Tag Archives: Blog

Tara Mortgage Featured Blog: Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Worth It?

DHREA 10/01/2019

(Every week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Paying off debt as soon as possible is always is a good thing –but does that rule also apply to mortgage debt? Is making an extra payment each month to pay off the mortgage early worth it?

In this week’s post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of paying off the mortgage early.

Not a homeowner yet? We can help! Get started the pre-qualification process now using our secure online application.

Pro: Save On Interest

Making an extra payment to the principal balance of your mortgage helps save you money by lowering the amount of interest you pay. Although you can make an additional payment towards your principle at any time, this method is most effective when you first get your loan. This is because the principle is higher at the beginning of the loan. Hence, you are paying more in interest. Making an extra payment will result in saving in interest over time.

Con: Miss Out On Other Investment Opportunities

If you have the extra cash to put toward making an extra payment, that means that you have the extra cash to invest. Instead of trying to save money on your mortgage, you could, instead, making your money work for you. Making additional contributions to your 401(k), especially when you’re 10 years or more away from retiring, can result in significant earnings –sometimes more than what you could save by paying off your mortgage early.

Pro: Peace Of Mind

Reducing monthly expenses brings peace of mind and considering that your mortgage payment is likely your biggest expense, you can start to imagine how good it would feel to eliminate it early. Also, when calculating the cost of living, inflation, and what the average, fixed, retirement income is, getting rid of a housing expense becomes even more attractive.

Con: Prepayment Penalty – Sometimes

Some mortgages carry a prepayment penalty, meaning that you’re limited as to how much you are allowed to pay off and when. Though this may seem unfair, it’s not all bad news. The types of loans that carry prepayment penalties often have lower interest rates or other perks that save you money.

When it comes down to it, deciding to pay off your home loan early is a personalized is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It depends on your ability to pay, the type of loan, how mature your loan is, whether your extra cash would be more useful in other investments, how close you are to retiring, as well as other factors.

Even if you don’t currently own a home, if you plan to pay off your mortgage early, then you’ll want to make sure you choose a home loan that allows for prepayment.

Call Tara Mortgage Services today for expert and personalized home loan guidance, and together we can find a mortgage option that works for you.

Come out this Saturday between 10am-12pm at the Hampton Inn in Bridgeville for “Alex Deacon Real Estate Workshop: Planning Your Next Buy & Hold“. Click below for full details about this workshop, to RSVP and guarantee your seat in the room, and grab directions to the event. See you Saturday!

Detailed Game plan from A-Z for your next Buy and Hold

Saturday, Jan 12, 2019, 10:00 AM

Hampton Inn Bridgeville
150 Old Pond Rd Bridgeville, pa

41 Members Attending

This is a great session for those who want to buy and hold. This will give you an idea of realistic expectations that you can count on for your current and your future investments. We will look at some of my current and past buy and hold properties and take a close look to see what mistakes and successes I had made and lets learn from those and com…

Check out this Meetup →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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#TaraMTG Tuesday (On a Wednesday): Increased Mortgage Rates — Should You Still Buy In 2019?

DHREA 02/01/2019

(Every Tuesday we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services! We opted for Wednesday this week due to the holiday.)

Does the news of rising rates make you second guess buying your first home in 2019? It shouldn’t and here’s why:

Higher Rates But Not Frighteningly High

With headlines that read “Feds Hike Up Mortgage Rates — Highest Since 2014,” it’s no wonder that you doubt that it’s a great time to buy your first home. While it’s true that the mortgage rates are higher than 2014, historically, the increase tells a different and promising story. Homebuyers in 2017 took advantage of a prime environment that included higher employment rates and low mortgage rates.

However, we must keep in mind that although interest rates were low, they were, in fact, higher than they were in years prior!

As many of you can remember, 2008 marked the beginning of a horrific economy in the U.S. Unemployment inched closer and closer to 10 percent, and those that were employed didn’t have much job stability. Understandably, the Feds had to take measures to pull us out of recession by lowering rates –but the goal had always been to increase rates gradually as the economy recovered.

And that’s what they’ve been doing, slowly increasing in relation to the strength of the economy.

