Friday, December 22, 2017

Whether You Did or Didn’t Buy a Home in 2017, What Happens Now?

Both homebuyers and homeowners have different tasks and items they should focus on as we enter 2018.

Click here to refer a client or friend

If you purchased a house in 2017, what should you do next? There are three things you should consider doing over the next coming month to save money over the lifetime of owning that house.

The first is filing your homestead exemption forms, which you can do by clicking the links below for each county. Filing these forms will help you save up to 20% off your taxes. If you don’t file them now, you may receive an increase at the end of the year during the next holiday season. You can also go to your county

The second is protesting your property values. For the last 15 years, I’ve used a company called O’Connor & Associates to do this. Most people think protesting their home’s value will keep that value down and they won’t be able to sell that home for a better price in the future, but that’s not the case. All this does is keep the government from raising your property value so you don’t have to pay more in taxes.

It’s completely free to apply to protest, and O’Connor & Associates only charges 50% of what you end up saving. If they get your taxes reduced to $600, you only owe them $300. If they get them reduced to zero, you owe them 50% of nothing.

Third, take your HUD-1 Settlement Statement or your closing disclosure to your tax preparer. It’s tax season, and there are sometimes charges on there that you can write off on your upcoming return. Plus, you can also take the mortgage interest deduction that you’ve been paying interest on your property every year. If you’re one of the lucky ones who we help get into a mortgage certificate program, don’t forget that that program will give refunds of 30% to 40% of your interest you’ve paid on your home for the past year for the life of your mortgage.

What if you didn’t buy a house in 2017 but want to make that happen in 2018?

I hope to see you at the closing table in 2018.

With home prices and interest rates rising, it’s no longer feasible to rent. You’re just throwing away your money. In order to get qualified to buy a home, there are three things you must focus on, which we refer to as “CIA”—credit, income, and assets.

As far as credit goes, most lenders will offer loans for credit scores as low as 580, but the higher your score, the better. So, maintain good credit as you start 2018.

Second, make sure you have verifiable income. If you’re self-employed, make sure you claim your money on your tax returns. You can also use routes such as child support and social security income as verifiable income.

For assets, there are loan programs out there that offer 0% down, but most buyers will need about 3% out of pocket, which isn’t that much. In fact, it’s usually just as cheap as whatever your deposit and first month’s rent would be for your rental.

I hope to see you at the closing table in 2018. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need help buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help.

Applications for Homestead Exemption:

Harris County Application

Brazoria County Application

Galveston County Application

Chambers County Application