Rikk Miller Financial Writer
About Rikk Miller
Rikk is a financial writer.He is associated with several financial communities.
His expertise is woven around various aspects of the real estate industry . He is a financial writer who excels in writing finance articles.
As you look into getting a new home, you have a lot of decisions to make. Building a new home allows you to make all of the choices that will give you the house of your dreams, but that does come with a price. The cost of building a new home varies greatly – usually somewhere between $100,000 and $600,000 – and it’s almost always more expensive than buying a home that’s been around for a couple of decades. However, certain factors play a big role in the cost of a new home, and it’s possible to make tweaks to a plan to make it more affordable. Understanding these factors can help you decide whether buying a new home is the right move for you. Builder’s Style The way that the home is built can play a big role in the overall cost. Modular homes are the most affordable option for a new home. These are built in a factory, then transported in pieces to your building site and assembled like a puzzle. Modular homes have a reputation for being made from low-quality materials, but the process has certainly evolved over the years. Current versions are better than the ones made several years ago. Homes that are completely custom-built are the most expensive. This involves working with an architect who will create a design from your home, then a contractor will build it. It’s the right choice for someone who has a very specific – and possibly unusual – idea of what they want their home to look like. Most people choose the option in the middle – working with a quality home builder and development company. These companies will build a home to your specifications, but the homes are often based on certain pre-designed floor plans and options. If you happen to be in Australia, you may even decide to go for one of the display homes built by GJ Gardner. Home Size Naturally, the size of the home plays a role in the price. The bigger the home, the bigger the cost. Sometimes, you’ll pay more to have a second story, but the additional roofing materials on a single-story home can also increase cost. Asking for a finished basement or attic can also increase costs. It’s best to start with an idea of how much liveable square footage you want in a home, then look at the costs for different styles of homes that meet the demand. Interior and Exterior Features One of the biggest advantages of building a new home is being able to select all of the little details in the home, from the colour of the carpets to the sink fixtures to the roofing materials. If you have champagne tastes, your home will probably be a lot more expensive than someone who doesn’t need a lot of fancy extras. Some examples of features that can drive up the cost of a new home are granite countertops, hardwood floors and a swimming pool in the backyard. If you want to control the costs, discuss your budget with your builder. They’ll be able to help you meet that budget by cutting corners in the places that don’t matter much to you. Upfront Costs and Long-Term Savings Another thing that you’ll want to think about is how...read more
There is no such thing as one size fits all. This is especially true when it comes to mortgages. Not only does one size not fit everyone, it doesn’t even fit one person in every stage of life. That is why it is so important to understand the various types of mortgages and what they can do for you. In the same way that there is no mortgage that fits everyone, there is no right or wrong mortgage. Some have decidedly better terms than others. But some of those packages deemed bad by some allow others to purchase a house when they would otherwise never have been able to do so. Therefore, rather than focusing on the best mortgage, you should focus on the best mortgage for you at the various stages in your life. Here’s how to match a mortgage to the stage of life in which you happen to find yourself: Insufficient Retirement One of life’s cruel ironies is that as you enter the stage where you are making less money, the business of staying alive often gets more expensive. When retirement and a major decline in health happen at the same time, most people find that their retirement plans were insufficient. And that they have grossly underestimated how expensive aging issues can be. Even in such a scenario, it is possible to make ends meet. What you need to do is calculate your finances for a reverse mortgage possibility. Rather than a traditional loan, you receive payments for your home instead of making them. This is an excellent type of mortgage for those who have no need to pass the home down to the kids. However, the kids can keep the home and pay off the loan if they so desire. The key is that the equity in your home can make up the difference if you find your retirement plans unexpectedly and suddenly insufficient. Temporary Transition You don’t always need a 30-year mortgage. Sometimes you just need a loan to cover the transition between moving into a new house and selling your old one. This often happens during the downsizing phase. A lot of empty nesters look forward to downsizing and simplifying. You know that your home is worth a lot of money in the right market. You find yourself in the position of being a seller and a buyer at the same time. In a perfect world, your home will sell at the exact moment you have to put money down on your new home. But we don’t live in a perfect world. You need the money from your current house on the market to pay for the one on which you are ready to make an offer. You have the luxury of being able to all but ignore the terms of the loan because you will be paying it off in very short order. Despite conventional wisdom, you might even find borrowing from your 401(k) to be the smartest way to go about it. Just don’t forget to pay yourself back when your ship comes in. Settling Down There was a time when being a grown up was defined as settling down and taking on long-term commitments. The three most common expressions of long-term commitment are as follows: Buying a house Getting married Having...read more