You Can Still Afford to Buy a Home Despite the Increase

In a competitive housing market, you’re worried that you’ll be outbid. But in a higher mortgage rate market, does that mean you’re out altogether? No!

While the current rate increase and planned increases by the Feds change things, it does not substantially change your buying power as a potential homebuyer.

How much you qualify for is more a matter of your income, debts, credit score, and the amount you can put as downpayment –and less to do with mortgage rates.

The rates do, however, impact your monthly payment. So for those homebuyers with a set monthly mortgage payment window, rising rates may change the listing prices of the homes you’re looking at. On the bright side, an increase in rates sometimes means lower asking prices –again, ensuring that you can still buy your dream home at a reasonable cost and affordable monthly payment despite higher interest rates.

2019 Is A Great Time To Buy A Home

Don’t let the hype of higher rates scare you into thinking you missed out on buying your first home. When you look at current mortgage rates in a historical lens, you’ll see that it’s a sign of a strong economy and the modest increase does little to affect your buying power.

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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2018 DHRE Year In Review!

DHREA 31/12/2018

2018 was an exciting year for Deacon Hoover Real Estate Advisors. Alex Deacon and Ian Hoover started with a vision to change the industry. A company that doesn’t hire any agent, we hire motivated hungry agents who want to learn and enjoy being taught the business of selling real estate.


Co-Owner & Associate Broker Alex Deacon and
Broker of Record & Co-Owner Ian Hoover address the crowd at the 2018 Holiday Banquet, held at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

In 2018, our team of Advisors worked tirelessly to produce numbers we never would’ve expected in our first year. We’re proud of our fantastic team and their hard work, which was truly the cornerstone of our success this year. In fact, DHRE finished in the top 15% of Western Pennsylvania brokerages (44th out of 308), and produced more than 16 RE/MAX Franchises, 17 Howard Hanna offices, and over 20 Berkshire Hathaway offices!

Speaking of our wonderful team of Advisors, let’s take a look at this year’s award winners:

2018 Pinnacle Award Winner and Multi-Million Dollar Producer Tony Angotti.

Tony Angotti was on fire in 2018! Tony earned the Deacon Hoover Real Estate Advisors Pinnacle Award recognizing the brokerage’s top producer, was a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Producer Club (grossing over 4.5 Million Dollars), and was also featured in Top Agent Magazine!

Along with his professional accolades, Tony married his wonderful wife Anna in October, and finally got to witness his Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl. All was well with Mr. Tony Angotti in 2018!

2018 Multi-Million Dollar Producer Chris Ciccarelli.

Chris Ciccarelli had an amazing 2018. Always on the grind, Chris produced over 2.6 Million dollars to cement his place in the Multi-Million Dollar Producer Club!

Million Dollar Producer Jeremy Taggart receives his 2018 DHRE Rookie of the Year award.

Jeremy Taggart is an Advisor to watch out for! Jeremy finished strong in 2018, producing over 1.7 Million Dollars for the year. His hard work and dedication earned him the 2018 Deacon Hoover Real Estate Rookie of the Year Award!

Million Dollar Producer Ashley Johnston receives her award.

Ashley Johnston had one of the busiest years we’ve ever seen, and was still able to produce over 1.5 Million Dollars in 2018! Along with joining the Million Dollar Producers Club, her and her husband Blaine welcomed a new child into the world! Congrats Ashley!

Megan Clancy receives her Million Dollar Producer award.

2018 was an exciting year for Megan Clancy! When she’s not serving our country, Megan is landing in the Million Dollar Producer Club with over 1.1 Million Dollars produced! Megan also married her wonderful husband Matt this past September. Congrats on all your success this year!

(Applause break for all of our 2018 Award Winners!)

2018 was a fantastic year for Deacon Hoover Real Estate Advisors, but none of it would have been possible without the hardest working team in the industry! From our top-notch team of Advisors, to all of our fantastic partners, to everyone behind the scenes and in the offices, and to everyone we were honored to do business with this year…our successes would not have been possible without all of you! Here’s to an even bigger 2019!

