How to Plan Your Budget Around Your Monthly Mortgage Payments

Budgeting 101: How to Plan Your Budget Around Your Monthly Mortgage Payments

If you’ve decided to invest in a home, you might be wondering how to make all the expenses work from the groceries to your mode of transportation to all those little things that quickly add up. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to ensure you have the money each month by calculating your expenses and ensuring there’s a little wiggle room in the leaner times. Here are the details on how to begin with your mortgage budgeting plan.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Whether you’ve just purchased a home or are trying to determine if your dream home is right for you, it’s very important to establish approximately what your monthly payment will be. It’s important to have a mortgage cost that is sustainable, so add up your payment, home insurance, property taxes and your interest rate. While this should give you an estimate, you’ll want to ensure you add extra room if you are taking advantage of an adjustable rate mortgage.

Determine Your Necessary Expenses

It’s easy to be idealistic and assume that you’ll be able to come up with the money for your ideal home, but it’s very important to keep your feet on the ground and be realistic about your budget. Once you’ve determined your payment, calculate the average amount for your utilities, transportation costs and any debt you have. You’ll also want to add in groceries, toiletries, and extras like gym passes, meals or entertainment. By adding up your monthly payment and your expenses, you should be able to determine if a house is realistic for you.

Leave A Little Extra

If your expenses and your home costs add up to balance out, that’s great, but it’s also important to leave some wiggle room in your budget for the other things you’ll need. While you’ll want to ensure you’re saving money for the future, if you have any short-term life goals like a travel destination or going back to school, you’ll need to leave a bit for the month-to-month. The unexpected can occur at any time so you’ll want to have some leverage for the times when the car breaks down or there’s a medical issue.

When investing in a home, it’s very important to know that you can make the monthly mortgage payment and still have enough left over to pay your expenses and save for down the road. If you’re currently preparing to buy, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Putting Hendersonville Tax Refunds onto the “Fastest Path to Wealth”

This Tuesday’s tax filing deadline doesn’t pass without standing as the annual reminder to all of Hendersonville’s taxpayers that time seems to pass ever more quickly—as do the comings and goings of our earnings. The best estimate is that this year 70% of Americans will have overpaid by close to $3,000—making their tax refund checks the only smile-producing part of the annual ritual.

The Motley Fool financial site offered its insight into how most people plan to spend their refunds—but at least one real estate mogul counseled for a definite ultimate destination for those dollars. Hendersonville real estate could play an important role.

According to the Fool, 38% of respondents will use their refunds to pay off existing debts. Only 11% will direct the cash toward vacations; 5% will splurge on some kind of purchase; an equal number will put the cash toward a major purchase. The largest percentage— 41%— will sock their refund dollars into savings accounts. That’s where the real estate mogul agrees.

The gentleman in question is Sean Conlon, himself a multi-millionaire and host of his own TV show. This time of year, with income tax refund dollars rolling into more than 100 million households, he makes it a point to recall his own point of departure from day work as a janitor into being the owner of his own real estate mortgage company.

He saved. Stuffed every spare dollar into a shoebox until he’d scraped together enough to buy his first house. CNBC quoted Conlon’s dictum last week: “I’m a true believer that you should save every penny…until you buy your first house.” Hendersonville tax refund checks would more than qualify as major stepping stones toward what Conlon assesses as being “still the fastest path to wealth in this country.”

Another pointed tax refund observation came from a website called Financial Samurai. “Sam” points out that with tax refunds nearing the $3,000 mark, that amounts to nearly 6-7% of typical after-tax income: “a pretty meaningful number.” Since saving (that is, not spending!) $250 a month in that income bracket is difficult for most, the tax refund checks provide a one-shot opportunity to make saving a done deal. The same applies to those in higher brackets. In short, since out of sight is out of mind, Samurai recommends the best course of action for any tax refund check is “to make it disappear.” Into a savings account. Then there’s at least one other relevant tax consideration—one that fattens many a refund check: that whopping mortgage interest tax deduction!

The mogul and the Samurai both have valid points—and Hendersonville real estate opportunities (there are plenty on hand at the moment) certainly fit into that picture. Good reason to give me a call today!

Hendersonville Rental Properties and the Magician’s Trick

Striving to become a prudent person is a laudable goal—one usually only achieved after impetuous youthful misadventures have taught the wisdom of prudence. Caution—particularly in financial matters—may seem to be synonymous with prudence—but they aren’t always the same thing. Especially when there are magicians at work.

