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Buying A House

Buying a House

If you are shopping for a new home, one of the most important things you should obtain is homeowners insurance. Many lenders require that you purchase insurance before the sale is final. It is also important to understand the types of insurance that are available and pick the one that's right for you. Also be aware of insurability issues.

When looking into an insurance policy, look at everything. Some only cover the dwelling, additional structures, personal property, loss of use. Others may also provide some liability if a person should get hurt on your property. It is very important to look at your surroundings. For instance, if you live by a river or lake your property could be deemed as high flood risk. Some insurance companies do not cover natural disasters, so always make sure to check over your policy.

Insurance companies will also look at "Acceptability Criteria" like construction, roof, and the use of the home,( whether you are living in it or renting it). They also look at personal past history, as well as if the property has any liability issues, like swimming pools, cliffs or other risks. The lender may also require you to get a home inspection done if it is an older home. So with all the issues that come with buying a new home, having the right insurance can give you piece of mind.

When buying a new home let New Mexico Mountain Properties assist you in finding that perfect home, With two convenient locations in both Taos and Angel Fire you are sure to find what you are looking for. Our stunning Taos homes for sale might spark your interest ,or the lovely Moreno Valley homes for sale in Angel Fire might be just right for you. We also have amazing mountain land for sale in Taos and Angel Fire.... or get in touch with nature in our Earthship homes for sale in Taos. Whatever you are looking for, we can help you find it. Our dedicated agents go that extra mile to find exactly what you require. So give us a call at 575-377-2626 in Angel Fire, 575-758-5852 in Taos, or speak directly to an agent at 575-770-3306. We are here to serve and welcome you to our glorious area.

How Can You Beat a Cash Bidder?

Cash buyers are flooding the real estate market in record numbers to take advantage of bargain housing prices. But these buyers may put consumers who need financing at a disadvantage.

Sellers often prefer cash deals because it can mean faster closings and transactions that are less likely to fall through. Some sellers are even accepting lower offers because they are from cash buyers than higher offers from a financing buyer just because they view it as a more solid deal that will be quicker to the closing table.

So how can your financed buyers compete? Experts offer a few tips.

Get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage.

Show you're in good standing. You'll improve your chances of getting a seller to accept your bid by having more cash that you're willing to put down, showing you have a stable job, and good credit. Also, a well-prepared, typed-out contract that includes a cover page summary of the contract deals is another way to show you're a serious buyer.

Offer more earnest money. Offering a high down payment and high deposit can also help improve your chances of beating out a cash bidder.

Act quickly. Cash buyers act quickly, so you do, too.

Realize, however, that while some sellers may be highly motivated to accept a cash buyers offer, even if it's lower than others, sellers with more equity in their homes may be less wooed by lowball cash offers. Instead, sellers who still have equity in their homes likely will be more motivated by the best and highest offer, since closing quickly may not be as critical to them.

Source: "How to Beat a Cash Bidder in the Housing Market," MarketWatch (April 13, 2011)

Sellers! Beware of Some Common Mistakes

It's difficult enough to sell your home in a down market. Buyers rule right now and sellers must avoid some common mistakes when they want to sell:

1) When pricing your home, don't rely only on sold properties to arrive at your price. Look at the competitive listed properties in your neighborhood, also. You may even want to take a tour of some in your area to see how your home stacks up against the competition.

2) Choose your agent carefully. You want an agent who's well-versed in all types of marketing: print, online, and social networking sites.

3) Use high-resolution photos, and lots of them when marketing your home. The more the merrier.

4) When your home is being shown, try to be away from the house, if possible. And if you must be there, let the buyers and their agent have privacy to talk about issues or plusses about the home. And don't engage in conversation with them, unless it's to talk about the beautiful day. Don't ever say anything that could come back to bite you.

Rmember, it's a tough market, and you need all the help you can get, so keep the above in mind, and let your agent help you with other do's and don'ts on marketing in your particular area.

