Archive | April 2015

There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

 

There’s No Place Like Home | Keeping Current Matters

Last week, we reported on the financial reasons purchasing a home in today’s market makes sense. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list.

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

Thinking of purchasing a home in Westchester County please contact me so that we can discuss your wish list – c 914 450 6566

Lowering Your Property Taxes In Westchester County

Lowering Your Property Taxes In Westchester County

Lowering Your Property Taxes

Living In Westchester

Now is the time for homeowner to begin the process of trying to lower their real estate taxes as the deadlines are approaching. Your home
just might be over assessed with the recent decline in home values.
And a visit to your tax assessor to ask your home’s tax assessment
might be fruitful.

Grievance Deadline Days

Bedford 3rd Tuesday in June

Lewisboro 3rd Tuesday in June

Mount Kisco 3rd Tuesday in June

North Castle 3rd Tuesday in June

North Salem 3rd Tuesday in June

Pound Ridge 3rd Tuesday in June

Somers 3rd Tuesday in June

Yorktown 3rd Tuesday in June

Your home’s assessment is based on fair market value. It is calculated
by the property’s assessment and the tax rate of the municipalities
where the property is located. Your town assessor might use sold properties that are similar to your home in determining an assessment
or a formula for replace cost. And the amount similar homes pay
in your surrounding area.

Your first step is to visit assessor of your town. If you do not like the determination you can hire an attorney to represent you. The name of proceeding is called a Right Of Certiorari.

If you pay taxes or if you thinking of selling your home lowering your taxes might be the carrot for your buyers!

Some helpful hints to help you select an real estate agent

real_estate_agent Today the internet is the first  where place 85% of home buyers begin their search.  And with all the helpful sites and agents it can be a little confusing.  Here are some tips to help select an agent that will represent you in your real estate transactions.

  • References from family, friends and business acquaintances are a helpful resource
  • An agent’s experience over time helps develop their skills
  • A meeting where asking questions of their work ethic and business philosophy is important
  • Discussing the number of listings and sales an agent has handled will give you a glimpse into their knowledge
  • Their designations, certifications and real estate memberships are important tools
  • Do they have a marketing plan
  • All homes need to put their best foot forward on the internet so professional pictures are essential
  • If you sign-up for a listing with your potential broker what is the term and how long after the expiration are you committed to them
  • Do they use a home stager and can they help you with making sure your home is camera plus visit ready
  • How are appointments made with you to view your home
  • How often do they keep in communication with you about the comments that prospective buyers had about your home.  Also, will they inform you of statistics about the price of homes similar to yours that continue to close after you sign a listing contract.
  • It’s confidence, confidence, confidence!

Information is always useful so, if you have questions about buying or selling a home in Armonk, Bedford, Chappaqua, Harrison, Pleasantville and the surrounding areas call me, cell 914 450 6566Renee S. Stengel Associate Real Estate Broker Houlihan Lawrence 399 Main Street Armonk, NY 10504 Licensed in New York State and the State of Connecticut Platinum, Gold, Silver Award Winner 2009 – 2014 Westchester Magazine Five Star Real Estate Agents Overall Satisfaction Award http://westchesterrealestatetalk.com/

“Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Tips for Total Procrastinators.”

Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Tips for Total Procrastinators

Credit: “The Untouchables” (1987), Paramount Pictures

Credit: “The Untouchables” (1987), Paramount Pictures

 

 

April 15. No other date inspires such paralyzing anxiety. Glaring from the pages of your calendar, it’s an ever-present reminder that Uncle Sam wants—no, needs—you to file your taxes.

Well, you don’t have much time left. So get busy! Whether you own or rent, there are real-estate-related tax savings for all to claim—if you file on time:

  1. Home energy tax credit: This credit allows homeowners to take advantage of alternative-energy upgrades. If you decide to install solar panels, geothermal heating systems, or even a fuel cell, you can get a credit for 30% of the cost of the equipment. (You probably knew that when you installed them, right?)
  2. Home office deduction: Both renters and homeowners can take advantage of this one. As a general rule, you must use a part of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes. If you use the “Simplified Option,” you multiply the square footage of your office (300 is the maximum allowed) by a rate of $5. With this method, the deduction is capped at $1,500. If you use the “Regular Method,” you can deduct certain costs—part of your rent or mortgage interest, taxes, and utilities paid.
  3. Mortgage interest deduction: Homeowners can use this deduction for their primary residence as well as a second home. Both first and second mortgages, as well as a home equity loan, qualify for the deduction.
  4. Tax tips for sellers: Those who sold a home in 2014 can deduct all costs associated with the sale—commissions, closing cost credits, staging costs, fees associated with the sale. And remember, the IRS allows single people to keep $250,000 of profit from their home sale; joint filers get up to $500,000. Any sum above that is subject to capital gains taxes.
  5. Moving expenses: If you relocated for work, you may be able to deduct those expenses. According to the IRS, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home. Surprisingly, the IRS makes this easy to figure out through a handy Q&A format.
  6. Finally, double-check everything. The IRS says filers make these eight common mistakes: wrong or missing Social Security numbers, using the wrong name (did you get married? divorced?), math mistakes (naturally), errors in figuring credits or deductions (are those really errors?), forgetting to sign the form, giving the wrong bank account number (if you want your refund direct deposited, get the routing number right!), and not knowing their electronic filing PIN.

With any luck (or a lot of hard work), you’ll be getting a nice refund.

“3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home.”

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home | Keeping Current Matters

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.

There are 3 questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances.

A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.7% by 2019.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision

Every Golfer’s Dream

This is the weekend our eyes are glued to our television sets as we watch, The Masters being played on the manicured greens of The Augusta National Golf Course. And for those of us who play golf or want to learn the game our residents are fortunate to have six public courses.
No. 13

The classic risk-reward hole became more challenging with a new tee added in 2002. A slight draw is required to get into position for the second shot to the par-5, but a tributary of the creek catches shots that come up short.

1934 yardage

480, par 5

 Westchester County Living

Today is the day our eyes are glued to our television sets as we watch, The Masters being played on the manicured greens of The Augusta National Golf Course. And for those of us who play golf or want to learn the game our residents are fortunate to have six public courses.

Dunwoodie Golf Course located in the heart of Yonkers. A challenging 18 hole course even for the most experienced golfer. It is a par 70 course.

Hudson Hills Golf Course in the Town of New Castle. It is housed in an historic setting with it’s distant views of over one-third of the 18 hole course and rolling terrain. It is a par 71.

Maple Moor Golf Course, named for the many Maple trees that reside on the course. This 18 hole course was originally part of the Griffen family farm that was settled in 1879. It is a par 70.

Mohansic Golf Course is the most challenging of all the Westchester County golf courses. Marked by gently rolling hills and steep slopes. The most experienced golfers respect the difficulty of this 18 hole course with it’s uphill, downhill and side hill terrain. It is a par 70.

Saxon Woods Golf Course 18 hole course was designed by Tom Winton. The course is enhanced by the difference in it’s topography as it goes from slopes to woods. It was recently renovated and is a par 71.

Sprain Lake Golf Course. and as it’s name states, challenges the best golfers that play the game. This 18 hole course is a part 70. Water holes add to the degree of difficulty and it is a par 70.

The above public courses add to the outdoor quality of life in Westchester County. And for additional information about golf clubs in Westchester County you can visit the highlighted site.

Enjoy the Walking Trails In Westchester

Walking Trails In Westchester

 LIVING IN WESTCHESTER

Spring is here and along with warmth comes the desire to get up off the couch and, “Just do it,” as the Nike ad states. The trails, endless preserves and parks in Westchester bring a spirit of spring renewal to all. Best of all they are everywhere! And now courtesy of The New York Journal News an article about a book written by Jane and Walt Daniels, “Walkable Westchester.” It is a guide to the parks and green spaces of our county. Residents or future residents want to know about our outdoor life. Explore all Westchester has to offer by clicking on the link above I have provided the from the Westchester.gov., site. Credits and Applause The sites listed below; http://www.lohud.com/article/20100411/NEWS02/4110336/1287/EXPRESSRS http://parks.westchestergov.com/

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Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

 

 

The Keeping Current Matters Crew has it right again!

“According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.”
“The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

 

by The KCM Crew on April 8, 2015 in For Buyers, For Sellers
Healthiest-in-Years

According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.

The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:

“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AK-MO
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received “just slightly negative performance rankings”.

David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.