An example of that can be found in the way most people think about Hendersonville rental properties. There’s no sleight-of-hand from the landlord’s point of view: few would argue with the proposition that rental properties are a prudent form of investment.

The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t sorcery happens when the audience (in this case, renters) view the same proposition: buying a home instead of renting. From that perspective, the exact same prudent investment can seem to be transformed into a fearfully huge risk. Taking the plunge—buying a home—has become a dangerously formidable commitment. It would seem to be a more prudent course to put off that kind of years-long gamble. After all, who knows for sure what the future will bring? Signing on the dotted line for a 15- or 30-year Hendersonville home loan seems like a humongous step into the unknown.

This apparently prudent risk assessment is actually a conclusion that fails to see what’s happening behind the distracting illusion. At its root is a basic truth behind the rent or buy decision:

Unless you’re living with your parents, you’ll be paying off a mortgage—either way.

The choice comes down to paying for a landlord’s loan or paying for your own. If you take the mortgage yourself, you have to make the payments. If you rent from the landlord, you also have to make the payments—with the landlord acting as middleman.

As soon as you’ve peeked behind the curtain to acknowledge that fact, a couple of other notable backstage realities are likely to come into focus:

First, if you buy a home via a fixed-rate mortgage, you can plan on what your payments will cost—now and 15 or 30 years from now. It’s written in stone. On the other hand, if you rent, you won’t know what your rent payments will be a few years from now. The first choice is the one that creates predictability and stability: i.e., prudence.

Second, if you buy, eventually the loan payments will equal zero. If you rent—well, having seen behind the curtain, you know what happens eventually: i.e., more payments.

At least in the world of Hendersonville rental properties, there is a distinct difference between prudence and caution. In the rent-vs-buy calculus, it’s pretty clear which is which.

Once you have peeked behind the curtain, you may also conclude that it’s an even more prudent idea to become a landlord yourself. And right now, there are some excellent Hendersonville rental properties that could make that possible.

To investigate further, give me a call!

Pricing a Home in Hendersonville from Both Sides Now

When it comes to the reality of pricing a home in Hendersonville, it’s natural that buyer’s and seller’s points of view reflect their different roles and objective. In a way, they are mirror images of each another.

From the seller’s point of view, pricing their Hendersonville home starts out from the reality check of the “comps”—the prices registered in recent comparable neighborhood sales. From there, the pricing decision revolves around the tradeoff between maximum asking price versus the desire for a speedy sale. Even if there is no time pressure at all, serious sellers will still set the asking price below a level that indicates disregard for current market realities. Rather than communicating “this place is worth more than what people are willing to pay,” overpricing only serves to needlessly put off buyers and their agents. If time pressure is an issue, experienced sellers will peg the asking price just enough below neighborhood comparables to make the value evident. Tagging “motivated buyer” on the listing can attract attention, but the right price cuts to the chase. That’s a tactic bound to draw timely offers—especially when a Hendersonville property is in A+ showing condition,

For most prospective Hendersonville buyers, it’s the mirror image. Rather than starting from the reality of neighborhood comps, the pricing of their future home begins as an abstraction: the “looking” range. The top of the range will be a figure that is derived from what is comfortably affordable rather than what that figure will command in the current market. Once the serious house hunt is underway and some area properties have been visited, that top-of-range number will almost always need some adjusting—usually (but not always) upward.

Thereafter, when some desirable Hendersonville properties have been located, pricing from the buyer’s perspective is apt to become largely an exercise in deconstruction. Even though a home is actually desirable, it’s hard to resist zeroing in on the property’s weak points, turning flaws into subtraction fodder for mental offer calculations.

In a successful transaction, the mirror images of buyers’ and sellers’ approaches to home pricing do ultimately wind up converging. That’s another area where having a knowledgeable Hendersonville Realtor® on your team is invaluable. When it comes to offers and counter-offers, whether you’re a buyer or seller, having your side of the negotiations handled by an experienced professional is a sure way to keep the other side tethered to reality. Arriving at a bottom line reflecting realistic and lasting Hendersonville real estate value is what most often winds up bringing both parties to a happy conclusion. The first step? You guessed it: call me at 828-747-8113.

Predicting Hendersonville Home Prices Doesn’t Take a Nobel Prize

home pricesThe timing for when to sell a Hendersonville home can be a decision that pretty much makes itself. Sometimes family demands call for a move to larger or smaller quarters; sometimes a change in career demands or a schooling decision dictates a residential switch. But there are other times when an eventual move is in the cards—but timing is flexible.

