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My brother Jon just alerted me of a new virus going around. Beware!!!!
“A virus just popped up here at work which is the worst we have ever seen.
The email says you have a UPS or some sort of package in route, and
to ‘click here’ to download the status.
Once you click it, you are already doomed as the virus it downloads
defeats the protection software and starts renaming itself so it
can’t be removed. No known solution at present.”
Can you still get a tax break for making energy-efficient home improvements in 2011?
If you didn’t get around to making energy-efficient home improvements last year, don’t worry, it’s not too late to get a tax break.
The 2011 home energy tax credit is 10% of the purchase price of energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights, up to a maximum credit of $500, and only $200 of that amount can be allocated to the cost of replacement windows. Certain home improvements have specific dollar limits for the credit such as $300 for eligible central air conditioning, $300 for an air source heat pump, $300 for an electric heat pump water heater, and $150 for eligible natural gas, propane or oil furnaces. Even if you install several improvements, the maximum credit you can claim is $500. And you won’t be able to claim it on your 2011 federal tax return if you already received $500 or more in credits for energy-efficient home improvements from 2006 through 2010.
A more generous credit is still in effect for taxpayers who buy and install alternative energy equipment in their homes. Qualified equipment includes geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells and small wind-energy systems (as long as no part of these systems is used to heat a swimming pool or hot tub). That credit — worth 30% of the cost and installation of such improvements — has no maximum dollar amount, and you have until December 31, 2016, to place those items in service.
Last year rates dropped to the low 4% range (30 year fixed rate mortgages) for a few months and several people took advantage of the low rates and refinanced. Some waited for rates to drop further and “missed the boom.”
Wait a minute – not everyone desiring to refinance was able. Declining home values, lack of income (or reportable income), credit score requirements and a tightened appraisal review process kept many people from being able to refinance their home loans to the low rates offered. Some people were able to negotiate with their current servicer a lower rate (but not the lowest rates being offered) depending upon the type of mortgage.
Advise…although we do not anticipate rates to drop to the levels seen in 2010 – our rates are tied to an ever-changing economy and world events. If you’d like to know if/when refinancing is possible let’s crunch the numbers and know if there is a possible solution for you (i.e. obtain a new mortgage, or work with your current servicer or if it’s okay to stay at your current rate). For 50% of my clients last year we determined they did NOT miss the boom. Refinancing was not in their best interest because of one or more of the factors listed above.
Knowing your facts is peace of mind.
Sure it’s cold outside. Too cold to take down Christmas decorations and almost too cold to enjoy outdoor activities. Time to put on an extra scarf and go outside because this is the perfect time of year to trim your oak and elm trees.
Why? great question! I asked Mike Klein of Cedar Creek Landscaping yesterday and he said it’s the best time of year to prune these hardwoods because the tree has time to heal before beetle season. If the trees are trimmed closer to spring the wounds extract sap attracting the tree-killing beetles.
If you need a professional to trim your oak or elm tree give me a call. I am always in contact with service providers I am happy to recommend.
If you were buying your first home, are you more likely to:
1. Attend a first time home buyer workshop?
2. Take an online webinar?
3. Read a book on “How to Buy Your First House?”
4. Watch HGTV?
5. Ask Friends about their experience and take their tips/knowledge
Please comments on FACEBOOK under this post at CINDY MORTGAGE. Thank You!
Thank you to all the men and women who’ve served in our military. Today as a country we celebrate YOU.
Did you know….
Veterans can still enjoy the benefit of buying a home with NO down payment.
A purchase agreement can be negoiated to have the seller pay all of the Veterans closing costs
Disabled Veterans never have to pay a Funding Fee on a VA loan (Funding Fee is VA’s version of mortgage insurance)
Refinancing a VA loan to a new VA loan does not require an appraisal (very beneficial in today’s market)
VA eligility to purchase a home with no down payment is available for life. (some people never used their eligibility to purchase a home and figure since they didn’t use it to purchase their first home – it’s gone. Not true!)
For more information on VA Benefits (home or other), visit www.va.gov
Pass this along to a Veteran you know
If you’ve recently refinanced your home you may have noticed there was a lot more paperwork required than the last time.
Q:”Why is all the extra paperwork needed?”
A: Banks have tightened their requirements before they will lend money. Gone are the days of “Everyone qualifies” no matter the income, credit or collateral. Now it all matters and the paperwork requested is supposed to support income, credit worthiness and assets.
Q: “I am self-employed and my income reported at the end of the year is not enough for me to qualify for the loan I already have. What do I do?”
A: In the past we used no income verification loans for a person like yourself. Now those loans are gone. It’s important to report all of your income so you will qualify for a mortgage, business loan, car loan, etc. It’s a good idea to meet with your accountant and find out how you can claim more income – maybe paying yourself through an S-Corp is a better way to document your income received from the business.
Q: “My loan amount is $100,000 and I have assets three times this amount documented – so why do I still have to prove my income when I show sufficient assets to cover the loan?”
A: Good question! Your assets are not being tied as collateral to the loan and you can spend them at any time. The bank wants proof you have sufficient income to repay the loan. Keep in mind these are the rules of the secondary market (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA )
Q: “What if I need a common sense loan – where do I go?”
A: To get a mortgage where the lender is willing to think out-of-the-box you may be seeking a small local private bank where they agree to hold your loan in their portfolio, which means it’s not subject to the secondary market rules that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or VA require.
Q: “Will the old rules ever come back?”
A: Sure! All markets evolve, including housing and banking. Once the banks start loosening their guidelines new programs will open up and it will allow for more creative financing in the secondary market. This will take some time. Gone are the days of 0% down payment and stated-income loans, but that’s a good thing.
If you have a question or need expert home financing advise I am always available to assist.
That’s right folks, it’s time to go downstairs to the corner of the basement only the spiders enjoy lingering…the furnace room. It’s November and it’s time to clean your furnace (or boiler). Yes, you should do this EVERY year.
1) To make your furnace run more efficient – saving you money through out the long, cold winter
2) confirm it’s working properly (yep, a few years ago we came home from vacation at midnight to a very cold house. Not fun! Also, very costly to call a service repair person to our home in the middle of the night.
3) check for carbon monoxide leaks
4) put in a new filter (every month the furnace filter should be changed)
Cleaning a furnace is a dirty job, and that’s why I hire someone else to do it for me. I am always in contact with excellent professionals. If you need the name of a heating and air expert give me a call. Happy to share their name with you.
It’s that time of year when candles are lit and we enjoy their warm light. Ahhhhhhh, how nice!
Until we notice the candle wax over flowed and leaked onto our carpet and it’s imbedded into each fiber. EGAD!
How to remove candle wax from your carpet:
Once the wax is dried take a warm iron (steam setting must be turned off), a brown lunch bag (or grocery bag). Place the bag over the dried wax and iron the bag until all the candle wax is off the carpet and attached to the bag instead.
Antoher option? Buy new carpet in which case I know a great person for all your flooring needs.