Agee & Johnson

Agee & Johnson – Real Estate Information

Agee & Johnson – Real Estate Information

You can find several resources related to Real Estate buying and selling below.
Click on an article to learn/read more and find printable versions.

Agee & Johnson – Capital Gains Worksheet

Calculate Capital Gains

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on the difference between what you paid for the stock and how much you got for the sale. The same holds true in home sales, but there are other considerations.

How to Calculate Gain

Your home’s original sales price when you bought it (not what you brought to closing).  
Additional costs you paid toward the original purchase (include transfer fees, attorney fees, and inspections but not points you paid on your mortgage).  + 
Cost of improvements you’ve made (include room additions, deck, etc. Improvements do not include repairing or replacing existing items).  +
Add the above items to get your adjusted cost basis:  =
   
The proceeds from selling your home (the amount of money you realized from the sale, less selling expenses, such as brokerage commissions, inspection costs, legal fees, title costs, money you spent to fix up your home to prepare it for sale, and so on.  
The adjusted cost basis figure from above.  -
Your capital gain:  =

 
A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains
Up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the home sale is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria: (1) You owned and lived in the home as your principal residence for two out of the last five years; and (2) you have not sold or exchanged another home during the two years preceding the sale. You may qualify for a reduced exclusion if you otherwise qualify but are short of the two-out-of-the-last-five-years requirement if you meet what the tax law calls "unforeseen circumstances," such as job loss, divorce, or family medical emergency.

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Agee & Johnson – When Considering Selling

Questions to Ask When Considering Selling

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, you may be ready to move.

Have you built substantial equity in your current home?
Check your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out how much you’ve paid down. Usually you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest. But if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

Has your income or financial situation changed?
If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. If your income has decreased, you may want to consider downsizing.

Have you outgrown your neighborhood?
The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same one in which you want to settle down for good. You may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.

Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on?
Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market?
If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy will also be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home. Ask your real estate professional what they see happening locally.

Are interest rates attractive?
Low rates help you buy "more" home, and also make it easier to find a buyer for your current place.

Is the effort and cost of maintaining your current home becoming difficult to manage?
A REALTOR® can help you decide whether a smaller house, condo, or rental would be appropriate.

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Agee & Johnson – New Owners Checklist

New Owners Checklist

Before the property changes hands, consult this list to make sure these items are transferred with the house.

  • Owner’s manuals and warranties for any appliances left in the house.
  • Garage door opener(s).
  • Extra set of house keys.
  • Other keys. Think beyond the front doors; do you have any cabinets or lockers built into the home that require keys?
  • A list of local service providers, such as the best dry cleaner, yard service, plumber, and so on. You’re not just helping the new owners, but also the local businesses you’re leaving behind.
  • Code to the security alarm and phone number of the monitoring service if not discontinued.
  • Smart home device access. Any devices listed as fixtures need to be reset for the new homeowner. Make sure your account information and usage data are wiped from the device so that they may use it. Check with your device’s manufacture to find out how to do this.
  • Numbers to the local utility companies. This can be especially helpful to owners who may not yet have easy access to the Internet in the new home.
  • Contact info for the condo board or home ownership association, if applicable.

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Agee & Johnson – Move with Pets

How to Move with Pets

Update your pet’s tag with your new address.
Make sure your pet’s collar is sturdy and correctly sized. The tag should also include your mobile number and e-mail address so that you can be reached during the move.

Request veterinary records.
Ask your current vet to send your pet’s medical history directly to the new vet. Have their contact information handy in case of emergency or if the new vet has questions.

Keep a week’s worth of food and medication with you.
You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. Take the same precaution with special therapeutic foods.

Seclude them from chaos.
Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room on moving day with a clear sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates available, but ensure it is well ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers. Also, introduce your pet to the crate before the trip.

Prepare a pet first aid kit.
Include your vet's phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Play it safe in the car.
Use a crate or carrier in the car, securing it with a seat belt. Never leave your pet in the bed of a truck, the storage area of a moving van, or alone in a parked vehicle. If you’re staying overnight, find pet-friendly lodging beforehand and have kitty litter or plastic bags on hand.

Get ready for takeoff.
When traveling by air, check with the airline about pet requirements or restrictions and whether you must purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you.

Prep your new home.
Set up one room with everything your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, scratch post, and toys. Keep windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and beware of small spaces where nervous pets may hide. If your old home is nearby, give the new home owners or neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return.

Learn about local health concerns and laws in your new area.
If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs related to bringing your pet into the country.

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Agee & Johnson – Prepare for Your Move

Prepare for Your Move Checklist

  • Update your mailing address at usps.com or fill out a change-of-address form at your local post office.
  • Change your address with important service providers, such as your bank(s), credit companies, magazine subscriptions, and others.
  • Create a list of people who will need your new address.
    Whether you plan on sending formal change-of-address notices in the mail or just e-mailing the family members, friends, and colleagues who should be informed, a list will ensure no one gets left out.
  • Contact utility companies.
    Make sure they’re aware of your move date, and arrange for service at your new home if the service provider will remain the same.
  • Check insurance coverage.
    The insurance your moving company provides will generally only cover the items they transport for you. Ensure you have coverage for any items you’ll be moving yourself.
  • Unplug, disassemble, and clean out appliances.
    This will make them easier to pack, move, and plug in at your new place.
  • Check with the condo board or HOA about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits or entrances for moving, if applicable.
  • Pack an "Open First" box.
    Include items you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, chargers, box cutters, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pens and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, towels, and basic toiletries.

