Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $3,143 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $3,436 last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals. For anyone looking to buy a home in 2019, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership! | MyKCM

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%. Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership! | MyKCM

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Virginia looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 40% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

Thinking about buying or know someone thinking about buying? Share this with them. They could be closer to their down payment than they think & we would love to help them along the way.

Give us a call at 703-242-3976 or email us at info@thebeltteam.com

Think you are ready to sell? Text BELTVALUE to 59559 for a FREE valuation of your home!

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring | MyKCM

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The cost of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Give us a call with any questions you have. We are here to help! We can also connect you with some of the industries best lenders & title companies.

703-242-3975 or info@thebeltteam.com

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Why Homeownership matters NOW more than EVER

Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever | MyKCM

Study after study shows that no matter what generation Americans belong to, the vast majority believe that homeownership is an important part of their American Dream. The benefits of homeownership can be broken into two main categories: financial and non-financial (often referred to as emotional or social reasons.)

For Americans approaching retirement age, one of the greatest benefits to homeownership is the added net worth they have been able to achieve simply by paying their mortgage!

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater, with nearly half their net worth coming from home equity!

Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever | MyKCM

Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36.

Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated.

It is no surprise that lifelong renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Census report shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years.

Bottom Line

Your monthly mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ building your net worth with every payment!

Think you’re ready to buy? Or no someone that should look into buying? Let’s connect. Give us a call at 703-242-3975 or Email us at info@thebeltteam.com

Check out the latest Northern Virginia Listings Here

Taking the Fear out of the Mortgage Process

We get a lot of questions from people thinking about buying a home – whether for the first time or for the first time in a long time. Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that will demystify the process.

You might also want to read our post “Budget Like It’s 1999 and Other Tips for First Time Homebuyers”!

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Taking Fear Out of the Mortgage Process

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

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Email The Belt Team for our list of trusted lenders. They can walk you through the process in great detail and explain each step along the way, estimate monthly payments and tell you how much cash you’ll really need to have.

Contact us to set up a FREE Buyer Consultation. We will show you our “7 Steps To Your Dream Home”!

Search The Belt Team’s state-of-the-art home finder site.

Register For The Belt Team’s Seminar For Sellers

Next scheduled date: June 11th in Vienna or McLean 9AM to 11AM

Our next Seminar for Sellers will bring in our Dream Team of experts to ensure you sleep easy & make the RIGHT move!

  • Estate Planner
  • Financial Planner
  • Organizer
  • Lender
  • Contractor
  • Stager
  • Realtor

We’ll help you get answers to questions like these:

  • Do I need to sell before I buy? Or do I buy before I sell? How can I sell when I don’t have a place to go yet?
  • What do I need to do to get my home ready to go on the market? What can I skip?
  • Should I install new carpet or give a credit to the buyer so they can choose their own carpeting?
  • Does staging really matter? What does it cost?
  • Are there people who can help me organize?
  • How much of a mortgage do I qualify for?
  • How much will my home sell for?
  • I know we need to update the kitchen, but how much do we really need to do and who do we call?
  • And LOTS more!

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for further info.

Register For “Be A Boss! 10 Secrets of a Mega EA”

Be a Boss - 10 Secrets of a Mega EA

Presented by Christy Belt Grossman, COO The Belt Team                         

How You Can Stand Out From The Average Assistant – #TakeItToTheNextLevel

October 15th in the Training Room – McLean Market Center – 9AM to Noon

REGISTER HERE:

Learn how to up your game! Propel your team and your career to higher heights. Find out the difference between having a job and building a career!

Topics will include:

  • Mega Mindset
  • Paths to Growth
  • Leadership
  • Accountability
  • Ownership Mentality
  • Making Failing Forward Fun
  • Communication
  • Lots More!

This will be an interactive class for engaged learners. You will walk out with:

  • Ideas To Generate Income For Your Team
  • Ideas For Your 4-1-1 Annual Goals
  • An Accountability Partner
  • A Growth Plan
  • Ways To Leverage Numbers
  • Ways To Eliminate Squirrels
  • Confidence To Own Your Role
  • Energy & Strategies To Conquer The Chaos

ABOUT CHRISTY BELT GROSSMAN:

  • Chief Operating Officer The Belt Team20 years as Chief Operating Officer of The Belt Team, Top 100 Team with Keller Williams Realty since 2008
  • $55 Million closed/pending through Sept 15, 2015
  • Interviewed by Gary Keller at Mega Camp, 2012
  • Listed in Stefan Swanepoel’s Technology Report, 2013, “Top 100 Klout Scores of Individuals In Real Estate”
  • Panelist at Mega Tech, 2013 & 2014
  • Founder of the longest running EA Mastermind in KW
  • Passion For Riding Shotgun in the EA Role & Helping Others

“Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye” – Interactive Seminar

Homebuyer Seminars Northern VA

Special Millennial Edition Class for First-Time Homebuyers

September 30th at 6:30PM in McLean

Register here    Download Flyer

Today is a great time to enter the real estate market! Why throw money away on rent when you can be your own landlord? Freedom rocks. And so does putting money in your OWN pocket instead of your landlord’s! Mortgage rates are low (for now!) and you may even be able to pay less by owning than renting. Not sure how the process works? We’ve gathered these local experts to share their knowledge with you:

¨ Aaron Gagnon, Loan Officer, Apple Federal Credit Union

¨ Brad Pace, Loan Officer, EverBank

¨ Chris Melnick, Owner, Double Eagle Title

¨ Several local millennials who recently bought their first home

¨ The Belt Team, nationally recognized Top 100 Team with Keller Williams Realty

Here’s what the class will cover:

  • How much money do I need to save?
  • Could I actually pay less by owning than renting?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What would my payment be?
  • What about closing costs?
  • What about inspections?
  • Overview of the market.
  • Search tips & tricks.
  • Best apps to use.

Register FREE before Sept 15. Register here. Seating is limited.

(Note: If you cannot make one of our scheduled classes, we are more than happy to meet for coffee and do a quick, no obligation overview with you.)

Search for homes on our state-of-the-art site

Platinum Sponsor: Double Eagle Title

First Time Homebuyers“This was our first time looking for a home to own and Kevin really guided and took all of our requests and preferences to heart. He made sure all of our worries were alleviated from day one and we couldn’t have asked for a better agent to work with.”

Ben & Lara Kaplan

 

First Time Homebuyer Seminar - The Belt Team“As first time buyers we really appreciated that Tom Reilly respected all of our questions, no matter how elementary. If he didn’t have the answer, he got it for us, ASAP. We worked with another agent earlier in our home search, and Tom was much more attentive and helpful!”

Heather & Doug Roemer

Where Are Home Values Headed?

Keeping Current Matters” has provided us with some excellent information about where home values are headed. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Northern VA – you’ll want to check what they had to say:
Home Values Going Up KCM

“Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred 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.

The results of their latest survey

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.4% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.5% by 2019.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.”

FREE INSTANT Online Home Valuation

———————————————————————————————————————————–In addition to the info from Pulsenomics, we also know the government has indicated it likely that interest rates will rise. In fact, we have seen the FHLMC 30 year rate rise already from 3.84% in May to 4% in June and 4.09% in July. In light of the urgency to buy now, we are holding a special MILLENNIAL EDITION of our “Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye” Seminar.

Homebuyer Seminars Northern VA

Today is a great time to enter the real estate market!  Why throw money away on rent when you can be your own landlord? Freedom rocks. And so does putting money in your OWN pocket instead of your landlord’s!  

Mortgage rates are low (for now!) and you may even be able to pay less by owning than renting. Not sure how the process works? We’ve gathered these local experts to share their knowledge with you:

  • Aaron Gagnon, Loan Officer, Apple Federal Credit Union
  • Brad Pace, Loan Officer, EverBank
  • Chris Melnick, Owner, Double Eagle Title
  • Several local millennials who recently bought their first home
  • The Belt Team, nationally recognized Top 100 Team with Keller Williams Realty

Next Class Scheduled: Sept 30th 6:30-8PM in McLean

Register at: www.TheBeltTeam.com/Classes  (Register FREE before 9/10)

Parents: Are YOU your adult child’s landlord? Send them to our class. Invest in their future!

Here are some of the topics we will discuss:

  • Could I actually pay less by owning than renting?
  • How much money do I need?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What would my payment be?
  • Mistakes to avoid.
  • What about inspections?
  • Search tips & tricks.
  • Best apps to use.

Questions? Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

Register For Belt Team Real Estate Classes

 FreedomKiss

Your

Landlord

Goodbye” 

Special Millennial Edition Class for First-Time Homebuyers

Next scheduled date: May 2016 in McLean (6820 Elm Street)

Here’s what the class will cover:

  • How much money do I need to save?
  • Could I actually pay less by owning than renting?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What would my payment be?
  • What about closing costs?
  • What about inspections?
  • Overview of the market
  • Best apps to use.

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for further info.

Platinum Sponsor: Double Eagle Title

Double Eagle Title

Gina Clough and Chris Melnick Double Eagle Founders
Gina Clough and Chris Melnick                       Founders, Double Eagle Title

“Budget Like Its 1999” and Other Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Terry Belt and Chris Melnick

Your son or daughter graduates from college. And they move back home. It’s all good for a while. They were away at school for 4 years (5 in our case!) and it’s really nice to have them around.

Then, all of a sudden, you both start thinking about the day when they move out again.

That’s what happened to us last year. Our daughter Melissa graduated from college, moved home and got her first job (as a teacher at a Catholic school). She made it through her first fall of teaching and as the new year arrived, she started thinking about moving out. While teaching is very rewarding, the rewards are not financial in nature. So she began looking into apartments and rentals.

Since I have been in real estate for almost 30 years, this just killed me. I just couldn’t imagine her throwing away money at rent. But I also knew her finances were tight. Less than a year later, she bought her own condo and became a first time homeowner. Here’s how we made it happen.

