Monday, April 16, 2012

How to file your tax return on time

Due to busy schedules and for unseen reasons some of us wait until the last minute to file our taxes -- which this year are due by Tuesday, April 17. Here are some simple tips to make sure yours is sent in on time:

Filing Paper Returns:

1. USPS - Postal mail. GET IT IN THE MAIL BY APRIL 17th. Your paper return is filed on time if it is mailed in an envelope that is properly addressed, has enough postage, and is postmarked by April 17. Many of the post office's will remain open until midnight on tax day so returns can be postmarked by this date.

TIP: Send it registered mail or certified mail

2. Private delivery services. If you use a private delivery service designated by the IRS to send your return, the postmark date generally is the date the delivery service records in its database or marks on the mailing label. The delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of this date.

IRS-designated private delivery services:

DHL Express: DHL Same Day.
Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.

United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.
Filing electronic returns on time

File Electronically with IRS e-file:

Your return is considered filed on time if the company that electronically transmits the return to the IRS postmarks the transmission by April 17. The date and time in your time zone controls whether your electronically filed return is timely.

The electronic postmark serves as proof of when the authorized electronic return transmitter received the transmission of your electronically filed return on its host system.

Still can't get it in on time? File an extension:

Filing an extension is super easy. The deadline to file your 2011 return is April 17, 2012. Form 4868 will extend the deadline by six months. With an extension, your deadline to file a tax return is October 15, 2012. However, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If you owe, you should pay the IRS by the April 17th deadline to avoid penalties and interest. For more filing deadlines, see the Tax Calendar.

Happy Filing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ever thought about buying your next home online?

Online home auctions are a great way to get your next new home!

We know how to use online auction sites to your advantage. One great site is, an auction site that works directly with Realtors instead of home sellers. As your real estate broker, we are able to access this exclusive website and can find you the perfect home at the lowest price in town.

Each listed house has a reserve price, but requires the house to be listed at 5 percent below that in order to stimulate bidders.

As brokers, we can also use this tool to sell your current home. Call us today to find out more.

Monday, April 2, 2012

30 YR Fixed-Rate Mortgage Dips Below 4% Again

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® showing mortgage rates, fixed and adjustable, moved lower and the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slid just below 4.00 percent for the week.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.99 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 29, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 4.08 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.86 percent.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

URGENT NEWS! FHA Announces Mortgage Insurance Premium Increase!

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FHA have announced a plan to increase FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums.

In a press release, HUD No. 12-037, it was announced, “As part of ongoing efforts to encourage the return of private capital in the residential mortgage market and strengthen the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante today announced a new premium structure for FHA-insured single family mortgage loans.”

“FHA will increase its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount. Upfront premiums (UFMIP) will also increase by 0.75 percent.”

Some of these changes take effect for loans in April 2012, while others take effect in June of 2012. The FHA plans to issue a mortgagee letter fully explaining the changes and how they affect new home loans on and after those dates.

As stated previously, the FHA Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium is affected as well–increased from the current rate of one percent to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount.

According to, “This increase applies regardless of the amortization term or LTV ratio. FHA will continue to permit financing of this charge into the mortgage. This change is effective for case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2012,” adding, “Borrowers already in an FHA-insured mortgage, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and special loan programs outlined in FHA’s forthcoming Mortgagee Letter will not be impacted by the pricing changes announced today.”

How does this affect you? Well, as long as you have locked in the FHA case number prior to April 1st, then you will be allowed to utilize today's pricing. However, if you fail to lock before April 1st, you will be stuck with the increased MIP payments.

For more information call me, 469.774.2703 or visit the FHA official site.

6 points to ponder about selling your home NOW + 3 ways to prep for April 15th!!

Many homeowners ready to sell are instead waiting a couple of months until the popular Spring home selling season begins. But the fact is, in many locations, NOW may be the right time to put that property on the market. Here are 5 things to think about:

1. Pay no attention to media reports on nationwide statistics for the housing market. They mean nothing to you as a seller because real estate markets are purely local.

