Tax Refunds Buy Homes

Tax Refunds Buy Homes

Tax Refunds Buy Homes

A substantial tax refunds, or even a small tax refund, could buy homes for many Americans. According to FreddieMac, the Internal Revenue Service began accepting tax returns on January 29, and estimates nearly 155 million individual tax returns will be filed for the 2018 tax filing season.

Here are three ways it could bring you closer to home-ownership.

Save for a down payment

One of the biggest barriers to home-ownership is the lack of savings on hand for a down payment. Don’t overestimate the size of the down payment you may need. Your credit history, along with other factors, will dictate how much of your money is needed for a down payment. Many borrowers are permitted to make a down payment of about 5 to 10% — not 20%, which is often the percentage borrowers confuse with the amount of equity needed to avoid Property Mortgage Insurance (“PMI”). For example, Freddie Mac’s 3% down mortgage, known as the Home Possible Advantage®, helps qualified borrowers make a down payment of as little as $6,000 for a $200,000 home.

Down Payment Assistance Logo


Down payment assistance programs can also be leveraged too fill thecash gap. Get in contact with me about the many programs across the country that can help you save on your down payment and closing costs. In fact, Orange County Government and the City of Orlando offer some programs to qualified borrowers and some are offered based on the location of the home. Check to see what Down Payment Assistance programs you may be eligible for by clicking here.


Pay for closing costs

A home-buyer will typically pay between about 2% and 5% of the home purchase price in closing fees. However, these fees can fluctuate depending on the interest rates, incentives offered, etc. The average for closing costs, by state, can be viewed here and further understand your costs.

Lower your interest rate

You can use your tax refund to pay discount points in order to “buy down” your mortgage interest rate. A “point” equals one percent of the loan. This is commonly used to lock in a lower interest rate on your fixed–rate mortgage. For example, if you are borrowing $100,000, paying one discount point would mean paying $1,000 upfront at closing. Here’s the great part. By having a lower interest rate you may even end up saving more in interest payments over the life of the loan. FreddieMac’s Mortgage Calculator can give you an idea of how paying extra points might lower your rate.



Learning From The Best: Gogo Bethke

Learning From The Best: Gogo Bethke

I had the opportunity to attend Gogo Bethke’s, real estate Social Media Marketing Course, hosted by First American Title & Escrow – Southwest Orlando. Prior to the class, I learned that Gogo is one of the Top 5% REALTORS® in the nation and owner of Gogo’s Real Estate, LLC. I can say that I was genuinely looking forward to learn about effective marketing techniques from one of the BEST. I constantly attend marketing classes like Gogo’s for one reason – to help my clients. I am a firm believer in continuing education and constant training in whatever field you decide to enter. If you are a licensed real estate sales associate, I highly recommend taking Gogo’s course. Take a notepad. You will need it.


     Consider that the brain receives visual information 90% of the time. As a Seller, it only makes sense to hire a licensed real estate sales associate committed to using video and imagery in marketing real estate; your real estate. A Buyer, possibly out of the area, who hires a technically savvy licensed real estate sales associate also benefits. This is because their real estate agent will know how to bring forward desired properties capable of being viewed remotely, over the Internet, beyond just digital pictures from the local Multiple Listing Service.


Imagery Assets

Assets available to my clients to market their property.

I’ve written about marketing property in other articles. But, it’s worth re-stating the basis as to why marketing real estate is important.  A study showed that effectively using video in marketing of a client’s property increased inquiries on that property by 403%. Additionally, Dr. James McQuivey, author of How Video Will Take Over the World, estimates that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words. Now, the statistics show videos should be short. Jun Group Productions, LLC. found that videos that are 15 seconds or shorter are shared 37% more often than those lasting between 30 seconds and 1 minute.  Certain social media platforms cater to shorter videos, like Instagram. Instagram was founded in 2010 and now has 1 billion users. Instagram used to limit videos to 60 seconds, but to combat YouTube’s popularity, Instagram increased the limit to 10 minutes. Instagram went further and introduced IGTV for content creators to have their own channel, like YouTube. Unlike YouTube, IGTV video is broadcast in a portrait view (phone held vertical) as opposed to in landscape view (phone held sideways). Instagram’s IGTV portrait format seems a bit wonky to begin with, but after considering that most people hold their phone in a vertical position, it makes sense to create video to match the smartphone’s handheld position. It may be time to rethink video composition, especially since Instagram has the most users.


    Find a licensed real estate sales associate, ideally one who is a REALTOR®, who can correctly and successfully market real estate. REALTORS® of this caliber attend training and continuing education courses on a regular basis from leaders in the industry like Gogo Bethke. They also leverage existing technology and seek out emerging technologies to further compliment real estate marketing strategies. It’s no wonder that successful businesses allocate a substantial portion of their budget to Advertising and Marketing. The same is true for a successful real estate transaction.


     After interviewing a client, I will develop a marketing strategy that will best showcase their property. I will utilize my graduate level education, training, and experience, and deploy audio/visual assets that I deem appropriate for the situation; i.e. aerial drone and various video equipment. These assets will be deployed in the most efficient and cost effective manner to produce a successful real estate transaction. In addition, I will utilize my various social media accounts to showcase a property to my followers. This increases the probability of “Shares,” “Re-Tweets,” “Mentions,” and higher visibility on the Internet. Now, when a particular asset isn’t available, I will contract out for services, such as Matterport; a 3D camera & building scanner used to create virtual tour accessible over the Internet.

If you read this far…

I have an exciting announcement coming up! Check back to see the latest set of tools I will utilize to showcase your property to the masses!


Advice to Buyers

Advice to Buyers


Are you Ready to Become a Homeowner? Whether you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time or you’re a repeat buyer, buying a house is a financial and emotional decision that requires the experience and support of a team of reliable professionals.

Hire a REALTOR® 

In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. Those professionals are the local REALTORS® who serve your area.

Get a Mortgage Pre-approval

Most first-time buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a mortgage lender is a crucial step in the process. Find out how much you can afford before you begin your home search.

Look at Homes

A quick search on® will bring up thousands of homes for sale. Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced REALTOR® can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose.

Choose a Home

While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you choose to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities, you’ll be happy living in it for years to come.

Get Funding

The cost of financing your home purchase is usually greater than the price of the home itself (after interest, closing costs and taxes are added). Get as much information as possible regarding your mortgage options and other costs.

Make an Offer

While much attention is paid to the asking price of a home, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value – or additional costs – for buyers.

Get Insurance

No sensible car owner would drive without insurance, so it figures that no homeowner should be without insurance, either. Real estate insurance protects owners in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime.


The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow”, is increasingly computerized and automated. In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the real estate transaction.

What’s Next?

You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home buying process? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps..


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