That’s a situation where the decision can hinge on expectations for where future Hendersonville home prices seem to be headed. Nobody likes to be taken by surprise—especially if the surprises were foreseeable. As we enter the start of the peak Hendersonville real estate selling season, it would be useful to know the direction Hendersonville home prices are likely to move. Right now, it looks as if mortgage interest rates are moving upward: will that make selling more difficult?

Looking for a truly well-educated guess, it’s hard to argue with the Nobel Prize Committee. Fortunately for us, those ladies and gentlemen named someone in the real estate economics field worthy of their international seal of approval (and a chunk of their 2013 Prize money). That’s Robert Shiller, the Yale Economics professor who accurately predicted both the dot-com and housing bubbles and who co-authors the authoritative Case-Shiller Index.

One logical concern for Hendersonville homeowners might be whether rising mortgage interest rates are likely to soften Hendersonville home prices this spring. The Wall Street Journal provided a reassuring answer: “U.S. Housing Market Roars into 2017, Case-Shiller Says.” Per their month-end roundup, “Home prices shrug off higher interest rates.” The shrugging they cited was indicated by the fastest growth in home prices since 2013—despite higher interest rates.

This may not be tantamount to Prof. Shiller’s personal guarantee that the recent interest rate rise won’t retard Hendersonville home sales—yet it does seem that history has seen a similar home price phenomenon before. In 1983, a 2.04% rise in mortgage interest rates resulted in a 6.6% rise in real estate values. In 1987, similar results. Between April 1999 and May 2000, a 1.6% interest rate rise accompanied a nearly 11% rise in values!

Hendersonville home prices will certainly not see anything like that 1999 kind of dizzying marketplace—and that’s just as well. The national consensus for 2017 is for moderate price gains in the 4%-6% range. But for those holding back from listing for fear that prospective buyers may shy away this spring, it doesn’t seem to be likely.

In fact, with a little imagination, you may almost be able to hear the approaching sound of the Journal’s housing market “roar.” If so, I hope you call me soon!

Hendersonville Real Estate and Optimism Make a Happy Couple

outside homeOwning your own Hendersonville home is, for most of us, a goal that’s been with us so long we don’t even question it. In addition to the economic advantages that come with Hendersonville real estate ownership, there are, for most, a host of corresponding emotional benefits—the sense of security and “belonging” within the community are just two.

So it should be no surprise that the real estate industry is bound to be at least somewhat affected by changes in the public’s emotional outlook. After all, when people start feeling good about the country and their own circumstances (they’re “optimistic”), they’ll be more likely to see the future in a positive light. More businesses will be started; more couples will decide it’s time to grow the family—and in Hendersonville real estate terms, more homes will be bought and sold.

Last week, Hendersonville real estate observers didn’t have to look hard to find a number of optimism-signaling items in the media. If local sentiment is in line with what was being reported nationally, it has to boost confidence in the commercial outlook for both North Carolina and Hendersonville. For real estate matters in particular, optimism ruled.

The first wave arrived on Tuesday when Fannie Mae published its prognosis on “housing attitudes.” The quasi-governmental entity reported an abrupt turnaround in their Home Purchase Sentiment Index. This is the comprehensive sampling that measure various consumer sentiment on six components related to residential real estate. Most notable (actually, sort of astonishing!) was the component that measures consumers’ optimism regarding their own personal financial prospects and the economy. It registered the highest level in the history of the Index.

The percentage of those who say they feel now is a good time to sell a home rose, as did those who reported higher income in their own households. And the number of those who also believe home prices will rise in the coming year grew by 7%—which could explain why potential buyers might be increasingly eager to buy sooner rather than later.

The following day, RealtorMag® quoted a 1,000-consumer survey which confirmed that conclusion. It tracked those who “consider homeownership as a priority” and are considering buying a home in 2017. Undaunted by rising real estate prices, consumers are saying that they are more willing to sacrifice other priorities to save for a down payment. USA Today listed some of those “other priorities” as saving for emergencies or retirement—clearly signaling an increase in positive outlooks.

Some people grumble that roses have thorns; others are delighted that thorns have roses. When public sentiment begins to see more roses than thorns, Hendersonville real estate is bound to be among the biggest beneficiaries. If you are thinking of taking advantage of what looks like a breakout spring selling season, why not give me a call?