Taking advantage of tax credits starts long before tax season. It’s something that real estate businesses have to consider before breaking ground on a project or putting up the first “For Sale” sign. From the projects you take on to the people you hire, there are a number of tax credits and incentives that can help you keep more of your revenue. Identifying Business Tax Incentives Before you can claim tax credits you have to first identify them and then follow the requirements so that your company is eligible. This can be a very labor-intensive process since incentives and regulations can change at any time. ADP business tax credits and incentives allow real estate businesses to more easily identify applicable tax credits within a database of over 3,000 incentives. They also have mapping software that allows you to search for tax incentives based on geographic location. Where the Business is Located Like real estate, taxes are all about location. Federal taxes are just one piece of the tax pie. State, county and city taxes can also come into play. Some cities are luring in new businesses with tax breaks for a specified period of time. This can make startup much easier on a real estate business, however, forecasting for the added expense once taxes do kick in has to be done first. The most tax-friendly states that offer the lowest combined tax rate are also worth considering if you are looking to start a business or relocate. For example, Delaware doesn’t have a sales tax and the property taxes are among the lowest in the country. This could be extremely beneficial for a business that is just starting out and purchasing a lot of equipment, supplies, etc. Available Tax Credits for Real Estate Businesses Right now there are many tax deductions and incentives for professionals working in the real estate industry. There are also lucrative tax credits that will lower your liability right off the bat. Some are specifically tied to real estate while others are tax credits that any business can claim as long as they meet the requirements. Work Opportunity Tax Credit – The Work Opportunity Tax Credit can help you reduce your tax liability by $9,600 for every new employee that qualifies. The federal government has outlined specific target groups that employers must hire within to receive the credit. These groups include military veterans and people receiving social assistance. Federal Empowerment Zone Employment Credit – This credit was recently extended and can be used to reduce your 2015 taxes. Businesses located in a designated Federal Empowerment Zone can get a tax credit of 20% on the first $15,000 paid to qualified zone employees. To qualify the employee must live and perform the majority of their work within a federal empowerment zone. Federal Indian Employment Credit – This tax credit is designed to encourage businesses to hire individuals who live on or near a reservation. You don’t have to be in an empowerment zone to claim this credit. To qualify the employee must meet certain criteria including being an enrolled member of a Native American tribe or the spouse of a member. New Markets Tax Credit – The New Markets Tax Credit was developed by the Department of Treasury to encourage investment in distressed or low-income communities. This...read more
Are you in the market to take out a home loan for realizing your dream of becoming a homeowner? If answered yes, you must have been confused to know the wide array of home loan options available in the market. Mortgage loans are generally categorized into three types, the fixed rate home loans, the variable rate home loans, and hybrid loans which carry some features of both fixed rate and variable rate loans. Although there are many advantages of taking out fixed rate loan, it is not that variable rate loans shouldn’t be taken out. There are number of lenders like NPBS who lend variable rate home loans and if you wish to save your dollars on such loans, here are some steps that you need to follow. Reduce the term of the loan: Like most lending institutions, they offer variable rate home loans with a standard 20 year bond. If you can shorten the term of the loan by only a couple of years, you can cut down the interest rates considerably, thereby saving hundreds of your dollars. That may create the difference between seeking an early retirement and having to continue work. Pay more than the scheduled payments: If you decided to shorten the term of your home loan, you can afford to pay a little extra payment each month. For that you might have to sacrifice some of your expenses, but that will help you in the long run. Even a few hundred dollars added to your variable rate home loan payment might save thousands on interest rate. Make extra payments: Speak to your lender about the penalty charges of making extra payments on your home loan. If you’re lucky enough and if you don’t have to pay penalty charges for pre-paying on the loan, you can remind yourself to make additional payments whenever you think is possible for you. You can use a mortgage calculator to check how you’re saving on this venture. Shop around and compare rates: Remember that there is never any harm associated with finding out what the other lenders are offering you. However, make sure you remember that seeking the lowest rate is not always the only criterion to look for. The lowest rate that you get today might not be the lowest tomorrow. Also be aware of the fine print. Consider the flexibility of the loan so that you know whether or not you’re able to change the terms according to your own wish. Steer clear of introductory rates: There are some organizations which lower the initial rate and name it as a ‘gift’ rate to lure customers. Such offers are generally replete with pitfalls and different hidden costs. You might have to pay a much higher rate once this period comes to an end. Many mortgage lenders recommends prospective homeowners to be careful while taking out variable rate home loan or any other types of loan. He also adds by saying that homeowners require managing their finances to the utmost level so that they can cope up with the changing rates....read more
