Joanne Metz

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Owning a Home is a Good Investment

Posted On: August 30th, 2018 3:52PM


Owning a Home is a Good Investment

The debate about homeownership versus renting has continued over many decades and there is always a consistent winner – homeownership. Even with a continual annual rise in the prices of most average US homes, the consensus is that it is still cheaper to buy rather than to rent; with differences ranging from 20% to 50%, depending on the suburb, city or state, making for a nationwide saving of 37.7%.

To get the most benefit from homeownership, you would have to own your home for at least seven years. Of course, the cost of a mortgage would have to be at reasonable levels, like they have been for a number of years.

Building equity is one of the essential reasons for preferring to purchase over renting, and it is a sure hedge against rising inflation. For most people homeownership is the closest they will ever come to having a savings account.

Besides saving on rental inflation, owning your own place also allows you to have the upper hand on how you maintain or renovate to suit your family’s needs.

A large portion of the money saved will come from the following tax benefits*:

  • On a loan of $1 million or less, the interest paid on your mortgage may be deductible
  • Property taxes, except for payments into your escrow account, may be deductible
  • Your insurance premium may be deductible according to your family income
  • Energy- saving improvements come with a 10% tax credit of up to $500
  • Capital gains tax exemption on the first $500,000 for married couples, and $250,000 for singles

*Consult with your tax advisor on the above scenarios.

I am a 30+ year REALTOR® serving home buyers and sellers in the Chicagoland area. Reach out for proven expertise and representation.

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Real Estate Advice: Rent or Buy a Home?

Posted On: July 20th, 2018 1:38PM

Real Estate Advice: Rent or Buy a Home?

Americans have always dreamt of owning a home of their own, believing that the investment offers them both security and financial growth.  The recent turmoil within the property market has once again sparked the rent vs. buy debate.

As a REALTOR®, I continue to see the pros and cons of homeownership vs renting every day. Here’s some food for thought if you are grappling with this decision in your life.

The determination of which solution best suits your pocket will depend on several factors:

  • Your finances
  • Your future long-term plans
  • The state of the real estate market in your area

When should you opt to rent?

  • You have just moved into a new town or area and want to get to know it before committing
  • Your job necessitates that you move often
  • Your income is sporadic, and you have no credit record
  • Your credit record is bad
  • The responsibility of maintenance is something you want to avoid
  • Your rental includes most utilities
  • You don’t want to pay property tax

Bear in mind that you will have regular increases in rental over the years and that you will not be able to make any structural changes to the property. When you initially move in you will have to pay a large security deposit.

When should you opt to buy?

  • You are in a permanent job in a fixed location
  • You want to build equity to fund other major expenses and are eligible for a mortgage
  • You want to own a property and to watch it appreciate
  • Tax deductions on mortgage interest and property taxes are an incentive
  • You want the freedom to add special features and implement changes to your living space
  • You don’t mind spending toward maintaining your home (you might even be good at DIY)

Home owners have watched the value of their homes increase steadily over the years in most areas of the US. The costs involved in purchasing your own home are approximately 1% of the purchase price and the cost of yearly maintenance is also estimated to be at 1% of the purchase price. When buying, you will have to make a down payment toward the mortgage which is usually between 5-20% and you will only be eligible to pay capital gains tax on its resale if you make a profit of $250 000 or more.

The decision to purchase or rent is entirely up to you and your needs. It’s a good idea to compare the figures on a price-to-rent ratio tool. Use this tool then give me a call to discuss your specific housing situation, https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/tools/rent-or-buy-calculator.

 

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Tips for Making the Most of Open House Visits

Posted On: June 27th, 2018 2:01AM

 

 

Thinking of buying your first (or next) home? Add visiting open houses to your ‘to-do’ list. They are a great way to learn more about an area’s amenities, and the homes in that area. I have hosted many an open house in my years as a REALTOR®. Let me share with you some tips to making the most of your visit.

