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Home Buying

Are you ready to buy?

Buying a home is typically the largest investment most of us will ever make. Nothing is more important, in my opinion, than thoughtful consideration of the many issues that go into buying a home.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider buying a home, whether it’s your first home or one of many.

  • What is your current living situation (homeowner, renter, sharing)? Do you need to sell? Give your landlord notice?
  • How will you pay for the home? (Cash, Loan,etc.)
  • Have you checked your credit report lately? Click here to get your free annual credit report.
  • Are you working with a lender? If you need a referral to great LOCAL loan officers, please contact me.
  • What is the monthly payment amount that you can afford? Don’t forget that your loan amount is not all that you need to consider. You’ll also want to take into account taxes, insurance, HOA fees & regular maintenance
  • What is your time frame for moving? (time to sell your current home, notice you must give your landlord, school schedules, work schedules, etc.)
  • Do you have any special needs for your new home? (layout, location, size, etc.)
  • If you’re thinking of buying and want more information about the process you can or consider taking my Home Buyer Basics Class which is offered at Arapahoe Community College. Click here for the upcoming schedule.

Filing taxes and buying a house

I just received my income tax organizer from my accountant and I was reminded of a challenge that some buyers may face this time of year.

I know you’re thinking “Really?? I just managed to get through the holidays and I don’t even want to think of filing taxes yet”.  But, if you’re one of the buyers hoping to beat the rush by entering the market in the spring you need to add one more task to your ever-growing to-do list. 

So, what does the filing of taxes have to do with all of this?  If you’re making offers on homes, and your closing could be on or around April 15th, you need to contact your mortgage professional to discuss when you should file your taxes. This can help you avoid any last minute issues with your transaction.

Things to consider:

  1. If you’re already in the process:  Contact your lender to see what deadlines they may have regarding a requirement for a transcript of your taxes.  Most buyers that are “W-2” employees should file as soon as they receive their W-2’s from their employer. Which is very soon!
  2. For self-employed folks, who may be considering filing an extension, you need to know that any money that you owe to the IRS will either need to be paid (or a payment plan established) PRIOR to closing on your home.
  3. If you’ve just started the process and are thinking of reaching out to a lender to get pre-approved be sure to ask about ANY tax filing deadlines.
  4. If you’re still on the fence about entering the market contact me and we can discuss what is best for your situation.

As a real estate professional I want my clients to be aware of any possible stumbling blocks that could derail a transaction.  My goal is for you to make great decisions with great information. 

It’s wind & hail season in Colorado,are you ‘covered’?

Almost 2 years ago now we were hit by a bad wind & hail storm, here in Englewood, where I live.  After the storm passed we inspected our roof and realized we were going to have to have it replaced.  The good news for us?  Our homeowner’s insurance covered the replacement cost of our roof.  The bad new for our next door neighbor?  His insurance only covered the actual cash value.  Our neighbor ended up having to come up with almost 50% of his cost to replace his roof, boy was he mad!

This article was generously provided by Taylor Bigandt of American Family Insurance. Taylor is a local Insurance Producer in the Englewood area. The agency that Taylor works for has two locations, one in Lakewood and the other in Englewood. Taylor is the Sales Lead Manager at the Englewood office. You can reach Taylor by phone or email at 303-462-2100 or tbigandt@amfam.com.

Summer is fast approaching, and you know what that means? Afternoon thunderstorms. These storms place Colorado in the middle of “Hail Alley”. Hail season starts in mid-April and goes through mid-August. The damage can be catastrophic and may leave you wondering what to do next. If you have the correct coverage on your Homeowners Insurance when that next storm hits, you will not have to worry about what to do next. Many people are not educated by their agents on the coverage that will help them save money when a hailstorm or windstorm destroys their roof. When your roof is destroyed by wind or hail, there will be two different coverages that you can be covered under. The first coverage that I personally recommend having on your Homeowners Insurance is Roof Replacement Cost Coverage. The definition of replacement cost is “the current cost of replacing an existing asset or property with the same quality of construction”. The second coverage is Actual Cash Value. The definition of actual cash value is “the current cost of replacing an asset less the depreciated value”.

Roof Replacement Cost Coverage means that your insurance company will cover your roof at a replacement cost value, less your deductible, without taking into consideration the depreciated value. This means that if your roof costs $20,000 to replace with a $1,000 deductible, the insurance company will pay $19,000. If your policy does not include Roof Replacement Cost Coverage then your roof will be covered at Actual Cash Value. Actual cash value means that your insurer will pay to replace your roof, less the deductible and depreciation for the age of the roof. For example, your roof costs $20,000 to replace and it is 10 years old with a depreciating value of $500 per year along with a $1,000 deductible. The insurance company will then pay out $14,000 ($20,000-$1000=$19,000-$5,000(depreciation) =$14,000) leaving you to pay $6,000 to get your roof replaced.

When shopping for a policy it is important to understand what your wind and hail deductible will be. Some insurance companies are starting to go to a percentage deductible. Having a percentage deductible will help you save at the time of purchase on your homeowners insurance but most people don’t understand the consequences financially by selecting this deductible. A percentage wind/hail deductible will be based on your dwelling coverage. If you own a home that costs $400,000 to replace and you have a 1% deductible for wind and hail then your deductible will be $4,000. If you do not have $4,000 to spend then the policy you purchased will be of no use and your roof will not be replaced.

At American Family Insurance where I am currently employed we still offer a $1,000 wind/hail deductible. In addition, we offer Roof Replacement Cost Coverage on roofs up to 15 years old. This is longer than the industry average which is about 10 years. Our homeowner’s product will be able to properly protect your home during hail season in Colorado.

Again, if you have any questions or would like to inquire about a quote from American Family Insurance please give Taylor a call at 303-462-2100 or email Taylor at tbigandt@amfam.com

Property Taxes – What you need to know

If you live in Colorado and haven’t already received your tax bill in the mail you should see it shortly.  Here are some things you should know about property taxes and how they are paid.

  1. In Colorado property taxes are paid “in arrears” meaning the property taxes due in 2017 are for 2016.
  2. If you recently purchased a home, the sellers gave you a credit at closing for the taxes for the portion of 2016 that they owned the home. You, as the new owner are then responsible for paying the tax bill when it comes due. Contact me if you have a question about this.
  3. If you have a mortgage on your home it is highly likely that you don’t need to do anything with this bill except file it away. Typically homeowners, with a mortgage, pay a portion of the taxes and insurance each month right along with the mortgage payment.  The mortgage company puts that money into an escrow account and then pays your tax bill and your insurance bill when it is due. 
  4. Did you know? Senior Tax Exemptions are available. If you’re over 65, have lived in your home for 10 years or more as your principle residence you may be eligible for a 50% reduction in your payment.  The state picks up the other half.  Look at the information included with your tax bill for more information about submitting an application for the exemption.  This is also available to a surviving spouse.  Some links:
    Arapahoe County Senior Tax Exemption.
    Jefferson County Senior Tax Exemption
    Douglas County Senior Tax Exemption
    Adams County Senior Tax Exemption
    Broomfield County Senior Tax Exemption
    Denver County Senior Tax Exemption
  5. If you have any questions about the value of your taxes you should direct them to your county assessor’s office. Look at your tax notice for contact information.
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