Category Archives: Home Buyers

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership

The 5 Benefits of Homeownership You Need to Know!

Homeownership is Worth Celebrating

Recently, Freddie Mac reported on the benefits of homeownership. According to their report, here are the five benefits that “should be at the top of everyone’s list.”

  1. Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
  2. Your monthly payments will remain stable.
  3. You may have some tax benefits.
  4. You can take pride in ownership.
  5. Homeownership improves your community.

Let’s expand on each of Freddie Mac’s points:

Homeownership can help you build equity over time.

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reported that now the net worth gap is 45 times greater.

Your monthly payments will remain stable.

When you purchase a home with a fixed rate mortgage, the majority of the payment (principle and interest) remain constant. On the other hand, rents continue to skyrocket. Your housing expense is much more stable if you own instead of rent.

You may have some tax benefits.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items from the Briefing Book:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Property Tax Deduction
  • Imputed Rent
  • Profits from Home Sale

You can take pride in ownership.

Most surveys show that a major factor in purchasing a home is the freedom you have to design the home the way you want. From paint colors to yard accessories, you don’t need a landlord’s permission to make the house feel like a home.

Homeownership improves your community.

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study explained:

“Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors…Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.”

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to homeownership, in addition to these top 5. Have you been considering purchasing a home, but aren’t sure where to start? Check out our state-of-the-art home search here. If you’re ready to get out and view a few homes, contact us at The Bouma Group, Realtors today at 734-761-3060 or email info@bouma.com and we’d be happy to help!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Not Sell For Sale By Owner!

 Is For Sale by Owner Right for You?

Frustrated For Sale by Owner Listing Home

In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers 

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 51% on the internet
  • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 8% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

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The American Dream Index Continues to Increase!

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | MyKCM


Forbes.com 
recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison. It rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. You can see the full results can be seen in the map below.

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | MyKCM

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

Bottom Line

Owning a home of one’s own, for many, is a big part of the American Dream. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality. Are you a first time home buyer and want to know what you can afford in today’s market? Or see what is available in your price range? Give us a call at The Bouma Group, Realtors at 734-761-3060 or email info@bouma.com and let’s get started helping you achieve the American Dream!

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory?

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory?

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory? | Simplifying The Market

As home prices continue to rise, some are questioning whether we are approaching another housing bubble. Zillow just reported that:

National home values have surpassed the peak hit during the housing bubble and are at their highest value in more than a decade.”

Though that statement is correct, we must realize that just catching up to prices of a decade ago does not mean we are at bubble numbers. Here is a graph of median prices as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory? | Simplifying The Market

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What’s Hot in Home Design This Summer

Hot Summer Home Design Tips!

Bright sunshine, warmer days, and a ton of new trends come with the change in season, and this summer certainly won’t disappoint. In the real estate world, these new trends revolve around the latest and greatest in wall colors and decorations, space savers, and creative living arrangements. We have our eye on a few interesting home design ideas and hot home features that we think you’re going to love!

laptop sitting on marble countertop

Marble: A Sophisticated Look for Summer

Whether natural or imitation, marble is one of the top home décor trends for summer 2017. Designers are incorporating this luxe look into bathrooms and kitchens as expected, but they’re also taking it to everything from flower vases to side tables. Continue reading

These 6 Simple Tricks Make Moving Surprisingly Effortless

two people packing cardboard boxesLet’s face it, moving to a new home is no picnic. Moving day will be here before you know it, and you feel like there’s no way on Earth you can sort through all of your belongings and pack your entire life into a moving truck in time.

We know how stressful a move from one home to another can be, so we wanted to share a few helpful moving tips to make it a much easier experience.

Create a To-Do List and Pin It to Your Wall

You probably won’t remember everything you have to do in the chaos of researching moving companies, calling your insurance provider, and closing on your new home. So before you start the bulk of cleaning and decluttering, take a few minutes to compile a detailed list of the tasks you will need to complete, no matter how small. These tasks can include:

  • transferring your homeowners insurance to your new address
  • compiling a list of your emergency contacts
  • labeling your moving boxes
  • fixing a squeaky door hinge
  • meeting with friends for coffee before you leave

If it helps you stay organized, categorize your tasks by room, deadline, or importance. As you’re completing all your to-dos, make sure you check them off your list as you go. It will help you see how far you’re come in accomplishing such a gargantuan goal. Continue reading

14 Conveniences You Don’t Want to Forget in Your Home Search

You have it all planned out. You know exactly which shopping centers and conveniences you want to live near, you know which amenities you need within a few miles of your community, and you have a general idea of where your workplace, grocery store, and soon-to-be-favorite hangouts are located.