3 Tips For Prospective First Time Homebuyers (And Their Parents)

1. BUDGET LIKE ITS 1999

As a young married couple, we wanted to move from our small condo to a single family home. The best advice our parents gave us was to create the budget we would need after we moved into the house and live on it for a year BEFORE we bought the house. That way we would know whether it was realistic and where we could cut corners. So we did the same thing with Melissa. She created a budget on the Mint.com app and lived on it for almost a year before she moved. She included things like a mortgage payment, utilities, home repairs & insurance. Since these were not “real” expenses yet, she took that money each month and banked it in her savings account.

Here are examples of what to include in your budget:

  • Mortgage
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • HOA/Condo Fee
  • Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet, Cell, Cable)
  • Tithing
  • Saving
  • Home repair/Maintenance
  • Car Payment
  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Pets
  • Clothing
  • Gas
  • Car Repair/Maintenance
  • Medical (Checkups, Prescriptions, Ilnesses)
  • Personal (Haircuts, gifts, vacations, subscriptions)
  • Entertainment/recreation
  • Student Loans

2. WIN-WIN INVESTING

Like many first-time homebuyers, Melissa’s biggest challenge was the down payment and closing costs. Today’s young people are used to a certain standard of living (think Starbuck’s & sushi). It’s really not their fault. They were raised by the generation who wanted their kids to have “more than we had”. We, on the other hand, were raised by post-Depression era parents – and we learned to be frugal, save money and not to buy things on credit. To incent Melissa and encourage her to save – we set up a matching plan. We matched her dollar for dollar over a certain time period up to a set amount of money. This got her into the “Saving Habit” as she was able to see substantial accumulation of her funds. And she continued that habit as a permanent life change. (This not only set her in good stead for saving towards a down payment, it set her up for success going forward.)

That still wasn’t enough though. So we came to an agreement. We would be 50/50 owners. We contributed 50% of the downpayment & closing costs. And we would each make 50% of the monthly payments. (Melissa found a roommate to cover our half of the payments.) When the condo is sold, Melissa will reimburse our 50%. And we will split the profits in half. Win-win. A nice investment for us. And home ownership, equity and a tax write off for Melissa. (Contact your CPA for details regarding how to set this up.)

If you want to buy your first place and don’t have enough cash, don’t give up – you might find that if you present a win-win situation, there are people in your life who would be excited to help you: parents, grandparents, siblings.

3. GET REAL

After living on a budget for a year, Melissa had a “real” number of what she could afford in terms of a monthly payment. The number was $800 net. (So $1,600/mo for the mortgage, taxes, insurance & condo fee – with a roommate to pay half).  She talked with a Loan Officer, got pre-approved for a loan. And only then did she start looking. (Side note: Even though Melissa had no outstanding debt, because she is a teacher with such little income, she still needed co-signers for her loan. Many first-time homebuyers can qualify income/debt-wise, but if not – make sure you talk to your Loan Officer in depth about this because FNMA & FHLMC have different guidelines as to what is required.)

Melissa initially had a LONG wish list for her first place. This was another area in which she had to “get real”. She made a list of “must haves”, “wants” and “dreams”. We started out online. Melissa first started out using our competitor’s “apps” – Zillow, Red Fin, etc. But each time she showed me a listing, it turned out the place was already sold. So she went to our state-of-the-art site and set up a search. (Our site is updated faster than others and this solved the problem of not having current info,)

Next up was open houses. This was a great way to see neighborhoods, check commuting times and narrow down the options. (It also was interesting to experience the less than professional behavior of many Realtors – some who pressured Melissa to act quickly because they had “multiple contracts coming in”. Funny thing is – we’re still getting emails from one agent who has reduced the price three times on the unit with “multiple offers”.)

Melissa’s initial list encompassed condos in Reston, Fairfax, Herndon, Vienna & Oakton. She soon determined she wanted to sacrifice space for time. While the condos in Reston may have been larger, a condo in Oakton meant being 20 minutes closer to work – priceless to someone who who arrives at 7:45 AM and leaves around 6 PM.

Then it was time to get serious. Melissa called Uncle Terry. (Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team). Terry’s Realtor perspective was invaluable. At each showing he asked questions, shared knowledge and educated not only Melissa, but us. Despite being in the business on the marketing side for almost 30 years – I learned a lot about what things to consider when buying. Terry pointed out potential costs, resale pluses and minuses, and other issues that never would have crossed our minds. And he negotiated an amazing deal for Melissa when she found her dream place. On the market for $264,000 – Melissa paid $255,794.

Contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more tips for first-time homebuyers. Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better” and it would be a pleasure for OUR family to help YOUR family make the RIGHT move!

Thank you also to Chris Melnick with Double Eagle Title. And to Keith Kelly with Churchill Mortgage. Your expertise and personal commitment were stellar. And it’s why we are thrilled when our clients choose you.