10 Things You Need to Buy or Sell a Home

Paperwork! It's scary, a pain, and a daunting detail to consider if you're buying or selling a home. The following list contains pertinent documents you must have in order to close a transaction. It's only a great start, so rely on a reputable real estate agent, title company or lender to inform you of other docs you may need.

1) ID (e.g., driver's license, state-issued ID, passport). Buyers and sellers will need their IDs at the closing table so the title company and lender can determine for sure you are who you say you are.

2) Paycheck stubs. Who must produce it? Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage. Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale. Why? Buyers' purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.

3) Two months' bank account statements. Who must produce it? Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers' lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own. Short sellers? It's all about the hardship.

4) Two years' W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it? Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes. And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.

5) Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months - even years! - on today's market.

6) Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it? Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property. Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.

7) Divorce decree. Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce.

8) Gift letter. Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment. Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.

9) Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred.

10) Mortgage statement. Who must produce it? Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use it to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property's title can be transferred.

Selling Your Home . . . Buyer/Seller Turn-Offs

Selling and buying homes in most markets today is about as stressful as it can get. Sellers and buyers want to get the best price and terms they can, so avoiding complications is beneficial to both sides! Some common issues are as follows:

1) Trash-talking. Some buyers think they can negotiate the price down by slamming the house, telling the seller how little it's really worth. This doesn't work because it makes the seller defensive. Sellers should avoid being at home while it's being shown. Buyers should save their comments for their broker.

2) Buyers should not waste sellers' time by being unqualified for a mortgage.

3) Buyers should avoid making unjustified lowball offers. And sellers shouldn't get overly emotional if they get a lowball offer. That's what counteroffers are for!

4) Neither party should try to negotiate mid-stream.

5) Sellers should not try to mislead buyers with Photoshopped listing photos or fluffy property descriptions.

Remember, it's a competitive market out there and both sides to a potential transaction should realize that everyone's human and has feelings. Respect for the other party is of paramount importance. Think Aretha, be kind and considerate and honest. That's what gets us farther in life, no matter what the occasion!

Real Estate Market Showing Optimism in Home Owners and Buyers

RISMEDIA, March 14, 2011--The majority of America's potential homebuyers and sellers--68 percent--believe that the real estate market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a survey released recently by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company. This exceeds the 47 percent of Americans who expected house prices would rise in a similar survey conducted in April 2010, underscoring a more bullish outlook for the real estate market today.

In addition, 86 percent of Americans believe real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years. The Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey of 1,253 Americans between the ages of 25-64 in the market for buying a home was conducted Jan. 20-27, 2011. The survey reveals that six in 10 respondents are more interested in buying real estate (58%) and are optimistic about buying given the momentum of the economic recovery (59%). It also shows that although the price of many Americans' homes declined during the recession, 89 percent recognize they can also buy a new house at a lower price. "This survey clearly demonstrates that Americans continue to be optimistic about the real estate market and believe that home prices will rise," said James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. "A key take away from the survey is although consumers recognize that it is a good time to buy, they are concerned about their ability to sell their homes. This is one of the reasons the market is still struggling to recover."

For those on the fence about buying, uncertainty about selling an existing home (77 percent), concern about getting a fair price for the home (67 percent) and emotions (58 percent) are holding them back. For those who have sold homes in the past year, despite the down market 78 percent report that they were satisfied with the sale. Of these, 32 percent were very satisfied with the final price of their home and 46 percent were grateful they were able to sell given market conditions. A relatively small number, 22 percent, indicated that they were disappointed or resentful about the price they received for their home. The survey highlighted Americans' interest in trading up their homes. Of the 45 percent looking to trade up, 64 percent wanted more space or property, 49 percent a nicer house and 41 percent a better neighborhood. Only 21 percent surveyed said they were looking to scale down, and 34 percent said that they wanted a similar home.

The survey highlighted the importance of getting the right price in today's market --74 percent of buyers believe that many homes could meet their needs and that price is a significant differentiator, while 26 percent stated that they were willing to pay top of market for a home that specifically suits their needs. In setting the right price, however, sellers were split--with 53 percent wanting to price right at or slightly below market to attract more bids and 47 percent wanting to price slightly higher than market and hoping to find a buyer willing to pay more.

