Posted by: apriljobeasley | March 11, 2009

$8,000 Tax Credit vs. $7,500 Tax Credit

Many people are totally confused about the new tax credit that has been rolled out by the government.  There are many questions surrounding the new tax credit.  Number one, who is eligible?  The new tax credit is for first time home buyers or buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years.  It is possible that you owned a home but rented it out.  As long as you have not lived in that house in the past three years, then you to are eligible for the credit.  See why it gets confusing? 

Number two, do I have to pay the money back?  No, unlike the previous credit that had to be paid back over a period of five years (an interest free loan basically), this loan does not have to be paid back.  You must live in the home for three years for this to be true.

Number three, what types of homes qualify?  Any home that will be used as your primary residence.  Whether it is a town home, single family home, condo, mobile home, or houseboat, the home will qualify.

Number four, do I have to wait until tax time to receive the money?  No!  Talk to your agent or CPA.  They will be able to show you how you can use the money for a down payment, furniture, or make repairs to the home.  You do not have to wait until April 2010 to receive the money!  Even if you have already filed your tax return for 2008 you can file an ammended return and claim your credit now!

Number five, how long will this credit be avaliable?  The credit is only avaliable for homebuyers that are purchasing from January 1, 2009 to December 1, 2009.

There are so many other questions it would take forever for me to go through all of the answers.  You can visit http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/faq.php for more information.

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Posted by: apriljobeasley | December 15, 2008

Capitol Heights By Candlelight.

December 13thwould go down in the books as one of my favorite days in 2008. The day started with an ornament swap with ladies at church and concluded with the Candlelight Tour of Capitol Heights. The tour started at the Greek Orthodox Church and tickets were only $10 per adult. A total of eleven S. Capitol Parkway homes were on the tour this year.  Beautiful lights, garland, and trees adorned each home. It was truly amazing to have the opportunity to view these historic homes. To think of the families that have lived in the homes and the memories created in each one. I saw many fabulous pieces of art, retro kitchens, unique floor plans, and funky furniture. The Capitol Heights community is definitelyeclectic and I love it. Every guest was treated to Christmas cookies and cider in every home. The tour was a fun time to meet neighbors and come together as a community. Many guests were from other Montgomery neighborhoods. In a sense I believe so many people enjoy the tour because it allows them to “get out of the box.” So many homes in Montgomery are cookie-cutter so to speak. We live very traditional lives with strict schedules and dress codes. For us in Capitol Heights we don’t necessarily have to live in that cookie-cutter world.  I think a lot of people long for that freedom.  I know I did.  That is one of the reasons we moved to Capitol Heights.  I longed for a home with charm and character.  The tour gave me some great ideas for our new home as well as helped me feel a little more comfortable with getting out of the box.  After all I have lived in the cookie -cutter world for twenty-five years.  I am ready to have a little fun!

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 25, 2008

Marketing Your Home

If you are thinking about listing your home then you should view this short PowerPoint presentation.  The presentation will take you through the process of listing and selling your home.  Thank you for viewing!

Listing Your Home

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 25, 2008

My Opinion…For What it is Worth.

This entire blog is purely my opinion.  If you have comments, please make them.  Your comments will only make this blog better.  Remember I am a former teacher.  I had at least 150 comments from teenagers with attitudes every single day!  I welcome your thoughts.  Also if you have any ideas for blog posts just shoot me an email (AprilJoBeasley@gmail.com).

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 22, 2008

Buyer FAQ’s

Why is it important for me to use a REALTORâ? 

Finding a good Realtorâ is the most important step in the process.  A good agent will save you time and money.  We have the right tools and knowledge to find a home for you.  For example, as a member of the public you are able to search the internet websites and only put in certain criteria; the number of rooms, bathrooms, price, etc.  This criterion is very general.  As agent I am able to search detail specific criteria.  Let’s consider for a moment you need a fenced in backyard, pool, and pantry.  Through my MLS search I am able to search for all of those things element properties very easily that do not meet your needs thus saving you time.  A Realtorâ can also save you money.  We are skilled negotiators working to get you the best sales price.  Not only that we have connections with trusted licensed professionals such as Home Inspectors, Termite Inspectors, and Appraisers etc.  As an agent with Coldwell Banker Towne Realty I have had monthly mortgage training.  I am not a licensed mortgage lender however one comes into the office and explains new and existing financing office. Due to this training I know certain financing options/programs that might help you save money.  I work hand in hand with the loan officer to help you get the best price and financing options available to you.

 

Do I pay for my use of REALTOR® Services?

In most situations the seller pays the real estate agents commission (fees), thus freeing you of the obligation.  In some situations however people are not willing to pay agents commission.  Sometimes For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s) are not will to pay Realtor® fees.  If they are not I will do my best to negotiate for my pay.  If they are not willing to pay a full commission and you still want that particular home then at that time you will be responsible for the commission.

 

What is agency?

There are a few types of agency a buyer deals with.  The first is a Transaction Broker.  This agent simply shows properties, answers basic questions, and handles paperwork.  They cannot make representations or recommendations for you.  The second type is a dual agent.  A dual agent works with the seller and the buyer.  They must keep all information confidential and stay neutral throughout the process.  Once again they cannot make recommendations or representations.  The third type of agent is a Buyer Broker.  This person represents you and can make recommendations.  They have a fiduciary (trustee) relationship with you meaning they are Obedient, Loyal, Disclose everything to you, keep Confidentiality, Accountable to you, and show Reasonable care.  Depending on your particular goals your agent will help decide which type of agency you require.

 

When do I obtain financing?

After you have found a Realtor® you will need a loan officer.  This is a crucial step in the home buying process.  A loan officer will approve you for a loan.  This will allow you to know how much you may borrow and spend on a property.  If you are only approved for $100,000 then we know not to look at properties over that amount.  In the long run this will save you money and heartache.  Loan approval also strengthens your offer when you negotiate with a seller. 

