Monthly Archives: July 2011

Should I buy a home or keep renting?

buy a house or rent

Unfortunately, it is impossible to give an affirmative answer, either way, about buying or renting. Conventional wisdom assumes that property values always go up. In reality, home value is determined relative to many ‘x’ factors, which are susceptible to fluctuation. In addition, to turn a profit on a home those x-factors have to be consistently in the positive over the duration of your mortgage.

Some people erroneously associate renting with wasting money. Again, depending on your circumstances, renting may save you money over a lifetime. There are a few time-tested, predictive factors to weigh when deciding whether to buy or rent.

A few assumptions first…

Since we cannot predict the future, let’s assume a few things about the place we intend to live for the next thirty years. For renters, this is harder, but we cannot begin to do a cost-benefit analysis unless we level the playing field. Here, we must assume you continue to pay the same rent, or more, over thirty years. This figure is adjusted for assumed annual increases to your monthly rent payment.

Are homes still an investment?

You live in an apartment that is $1000 a month. You can reasonably expect, based on your exhaustive research, that your rent will rise annually 3%. You are considering buying a home that is $180,000 dollars. Your mortgage is at 4.8% and the value of your home is expected to appreciate steadily at 2% a year. Your down payment is $36,000. That means the principal on your loan is $144,000 dollars. You can expect to pay 102,000 dollars in interest on that principal across the lifetime of 30-year mortgage. The grand total of your fixed-rate, thirty-year mortgage is $246,000.

Very easily, we can presume at least another 500k in related costs, fees and taxes for $180,000k home. Over a lifetime, owning a home at this price point, we can assume a few other things that add up:  

  • Property taxes vary widely. If you were so lucky as to have property taxes steady at 1.35%, over thirty years, tack on additional $85,000
  • Again, utilities can vary widely, but based on the national average, you should expect to pay about 2,200 a year in utility. This is an additional 48,600
  • Renovations put value into a home, but they are expensive. Supposing you decide they are worthwhile, let’s calculate another 37,000.
  • Likewise, maintenance costs, frozen pipes, a flooded basement, a gas leak, on average will be another 37,000
  • Steer clear of the flood plain, and assume homeowner’s insurance costs you 34,000, over a thirty-year mortgage

All told, you can reasonably expect to pay $720,000+ (rounded here) dollars for your mortgage and homeowner related loans and fees. This is an astounding number at first glance. Owning a home is making life and life costs money. (We might reasonably overlook these “cost of living” expenses; you get a clearer picture this way.)

Assuming the value of your home rises steadily at 2% annually, you should expect to make about $80,000 dollars on your mortgage, for a property worth roughly $325,000. Once you decide to sell, deduct this price from your net mortgage and homeowner related costs and you have spent $395,000.   

For a thirty-year renter, paying $1000 a month and adjusting that for 3% annual raise in rent over thirty years, they can expect to pay about $570,000.

The homeowner has saved money in this cost-benefit assessment—nearly $175,000 in thirty years. That’s new cars, college, and vacations.

Renters save money in the short-term

The renter actually saves in the first six years in this thirty-year scenario at these percentage points. After six years, the homeowner will always save more than the renter. This is because the homeowner, having gradually reduced the principal of the loan is paying less per year in interest payments.

In other words, the yearly cost of ‘rent’ for the homeowner gradually reduces as they pay off the principal on their loan, and pay less in interest. As their investment appreciates in value, it effectively pays for part itself over the thirty-year term. The renter receives neither of these benefits.

Quality of life a factor not to be underestimated

A residence of any shape or size is an investment in your lifestyle. If you are a gay or lesbian prospect buyer or renter, there may be requirements that take precedence over the simple numbers of a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis. Gayrealestate.com is connected to thousands of gay-friendly real estate leaders that can do the math. More importantly, they make it their priority to calculate in the all-important intangibles of a neighborhood.

If you are looking for your first apartment in an established gay neighborhood or buying a dream home with your partner, Gayrealestate.com knows the communities they sell in and are adept financial experts.

Posted on July 30, 2011 in Buying a Home

Featured Gay Agent: Shawn Harris, Equity Real Estate Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City Gay Realtor

I love REAL ESTATE!

I get to help people live the dream of purchasing a new home. Whether it is buying or selling, your first home or your last, a starter home or your dream home, an existing home or you are building a new home. Regardless of what type of home sale or purchase you are making. I will always treat you fairly, honestly and with respect. After all, I am working for you.

If you want to be treated right and get the best service around, I am the man for all of your Utah Real Estate needs.

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.  

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

Member National Association of Realtors, Utah Association of Realtors, Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors and Montclair Who’s Who in Real Estate, Million Dollar Club 2005, Top Producer 2007

Specialties:

Residential Single Family; Resale and New Construction + Condominiums, Townhomes and Loft Living. Land and Income Properties.