Why You Should Own a Home . . . NOW!!

This just in from Trulia.com's Tara Nicholle Nelson. She's giving us the lowdown on the advantages of home ownership:

"Ask a roomful of homeowners what's so great about owning versus renting, and you'll hear them holler in unison: "the tax deductions!" And it's true – homeowners who itemize their taxes are able to deduct 100% of their mortgage interest and property taxes from their income tax returns.

"That means that if you're in a 28% tax bracket, Uncle Sam effectively subsidizes about a third of your borrowing costs or more, making your home more affordable or allowing you to buy a larger home than you could have otherwise. Also, big chunks of your closing costs are tax deductible, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of any profit (or capital gains) that you realize when you sell your home are exempt from income taxes.

"At tax time, it's critical to know what you're entitled to, so you can claim it. So, here are five essential need-to-knows about home-related income tax tips to help you get the most tax-reducing bang out of your home-owning buck – and to avoid hefty home ownership-related tax traps.

1. You Have to Itemize Your Return to Claim Your Deductions

"During the recent debate on Capitol Hill about whether the mortgage interest deduction should be eliminated (it won't be, not anytime soon), it came out that nearly 40% of homeowners lose out on their major tax advantages every year when they fail to itemize their income taxes. If you own a home and otherwise have a fairly simple return, it might be tempting just to take the standard deduction – and if your mortgage, property taxes and income are low enough, the standard deduction might outweigh your homeowners' deductions. But you'll never know if you're losing out on the tax advantages of itemizing unless you try; before you grab a pen and start filling in that 1040-EZ grab those forms from your mortgage company and answer the questions on tax software like TurboTax, which will automatically do the math on whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction will result in the lowest tax bill – or the highest tax refund – for you.

2. Plan Ahead and Be Strategic When Taking a Home Office Deduction

"According to the Small Business Administration, the average home office deduction is $3,686 – multiply that by your tax bracket – 15%, 20%, 30% or whatever it is, and that's what you'll save on your taxes by writing off your home office. Know, though, that the space you designate as your home office cannot be exempted from capital gains tax when you sell your home later. The $250,000 (single)/ $500,000 (married filing jointly) income tax exemption for capital gains is only good on your personal residence, after all – not including any space in your home you've claimed as your tax-advantaged office. If you foresee selling your home for much more than you bought it in the future, near or far, discuss this with your tax preparer to see if the few hundred bucks you save is worth the capital gains complication later.

3. Tax Relief for Loan Modifications, Short Sales and Foreclosures Is Only Around Through 2012

"While the long-term housing outlook is beginning to look up, 2011 is projected to be the peak year for foreclosures during this market cycle. Distressed homeowners who are on the brink of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure should be aware that normally, any mortgage balance that is wiped out by one of these outcomes is taxed as what the IRS calls Cancellation of Debt Income, or CODI.

"Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007, the IRS is currently not charging income taxes on CODI incurred through a loan mod, short sale or foreclosure on most primary residences through 2012. But right now, banks are taking many months, or even years, to work out mortgages in all of these ways; the average foreclosure in New York state right now occurs only after 22 months of missed mortgage payments. If you foresee any of these outcomes in your future, don't put things off. Do what you can to get to closure on your distressed home and loan, ASAP, while you won't have income taxes to add as the insult on top of your significant housing injury.

4. Project the Income Tax Consequences of a Refinance or Property Tax Appeal

"Homeowners everywhere are working on applying for a lower property tax bill on the basis of the last few years' decline in their home's value. Those who have equity have flocked en masse to refinance their 7% home loans into the 4% to 5% rates of the last few months. These strategies offer some of the heftiest household savings out there for the corresponding investment in time and money they take. But here's a caveat for savvy homeowners who slash these costs: remember that property taxes and mortgage interest, the very costs you're minimizing, are also the basis for the major tax benefits of being a homeowner. So plan ahead for your income tax deductions to go down along with your taxes and interest.

