a neighborhood that houses the local drug cartels. A good park close to your home is an excellent feature for re-sale and will help maintain your properties value.
  • HOA's - A homeowners association can be both good and bad. Find out the monthly fees and what type of restrictions they enforce. An overbearing HOA can be a nightmare so research carefully.
  • Attractions - What type of attractions does the neighborhood have? You can check with the local tourism and chamber websites to find out what tourism and business are in the area.
  • Busy Streets - A busy street can kill a properties value. Be sure to check with local transportation authorities on any planned of future projects in the area. A busy road can reduce your properties value up to 20% depending on the traffic and noise.
Use Your Senses
You can research a neighborhood all day online but nothing compares to talking a walk through the area. Visit the neighborhoods that stand out in your initial findings. You may find that the neighborhood you thought was perfect just doesn't stack up. Using your senses to choose a great neighborhood:
  • Sight - When you first visit the neighborhood, what's your first impression? Are the homes well maintained? Does the curb appeal make you excited to live there? Can you see yourself living in the neighborhood and being happy with your decision? Lookout for homes in foreclosure or in dire repair, abandoned warehouses and buildings, and vandalism.
  • Sound - Listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. Are there kids playing in the streets and birds singing in the trees? Or do you here industrial buildings and cars? Are there nearby train tracks? Do airplanes fly low close by? Talk to the local residents. If they're rude and don't want to talk, you may not want to live there. Ask where they hang out and how they like the neighborhood. People like to know who's moving into their neighborhood and is usually welcome a chat with potential neighbors.
  • Smell - How does it smell? Can you smell fresh air or is it close to a chicken farm? You can't tell if a neighborhood smells bad until you get out of your car and walk the sidewalks. If there aren't any bad smells, be sure to ask the locals if it changes during the different seasons. During winter, smells may not be present, but come spring, a neighborhood with melting snow could be quiet different.
  • Feel - Does it feel right? Many buyers out there will buy a home because as soon as they walked in, it just felt right. How does the neighborhood feel? If it feels right, it probably is. Don't ignore your initial feelings as they are usually your best.
  • Taste - Does the neighborhood match your taste? No, I don't want you to lick the street signs! Are you high and classy? Is the neighborhood full of classy amenities? Are you simple and old school? Is the neighborhood nice and quiet? Are you into the night life? Does it have the local hot spots you're looking for?
Close The Deal
Once you've gone over your checklists, taken a walk through, and used your senses; it's time to make close the deal. Buying a home can be really fun or extremely stressful. Using these tips to ensure your neighborhood is the perfect place for your new home will help you enjoy the experience. All you have to do now is close the deal:
  • Figure Out Your Financing - When you feel you're getting close to finding the best neighborhoods, it's time to get your financing options in order. Great houses in the best neighborhoods sell fast no matter how bad the real estate market is. If you're not ready to write an offer, there's a good chance someone else was already waiting for that home to come on the market and will swipe it right from underneath your feet. You should get pre-approved as son as you know decide you want to buy a home.
  • Find A Realtor - You may not want to work with a Realtor, but they are invaluable to a real estate transaction. Yes, I am a Realtor myself, but even before I became an agent, I tried it both ways. I bought without an agent and the stress was almost unbearable. I ended up hiring an agent and everything changed, it was black and white. As a buyer, the commission is already priced into a home when it's listed, so even if you don't have an agent, you'll still be paying the same amount.
  • Don't Hesitate - You know the neighborhood you want to live in. You know the type of house you want your family to grow up in. You feel comfortable with your lists and have narrowed down the best choice. When that perfect home pops up on the market, whether it's next week, or next year, be ready to pounce. One of the biggest regrets of buyers is missing out on the home they really wanted. If the home fits your criteria and priced affordably, write an offer. You can always negotiate, but you can't buy a home if you don't give it your best shot.
Real estate should be a fun and exciting experience. Some say the American dream of home-ownership is dead, but I disagree. The smile on my buyers face when they walk into their new home they've been waiting for is the most rewarding experience I have as an agent. Their eyes get big and they tense up, and I can tell that this is the one. When you do your homework, find the great neighborhood, and put together all the pieces necessary, buy your dream home and never look back.
About The Author: Lisa Udy is a Logan real estate professional providing expertise for home buyers and sellers in Norhtern, Utah. If you want to learn more about Lisa, you can read more articles about buying Logan short sales and Logan foreclosures.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tax Law Changes For Rental Property

Here Ye Here Ye “Rental property tax law changes go into effect this year” Yes more great news for those who own Real Estate – NOT!

If you are the owner of rental property there is a pretty significant tax law change going into effect for 2012. As of this year anyone who owns rental property must now report all vendors doing work that exceeds $600. For the landlord that holds multiple rental properties this really is nothing new as they have been required to report this to the IRS.

Last year however, the Federal Government enacted the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (H.R. 3297) that expanded the reporting requirement to include ANYONE who owns rental property. To put it bluntly the little guy is now required to send a 1099 to contractors working on their homes.

Rental Owner Tax Obligations

If you are the owner of rental property it means you now have a legal obligation to collect information from contractors doing work at your property including their name, address, tax identification number or social security identification. You must also keep a detailed record of what you pay them through out the year. Again at the end of the year you are obligated to send them a 1099 form.

To continue reading see Tax law changes for rental property.