A homeowner or home buyer who lacks funds to repair a house may obtain a home improvement loan to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. A home improvement loan can pay for small cosmetic fix-ups to larger renovation or construction projects. Homeowners tend to prefer home improvement loans to other credit types, such as credit cards or personal loans, because these loans are secured by the home itself. The interest rate on a home improvement loan can be lower than a credit card annual percentage rate or personal loan. Short-Term Home Improvement Funds People with bad credit may need a loan to complete home repairs or small renovations. Bad credit may force the homeowner to live on a cash basis, but some repairs can be costly. Using a credit card to complete a home improvement project might be necessary. Although obtaining a home improvement loan with excellent credit is a simple task, people with lower credit scores have difficulty getting approval. Loan denial is the likely result for the homeowner with bad credit. Payday loans can help homeowners get the money required to complete repairs or projects. Bad Credit Loans Some lenders don’t make lending decisions entirely on the borrower’s credit score. If the borrower has equity in the home, the lender may be able to find a way to help. The homeowner with equity in the property can provide security for a loan, and this fact allows lenders to offer home repair loans to people with less than perfect credit.Self-employed homeowners, or those who are in arrears on their mortgage or home loan, may benefit from these loans. However, some homeowners have taken equity from their homes in the past and must now service these loans. Getting access to new loan funds can be a challenge. Payday loans can be a great help to homeowners in need of funds now. Family Loans Some borrowers in search of short-term loan funds ask family or friends for help. If the homeowner has never asked family members for a loan and feels comfortable doing so, this solution can provide the money needed to complete repairs or improvements. However, some homeowners prefer to independently manage their family affairs. They don’t want a parent, grandparent, sister, or brother to know about a financial struggle. Other borrowers have already exhausted family and friends’ ability to lend money. The borrower may already owe his or her relations money and will therefore choose to request necessary pounds from new funding resources. Short-Term Borrowing Making an application at a traditional lender requires the homeowner to put up a variety of credentials. A short-term pay day loan requires basic details about the borrower. The lender will ask about the borrower’s employment as a primary prerequisite. The payday service applicant’s employment history should be continuous for at least six months. The borrower should be at least 18 years of age. The borrower should also have a checking or savings account with a bank or financial institution. The online payday loan service borrower must earn a minimum net amount per month in order to repay the short-term loan. Many customers enjoy the ease of applying for an online short-term loan. Short-term payday lenders charge higher rates to lend these funds. Applicants for these loans typically appreciate the simplicity of the application and the...read more
Estate planning may be a painful process for many as it requires us to face our mortality, but it is absolutely crucial if you want to protect your assets. Bluntly put, protecting your estate is serious business. One wrong move can completely ruin the entire direction of your will. It is therefor highly advised that you hire an exceedingly qualified estate planning attorney at law in Los Angeles. Below are a couple of points that should help you understanding of the true importance of hiring an estate-planning attorney. First and foremost, you need to ask your self several important and very serious questions before meeting with your estate lawyer. As mentioned in an article from Forbes Magazine, some of these questions include: Who will raise your children is both parents pass? Are there any other descendants that you have not considered? What are all of the important relationships that you have in your life? Have you ever made a gift of over $13,000 a year? Did you sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or a community property agreement? These are just few of the basic questions you need to ask yourself. They may make you cringe, but it is necessary for your estate lawyer to know every one of these details to help you achieve the best of situations. Secondly, every state has very specific laws when it comes to what you can/cannot establish in a will, who can/cannot be a witness and what regulations must be examined before one signs the will. In some states, it is not possible to place one in your will if they are not related to you by blood or marriage. When you hire a qualified estate attorney, they will assure you that such a mistake will be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, many people are not yet aware that putting your own will together, when its regarding your estate, is not legitimate unless you consult with an estate lawyer. If you do it on your own, your family will seriously pay for it later on, requiring them to remunerate a heavy sum of money to fix your mistakes. Moreover, hiring an estate lawyer can help sort out complex financial and family situations. If you look at your assets and find that you can relate to one or more of the following points, then you need to hire an experienced estate planning attorney to help sort things out for you immediately. Such situations include, entering your second (+) marriage, you own a business and/or real estate, you have young children, problematic children or have no children, or If you’ve been recently divorced. Other cases include having substantial financial assets or if you’ve lost a family member. The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo law, an estate-planning attorney in Los Angeles offers simple and less time-consuming services that help you distribute your property among your heirs, no matter where you’re located in California. I hope that the importance of hiring an estate lawyer to keep your assets safe has been engrained within your mind. The thought of what may happen after you have passed on may make you very uncomfortable, but it is an essential part of the process of staying...read more