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
595 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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Blue Label Labs Featured Blog: Bringing Real Estate into the 21st Century with These New Technologies

DHREA 29/12/2018

(We’ve partnered with the great folks at Blue Label Labs to bring you this fantastic blog!)

Real estate is a massive industry with an incredibly high value—already over $1 trillion in New York City alone. Yet in contrast to many fields which have been eager to adopt and implement new technologies throughout their practices, real estate remains a relatively low-tech sector.

Although real estate continues to lag behind in its utilization of the possibilities offered by technological solutions like on-demand app development, artificial intelligence, and more, the industry’s major players are looking for ways to get ahead of their competition. Technology is affecting real estate in important ways and its prominence will only continue to increase in the near future.

Proprietary and Outsourced Solutions

Cloud services have already taken over multiple areas of the workforce. However, many real estate companies continue to compete using their own solutions, a significantly less efficient and more expensive model. Focusing on in-house development diverts important resources that could be used to improve more important aspects of the business.

Along with outsourcing workflow, real estate companies have also been behind other businesses in adopting technologies that could change the way they do business. In sticking to traditional real estate procedures, these companies are allowing their practices to become more and more outdated.

Aside from the cloud, the following are two additional technologies that have the potential to change the real estate industry.

Blockchain

Most people associate the word blockchain with Bitcoin, but the truth is that this technology has important applications in a variety of contexts. The market for blockchain is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2024, and it offers improved efficiency, transparency, and security compared to traditional alternatives.

Blockchain’s possibilities in the economy are just beginning to be explored, so it will likely be a few years before it’s able to have its full impact on the real estate industry. That said, many exciting startups are already working on discovering new ways to incorporate blockchain in the world of real estate.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality offers an improved customer experience through the ability to see a house in detail without having to physically visit. Compared to traditional photos, or even video, virtual reality gives users a much more vivid experience and feel of a house or apartment.

As with blockchain, there are already businesses working on virtual reality solutions for the real estate market. While the industry has always been reluctant to move forward with new solutions and technologies, both blockchain and virtual reality have the potential to significantly affect how real estate operates.

Although there are exciting possibilities just around the corner, real estate is still in the early stages of this transformation. These technologies and others will likely begin to become more visible throughout the industry in the next few years. Many of the inefficiencies and inconveniences associated with purchasing and renting property will be improved through the use of these technological solutions.

(This blog was originally posted at BlueLabelLabs.com)

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
595 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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#TaraMTG Tuesday: Buying Versus Building a Home: Which Is Cheaper?

DHREA 18/12/2018


(Every Tuesday we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Is it less expensive to buy or build a house? That’s a question that many homebuyers have –whether their first-time buyers or looking for toward their next move. Considering that “buy-and-flip” investors are less active and many developers have slowed down a bit, you’ll soon realize that you have more home buying options than ever.

Here’s what you need to know about buying an existing home versus building a custom home.

The Upfront Costs

Existing Home: The price of a home vary widely as it depends on the area, the square footage, the condition, the amenities, as well as many other factors.

Building a New Home: All things being equal and generally speaking, building a new home costs about $60-$70k more than buying an existing home with similar attributes. But that is not always the case. There are some instances where the cost per square foot comes out significantly less in a custom built home than in an existing home.

Here’s something else to consider –when you build, you also have the advantage of only paying for what you want. While an existing home may have additional perks, like a basement or hardwood floors, it may not be something that you want or are willing to pay for.

Home Maintenance

Existing Home: Older homes require more maintenance because they have more wear and tear. Some homes may even need a big-time overhaul! As with any home purchase, never skip the home inspection and understand that even with well-maintained homes, repairs are inevitable.

Building a New Home: Maintenance on a new home is very little, and it’s one of the central benefits of building a new home. Since everything from appliances to the HVAC system is new and under warranty, you’ll enjoy several years of worry-free living. Some contractors even offer a whole the home warranty that protects the house for up to 10 years!

Outdoors

Existing Home: A mature garden with large trees and well-established landscaping is a big plus of buying an existing home. Mature trees and landscaping not only add value to the property but can even help to reduce energy costs by providing shade and efficient drainage.