  1. Since you will need to set aside at least half a day, make sure that you have done some research about which areas and houses you will visit and in what order.  Most important:  keep your budget in mind.  
  2. Be polite to the home owner or real estate agent present.  Don’t feel pressured to leave your contact details if you don’t want to, but do give your name.  You can always say that you have your own real estate agent.  Remember to thank the host when leaving.
  3. Don’t express emotions, especially if you like the home and refrain from making negative comments.  Ask questions such as why the owners are selling, if any offers have been made and how long the house has been on the market may be discussed. Take note of discussions around you. These can be useful when deciding on an offer.
  4. Pay close attention to the layout, size, and flow of the home.  Look at the exterior; see if you find any signs of structural damage.  It’s OK to open cabinets and closets to take note of storage space but be discreet. Keep in mind that wall colors can be changed.
  5. Ask before taking pictures and jot down notes to help you remember what you have seen. Be sure to put the address of the home with your notes so you don’t confuse homes upon review. Don’t forget to inquire about schools and other amenities in the area. If you are visiting several homes in one day you don’t want to forget something important.
  6. If a REALTOR® is hosting, be sure and ask for any information he/she has available. Many times agent’s provide school lists, utility info, tax information and more about the home.

As a selling agent, I believe in the benefit of holding a home open. As a buyer’s agent, I provide tips like these and more to my clients so together we can find their perfect match in a home. 

Happy to visit anytime you are ready to talk real estate.

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Selling Your Home in Low Inventory Market

Posted On: May 21st, 2018 1:42AM

 

The housing market has proven its resilience over the years. A decade ago it had hit rock bottom with prices falling to historical lows. This housing crash is now a distant memory as prices have steadily increased over the last five years. 

With a strengthening economy, rising employment figures and low interest rates buyers are flooding the market that has too few homes to sell. This low inventory has many causes and includes: homeowners who prefer to renovate rather than move, baby boomers who have decided not to downgrade, decreased development of new homes, distressed properties converted by investors into rentals and millennial buyers purchasing their first homes. 

There are sellers who are driven to sell by the tax changes which will be implemented in the 2018 tax year. They are trying to stay within the deductible tax limit on their mortgage interest and in areas with lower property taxes. 

If you are looking for a quick sale in this seller’s market, then keep the following in mind: 

• Spring and early summer is an optimal time to sell 

• Consult with your agent to ensure that you price your home correctly; an overpriced home can stagnate on the market 

• A CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is the best way to find the true worth of your home and how to best market it 

• Even though there is a demand for homes remain practical about what your home will sell for, according to your area 

• Tackle any touch ups and make sure that your home is tidy 

• Stage your home to make it appealing to prospective buyers 

 

I offer thorough valuation estimates, strong marketing strategies, and a keen eye for the local home-selling climate. Think of me as your trusted REALTOR® for your next home sale. 

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How I Price Your Home for Sale

Posted On: April 18th, 2018 1:37AM

 

Pricing your home correctly is the key to a timely home sale. Price too high, you get no offers. Price too low, and you leave money on the table.

I use the following criteria to arrive at a viable target selling price for your home.

  1. Sales in your area: One of the biggest factors in pricing is recent sales. My REALTOR® status allows me access to real-time home sales data via the Multiple Listing Service. I see what similar homes have sold for in the last 0 – 12 months in your neighborhood. Similar homes have about the same square footage, were built around the same time, and have comparable features.
  2. Features: Does your home have a unique feature, like additional living quarters or a swimming pool? If it’s a feature that is in demand, I recommend a higher price.
  3. Condition: Can people move right into your house or will some work have to be done? Deferred maintenance, like roof leaks and running toilets, don’t necessarily have to be fixed, but they may hinder getting top dollar.
  4. Other factors: If a new large, company headquarters is being built nearby, I might recommend a higher price since there will be people moving into the area. A dilapidated house on your street might effect your home’s value negatively.

If you are thinking about selling, please call me and I will do a thorough home valuation, complete with a visit to your home and diligence when researching comparable sales in your area. I always discuss the reasoning behind my comparative market analysis.

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