Are you someone who is a college student with moderate level of student loan debt and who is planning to buy a house of his own? If you don’t owe huge levels of student loan debt and if you have some savings and a reliable job, investing in your home is something that you can try in order to enhance your personal wealth. We usually see a lot of coverage that is given to the slow rate of Millennials buying homes but there is no news of a graduate who has shown interest in investing in a real estate property. Student loan debt doesn’t have as bad an impact on your credit score as credit card or auto loan debt. However you have to ensure that you have the ability to repay the home loan on time after managing all your other payments. Here are some tips for the recent graduates. Pay down high interest debt: The higher are the interest rates on your loans, the higher is the priority that you should give to repay that account. If you owe a certain amount on your credit cards, take immediate steps to pay them down before the interest rates multiply and take a huge shape. The sooner you repay high interest debt, the sooner you can improve the chances of grabbing a deal on your home. Watch out your debt to income ratio: One of the biggest factors for people who don’t get a loan is a high DTI ratio. When you have too many debt defaults in accordance with your income, you will have a high DTI ratio and this is when the mortgage lender won’t allow you a loan at an affordable rate. Being a student, this can become a big hurdle and hence you should decrease your debts in order to reduce your DTI ratio. Research for low down payment programs: Chances are high that if you’re paying down your student loan debt, a major portion of your income is set aside for those payments. Then how would you pay down for a mortgage loan? This is when you should research for the low down payment mortgage assistance programs like the FHA loans where you can get a loan with very little down payment. Look for distressed properties: If you’re young with very little assets, a distressed property that needs very little renovation can be a good choice for you. Although you should remember to consider the costs of renovation yet even after calculating them you can be sure of saving money rather than buying a new home. Make wise buying decisions: Above all, you should purchase a home that is going to make you money and not just get a home that you can afford. Know the buyer trends and then get a home that will help you earn money in the long run rather than become a burden. Manager of Marketing Department of Essay-on-time.com shares tips on how a student should buy a real estate property of his own despite owing money on student loans. Take into account the above mentioned advice if you’re a student planning to buy a...read more
Owning rental property can be a steady source of passive income. However, the joys of property ownership also comes with a great deal of responsibility and the potential for an even greater headache when tenants are involved. Working with a property management company can help those who own commercial, singe family residential, multi-family, or retail space reap the benefits of leasing their property to tenants with minimal headache. The following points are reasons virtually any property owner who wishes to become a landlord should consider using a property management company. Shorter Vacancy Periods People who purchase rental property often do not realize the amount of concentrated effort that is required for success. First, the landlord must prepare the property to make it attractive to prospective tenants and maximize the amount of rent they can realistically ask. The landlord must also determine the best rent rate. Ideally, the rent should not be so high that the property will sit on the market until a tenant who is willing to pay the requested amount comes along. The price should also not be so low that the landlord loses money on the investment. Property management companies are able to make cosmetic recommendations to improve the appeal and value of a property. They also typically handle pricing, marketing the property, and showing it to prospective tenants. Better Tenants A reputable property management company will offer property advertising service and an effective tenant screening process. By screening tenants thoroughly upfront, landlords are more likely to rent their property to people who will pay on time, are less likely to destroy or cause excessive wear and tear on the property, and who will generally rent longer and be less prone to conflict. Companies like TDI Properties even offer a website interface that allows prospective tenants to view property listings at http://www.tdipropertiesinc.com/vacancies/ and apply online. Current tenants may even pay their rent online, which makes receiving payment fast and hassle-free. First Line of Defense Against Legal Issues Many landlords live far away or work full-time; therefore, they are unable to personally attend to the many legal issues that may arise. A reliable property management company will monitor safety and property conditions, inspections, convictions, evictions, and collect rent and deposits. The reasons to hire a property management are numerous. However, when property owners must first evaluate a company’s track record and ensure the property manager will be able to provide all required...read more