Building a New Home: Professional landscaping can cost thousands plus many years to come to fruition. The benefit, however, is that you’ll be able to design your outdoor precisely to your liking and it very little time. Depending on the project, you can have a custom-designed yard in two weeks or less.

Energy Efficiency

Existing Home: Older homes that have had little to no-updating use more energy. Appliances that are older than ten years, single-pane windows, and poor insulation are some updates you’ll want to consider if you buy an existing home.

Building a New Home: When it comes to energy efficiency, new construction can’t be beat. On average, new homes use about 21% less energy than older homes. However, this saving comes mostly from high-efficiency appliances. Meaning that if you purchase new HE appliances for an existing home, you can save just as much money on energy with an existing home as you would with new construction.

Appreciation

Existing Home: With an existing home, you make your purchase with some context. You can see the home’s previous sale prices, the cost of similar homes in the area, and have a good idea of what the market value of your home will be in the future.

Building a New Home: New homes, especially those in up-and-coming neighborhoods, can be more of a gamble. Without any sale history or comparables to reference, you have very little to go on when thinking about the future value of your home. Of course, if this is your forever home, which is often the case with custom-built homes, then not having a history to predict the future may not matter.

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
591 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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Want to buy a house with Bitcoin? Here’s what you need to know!

DHREA 05/12/2018

Want to buy a house with Bitcoin? Here's what you need to know.

 

With everyone going cryptocurrency crazy and the value of a single Bitcoin having skyrocketed as high as $19,000, there’s two things guaranteed when you work at a real estate startup:

  1. Your parents and non-tech savvy family members will ask you to explain what the hell it is over and over again
  2. Tech-savvy buyers who’ve mined their way to Bitcoin and other crypto riches will want to know if there is a way for them to buy a house using Bitcoin

For these questions, we say: “It’s like internet money, Mom.” and “Yes, it’s totally possible to buy a house with Bitcoin.”

How buying a house with Bitcoin works

If you’re serious about purchasing a house with Bitcoin, there are a few factors that come into play:

The seller has to be down
First, you have to find a seller who is willing to accept Bitcoin as payment for the house. You can use our search to look for the words “Bitcoin” or “Ethereum” or whatever your cryptocurrency of choice happens to be to find potential property matches.

Once you have an accepted offer, the title and escrow companies have to agree to handle the transaction
Even if you are able to find a seller that’s willing to accept your offer in Bitcoin, it can be tricky to find title insurance and escrow companies who feel comfortable handling virtual currency transactions. To take on your home purchase, they may require you to cash out your Bitcoin so that your transaction can be treated more like a traditional house purchase.

The future is here

Still have those Bitcoin homebuying dreams? Here are a few of our favorite properties for sale in California and Washington that’ll accept your cryptocurrency:

6023 W Beachwood Ln. Los Angeles, CA 90038
6023 W Beachwood Ln bitcoin house for sale

This Hollywood Hills new construction is smart home ready & highly walkable. Listing price is $1,190,000. If you buy it with Open Listings, you’ll get $11,900 back. View Listing

1338 Orchard Ave. Wenatchee, WA 98801
1338 Orchard Ave house for sale bitcoin

This charming & Wenatchee home could make a great investment for the right Bitcoin buyer with its big corner lot and full apartment above the garage. Listing price is $399,900. As of writing this, that’s about 25 Bitcoins. View Listing

1301 Duhig Rd Napa, CA 94559
Buy Napa California land for sale with Bitcoin

This may only be the bird’s eye view of this 10 acre plot in Napa County, but it’s ready and waiting for you with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a hot tub, and some of Napa Valley’s finest wineries as your neighbors. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Listing price is $2,900,000. Buy it with Open Listings, and get $36,250 back. View Listing

On the hunt to buy more homes with that Bitcoin? House hunt for free with Open Listings, find matches the moment they hit the market, and save thousands in unnecessary fees.

(This article originally appeared on OpenListings.)

 

 

 

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
591 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

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#TaraMTG Tuesdays: What You Must Know About Rent-To-Own Homes!

