Not just selling shore homes, selling a shore way of life. Your resource for the best homes, hotspots, & happenings in Margate, Ventnor, & Atlantic City.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Home Purchases: Myths & Truths

I am not certain why but there is a perception that the shore gets slow at the holidays. Personally I have been busier with Buyers since mid November than I have been since July. I had family in town for Thanksgiving and the only time I spent at home was Thanksgiving Day. All the other days I was out showing property and I loved it. (no knock to family)

In recent weeks, Buyers that I represent have made accepted offers on:

  • a townhouse in Brigantine - priced between $410-$440k - closing in December
  • a single family home in Ventnor - priced between $310-$340k - closing in February
  • a single family home in Margate - priced between - $320-$380k - closing in December
  • a single family home in Ventnor - priced between - $1.1 mil - 1.5 mil - closing in February
(please note: actually prices can not be disclosed until after settlement)

Three more Buyers have made offers on properties and are currently in negotiation with the Sellers to see if there can be a "meeting of the minds." Several more Buyers I am working with are still in looking and trying to chose the best property. New Buyers call and email on a daily basis.

The right time to buy is not seasonal. Yes, some people are more inclined to "hibernate" but not all.

P.S. I am not working Christmas Day, but I am already set up with a new client on Dec 26th!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Write Offs To Remember: Deductions In The Loan Process

Write-offs are the government's way of rewarding taxpayers when they've done something the government likes. And to judge by the write-offs, the government likes it when people borrow money to buy a house. There are write-offs aplenty, many of which people often forget.

Make sure your clients take advantage of every break the IRS will give.

Here are a few they tend to forget:

According to the IRS, origination fees charged as points must be paid for the use of money, (for example, to obtain a lower interest rate) in order to be tax deductible. Origination fees that constitute a "service fee" are not tax deductible. The question must be asked, "Does the fee apply to the use of money, or is it a service charge?"

Pre-payment penalties:
Unforeseen circumstances often cause borrowers to pull out of their mortgages sooner than expected. Fortunately, pre-payment penalties are tax deductible, which helps ease the pain.

Pro-rated real estate taxes:
Even if the seller sent the tax collector the check, chances are the buyer paid a pro-rated portion of the taxes for the year at closing. Be sure they know to deduct their fair share.

Pro-rated mortgage interest:
Depending on when in the month the home sale closes, buyers pay either a hefty or a tiny amount of pro-rated mortgage interest for that month. Big or small, they can write that off. The Final Closing/Settlement Statement will show just how much they're due.

Home construction loan interest:
As long as the construction period doesn't last more than two years before they make the new place their "principal residence," they can write off the interest for that construction loan.

It pays to pay attention—all these write-offs can add up to some serious savings when tax time comes around.

Balancing Reality and Optimism At The Shore

With holidays upon us and the changes in Wall Street, people make a lot of assumptions about the Real Estate market at the shore. On a daily basis I hear comments like, "I guess it must be pretty dead right now" and "I guess no one is looking for a house now".

Actually, it is just the opposite. I am busier now than I was at the end of August. Currently I am working with about 8 families looking for a second home in Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate or Longport. I am also working with several investors looking for properties to buy that they will be able to easily rent and hold for a sale at a time later in the future. I am also working with a few businesses seeking new locations for their endeavors.

There are a few differences now that are making it harder to make a sale come together.

1) Buyers need even more confidence that the property they are buying is priced right.

2) Buyers have concerns that the prices may come down lower and they might be buying too soon.

3) Sellers are afraid to “give in” to the offer and wait for a higher offer or for the market to go up in the Spring.

4) Sellers are not aware of the amount of homes on the market and that if they get an offer they need to work with their agent to find a middle ground.

Buyers waiting for a “better bottom” of the market will lose out on opportunities that will be sold to other buyers or will be removed from the market. Sellers that do not consider offers that are realistic will miss out on what may be their only option to sell their home.

Homes are selling at the shore and there are great opportunities for realistic Sellers and Buyers.

Getting Comfortable With A Blog

When I started out to create my blog, it was to put out something that would report the reality of Real Estate in our specific market, so people would stop being so influenced but the National News Media.

Being a former columnist, I am not used to writing in the first person and certainly not in article from. This will be my first entry done in standard "blog" form. I am hoping people will find my blog and comment on my entries or provide their own.

I have prepared on last article format entry that will follow this entry. The past month and a half I have been working with about 8 -10 families looking for properties on the shore. This weekend 4 of them made offers on their favorite choices and we are trying to finalize the details of them. Some will happen, others will not.

This weekend I have 3 more families going out to refine their choices. My point of telling you this is that the market on the shore is alive and well. No, not every buyer is trying to steal your house. Yes, they want a good deal...who doesn't...but most are realistic about prices and are willing to make offers based upon recent sales, current prices and comparable homes.