It has been a very odd year for the US housing market! The year started off with the Polar Vortex that was blamed for slowing down home sales during the initial part of the year. As we’re gradually nearing 2016, the National Association of Realtors expect sales of previously owned home to fall short of 2015, while according to the latest data, sales of new home show an improvement of just 2.8%. We all know that the housing market and the ups and downs have a direct impact in the mortgage market as well. Whenever there’s a positive improvement in the housing market, there has to be a noteworthy development in the mortgage market too as people usually tends to take out more mortgages when they get favorable conditions to purchase their dream home. The recession might be over years ago but the scars are still remaining in the housing market. Take for instance the homeownership rate. In the year 2005, the homeownership rate in America was around 70% and today it stands at 64%, the lowest level that this nation has seen since 1994. However, the good news for sellers is that the demand for homes is again back and the prices of homes are continuing to rise. But for the homebuyers, especially the first time homebuyers, inflating price tags are not a positive change. Apart from rising prices, the issues of rapidly rising rent, sluggish growth in wages and huge amounts of student loans are coming in the way of American Dream. Housing predictions for 2015 now that we’re halfway through the year At the beginning of the year 2015, there have been so many predictions but now that we’re halfway through, here are some points that you need to know about how the rest of the year will unfold. Demand is still rising: In the largest 100 markets within the nation, it is still cheaper to own a home than rent a home, by a staggering 40% on a national basis. Real estate is definitely local and conditions usually vary, still there are many renters who see the portion of their paychecks that go to housing and they know that it makes sense to purchase rather than take a home on rent. The recovering job market is yet another reason behind the rising demand of houses. In fact, reports suggest that the nation gained around three million jobs. There are not enough homes for sale: The biggest and perhaps the saddest story of 2015 is that there is lack of inventory. In spite of the fact that the investors are no more in the market as the greatest deals during Recession are now a thing of past, normal laymen are still competing for owning too few homes. In the month of May, 2015, groundbreakings stood at an annual rate of 1.046 million. Too many homes are listed with higher prices: To add to the problem, the builders are focusing mostly on higher-end homes. New homes are currently selling for $25,000 more than those that were previously-owned. Nowadays, the new homes are selling for around $75,000 and this clearly means that the builders are mostly catering to the more affluent people. Among the major homebuilders, there are few who are targeting some of the low-tier homebuyers. People...read more
Reports say that there are certain homeowners who are still reeling from the after-effects of the Great Recession and it may take around a decade for them to recover. According to a real estate company Zillow, the percentage of underwater mortgages, where the worth of the home is lower than the mortgage, has been seen to drop with the recovery of the housing market but more than 5 million US homeowners owe to their banks at least 20% more than the worth of their homes, which totals to $579 billion in the form of negative equity. Homeowners have reportedly said that remaining underwater would likely be the toughest to set themselves free from negative equity. On the other hand, the rate of underwater homeowners is way much higher among the homes that carry the least value and this has been noticed by using data from credit bureau, TransUnion. In Atlanta, 46% of the low-end homeowners were all underwater as compared to 10% of the high-end borrowing homeowners. In Baltimore, 42% of the low-end homeowners had negative equity as compared to a small 9% of those who owned houses of higher value. Then what’s the good news? You must be wondering about the good news among all this negative news of the US housing industry. It has been seen that there were 15 million homes with underwater mortgages during the peak moment of the housing crisis. However, this negative equity rate dropped down to 15.4% of all homes with mortgage loans in the first quarter, that was down from the rate of 18.8% during the same period last year. Hence, it is being seen that the rate of negative equity improved in some of the largest housing markets in the initial quarter of 2015, which is a clear sign of the fact that the nation is continuing to recover from the tough lending rules and the housing market bust. Are there any ways of paying off your mortgage debt sooner? The stories of people who pay off a 20 year term mortgage loan throughout a term of 20 years are rare indeed. Nowadays, mortgage debt is something that is pricking people like their credit card debt. They’re desperately looking for ways in which they can repay their mortgage debt sooner and move towards owning their homes. Here are some ways that you can take into account. Add some extra amount to every monthly payment: When you make the decision of adding some extra amount to every monthly payment, the biggest benefit is that most of the money is devoted towards the principal of the mortgage. Early in a mortgage loan, most of your payment goes towards the interest rate. If you could add an extra $100 to your payment of a new $100,000 30 year mortgage at 4.5%, you would rather pay it off 8 and a half years early and save around $26,400 in the form of interest rates. Pay every 2 weeks: While there are companies that may volunteer to set this up for you, there are some others who won’t allow you pay more than just the scheduled amount. You can even do it yourself for nothing. When you pay every 2 weeks, you are actually making a full extra payment every year. This could cut off...read more