2. Remember, the ratio of supply to demand is key to the health of your local real estate market. So no matter what you read about the housing market nationally, the local facts determine your chances of making a sale at any point in time.

3. So, the first question to ask your Realtor is how much competition you'd have if you put your home on the market now, before the Spring activity begins.

4. Because not many sellers put their homes on the market the first few months of the year, the inventory of homes for sale usually dwindles during the winter months. So, if your area is shy on inventory of good homes, now could be a good time to sell.

5. Interest rates are low but won't stay that way forever. There could be a fair number of savvy buyers in your market who know this and want to take advantage of the situation now.

6. Many experts believe that the big price declines are behind us. More than a few buyers are beginning to realize this and are taking a good look at today's market.


Preparing your tax return needn't be an annual ordeal. Getting organized can take a whole lot of stress out of the process. Now is the time to gather the information you'll need to do your return or hand over to your tax professional. There are just three categories:

1. Paperwork:
Last year's return
All income info: W-2 forms, 1099 forms, alimony, self-employment income
Any 1098 forms: mortgage, educational institution statements, etc.
IRA info
Savings and investments info

2. Deductions:
Charitable contributions
Job hunting costs
Moving costs
State and local income taxes and sales taxes
Real estate and personal property taxes
Home mortgage interest and investment interest
Points on a home mortgage or refinance
Casualty and theft losses not covered by insurance
Non-reimbursed business entertainment and travel expenses, including car use
Business use of home
Medical expenses
Educational expenses

3. Miscellaneous expenses:
Tax preparation and tax advice fees
Safe deposit box rental
Investment fees and expenses, including service charges on dividend reinvestment plans and trustee's fees for your IRA, if separately billed and paid
Convenience fees charged for paying income tax, including estimated tax payments, by credit or debit card
Appraisal fees for a casualty loss or charitable contribution
Ask a tax professional about other expenses you can deduct if you have extensive investments, or estate, trust, IRA or Social Security issues

The above are only guidelines to help you organize some of the information you'll need to prepare your tax return. If you have any questions about these or other tax matters, always consult with a qualified tax professional.

... Have a great day!

PS With today's mortgage rates at historic new lows and the most affordable home prices ever, many people are upsizing, downsizing or refinancing. Please call or email us now to discuss your situation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Know Your Expenses Before You Buy

For many, homeownership is still a dream. Moving from renting can seem like it’s an impossible mission. But if you plan ahead and carefully budget, the goal of homeownership can be yours.

When budgeting how much you can afford, it’s important to understand the costs of owning and maintaining a home. Here are a few things that some first-time buyers forget:

1. Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI

This is added on to your mortgage when the down payment is less than 20 percent. You can buy a home with less money but you’ll pay the PMI which covers the lender should a homebuyer default on the loan. As you build up equity, your PMI drops off.

2. Property Taxes

Property taxes generate revenue for municipalities, counties, and schools. It’s an expense that can vary across the U.S. Make sure to ask what they are for the home you are considering.

3. HOA

Homeowners’ Association fees (HOA) can add several hundred dollars to the monthly household expense. HOA's help to maintain common areas. They also govern what can be done to the home and the surrounding area.

4. Homeowner’s insurance

Lenders require homeowner’s insurance on your property. The amount you’ll pay depends on many variables including: where you live, the age, type, size of your home.

5. Utilities

You can contact the local utility company to get an average for monthly costs based on other homes with the approximate square footage as the home you are considering. While individual usage will vary this will give you a good idea of the cost.

6. Inspections, appraisals, and closing costs

Many buyer realize they will have to pay closing costs and for a appraisal. However, some fail to budget for a home inspection on a resale home. Sometimes inspections are paid for by the seller but it’s usually the buyer who pays for the inspection.

While the extra expenses do add up, if you carefully budget and plan ahead, the goal of homeownership is achievable and very satisfying.