Sandra McCarty

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Major Changes To Federal Tax Code

Posted On: February 13th, 2019 1:33AM

 

 

New Tax Code that will affect 2018 tax returns

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Homes Are A Bargain Compared to historic Norms

Posted On: January 22nd, 2019 5:42PM

A loaf of bread used to be a nickel, a movie ticket was a dime but not anymore. Houses were also much less expensive than they are now. Inflation has caused an increase in the price of all three of these items, along with the price of almost every other item we purchase.

The reason we can still afford these items is that our wages have also increase over the years. The better measure of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier.

2019 Bargain Home Prices
Let’s look at purchasing a home today
The COST of a home is determined by three major components: price, mortgage interest rate, and wages. The big question? Are we paying a greater percentage of our income toward our monthly mortgage payment today than previous generations? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment. Though home prices are higher than before, wages have risen as well. And, the most important component in the cost equation – the mortgage rate – is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Monthly Mortgage Payment

Today, according to the latest Home Affordability Index just released by the National Association of Realtors, Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment. That is much lower than the 21% average previous generations have paid.

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Home Sales in 2019 Set To Outpace 2018!

Posted On: January 6th, 2019 2:52AM

There’s no doubt about it: the 2018 housing market has seen its ups and downs.

The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has faltered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer.

Will these trends continue? Will housing experience the same wild ride in the new year? Here’s what experts predict will happen in 2019 real estate market:

  • ­Interest rates are projected to increase steadily throughout 2019, but buyers will still be able to lock in a rate lower than their parents or grandparents did when they bought their homes!
  • Home prices will rise at a rate of 4.8% over the course of 2019 according to CoreLogic.
  • All four major reporting agencies believe that home sales in 2019 will outpace 2018!

Mortgage rates will rise however it will not decrease housing demand

Despite steady climbing for the past two years, mortgage rates remain lower than they were during most of the recession and below average for the type of strong economic growth we’ve been experiencing. That will change in 2019, as the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage reaches 5.3% . See more in the image below.

2019 interest rates set to increase to 5.3%
Sources: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, CoreLogic and NAR

 

Millennials will keep buying homes — despite those rising rates.

The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by surging millennial demand. Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.

 

Home Prices will Appreciate by 4.8% in 2019
Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older Millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of Millennials who close in 2019. Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.

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9 Ways To Get Your Home Ready For Winter

Posted On: November 19th, 2018 3:38AM

 Winterize your home

 

Winter is on its way and that could mean freezing temps, wind, snow, ice and heavy jackets.

To prepare your home and your household for the colder months ahead here are some things which will help you be more prepared for whatever old man winter has in store. Please keep personal safety in mind when checking items off this list, and connect with a trusted professional or contractor for help with anything you are unable to do yourself.

1. Safety first - Did you know that three in five home fire deaths are the result of fires in homes without smoke alarms, or with no working smoke alarms? Oftentimes, this is due to intentional device deactivation. Instead of getting frustrated at your beeping alarm, make sure the batteries are working now or install new alarms where needed. You should have a smoke alarm on every floor of your house, and in every bedroom.

2.Stay warm -. Is your furnace in working order? You don’t want to find out the answer to that question when the temperature really drops. A maintenance appointment from a certified technician should cost about $80-$100 and will ensure that everything is functioning and that your furnace will be operating efficiently. The tech should also measure to see if there’s any carbon-monoxide leakage from your furnace.

3.Stop the leaks. Drafty doors and windows are not only a huge annoyance, they’re costly. Why pay all that money to just let the heat escape? You can find problem areas by running your hands close to windows and trying to feel a breeze. Weather stripping is a good way to help seal warm air in and cold air out of your home. Available in almost any hardware store, weather stripping installs quickly around windows and doors and can help prevent air leaks.  You can also use a door sweep to get rid of a draft at an exterior door.

Before winter arrives, check the following parts of your home for leaks or drafts windows, Doors, Vents and fans, Plumbing areas, Air conditioners, Mail chutes, Electrical and gas lines


4. Clean your gutters - Clear gutters help drain water away from your roof and your house. If they're clogged however, especially in colder months, they're more apt to freeze, causing additional blockages. Blocked gutters can allow melting ice and snow to seep into your roof, or flood your home's foundation, causing damage. If it's safe to do so, take some time before winter hits and clear out your gutters, or work with a trusted roofing professional or contractor to have your gutters cleaned.


5. Evaluate your roof to prevent ice dams - While a roofing professional is cleaning the gutters, see if he or she can evaluate your roof for ice dams too. In cold weather, heat escaping your home can melt and refreeze ice and snow on your roof, leading to ice dams. These block off drains, and let water and ice continually build up on your roof – and possibly under it – weakening your roof and putting your home at risk.

To help prevent ice dams:

  • Insulate your attic - Your attic should have plenty of insulation to prevent too much heat transfer from your living areas to the attic. Check parts of the attic that may not be well insulated, like chimney systems, Light fixtures, pipes and vents.
  • Ventilate your attic - If your attic wasn’t built with a ventilation system, contact a trusted professional or contractor about ventilating your attic before winter. Proper ventilation allows cold air into the attic, while the insulation seals heat in your living areas. This can help prevent warm air from melting ice on the roof, leading to possible damage.

6. Buy a roof rake to keep snow from building up - According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IIBHS), an average roof can handle up to four feet of fresh snow before it’s stressed. However, as snow packs down from multiple storms, could cause a roof collapse! If you expect a lot of snow this winter, invest in a roof rake. It can help you easily clear snow off your roof and protect your home during those blizzard months.


7. Prune trees around the house - If there are long tree branches hanging near your house, your roof, or your gutters, prune them before it gets too cold. Branches broken from heavy snow and ice can cause all kinds of damage to your home. A few hours with the pruner now could save you thousands of dollars in damages later this winter.


8. Stock up on basics - You know what happens when the news calls for bad weather; stores flood with people, all buying milk, bread, batteries, flashlights, and duct tape by the truck load. How do you avoid this mess? Stock up on basic supplies before winter and stay cozy in your home. Strong winds, blizzards, ice, and snow can cause blackouts and power outages, which can wreak havoc on your home in the winter. To prepare, keep supplies on hand.


9. Protect pipes from freezing - A burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage! Thankfully, you can do something to help protect your pipes from freezing in bitter cold weather.

Don't turn the heat down too much when you’re out of the house. You may not be there to enjoy it, but your pipes need the heat to prevent freezing. Let faucets drip during serious cold snaps to provide relief for your pipes.

 

Give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable piping and wrap them with insulation. Hardware stores usually carry foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes, which are easy to install.

Caulk up cracks or holes in your walls to keep cold air away from pipes. This might not be practical for the average homeowner, so speak to a trusted contractor. If your pipes do freeze, and water stops flowing from faucets, call a plumber immediately.

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Home Inspections: What to Expect

Posted On: August 29th, 2018 3:45PM

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Oftentimes, agents make your offer contingent on a clean home inspection. This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.


Home Inspection Sandra McCarty Real Esate Professional


How to Choose an Inspector

Here Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. HGTV recommends that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

 

1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

 

2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases.

References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to ask about their experiences.

 

3. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that continued training and education are provided.

 

4. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

 

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, that way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed. Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace and chimney, the foundation, and so much more!

 

The Bottom Line is work with a professional who you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

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