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October 2017


Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I can offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. Don’t hesitate to contact me and allow me to help guide you through that process!

Pam French
Broker   |   574-849-3037

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Should You Rent Your Home?

Assuming you’re current on your mortgage and have the credit scores to buy another home, now may be the time to turn your present home into a rental. If rent will cover your mortgage costs, you’re off to a good start.

To see if you can afford to carry a rental plus another home mortgage, your lender must see a signed rental contract, but counts only 80% of the rental income. Why? Many homes don’t rent as soon as they hit the market. You have to show enough resources to pay both mortgages, just in case.

There are other expenses to consider. Your home is no longer a homestead, but is now an income-producing asset which will change the tax rates on your home and on your income. You should consider contacting your income tax professional to learn how renting your home will impact your income taxes and deductions, so you can budget and escrow the appropriate estimated amount you’ll need at tax time.

The advantages are that someone else is building equity for you. The longer you own your rental, the more amortization rates work in your favor. You can deduct maintenance and improvement expenses and “depreciation” from your income taxes, benefits that are not available to homesteaders.

Your Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional can provide you with market comparables and advice about the pros and cons of becoming a landlord. He or she will be able to share real-life property management situations and costs that may help you to decide.


Appraisal-free Mortgages

Freddie Mac recently extended its new automated appraisal waiver program from qualifying refinances to qualifying purchase loan applications. This could save borrowers hundreds of dollars and as much as seven to 10 days toward an earlier closing.

Using new technology called the Loan Advisor Suite,® part of an automated collateral evaluation (ACE), Freddie Mac uses data from multiple listing services, public records, and historical home values to determine risks to lenders and borrowers. It calculates whether the loan, borrower and the subject home qualify for an appraisal waiver. If the waiver criteria are met, the lender will receive real-time risk assessment feedback.

Like other technologies have interrupted and sometimes decimated existing business models like travel agencies and bookstores, the appraisal waiver has the potential to disenfranchise licensed appraisers. The result is that consumers may be able to save some money, but at the price of doing their own due diligence.

Just as you have to choose a hotel room from photos and reviews, instead of taking the recommendation of an experienced travel agent, some industry professionals advise that buyers get their own appraisal, even if their loan qualifies for the waiver. The reason is that the condition of the home under review, particularly interior renovations, may not be included where it would be included in an on-site appraisal.

Appraisals can be deal-makers or deal-breakers. If you believe your appraisal is too low, you can protest it with your own information. Ask your local Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional for help.


Choosing Colors for Your Home

If you’re not sure what colors to choose for your new home, here’s a simple rule that may help: The closer a color is to brown or grey, the more neutral it is, which is why whites, greys and beiges tend to be quiet and conservative. The closer the color is to being primary, the more stimulating it will be, like red for dining rooms to stimulate appetites and conversation.

The important test when choosing colors is what effect you want them to have. Do you want your home to be calming and relaxing or energizing? Preppy or boho? The more neutral you go, the more you want to pump up textures. With more color, smoother textures work better. Add drama with color opposites like black and white, or blues and yellows. Purples and greens lend a subtle suggestion of luxury in deeper shades.

Consider colors that were used when your home was built, such as teals and pinks for the 50’s, earth tones for the 70s, or jewel tones for the 90’s. Picking colors found in a favorite rug or painting can also work. Choose the most neutral color for large areas, and save the brighter colors for accessories. You can also bring in more color with dishes and glassware.

Start with a light, neutral tone for the walls and carpets. Larger pieces of furniture like the sofa and chairs can have a little more color but save bright color accents lamps, pillows, and bedding.


Get the Best Mover

Moving is a big job but you can make it much easier by choosing a reliable mover.

Start early. Ask family and friends for referrals, then compare price and service estimates from several moving companies. Your mover should be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, or by your state.

Licensed interstate movers must offer two types of liability options: Full Value Protection and Released Value. Full value means full replacement cost, while released value is approximately 60 cents per pound per item. You can also purchase third-party insurance for more protection.

Binding estimates are based on the weight of your household items, the distance they will be moved, and the amount of packing and other services you will require, so the mover’s estimator should thoroughly look at what is to be moved. Point out extra-heavy or fragile objects, and share special conditions, such as parking restrictions, number of stories and freight elevator use.

Your moving company should give you a consumer booklet entitled, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" and information regarding the mover's participation in a Dispute Settlement Program. Movers must offer a means of neutral arbitration to settle disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage on household goods shipments which are requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Make sure you understand all rates and charges that will apply, pick-up and delivery schedules, liabilities, and claims protection. You can choose the extent of services you require and have them tailored to suit your moving budget.

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