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Shawn’s Complete Profile & Contact them Immediately by Clicking Here 

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on July 30, 2011 in Gay Realtors

Featured Gay Agent: Mark Minelli, Realty One Group, Inc. – Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Gay Realtor, Gay Real Estate Agent

As a resident of Las Vegas for over 10 years I have seen the city change. As a full time agent, I want to make the sale or purchase of your home as worry free as possible.

Prior to real estate I was a territory manager for a company handling business development and marketing for a multi-million dollar region. I have a do whatever it takes attitude and will handle your transaction with aggressive negotiation, patience and integrity. The best compliment I can receive is when others tell me I am not like other agents. I enjoy what I do and my passion is your gain.

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.  

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

NAR, National Association of Realtors, GLVAR, Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, MLS, Multiple Listing Service

Specialties:

Listing and marketing your home. Buyers, both investments as well as first time. I love “Old Las Vegas” as well as Condo Conversions, Luxury Condos, Single Family homes and vacant land.

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Mark’s Complete Profile & Contact Him by Clicking Here 

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on July 29, 2011 in Gay Realtors

Three Common Pitfalls for LGBT Home Buyers to Avoid

How Much Home Can I Afford - GayRealEstate.com

Buying a home is huge step, and often represents the culmination of a lifelong dream. But while under the thrilling spell of the home buying experience many LGBT buyers fall victim to three of the biggest mistakes. Became familiar with these pitfalls to successfully avoid them.

#1

Overreaching

One of the many companies directly owned by Warren Buffett, the most successful investor in American history, is a business that builds and sells homes across the United States. Addressing the shareholders of that company Buffett explained that when he is qualifying a home buyer he looks at two fundamental financial requirements. He wants “a meaningful down payment” and he expects that the monthly payments constitute “a sensible percentage of income.” That’s a simple and sound approach that LGBT buyers should follow when shopping for a home.

These days most banks require a rather conservative debt to income ratio of about 30 or 35 percent. That means that if a homeowner’s monthly income is $5,000 then their combined housing expenses – including such things as the mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes – should not exceed about $1,650. LGBT loan applicants may find lenders who will still qualify them at higher ratios of debt, but it is not wise to accept burdensome loans with steep mortgage payments. In fact, most financial planners and mortgage experts recommend that LGBT buyers err on the side of greater caution and stick to housing expenses that don’t exceed 25 percent of their income. That gives them a manageable loan and a comfortably protective buffer against any unexpected calamity that might happen in today’s challenging economy.

 

#2

Buying a House to Get a Slab of Granite

No matter what kind of property they are looking at, residential buyers have a tendency to purchase cosmetic curb appeal because it resonates with them on an emotional level. A buyer will fall in love with the apple tree in the back yard, the urban chic brickwork in a downtown loft, or the granite counter tops in a condo unit. Those are great assets and amenities, and if a home has them they can add to its allure. But LGBT home buyers should not confuse cosmetics or isolated features with underlying and sustainable overall value. Minor features can always be upgraded, and amenities can also be added to a home – but home buying decisions should consider everything being bought, not just one or two exciting perks.

Superficial reasons to buy may be compelling, but the smart buyer will look beyond giddy emotions to make more realistic, level-headed decisions. There is nothing wrong with buying the cute front door, in other words, as long as it opens into a home that meets the rest of a buyer’s carefully articulated criteria. The bottom line valuation of any property should also be based on fresh market data, a keen buyer-ordered inspection, and an objective professional appraisal. The goal is to ensure that the home is both cosmetically attractive and structurally and mechanically sound and free of defects.

 

#3

Picking the Wrong Realtor

Perhaps the biggest pitfall is shopping for homes without first shopping for the best possible real estate agent. The majority of buyers wind up making the biggest financial decision of their lives – the purchase of a home – without giving much thought to how they shop for the Realtor who will guide them through the process. Most people enlist the services of an agent by calling the phone number posted on the “for sale” sale in front of a home that they find interesting. Whoever answers the call instantly becomes their Realtor. But most LGBT consumers would never hire a financial consultant, building contractor, attorney, or even a house sitter or professional home cleaning service by just responding to the first ad and phone number they see. They would instead first perform some basic due diligence, conduct a few interviews, and then try to make an informed selection.