DHREA 04/12/2018

(Every Tuesday we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

 

If you’ve browsed home sale listings, you’ve probably seen ads for “Rent-to-Own or “Lease-to-Own” homes. These agreements are similar to traditional rental contracts. However, they also give you an option to purchase the rental home.

Curious as to what renting-to-own involves or wondering if it’s a good option for you? Read on to understand the details of a rent-to-own contract and contact us for personalized mortgage advice.

The Anatomy of Rent-To-Own Contract

A rent-to-own contract usually has two parts to the agreement: a standard lease agreement as well as a separate document that outlines your option to buy. Both documents may be incorporated into one document or they exist as two separate ones.

Rent Agreement

In the rental part of the rent-to-own arrangement, it’ll state that the property will remain as the landlord property unless you choose to exercise the right to purchase the home. While this document will include language that mentions “purchasing,” this is still foundationally a rental agreement. It is not a purchase agreement. Just like any other standard lease agreement, it will include terms concerning the amount of rent to be paid, lease period, and outline the repair and maintenance responsibilities of the landlord.

Purchase Agreement

This difference is most notable in the rent that you’ll pay, as we mentioned above. You’ll still be required to make timely monthly payments, but the amount will be substantially higher than the rent of a similar property. This “extra” amount that you pay is usually put into an escrow account as part of your option to buy. It’s the landlord responsibility to set aside this additional portion of the rent aside to apply toward the principle or to refund it should you decide to purchase.

Your Rights and Obligations

Lease-to-own arrangements have unique features that differ from common lease agreements. This difference is most notable in the rent that you’ll pay, as we mentioned above. You’ll still be required to make timely monthly payments, but the amount will be substantially higher than the rent of a similar property. This “extra” amount that you pay is usually put into an escrow account as part of your option to buy. It’s the landlord responsibility to set aside this additional portion of the rent aside and apply toward the principle of the house or refund it to you upon purchase.

In a way, you’re building equity in the house during the rental period.

Maintenance is also different. Unlike a traditional lease agreement where the landlord is responsible for all repairs, in the rent-to-own contract, you’ll be responsible for the upkeep of the property. Most tenants and landlords consider it a fair agreement since, typically, the tenant will own the house eventually.

Other Details

Until your exercise your right to purchase, the property is legally owned by the landlord. Yes, even if you have made significant repairs and have invested several months of “equity,” you’ll still have to comply with the terms of the rental agreement. If any of the conditions are violated, the purchase option is voided. You’ll lose your option fee as well as the escrow percentage of the monthly rent payments.

Risks and Benefits

Many consider a rent-to-own agreement because they lack funds for the down payment, or their poor credit has made them temporarily ineligible for a mortgage (remember that poor credit can be improved!). With a rent-to-own arrangement, a tenant will be able to gradually build equity in a property while still having the possibility to opt out. However, financially, this could make the situation worse. If you choose not to exercise the right to purchase the property or fail to come up with the funds for the purchase, you could lose all of the funds you accumulated on the escrow account.

If you have poor credit or zero funds to purchase a home, you have other options other than rent-to-own contracts. Call Tara Mortgage Services for a free consultation to learn about your options!

 

 

 

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
590 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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Buying a starter home? Here’s what you need to know!

DHREA 28/11/2018

Many first-time homebuyers, especially in competitive markets, end up in starter homes as a part of their first foray into the real estate market.

The idea of a “starter home” goes back to World War II. After veterans completed their service, they returned home and took advantage of a provision in the G.I. Bill that guaranteed them affordable mortgages. The increased demand caused a housing boom, specifically for smaller, low-cost homes where the veterans could start their families.

Historically, these properties tend to be smaller in size than one might expect from a single-family unit, but the idea behind them is two-fold: these smaller properties help introduce individuals to the responsibilities of homeownership, while also serving as a launching pad– something to help a homeowner build equity before eventually moving on to a bigger and better property.

What to look for in a starter home

If you think you might be in the market for a starter property, here are some features you’ll want to keep in mind:

Affordability

Since this is your first time worrying about a mortgage payment, you might not be able to borrow as much, or you may not feel comfortable doing so. As the buyer, you’ll want to ask your lender to work up closing costs for you until you feel confident that you’ll be able to confidently make your payment each month.

