Real Estate News 10/29/18

 Homebuying dreams can become real for shoppers in unmarried but committed relationships. According to Jessica Lautz, the National Association of Realtors®’s Director of Survey Research and Communication, a report from NAR found that the highest share of first-time buyers who are unmarried couples was in 2017—the highest on record since 1981. Of course, there are significant risks when buying a home with an unmarried partner. But there are precautionary steps you can take to ensure you can deal with the posed risks throughout the home planning and shopping together.
  1. Sign a prenup for the home. Renee Bergmann, a real estate attorney and owner of Bergmann Law in Westmont, N.J., says couples must have a conversation about potentially breaking up if they want to be co-homeowners. Using help from a legal professional, she says coupled clients should establish a co-ownership contract before closing day. Do not “wait and see what happens”—without a written agreement, Bergmann says, things could get messy very quickly.
  2. Choose the right title. Ownership titles are different in various states, but usually these titles include: sole ownership (one person has the full ownership), joint tenancy (a 50-50 split ownership, with one tenant’s share transferring to the other in the case of death), and tenants in common (allows unequal ownership, such as a 75-25 split). All three approaches have pros and cons, but Bergmann says your clients should consider revising the deed to reflect their new legal status, using a “quitclaim deed,” if they decide to get married after buying. Source: Seattle Times 

Home improvements to boost energy efficiency can be a good investment that can reap rewards for both buyers and sellers. But the Appraisal Institute, which represents professional real estate appraisers, says not all improvements will bring the same benefits. "The latest research shows that green and energy-efficient home improvements have the potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers," said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. "However, it depends on the improvements made. Some green renovations, such as adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation, are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly." The Institute says that homeowners may be eligible for a federal tax credit if they opt for an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for a home. Murrett says there is a difference between a truly green home and one with green features. To be green it must contain all six elements of green building: site; water efficiency; energy efficiency; indoor air quality; materials; and operations and maintenance. He also says that homeowners should keep all documentation relating to construction for real estate agents, appraisers and buyers; and that buyers chose lenders that have knowledge of high-performance homes. "Builders and homeowners should collect and share with appraisers data about cost and benefits of green building materials and energy-efficient features to establish historical data regarding return on investment of green construction," Murrett said. Source: Mortgage Professional America 


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