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7 Reasons to Buy a Home

by The Mike Parker Team

Some people don't need a reason to buy a home, they just want it.  That can be enough justification by itself.  Other people need some solid logic before they're ready to make the commitment.  The following reasons might help you to make a decision.

  1. Pride of ownership ... among the most popular reasons given by homebuyers is that they want a place they can call their own and decorate and improve it the way they want.  It is a place to feel safe and secure and a place for their family.  They can share it with their friends and enjoy living in it.
  2. Good investment ... Homeowners have a 80 times greater net worth than renters.  By investing in a home that appreciates over time, it contributes to an increasing equity.  The high loan to value mortgages that are available combined with the low mortgage rates also contribute to the investment through leverage which has been described as "using other people's money" to control an investment.
  3. Interest and property tax deductibility ... Homeowners can deduct their qualified mortgage interest and up to a maximum of $10,000 of their property taxes as itemized deductions on their federal income tax return.  In some instances, the standard deduction may benefit them more, but they can elect to choose either method each year, whichever helps them the most.
  4. Capital gain exclusion ... A single homeowner can exclude up to $250,000 of capital gain and if married filing jointly, can exclude up to $500,000 of gain on their principal residence.  The need to have owned and occupied it as their home for two of the last five years.
  5. Cash out refinance ... Generally speaking, a lender will allow an owner with good credit and income to borrow the difference in their current unpaid balance and 80% of the fair market value.  This money can be used for any purpose and is not a taxable event.
  6. Equity buildup ...The difference in the value of the home and the unpaid mortgage balance is called equity and it increases with each payment made.  It is like automatic savings.
  7. No landlords ... Instead of dealing with landlords who may impose restrictions on things like painting, improvements and pets.  Owners are not concerned about rent increases and will have a fixed principal and interest payment for as long as they have a mortgage.

A bonus reason to buy a home now are the low mortgage rates available. The lowest rate recorded by Freddie Mac is 3.35% in December 2012.  Today's rates are 3.75% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 3.21% on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage.  So, they are certainly very close to all-time lows.

The highest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 18.45% in October 1981.  When you put today's rates in perspective, they are an incredible bargain.  Many industry experts expect that they will not remain as low as they are now.  Locking in a low rate can keep your housing costs low.

A $275,000 mortgage at 3.75% for 30 years has a principal and interest payment of $1,273.57.  If the rate goes up by 1%, the payment would increase to $1,434.53 or $160.96 per month for the 30-year term. Check the Rent vs. Own to see how the numbers look in your situation.

Buying a Home...the Cost of Waiting...

by The Mike Parker Team

A terrific article we found from the authors of "Keeping Current Matters."  This article explains the costs of waiting to buy a home in today's real estate market.  


Buying a Home: The Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should look at the projections housing experts are making in two major areas: home prices and mortgage rates.


Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists wererecently surveyed. They were asked to project where home prices were headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve month period was approximately 4%.


In their last Economic & Housing Market OutlookFreddie Mac predicted that 30 year fixed mortgage rates would be 4.8% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 4.14%.

What does this mean to you?

If you are a first time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

First Time Home Buyers Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

Move-Up Buyers Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

With both home prices and interest rates projected to increase, buying now instead of later might make sense.

If you are looking to buy or know someone who is, please contact The Mike Parker Team today.  

Reasonable Expectations

by The Mike Parker Team


Coffee should be hot. Beer should be cold. Mexican food should be spicy.  However, if these things are less than the standard that you expect, there are not any lasting consequences.

As the value of the object in question rises, either in price or gravity, the expectations usually increase and decisions become progressively more important.  Marriage, children, health and careers are certainly a few of the more important items that bear careful consideration.

The sale of the largest asset that most people own, their home, also merits having reasonable expectations.  A homeowner should expect to get the market value for their home in a reasonable period of time with as few inconveniences as possible.

According to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Survey, more homeowners are entrusting the sale of their home to real estate professionals.  Owners can increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome by sharing their expectations with agents prior to listing their home for sale.

Challenge your agent to explain what they intend to do to:

  • Price the home correctly
  • Prepare the home to make a good impression
  • Position the home in the marketplace

It is reasonable for a seller to expect the agent will work hard to sell the home; will tell the truth and represent the client’s interests to the best of their ability.  Agents exemplify remarkable service when they when they exceed the seller’s expectations. 

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

by The Mike Parker Team

Today's real estate market presents many unique opportunities for first-time home buyers. From low interest rates to foreclosure properties and short sales, the current economic climate puts homeownership within reach for many who might have thought they couldn't afford it.

Many first-time home buyers may not be aware of the numerous aspects involved in the home-buying process, however. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am aware of the many pitfalls that can trip new buyers up along the way. Here are five important tips to keep in mind when embarking on homeownership.