Size

Starter homes tend to be much smaller than other homes on the market, both to keep costs down and upkeep manageable. As you look at homes, think seriously about how much space you truly need. Often, just one extra bedroom is more than enough room for first-time buyers.

Upkeep

Townhomes and condos are particularly popular options as first-time homes because they allow buyers to experience a lot of the positive aspects of homeownership without too much responsibility.

If you’re in the market for a living situation where much of the home maintenance is taken care of for you, a condo or townhome may be a good option. Just be sure to research the specific services that each community offers, as well as any associated fees.

Resale value / income potential

Since starter homes tend to be more of a stepping stone than a permanent solution, many first-time buyers go into to the purchase with a vague idea of what will happen once they outgrow this phase of their lives. Whether you’d rather sell the property or keep it and rent it out for passive income, the ability to attract future interest is key. For this reason, most starter homes are located in popular neighborhoods, with easy access to amenities like restaurants, bars, and public transportation options.

Should you buy a starter home?

While, ultimately, only you can decide whether or not now is the right time for you to join the real estate market, here are a few signs that you might just be ready to take the jump into first-time homebuying:

You’re financially stable

Even though starter home values are lower, you should still have a stable income, a handle on your debt and credit rating, and some amount of savings to put towards a downpayment. Additionally, you feel comfortable with the idea of being able to handle a monthly mortgage payment, as well as any unforeseen maintenance expenses that could crop up.

You’re settled (for now)

Even though your starter home probably won’t end up being your forever home, it’s still much more permanent than simply signing a year-long lease. Before you get your heart set on buying, you should double-check to make sure that you feel comfortable maintaining your life- your job, social circle, and surrounding area – as-is for the foreseeable future.

…But not too settled

These days, people are starting their path to homeownership later in life. If you’re in a place where you’re almost ready to start a family and you have a decent income, it may make more sense for you to keep saving and skip the starter home in favor of a larger property that will allow you and your family to grow as needed.

You’re willing to compromise

Too often, buyers are surprised to find that their starter home budget isn’t nearly enough to get everything on their wishlist.

Homeownership, especially in the first-time home bracket, is bound to come with a certain degree of compromise. Ideally, when you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll be able to focus on foundational details like the home’s location and square footage rather than aesthetics. Those surface projects can often be changed to your tastes over time as you settle in.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

 

We’re almost at 600! Join Alex Deacon’s real estate networking workshop group today, and connect with nearly 600 other real estate professionals. You’ll also be the first to receive updates on Alex’s monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
589 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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The REAL(ish) History Behind Black Friday!

DHREA 23/11/2018

 

 

Black Friday has become as synonymous with Thanksgiving as pumpkin pie, but there are a lot of myths surrounding the origins of the shopping event, some even going back as far as the 1800s.

Turns out, you don’t have to rewind quite that far to find the source.

Along with cheesesteak, the term Black Friday is rooted in Philadelphia (a city synonymous with chaos 😉 ). In the 1950s, police in The City of Brotherly Love used the term to describe the horde of shoppers from the suburbs that descended into the city for the days after Thanksgiving, according to Bonnie Taylor-Blake, a neuroscience researcher at the University of North Carolina. The city promoted big sales and decorations, ahead of the Army/Navy football game on Saturday.

“It was a double whammy. Traffic cops were required to work 12-hour shifts, no one could take off and people would flood the sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. The cops had to deal with it all and coined the term.”

City merchants also started to use the term to describe the long lines and shopping mayhem at their stores. “It became this comical reference to downtown Philadelphia following Thanksgiving.”

In 1961 there was a push to rebrand the day as “Big Friday”, as a concern grew that the negative connotation would keep people from going to the city. Clearly, the effort didn’t catch on. In the years since, retailers have learned to embrace the name, and have even expanded the one-day shopping event into a four-day marathon.

Among other ridiculous urban legends, Black Friday is most commonly mistaken for being named after the day retail companies would become profitable for the year. Retailers used to record their losses in red ink and profits in black.