For LGBT buyers the best course of action is to hire a LGBT or gay-friendly Realtor, because there are many significant issues that are of special, specific concern to LGBT home buyers. There are gay marriage legalities to consider, tax implications, rights of survivorship, and rules regarding how credit is evaluated for non-married partners applying for a mortgage. All LGBT buyers also share a common interest in understanding how supportive a particular community or neighborhood is, especially if they are relocating to a new area. Only another member of the LGBT community can adequately address those issues with a depth of personal experience, so generally speaking all LGBT buyers are better served by taking advantage of the help of a qualified LGBT or gay-friendly real estate agent and mortgage broker.

To find real estate professionals dedicated to active support of the LGBT community, visit http://www.gayrealestate.com, or call toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at manager@gayrealestate.com.

Posted on July 28, 2011 in Buying a Home

Featured Gay Agents: Tom Scrocco & Randy Isaacs ~ West Hollywood, CA

West Hollywood Gay Realtors

Tom Scrocco and Randy Isaacs have created Your Premier Real Estate Group.

Randy and Tom are among the top 1% of Coldwell Banker associates having demonstrated continued and superior performance with over 20 years in  marketing, listing and selling of unique properties. Randy and Tom represent relocations, celebrities, executives, and clients that require the utmost confidentiality and discretion. “A good percentage of our business comes from client referrals.”

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

2009 #1 in the Sunset Strip Coldwell Banker Office 2009 Intl President’s Elite – Representing the Top 2% of All Coldwell Banker Agents Internationally 2008 #1 in the Sunset Strip Coldwell Banker Office 2008 Intl President’s Elite – Representing the Top 2% of All Coldwell Banker Agents Internationally 2007 Society of Excellence Top 69 Pro’s in Southern California 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 Award of Intl President’s Premier Team places us in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker Agents Internationally The #1 Team in the Sunset Strip office for Sales Volume & Transactions 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007

Specialties:

An Unparallel Real Estate Partnership that provides Exceptional Service with Results Combined Business and Real Estate Backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, and Mortgage Lending Consistently Receive Client Letters Praising Our Results and Professionalism Proven Team Approach to Negotiating, Traditional and High Tech Marketing

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Tom and Randy’s Complete Profile & Contact them Immediately by Clicking Here

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on July 28, 2011 in Gay Realtors

Gay and Lesbian Realtors Looking to Drum Up Business in 2011

Gay Realtors Closing Deals

I know what you are thinking— no one is making money in this housing market. How do gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay-friendly realtors expect to turn a profit in this climate? New data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests that the housing market is ripe for first-time buyers and buyers looking to make a change.

More Good New For Homebuyers

Citing a National Association of REALTORS survey, the HUD data optimistically reports that existing home sales are up eight percent from the previous quarter. The NAR Housing Affordability Index also concluded that buyers in the median-income range had almost twice the income needed to afford a single-family home, condominium or townhouse. Gay-friendly realtors, gay realtors, and lesbian realtors with LGBT buyers are uniquely poised to seize on these auspicious real estate figures and deliberately transform socially homogenous and economically sterile communities for the better.

A Confluence of Opportunities

In much of New England the law has definitively recognized gay marriage. On the West Coast—fingers crossed—it shouldn’t be long now. Suffice to say, it is a watershed time in America. Neighborhoods in New York, Chicago, and LA have experienced a resurgence of property value and intercultural vitality because ethnicities and other marginalized groups have made the decision to invest through home ownership. If members of the LGBT community are ready to be bigger factors in boardrooms and town councils, they need to buy now. Across the board, in suburbs, big cities and small towns, prejudice breaks down at the personal level.

Advocacy for Another Way of Life For Everyone

Gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay-friendly realtors have always understood their jobs as advocates first. If you identify as LGBT, you need someone that knows the local protections and policies the neighborhood you intend to live in. Don’t underestimate the importance of these “little things.” Do your homework. www.gayrealestate.com is the first place to start looking. Their lesbian realtors, gay realtors and gay-friendly realtors know the unique real estate needs of their clientele, and are well connected with LGBT businesses and organizations in the communities they serve.

Posted on July 27, 2011 in Gay Realtors

Gay-friendly services look to become more profitable as ‘Gay Civil Rights’ open more doors

Gay Friendly Services

As anyone who is married knows, it is equal parts work and play—and sometimes just a lot of work.  This is set to be boon for businesses in communities where gay marriage is legal. Take all the aspects of any heterosexual marriage—mortgages, car payments, legal and financial considerations, condo association fees, and taxes—and put a slight twist on them. Overnight, you have a new industry.

Professionals of all types are bound to find new and unique ways to cater to same sex couples and reap the financial rewards.

There is never a shortage of lawyers, and with law schools reporting record attendance, this utilitarian breed will surely be amongst the first to specialize on a large scale in gay specific procedural and public services. Moreover, this kind of advocacy will further ingrain gay-friendly legislation into the American legal system.