When it comes to searching for the right home, many buyers like you have “the perfect location” at the top of their must-have lists. But what exactly is “the perfect location”? And have you considered all of the conveniences you need near your next home?

Shops and Services That Buyers Take for Granted

You know where the basic conveniences are located near your home search location — shops, restaurants, grocery stores. But how about the services and places that you take for granted? As you’re trying to decide where to live and which home best suits you, use this list to determine which amenities you can and can’t live without. This will help you settle on the perfect location — and your ideal home.

bananas at a supermarket1. Specialty Grocery Stores or Farmers’ Markets

You likely already know how far the closest grocery store is from your home search location. But if you love cooking and trying gourmet recipes, you may also want to live near shops that offer the ingredients that traditional grocery stores don’t.

2. Medical Facilities That Take Your Insurance

While you’re searching for homes and determining your ideal location, call around to the doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals that you are considering. Find out which insurance providers these places accept to help you decide whether you need to change your location or your provider. Continue reading

7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Place of Your Own

Are You Ready to Buy a Place of Your Own?

Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that owning a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering home ownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

new friends hanging out

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

homeowner customizing his house Continue reading

3 Home Buying Mistakes That are Far Too Easy to Make

How to Avoid These Home Buying Mistakes

potential buyers staring at a house

This time of year is ideal for looking for homes. Since springtime is a popular home selling season, you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding listings in your preferred location, in your ideal price range, and with your favorite features. With all of these options, it’s going to be a breeze buying your perfect home… right?

There are some common mistakes to be aware of when searching for and buying your next home. But with the right resources and a team of professionals on your side, purchasing a home should be hassle-free.

1. Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You

Buying a home is an emotional experience. While you’re touring a home, you can’t help but feel an emotional connection as you imagine hanging your photos and decorations in the living room, cooking dinners in the kitchen, and making precious memories with your friends, family, and new neighbors.

But be careful; if your feelings cloud your judgment, you may find yourself overpaying for your dream home, jumping in too quickly to make an offer, or low-balling and risk losing your favorite home.

home buyer tracking financesHow to Avoid This Home Buying Mistake

Arm yourself with facts and objective advice, such as your list of wants and needs, to keep you from making any emotional home buying mistakes. Continue reading

Understanding Property Taxes in Washtenaw County

Property Tax CalculationUnderstanding Property Taxes

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Even back in 1789, Benjamin Franklin understood that taxes are here to stay. Before purchasing a property, educate yourself on how property taxes are assessed your area, how they might change after your purchase, and how you or your bank might be paying them. Here are a few tips for buyers in Washtenaw County:

  1. Property taxes are based on the taxable value of the property and the current millage rate for the area, all of which is public information. You can find taxable values for properties in Washtenaw County here, and 2016 millage rates for the state of Michigan here. The state of Michigan also has an online calculator for property taxes.
  2. Keep in mind that both taxable values and millage rates are subject to change, but taxable value increases are limited to the percent change in the inflation rate or 5%, whichever is less.
  3. The exception to this rule is during the year after you purchase a property. For properties sold during the past year, the cap is removed and the current year’s taxable value becomes the State Equalized Value (SEV) of the property. The SEV is based on 50% of a property’s market value.
  4. In Washtenaw County, Summer tax statements are sent by July 1 and are due on September 14. Winter tax statements are sent by December 1 and due on February 14. Penalties apply for late payments. On March 1 of each year, any past due tax balances are sent to the County as delinquent.
  5. Be sure to look for any special assessments that may apply to the property you are considering for purchase, and include who will be responsible for them in the sales contract. Will the current seller pay them off, or will the buyer be responsible for payments going forward? One example of this is the 10-year Scio Road Assessment that was implemented in 2013 and is payable in $85 installments each year.
  6. If you own and occupy a property (it’s your principal residence), you may qualify for a principal residence (homestead) exemption from a portion of local education taxes. Check with your city or township for additional information.
  7. If you obtain a mortgage to purchase a property, your bank will likely collect your property taxes from you in your monthly PITI payment (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance). You will pay 1/12 of your annual property tax due each month. The taxes and insurance will be held in an escrow account, and then the bank will pay your property taxes when they come due.

If you are thinking about buying a home and need help navigating property taxes in our area, call Ann Arbor’s Real Estate Specialists at The Bouma Group at 734-761-3060. You can also email us at info@bouma.com. Start your new home search here!

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