 

Will I need any money on hand?

Yes.  You will need earnest money as explained below.  You may also be required by the mortgage company to put up a down payment.  This amount will vary from customer to customer.  You may also need money for closing costs.  A good loan officer should be able to tell you your estimated expenses upfront.  You will also need money to pay for a home inspection.  This will be around $275, and some home inspectors offer discounts.

 

What is Earnest Money?

You will need to put up what is called “Earnest Money” once a contract is written and accepted.  I typically require my buyers to put up at least $1000.  This money is letting the sellers know that you are serious about buying their home.  They are agreeing to take their home off of the market in hopes that it will close.  Sometimes however people write a contract on a home and things go wrong.  Perhaps financing was not finalized or the buyer simply backs out of the deal for no reason.  If something happens through the fault of the buyer and the sale does not close, then the earnest money will be kept by the seller.   If however the property does close then the earnest money is used as a credit for your closing costs.

 

What is the buying process?

After finding a Realtor® and a loan officer you will begin the process of finding a home.  I personally do a counseling session with all of my buyers.  We discuss financing as well as the process.  At this time we look at your needs and why you have these specific needs.  We will then begin to look at properties.  Once you have found a home you would like to write a contract on, we will do so, thus starting the negotiating process.  After a contract is accepted you will write a check for the earnest money.  You then have 10 days to have the home inspected by a licensed inspector.  We will then ask for repairs to be made if needed.  If the seller is unwilling to make the repairs you then have two options.  A, back out of the contract, or B, continue with the purchase and make repairs on your own.  A termite inspection of the property will also be done and you have the same two options.  After the property is to your satisfaction, we will order an appraisal and lock in your finances.  We then go to the closing table.  At closing you will need a valid ID.  You will sign a lot of paperwork then receive your keys! 

 

What is a Home Warranty and do I need one?

A home warranty is just that, a warranty for your home.  Different warranties cover different items in the home however most of them cover the systems not structure of the home.  If you were to have a problem you would only pay a service fee (less than $60 in most cases, however this varies with different companies) and someone would come out to your home and remedy the problem.  This is a one year warranty that can be extended at the end of the year term if you wish.  I do suggest that people obtain a home warranty.  You may never have to use it, but in the case that you do it will save you a lot of money. 

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 22, 2008

The Name on The Sign…

So you are driving around town and see a house for sale.  You think “hmm… I wonder how much that one costs?”  So you call the number on the sign.  Chances are the agent will tell you the basic information and try to get you to see the house.  Here’s the kicker.  The agent whose name is on the sign represents the seller and the seller only.  They are not looking out for your best interest.  Now, theoretically they once you get to the house they should explain something called agency.  Basically telling you who they represent.  All too often though they get bogged down in showing you the house and they forget to explain who they are working for.  There are four types of Agents in the Tri-County area. 

1. Single Agent: The Listing Agent/Buyer’s Agent.  This agent can make recommendations and they work for their client only.  They must keep all information confidential (unless they are given other instructions by you).  They will also be able to negotiate harder for you.  If you are a buyer (First Time Home Buyers especially) you need your own buyer’s agent.  Preferably someone with their ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) designation.  Call around.  Ask your friends to refer you to their agent.  Or you could always call me (April Beasley 334.782.5650)! 

2. Limited Consensual Dual Agent: Long name I know.  This is someone that is working with both the sellers and the buyers.  They cannot make recommendations to you or give advice.  They can only present raw data and tell third party stories.  At times this happens.  In fact my very first transaction in real estate was a limited consensual transaction.  I had listed my friend’s house.  I was also working with a different set of friends as their buyers agent.  They looked at the house I had listed and decided that they wanted to buy it.  At that time both parties had to sign a limited consensual dual agency agreement (try saying that 10 times fast).  I had to shift gears a bit.  I was no longer able to advise either party.  I helped them both through the entire transaction though and everything turned out great!  It can be done!

3. Sub Agent: We really don’t do this at all here.

4. Transaction Broker:  This type of agent can walk you through an entire transaction.  They will give you raw data, but cannot advise or make recommendations to you.  They still have to keep confidentiality.  Basically they are not working for you they are working with you. 

As with anything you you do it is important for you to know your rights as a consumer!  If you have any questions concerning agency you can email me, call your local Realotor®, or call the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors® at 334.396.0256.

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 19, 2008

Property Tax and Local Sales Tax

                                      Property Taxes                                                     Local Sales Tax

Montgomery    $34.50 per $1,000 assessed value                                             10.0%

Prattville          $28.00 per $1,000 assessed value                                              8.5%

Millbrook        $27.00 per $1,000 assessed value                                               8.5%

Wetumpka       $27.00 per $1,000 assessed value                                               8.5%

Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 19, 2008

Spend the day at the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Museum!

Elephant Exhibit
Elephant Exhibit

Are you looking for something to do in Montgomery?  Spend a day at the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Museum!  When I first moved to Montgomery I was surprised to see such a great zoo for a city this size.  I always thought good zoos were reserved for only the large metropolitan areas.  Well that is not true at all.  The Montgomery zoo has over 40 acres of land and features barrier free exhibits.  Five different continents make up the zoo exhibits.  The newest addition to the zoo is the River Otter exhibit.  You can view the otters from above or get an underwater view of them swimming.  Plans to build a new alligator exhibit featuring alligators of all ages in currently under way.  After visiting all of the animals you can take a ride around the zoo on the train, play on the playground, or grab a snack at the Overlook Cafe.  Holidays are especially fun at the zoo with Zoo Boo and the Holiday Lights Festival.  Visit the zoo today.  You will be glad you did!

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