Larry Strazzella, Realtor/Broker's Blog

Second Guessing Price

Imagine a homeowner consulting with their agent about the price to place on their home. The agent suggests that the market data indicates that $200,000 to 210,000 would produce a quick sale by pricing it properly. The owner puts a $210,000 price on the home. The first person who looks at the home...

A Home for Tomorrow

As people near or enter retirement, one of the decisions that typically comes up is whether to sell their "big" home and buy a smaller one. If you know anyone who has been faced with that situation, selling one home and buying a smaller one may not save enough money to make it worthwhile. There...

Assumptions May be an Alternative

For the last 25 years, most buyers have gotten a new mortgage or paid cash when purchasing a home. For a practical reason, owner-occupant buyers have another alternative: assuming a lower interest rate existing FHA or VA mortgage. In the late 80’s, both FHA and VA began requiring buyers to qualify...

Costs More - Takes Longer

The one experience that homeowners can agree upon after completing a remodeling project is that it costs more and takes longer than expected. It doesn't really matter that you researched, planned, and received multiple bids, it will, invariably, cost more and take longer than you originally anticipated. Replacing...

Case Study - Housing Decision During Retirement

A couple is planning to tour the United States in a travel trailer during their first few years of retirement. They are going to sell their current home now and purchase another home when they finish their travels. An interesting exercise is to determine the optimum time of selling the home: now...

Waiting Will Cost More

With the first quarter of 2018 in the books, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is nearing what Freddie Mac predicted it would be in the second quarter. If this pace continues, rates will exceed the five percent mark expected by the end of the year. The Fed has had its first of an expected three raises...

FHA Advantages

The Federal Housing Authority, operating under HUD, offers affordable mortgages for tens of thousands of buyers who may not qualify for other types of programs. They are popular with both first-time and repeat buyers. The 3.5% down payment is an attractive feature but there are other advantages: More...

Standard or Itemized

Taxpayers can decide each year whether to take the standard deduction or their itemized deductions when filing their personal income tax returns. Roughly, 75% of households with more than $75,000 income and most homeowners itemize their deductions. Beginning in 2018, the standard deduction, available...

Inventory Continues to be a Challenge

In any given market, inventories fluctuate based on supply and demand considering area and price range. The National Association of REALTORS considers a balanced market to be a six-month supply of homes. If it takes longer than six months to sell, it is thought to be a buyer's market and less...

Daylight Savings begins this weekend

Spring Forward on Second Sunday in March This weekend, adjust your clocks forward by one hour. Most people find it convenient to change their clocks before they go to bed on Saturday night....

Fair Skies on Horizon

Buyers who have been concerned about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel more comfortable about moving forward with their decision to purchase. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to treat real estate as a favored investment. Whether...

Historical Perspective

In 1968, mortgage rates were 8.5%. The next year, rates went down to 7%. Homeowners could buy a 15-20% larger home for the same payments if they could find someone to assume their mortgage. FHA and VA mortgages were very popular in certain price ranges and they allowed anyone to assume the mortgage...

Convincing Advantages with Standard Deduction

The new tax law doubles the standard deduction and it is estimated that over 90% of taxpayers will elect to use it. However, even without considering tax benefits, homeownership has convincing advantages. Besides the personal and social reasons for owning a home, one of the most compelling is that...

Ready for Retirement

Ready for Retirement It can be shocking to hear how many people spend more time planning their vacation or next mobile phone purchase than planning for retirement. It is hard to imagine that they are expecting Social Security will take them through their golden years. A person who has paid in...

Balancing Risk and Deductibles

The benefit of insurance is to transfer the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. The deductible is an amount the insured pays out of pocket before the insurance starts covering the cost of the loss. The challenge is to balance the risk an insured can accept with the premium being charged. To...