If you’re moving a long distance:

  • Obtain copies of important records from your doctor, dentist, pharmacy, veterinarian, and children’s schools.
  • E-mail a copy of your driving route to a family member or friend.
  • Empty your safe deposit box.

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Agee & Johnson – Pack Like a Pro

How to Pack Like a Pro

Plan ahead.
Develop a master to-do list so you won’t forget something critical heading into moving day. This will also help you create an estimate of moving time and costs.

Discard items you no longer want or need.
Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. Sort unwanted items into "garage sale," "donate," and "recycle" piles.

Pack similar items together.
It will make your life easier when it's time to unpack.

Decide what you want to move on your own.
Precious items such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should probably stay with you. Pack a moving day bag with a small first-aid kit, snacks, and other items you may need before unpacking your "Open First" box.

Know what your movers will take.
Many movers won’t take plants or liquids. Check with them about other items so you can plan to pack them yourself.

Put heavy items in small boxes.
Try to keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds.

Don’t overpack boxes.
It increases the likelihood that items inside the box will break.

Wrap fragile items separately.
Pad bottoms and sides of boxes and, if necessary, purchase bubble-wrap or other packing materials from moving stores. Secure plants in boxes with air holes.

Label every box on all sides.
You never know how they’ll be stacked. Also, use color-coded labels to indicate which room each box should go in, coordinating with a color-coded floor plan for the movers.

Keep moving documents together in a file, either in your moving day bag or online.
Include vital contact information, the driver’s name, the van’s license plate, and the company’s number.

Print out a map and directions for movers and helpers.
Make several copies, and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map.

Back up computer files on the cloud.
Alternatively, you can keep a physical backup on an external hard drive offsite.

Inspect each box and piece of furniture as soon as it arrives.
Ahead of time, ensure your moving company has a relatively painless process for reporting damages.

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Agee & Johnson – Track Your Budget Worksheet

Track Your Budget

The first step in getting yourself in financial shape to buy a home is to know exactly how much money comes in and how much goes out. Use this worksheet to list your income and expenses below.

Income
              
Expenses
              
Total Take-Home Pay   Total Rent/Mortgage  
Child Support/Alimony   Child Support/Alimony  
Pension/Social Security   Health Insurance  
Disability/Other Insurance   Life Insurance  
Interest/Dividends   Other Insurance  
Other   Vehicle Insurance  
    Vehicle Payments  
    Vehicle Upkeep  
    Other Loans  
    Utilities  
    Credit Card Payments  
    Savings/Pension Payment  
    Groceries  
    Clothes/Personal Care  
    Medical/Dental/Prescriptions  
    Household Goods  
    Child Care  
    Education  
    Charitable Donations  
    Eating Out  
    Entertainment  
Total Income:   Total Expenses:  

 
Remaining Income After Expenses (subtract total income from total expenses): _______________________

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Agee & Johnson – Loans & Lending Terms

Loans & Lending Terms

Term.
Mortgages are generally available at 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. In general, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, shorter terms mean you pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Fixed vs. adjustable interest rates.
A fixed rate allows you to lock in a low interest rate as long as you hold the mortgage and, in general, is a good choice if interest rates are low. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) usually offers a lower rate that will rise as market rates increase. ARMs usually have a limit as to how much and how frequently the interest rate can be increased. These types of mortgages are a good choice when fixed interest rates are high or if you expect your income to grow significantly in the coming years.

Non-traditional mortgages.
Also sometimes called "exotic," these mortgage types were common in the run-up to the housing crisis, and often featured loans with low initial payments that increase over time.

Balloon mortgage.
This is a form of non-traditional financing where your interest rate will be very low for a short period of time—often three to seven years. Payments usually only cover interest so the principal owed is not reduced. This type of loan may be a good choice if you think you will sell your home at a large profit in a few years.

Government-backed loans.
These loans are sponsored by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs. They offer special terms, including reduced interest rates to qualified buyers. VA Loans are open to veterans, reservists, active-duty personnel, and surviving spouses and are one of the only options available for zero down payment loans. FHA loans are open to anyone, and while they do require a down payment, it can be as low as 3.5 percent. Drawbacks include a slower loan process and—for FHA loans—the need to pay mortgage insurance.

However…
As the housing market shifts, so do lending practices. A mortgage broker—an independent professional who acts as an intermediary between you and lending institutions—may be able to help you find a better rate than you can on your own. Also, be sure to shop around; slight variations in interest rates, loan amounts, and terms can significantly affect your monthly payment.

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Agee & Johnson – Improve Your Credit

How to Improve Your Credit

Credit scores play a big role in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what your loan terms will be. So, keep your credit score high by doing the following:

Check for errors in your credit report.
Thanks to an act of Congress, you can download one free credit report each year at annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, correct them immediately.

Pay down credit card bills.
If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. Transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

Don’t charge your credit cards to the max.
Pay down as much as you can every month.

Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage.
You’re penalized less severely for problems after a year.

Don’t order items for your new home on credit.
Wait until after your home loan is approved to charge appliances and furniture, as that will add to your debt.

Don’t open new credit card accounts.
If you’re applying for a mortgage, having too much available credit can lower your score.

Shop for mortgage rates all at once.
Having too many credit applications can lower your score. However, multiple inquiries about your credit score from the same type of lender are counted as one if submitted over a short period of time.

Avoid finance companies.
Even if you pay off their loan on time, the interest is high and it may be considered a sign of poor credit management.

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