2014 FHA Loan Limits

HUD has announced the FHA loan limits for 2014. Many Washington state counties have had their loan limits reduced from 2013 levels. The limits are become effective for loans with case numbered issued on or after January 1, 2014. Case numbers can be ordered in December with closings in 2014 and still maintain the higher 2013 loan limits.

If you (or your clients if you are a real estate professional) are purchasing or refinancing with an FHA mortgage that exceeds 2014 limits, make it a priority to confirm with your mortgage originator that your case number has been ordered or will be ordered ASAP. My team is happy to help wherever possible.

King, Jefferson, San Juan, Whatcom, Thurston, Pierce, Snohomish, Island, Skagit, Kittitas, Clark, Skamanie and Mason Counties will have the largest reductions in loan limits. To view the limits in your county, visit HUD.gov or FHA.com.

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Harvard: 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a HomeEric Belsky released a paper this year titled The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. Eric is both the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate.

In his paper are five financial reasons people should consider buying a home:

  1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available. 
  2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent. 
  3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.
  4. There are substantial tax benefits to owning. 
  5. Owning is a hedge against inflation.

Homeownership is not just part of the American Dream – it carries many financial benefits. Read excerpts from Belsky’s paper that support these five reasons at KCMblog.com.

Maintenance Guide for New Homeowners

Image Source: MSN Real Estate

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true when it comes to home maintenance. When transitioning from renting to owning, the responsibility falls to you, the homeowner, instead of the landlord. MSN Real Estate has compiled a list of simple-but-important maintenance tasks that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Here is a summary:

Yearly

  • Caulk windows and trim in the fall, before it rains.
  • Inspect your crawl space for water every fall, about 30 days after the fall rain begins.
  • Check wooden decks for moisture in dry, warm weather.
  • Inspect and touch up exterior paint in dry summer weather.
  • Service and clean the furnace.
  • Get the chimney swept and inspected once a year or after you’ve burned a cord of wood, whichever happens first.
  • Check bathtub caulk.
  • Check the toilet seal.

Two or three times a year

  • Muck out the gutters.
  • Clean your roof’s valleys.
  • Switch ceiling fans from summer to winter.
  • Heal cracks in asphalt paving.
  • Baby your garbage disposal.

Monthly

  • Check furnace filters.

If you’re not a natural fix-it guy or gal, don’t worry, MSN’s article gives detailed, easy-to-follow instructions outlining the what, when, why and how for each of these tasks.