Now you know the real story behind the “Black Friday” moniker. Use this information wisely. You never know when facts could come in handy!

 

(This article was originally published on November 24th, 2017.)

 

 

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6 Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Home Buyer!

DHREA 21/11/2018

Buying a home for the first time is a big deal.

To help you get ahead, we’ve outlined some first-time homebuyer tips by calling out six of the biggest mistakes that you should avoid going into the purchase of your first home that could end up saving you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Mistake #1: not getting pre-approved

Many first-time buyers make the mistake of thinking that they don’t need to get approved for a mortgage until they’ve found their dream home.

Unfortunately, that often ends up being too late.

These days, most sellers require that pre-approvals be submitted along with any offer, and, since your finances need to be vetted before the lender will agree to grant you a loan, this process can take days or even weeks.

Instead, we recommend applying for a pre-approval before you even start looking at a available properties.

Doing so will give you extra time to work on your finances, if needed, and will ensure that you’re ready to submit an offer ASAP once you’ve found your perfect match.

2. Borrowing the maximum amount

Be careful with ending up "house poor"

Once you have your pre-approval in hand, it’s time to decide how much you can afford to spend.

Many buyers mistakenly believe that the figure they’re given on their pre-approval letter should serve as their target sale price. However, make sure that this move won’t leave you feeling “house poor.”

Instead, it’s better to think of loan amounts as a range. You have the ability to borrow up to the amount on your pre-approval, but you don’t necessarily have to go that far.

The better move is to do some budgeting of your own.

First, look at your income and expenses to determine how much money you’d feel comfortable putting towards a mortgage payment each month. Then, using that number, play around with a mortgage calculator until you land on a price of how much house you can really afford.

3. Overestimating your abilities

Sometimes buyers are willing to take on any number of repairs and remodeling projects in exchange for for a low sale price.

Unfortunately, though, what ends up happening in many of these scenarios is that they end up finding that these properties were steals for a reason.

Often, the repairs require more time, money, and skills than the buyers can afford.

If you’re looking at fixer upper properties that require a lot of TLC — especially foreclosures, short sales, or auctions — you need to be honest with yourself about your abilities.

Do you have any previous remodeling experience? Can you afford to hire professional help? Are you prepared to cope with unforeseen problems and expenses?

Though some of these things may be hard to admit, doing so can end up saving you a lot of frustration in the long run.

4. Skipping the fine print

Read your contract fine print

Yes, you should always read every contract you sign in full.

But, as anyone who’s ever sped through a “Terms & Conditions” agreement can tell you, that’s easier said than done.

While it might be tempting to simply skim your Agreement of Sale (and any addendums), resist the urge. This mistake could end up costing you.

Successful real estate transactions depend on each party fulfilling their respective contingencies by the deadlines specified in the agreement.

By signing, you’ve agreed to fulfill your end of the bargain. If you fail to meet those obligations, the seller may be entitled to take your deposit monies in reparations.

When you’re negotiating your offer, make sure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.

5. Bypassing your inspections

Conventional wisdom states that skipping your inspections will put you in a better bargaining position. While this is true, the reality is inspections are for the buyer’s benefit.

They give you a realistic picture of what’s wrong with the property, so that you can either choose to buy it with eyes-wide-open and negotiate on repairs or walk away and find a more suitable option.

In contrast, when you choose to waive your inspections, you’ve agreed to take financial responsibility for any repairs that may come up, even if the problems pre-date your ownership of the property. Weigh your options carefully before deciding whether or not this risk is worth it to you. In some cases, just shortening your inspection contingency might be enough to make your offer more competitive.

6. Forgetting about closing cost

Budgeting to buy a home isn’t just about figuring out how you’ll swing a downpayment and monthly mortgage amount.

There are also closing costs to consider.

Your closing costs will be paid at settlement. They will include any fees needed to facilitate the transaction such as deed-recording fees, title insurance, and appraisal costs.

The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on the specific services needed to close on your property. Realistically, however, you can expect to pay between 2%-5% of the home’s purchase price, and that needs to be factored into your overall cost of buying a place.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

 

 

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