5. Don't Forget Those Closing Costs

"If you bought or refinanced your home in 2010, you may be so focused on your mortgage interest and property tax deductions that you forget all about your closing costs. Any origination fees or discount points that were paid to your mortgage lender at closing are tax deductible on your 2010 return, get this – even if the seller paid your closing costs. If you can't figure out exactly what you paid, look for your HUD-1 settlement statement, that legal sized paper full of line item credits and debits that you should have received from your escrow provider or title attorney at, or just after, closing. Can't find it? Drop your real estate agent or mortgage broker an email; they can usually get a copy to you quickly." Note: This post first appeared on WalletPop.com on 2.28.2011.

Selling Your Home

Remodeling Magazine's annual survey of Realtors in 80 cities rank home remodeling projects according to those that bring the greatest cost recovered at resale.

If you want to add curb appeal & interior pizazz to your home before you sell, keep in mind these easy fix-ups:

1. Replace your entry door. Make sure it compliments the style of your house. No one likes to see scuff marks at the bottom of your front door, or paint that's peeling, or scratch marks from your key. Your front door should say, "Welcome to my home", not, "Go away and leave me alone."

2. Replace that nasty garage door with the mold & mud on the bottom from too much rain. Especially if your garage is on the front of the house, make your garage door look as well-maintained as the rest of the exterior.

3. Replace your siding if it's beyond spray washing.

4. Remodel your kitchen but don't spend too much doing it. A few upgrades such a countertops and appliances, along with de-cluttering will make a huge difference in kitchen appeal.

5. Add a deck, but make sure it's done right, with careful attention to craftsmanship. Have a contractor do it so it looks professionally-built, and don't make it too large or too small.

Spring is springing and now's the time to get your home glammed up and on the market. Remember to make your home inviting to prospective buyers by spritzing up the place with a few small updates. They'll pay off in a sale!

Real Estate Industry News

Wells Fargo is accepting FHA mortgages for borrowers with credit scores as low as 500. The move comes after the National Association of Realtors and FHA Commissioner David Stevens, among others, late last year criticized the country's major banks for requiring credit scores as high as 650 in some cases before making loans. Wells Fargo will now accept borrowers with credit scores of 500 to 579 if they put down 10 percent, with no gifted funds or down payment assistance. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 to 599, borrowers must put down 5 percent, with the same restriction on gifts and assistance funds. Borrowers with credit scores of 600 or higher can make a 3.5 percent down payment. The new policy took effect January 15.

New rules from the Federal Reserve require lenders to notify mortgage applicants when they don't qualify for a financing rate that's comparable to what other applicants get because of negative marks in their credit scores. The notification is supposed to include information on how applicants can et a copy of their credit scores for free so they can make sure the negative marks aren't the result of errors. The Fed rules were released under the Truth in Lending Act and took effect on January 1, 2011.

Get Finances in Order to Buy Your New Home

Here is some helpful advice from Trulia for making your next home purchase:

1. Minimize your holiday spending and save your cash. Instead of using the holiday sales to acquire a new winter wardrobe of cashmere sweaters, hold the discretionary spending down so you can give yourself the gift of homeownership! If you are serious about buying a home next year, don't run up additional credit card debt on gifts this year. Instead, make homemade cards or write holiday letters this year for everyone except the kiddos. And even for the kids, consider scaling back on the stuff, spending more of your time with them than your money, and getting started now saving toward your home purchase.

Kickstart your 2011 homebuying resolution by starting a "Home" savings account at an high-interest, online bank (the discipline-boosting goal is a bank that isn't super easy to transfer funds out of when you run low on cash), and set up an automatic deposit into it every payday. To get specific about your savings goal, if you're cash-flush, obviously a 20% down payment will get you top notch interest rates and provide you with the maximum ability to manage your monthly payments. If you're going to be more of a bootstrapping buyer, an FHA loan might be right up your alley - they offer a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price.