Adoption and childcare services sensitive to the needs of children with same-sex parents would do well to build a reputation early and keep it. Childcare is a competitive and lucrative business these days. Children of same-sex parentage should be made to feel no different from their peers of course, but there may be occasions that warrant sensitivity and intelligence on the part of childcare professionals. 

Gay-friendly realtors and gay realtors are perhaps some of the most knowledgeable and adept gay-friendly professionals out there. Gay-friendly real estate services have long been the benchmark of specifically gay-friendly services. One standard bearer in the gay service industry is www.GayRealEstate.com.  They already have 20+ years of gay-friendly business knowledge, and a huge base of associates and clients.

As same sex partners continue to realize equality under the law, expect an upsurge in the gay real estate business, as LGBT newlyweds look for that first condo or finally land a dream home.

Gay-friendly services might also benefit by honoring a socially progressive agenda that expects clients, gay or straight, to be open-minded and welcoming. To some degree, these services should work to promote networking and understanding between all their clients. This is a fundamental aspect of any successful service industry, and clearly something that established successful gay enterprises, like www.gayrealestate.com, employ as a best practice. The gay-friendly service industry has the opportunity to make a fortune and do good.

Posted on July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Featured Gay Real Estate Realtor: Bonnie Boseman – Portland, OR

Portland Gay Realtor Bonnie Boseman

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.  

Since early 1991 I have enjoyed helping people get to the place where they are meant to be. Whether finding you the perfect spot at the right price or setting you up to move on from the old digs to make space for your future, I am here. There are many real estate agents, choose the agent that is the right match for you. Let’s see if we are a good fit.  

What you can expect when we work together:

Frequent contact, with the amount of detail that suits you. I am a social scientist: utilizing keen verbal, written and intuitive means to make sure you know what is going on and that I get your message. A team approach, including referrals to a host of experts for all the inspections, repairs, etc. that may come up as you buy or sell your property. Honesty– if I don’t know the answer I will find it. Patience with sensitive souls, first timers, empty nesters and most others. I am a research queen – Google is just the tip of the iceberg. I love to figure out answers to new questions. I am an email and internet fiend.

A ton of experience… 

Compatibility is a key to your comfort level. It should be enjoyable to buy or sell a home. I am very casual, yet professional. I live and play in the areas where I work and love to share favorite spots with clients.  Oh, and expect to have a very good time!

View Bonnie’s Profile on Gay Real Estate Here 

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on July 25, 2011 in Gay Realtors

Featured Gay Real Estate Agent: Jack Noble – Tecoma, WA

tecoma, wa gay realtor

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and Other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country. 

I have been passionate about Real estate investing for many years and am happy to have the opportunity to assist you in any way possible in achieving your goal of purchasing or selling property. You want results and I will work hard to ensure you get them. I will LISTEN to your needs and save you time by focusing on those needs throughout the sales and/or purchase process.

I understand the sometimes conflicting priorities that can arise when making large financial decisions regarding one of the most personal things in our lives – our living space. As former Chief Executive of a Northwest based Hospitality Company, I bring a unique combination of service, integrity and discretion to every relationship.

Whether you have a home to sell, are a first time or experience buyer or if you are an investor looking for income property, I welcome you to contact me with any questions you may have.

View Jack’s Profile on Gay Real Estate Here

 

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and LGBT Realtors affecting the LGBT community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on July 23, 2011 in Gay Realtors

What is a Gay Real Estate Buyer’s Agent and why do I need one?

gay real estate buyers agent

When shopping for a new home it’s important that trust the Agent you are working with. This is someone you’ll be sharing your confidential information with as you work together in the home buying process. How is this level of trust established? How can you be assured that they have your best interest in mind, that they will keep your information confidential?

The answer: you don’t, unless they represent you as your Buyer’s Agent.

A Buyer’s Agent at Gay Real Estate provides a very specific service to the buyers they work with. This level of service includes fiduciary duties such as Loyalty, Full Disclosure, Confidentiality, Reasonable Care and Diligence, and Accounting.

•             A Buyer’s Agent is legally bound to represent the Buyer’s (your)  interest exclusively.

•             A Buyer’s Agent assists the Buyer (you) in writing and negotiating offers in the your favor.

•             Buyer Representation gives you the same level of loyalty and service that the seller receives from the Listing Agent.

•             A Buyer’s Agent cannot disclose any confidential or financial information about you unless they have your written permission.

With potentially the largest investment of your lifetime ~ ensure you are represented by a buyers agent working exclusively with and for you.

All of the agents at GayRealEstate.com are ready to work with you as a buyers agent ~ at no cost to you!  Click Here to search our database of Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors and Gay Friendly real estate professionals ready to serve you today.

Posted on July 22, 2011 in Buying a Home