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!


Saving To Lose – For Sale By Owner

Saving To Lose – For Sale By Owner


     The thought of placing a For Sale by Owner sign out in the front  yard and selling your home by yourself is very appealing. Doing the sale yourself conjures up the thought of potential savings from cutting out the real estate brokerage.  But, be careful before taking this huge step with your biggest financial nest egg.  There is more to the process of selling or buying real estate successfully.

     The data is in for 2018. The National Association of REALTORS® reports, in their 2018 PROFILE OF HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS report, that 7% of homes were For Sale By Owner sales. This is a decreasing trend from 2017 and the “…[t]he lowest share recorded since this report started in 1981.” It comes as no surprise that FSBO homes sold for less than the rest of the market. The report states that, “FSBO homes sold at a median of $200,000 last year (up from $190,000 the year prior), and significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $264,900.” Now, there were some positives in the report for those who want to list For Sale By Owner. FSBO homes sold in less than two weeks and was attributed to those homes being sold to someone already known to the owner.

     As far as selling a property, it entails more than planting a sign out on the lawn.  The headache and work involved may not be worth the savings.  Consider the following areas our team of professionals will undertake. Then, reflect on what you would need to know should you decide to buy or sell a home on your own. These concepts can also be applied to buying, selling, or leasing any type of real estate; commercial, vacant land, condominiums, etc.


     Getting the word out.  Real estate brokerages utilize networks to market your home outside of the city or suburb. This increases the probability of selling your home in the shortest amount of time. The longer your property stays on the market there is an increased likelihood for the sale price of your property to be reduced and reducing your profit margin.

Market Information

     The real estate market is ever-changing and always in flux. Listing prices fluctuate constantly, sometimes quickly, with the rhythm of the market. It is very important to correctly gauge the market’s direction and speed.  Failing to assess your property’s correct value will effectively render the property “out of market.” This would likely result in selling at a low value. On the other hand, overpricing the home will keep you waiting for a buyer who may never come. Real estate agents have access to home sales information. Our team at Alpha Real Estate of Central Florida, LLC can effectively evaluate your home and provide a Comparative Market Analysis (“CMA”). The CMA process takes subjectivity out of the equation and provides a narrow range of listing prices based on a particular market’s dynamic factors.

Negotiating Ability

     The ability to negotiate may be the most overlooked part of the do-it-yourself (DIY) process, and should not be taken lightly. Do you trust your ability? Do you have the skill set necessary to successfully negotiate the sale of one of your most valuable possessions? Can you effectively manage the selling process all the way through to a ‘closing’ against a seasoned broker or real estate lawyer?  If you have never been involved in serious negotiations with professionals, then you are at a serious disadvantage. The lack of experience could translate into negating the benefits of having done the transaction yourself. Any savings dwindling as negotiations go on or becoming non-existent at closing.

Legal Issues

     Arguably, the most dangerous aspect of selling or buying a property involves contracts and closings.  You will need to have advocates on your side when negotiating terms and who can steer the process to a legally sound conclusion with the assistance of an attorney.  Our team utilizes title companies who have attorneys on staff to deal with legal matters before and during closings to avoid problems.  This is definitely the part of the selling and buying process that you do not to undertake without professional assistance or access to an attorney.

Value Added Services

As technology evolves, real estate agents are deploying this technology to sell homes faster and provide buyers with imagery and virtual viewings of properties.  The use of drones to capture the overall beauty of the landscape surrounding your home is a  big plus – and we use drones. Next, there are imaging devices that scan the interior of homes and provide virtual tours.  These services are offered by Alpha Real Estate of Central Florida, LLC.  Research has shown that videography and imagery can increase the probability of a sale by 40%!

The Quirky Factor

Some prospective buyers will be apprehensive about engaging a “For Sale By Owner” property simply because it’s not the standard approach in selling a property.  As such, prospective buyers will likely be apprehensive. Buyers will also be anxious about engaging with a “For Sale By Owner” property and steer clear from visiting the property altogether.

Your Time

Selling a property on your own is possible. But, you will need to be prepared and committed in order to sell a property successfully. Consider how much time do you have to spend on marketing your property, what methods you will use or have to learn to determine how much your property is worth, and what your personal time is worth.  Ultimately, determine whether your investment of time and energy will be repaid by the commission you save.


Don’t Save To Lose.

Contact Bill Moore today!


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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