All buyers should plan to have at least 3 percent of the purchase price saved up for closing costs, even if you want the seller to chip in. The lower-priced the home you want to buy, the more percentage points you should be willing to chip in for closing costs. It's easy for closing costs on an $150,000 FHA loan to run as high as $4,000 or more, considering transfer taxes, inspections, appraisals and mortgage insurance fees. So, even the scrappiest buyer should have a savings target somewhere around 6.5% of their target home's price. To buy a $200,000 home, for example, that would mean a savings target of $13,000.

2. Research financing, areas homes, prices, agents and online. Smart homebuying takes a lot of research and knowledge-gathering. Since most buyers find it much harder to qualify for a mortgage than it is to find a home you'd love to live in, start with studying up on home financing and what it will take for you to get a home loan (note: FHA loans are preferred by the average homebuyer on today's market who has less than a 10% down payment, so start your research there).

If you're considering relocating next year, now's the time to start narrowing down states, cities and even neighborhoods that may or may not work for you. Take into account the job market, housing and other costs of living, and income and property tax rates, as well as the critical lifestyle inputs that vary from state-to-state, like weather and whether the place is a personality fit for you and the life you want to live, be it urban sophisticate or outdoors adventurer.

Also, start to develop a feel for home prices in a what-you-get-for-your-money type way, and start narrowing down the home styles and even neighborhoods that might fit your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle.

3. Rehab your credit, if you need to. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and check out your credit reports - from all 3 bureaus - for free. (Note - these will not give you your credit score for free - that costs extra, but it will give you the actual detailed credit reports.) Audit them for errors and do the work of disputing inaccuracies to have them corrected. Pay particular attention to: accounts that are not yours/you never opened, derogatory information that should have "aged off" your report by now (i.e., 7 years for late payments, 10 for bankruptcies) and balances or credit limits that are inaccurate (i.e., your credit card balance is listed at $2500, but you actually only owe $250.) These are the errors most likely to foul up your financing, so follow the instructions each bureau provides to correct them, stat. While you're at it, don't close any accounts, even if you are able to pay some down or off - actually, check out these tips for getting the bank to give you the best possible home loan, without unintentionally making your score worse!

4. Run your numbers. In the past, some overextended homeowners complained that they felt pushed into a mortgage they couldn't afford. Pundits blamed that on the real estate and mortgage industry, but I have witnessed firsthand many a homebuyer push themselves or their spouses into buying too expensive of a home. Eliminate this issue entirely by doing this - run your own numbers, before you ever even talk to a salesperson or start looking at homes beyond your means. (I assure you, once you see the million dollar home you think you can afford, the $250,000 home you can actually afford will be underwhelming.)

Get your monthly finances in order, and get a clear read on how much your monthly bills are - outside of housing. Decide how much you can afford to spend every month for housing, when you buy your home. Get clear on exactly how much cash you plan to have at hand to put into your transaction up front. When, in the next step, you begin working with a mortgage broker, you'll want to share these numbers with them, early on in your conversation, to empower them to tell you what home price you can afford - not based on their rubrics, but based on what you say you want to spend every month and what you want to put down.

5. Talk to a real estate and mortgage broker (1 of each). We at New Mexico Mountain Properties have all the info you need for finding and financing a wonderful home in Taos or Angel Fire. Just email us or call and let us know you'd like to work on putting an action plan together for buying a home next year, and would like to talk with us about what action steps need to go on the list. We'll brief you on the timeline of a transaction in our market, and point out for you things like when along the process you'll need to bring money in, when you'll need to miss work and come into our office or the closing office. We offer conveniences like digital document signing, and we can advise you on the local standard practices about which you'll need to know. Depending on your target home purchase timeline, we'll take you to look at a few properties to reality-check your expectations or narrow down a broad wish list.

When you get in touch with the mortgage maven, if you're serious about buying, you will want them to actually pull your credit report, check the actual FICO scores that come up on their system and give you their professional recommendations for what final tweaks you can do to your debts to get your credit score where it needs to be.

Again, we're here to help you achieve your homebuying goals for next year. Give us a call today and let New Mexico Mountain Properties help you get in the game!

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