  1. Study: Do your homework before you buy and be sure to review the closing numbers of comparable homes in the neighborhoods you are exploring. Use the Internet, including social media sites, to garner as much information as possible about homes that interest you and the communities in which they're located. Bring this information to your real estate agent who can interpret it and put it within proper context to your needs.
  2. Credit: With today's tight lending standards, it’s imperative to clean up your credit score before applying for a mortgage. A bad credit score may not just affect your rates, but may prevent you from getting a mortgage altogether.
  3. Get preapproved: Getting your mortgage preapproved gives you extra leverage with home sellers. Not only will you know what the purchase parameters are, but you may be able to negotiate a better purchase price because you can close with more certainty and more quickly. Work with your real estate agent to negotiate a mortgage contingency.
  4. Title: Make sure any new additions or construction to an existing home have been properly filed with the local municipality and have been approved.
  5. Inspection and appraisal: Getting a home inspection is imperative in order to weed out any hidden problems, such as mold or termites, before you sign the contracts. Problems found during the inspection can potentially be used as a bargaining chip with sellers. Likewise, an appraisal is a must to ensure the value of your purchase.

Working with a professional real estate agent is essential for all home buyers, but especially first-time home buyers. Make sure the agent you select is experienced, informed and a local expert on the areas you're considering. For more information, e-mail me, and please forward this to other first-time home buyers you may know.

How New FHA Changes Could Affect Home Buyers

by The Mike Parker Team

Earlier this week, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) implemented changes to the premium structures for an FHA-backed mortgage.

My membership in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network® requires that I remain committed to keeping my clients and consumers informed, so it's important that I let you know that these changes may make it more costly for home buyers to procure FHA loan products.

In the wake of the real estate decline and credit freeze of the past three years, FHA-insured loans soared as borrowers sought alternative avenues for securing affordable mortgages. The FHA loan is popular because its minimum down payment is 3.5%, whereas most conventional loans require a much higher down payment. Recently, however, housing experts have raised concerns about FHA's shrinking funds and its ability to handle increasing defaults, sparking the agency’s impending regulation changes.

According to, FHA reported that its reserve fund has dropped to 0.53% of its insurance guarantees, well below the 2% ratio mandated by Congress and the 3% ratio it had last fall. This fund covers losses on the mortgages the agency insures. FHA borrowers pay for the insurance that backs their loans in the form of an upfront premium and an annual premium.

The agency has seen a spike in delinquencies amid the mortgage meltdown. Some 14.36% of FHA loans were past due in the third quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. To compensate for its rapidly depleting reserve fund, the following changes will be implemented to FHA lending:

  • Upfront mortgage insurance premiums will decrease from 2.25% to 1.00%.
  • At the same time, the 0.55% annual premium will be increased to 0.85% for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios up to and including 95%, and to 0.90% for loan-to-value ratios above 95%.
  • Borrowers will be required to have a credit score of at least 580 to qualify.

These changes in FHA lending may be paving the way for conventional financing with private mortgage insurance (MI) to make a comeback in lending for low down payment buyers. According to loan experts, both MI and FHA have their place, but borrowers should consult with their real estate professional and lender to determine what loan options are best for their particular situation.

For more information on FHA lending, please e-mail me, and please forward this email to others who might be unaware of how they may be impacted by these important changes.

Top 5 Mortgage Options for Home Buyers

by The Mike Parker Team


While many great deals exist in today's real estate market, securing the optimal mortgage is a critical part of your home purchase decision.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have worked with many home buyers over the years and am well versed on the factors in every mortgage loan package that will determine whether or not you can afford the house you want to buy. The most important things to take into consideration are: interest rate, points, mortgage type, closing costs and fees, and down payment and mortgage insurance. Here’s a closer look at each:

  1. Interest Rate: The interest rate determines the amount of your monthly payment. Keep in mind that different lenders offer different interest rates, so it is important to shop around. Generally, a short-term or adjustable-rate loan will offer a lower interest rate because you agree to repay the lender more quickly or to pay fluctuating rates.
  2. Points: Points are fees charged by the lender to originate your loan. A point equals one percent of the total mortgage amount. Lenders will charge different numbers of points for different loans, so it is important to understand how many points a lender will be charging. For example, in some cases, lenders may advertise very low interest rates, but build a high point charge into the cost of issuing the loan, making the deal less valuable than a loan at a higher interest rate.
  3. Types of Mortgage Options:
    • Fixed Rate. On a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate does not change for the entire life of the loan.
    • Adjustable Rate. Adjustable rates, on the other hand, are interest rates that fluctuate based on market conditions. Since no one knows how the market will behave, they are riskier than fixed-rate loans. Over the life of the mortgage, you could end up paying more or less than you would have with a fixed-rate loan.
    • Balloon. The next common type of mortgage is a balloon payment loan. A balloon payment loan allows you to make relatively small monthly payments for an initial period, but requires a lump-sum payment toward the end of the term. These are risky to consider unless you are confident that you can either refinance the loan or sell the home at the end of the initial loan period.
  4. Closing Costs: Closing costs and fees are additional amounts that the buyer and seller must cover during the course of the mortgage loan transaction. They include items like credit report fees, appraisal fees, title search fees and title insurance.
  5. Down Payment and Mortgage Insurance: When searching for the right type of mortgage for you, the amount of your down payment, the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI) and other factors, such as whether you are a first-time home buyer, a teacher or a peace officer, will also affect your monthly mortgage payment.

A professional real estate agent, such as a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, or a trusted mortgage broker can help you decide what makes the best financial sense for you. Please e-mail me for more information and be sure to pass this blog on to others who might be in the market for a mortgage.

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Mike Parker - CRS
HUFF Realty
60 Cavalier Blvd.
Florence KY 41042