Survey Finds Hidden Costs of Homeownership

(TNS)—Your day burns brightly on both ends.

You prod your kids out of bed at daybreak, get them dressed, fed and off to school. You drive to work, endure meetings, colleagues, power lunches, memos and strategy sessions, only to return home through gridlocked traffic just as the sun sets, beg your kids to eat dinner, wash them, coax them to sleep, do the dishes and then mercifully collapse in front of the television set.

You fret over your emergency savings account, retirement savings account, credit card debt, mortgage rate, health insurance, college savings, and on and on.

It makes sense, then, you’d opt to pay a cleaning or lawn service every week to lighten your load. Hiring someone to keep your property in working order, either on your own or through homeowners association fees, doesn’t come cheap, though.

More than three in five homeowners—63 percent—use at least one recurring home maintenance provider, while 35 percent use two, according to a recent Bankrate survey. The average homeowner pays $2,000 annually on maintenance services, the survey finds.

Costs of Owning a Home
The price of biweekly landscaping probably never factored into your calculus when deciding how much house you can afford.

The average home mortgage neared $250,000 last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, which came with a monthly principal and interest payment of $973, or about one-sixth of median family income.

Homeowners saw an average property tax bill of $3,300 in 2016, according to ATTOM’s most recent data, adding another $275 to your monthly budget. You’ll also owe hundreds more in insurance premiums depending on where you live and what type of house you own.

That doesn’t even include the money you need saved in case something unexpected happens. If your air conditioning unit or washer and dryer gives out, you could immediately owe hundreds, if not thousands.

Kevin Mahoney, CEO of fee-only financial advice firm Illumint, recommends to designate a savings account as a “home maintenance fund.” Mahoney, who recently bought a renovated row house in Washington, D.C., contributes $100 to $200 a month as a hedge against unexpected repairs and wear-and-tear. Maintaining a house fund will inoculate you against high-interest debt, leaving your budget open for routine maintenance services.

Cost You Probably Didn’t Think About
After the years required to amass a sufficient down payment—the average among new homebuyers is 11 percent—and all the big costs staring homeowners in the face, it’s little wonder if you don’t account for smaller fare.

But the price tag for convenience can rise quickly.

People who opt for housekeeping shell out an average of $285 a month, while HOA dues ($210) and landscaping ($144) followed behind. A home security system costs $130, slightly more than pool care ($123). Snow removal ($84), septic service ($67) and trash and recycling collection ($55) proved more affordable.

Unsurprisingly, renters are less likely than homeowners to pay for recurring maintenance services, and when they do, they pay less for most services.

On average, renters pay less for housekeeping ($128), HOA dues ($71), pool care ($70), landscaping ($61) and snow removal ($24); however, they fork over a little more for security systems ($142), septic service ($113), and trash and recycling collection ($63).

Nate Masterson, a director of Finance for Maple Holistics, pays $1,000 annually for gardening services, and another $70 to clear his Riverside, N.Y., home of snow.

“It would require a lot of strenuous work to perform either task, and it’s simply more worthwhile for me to pay a professional,” says Masterson, 34.

Make Sure You Account for All Costs
Americans broadly struggle mightily to save.

The average person wouldn’t pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense from their savings, per a recent Bankrate survey, while the median amount in a savings and checking account for a middle-income household has essentially remained flat over the past 27 years, according to Federal Reserve data.

Credit card debt recently hit an all-time high, while the personal savings rate has dropped precipitously over the past two years.

If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund comprising three to six months’ worth of expenses in a high-yield savings account, strongly consider suspending as many as these services as possible until you do. Dropping almost $300 a month on housekeeping while lacking $1,000 in the bank is simply too risky. What if the roof caves in? At the very least, start contributing to a home maintenance fund.

You may not have a say in other costs—trash collection and HOA fees were two of the three most common—but make sure to account for those expenses into your budget prior to moving in, and in your emergency fund.

Life’s hard, and there’s nothing wrong with paying someone else to mow your lawn. Unless you can’t afford it.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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$164,600 :: 29423 WOODPARK CIR, Warren MI, 48092

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,407 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 01/04/16, Last Updated: 02/18/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 20729168
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: CREEKS EDGE AT HERITAGE VILLAG
Status: Sold

*New Construction*Unit Not Completed*Model Open: Tues, Wed & Fri 1 pm ? 7 pm, Sat & Sun 12 pm ? 6 pm. 29307 Woodpark Circle, Warren MI 48092. Creeks Edge at Heritage Village: 1st floor ranch: 2 bedroom 2 full bath with large closets, huge Great room and optional fireplace. Inviting Kitchen with Standard Granite Counter tops, Range, Microwave, and Dishwasher, Deck of Kitchen Nook, Full Basement, 1 Car Attached Garage.

Listed with RE/MAX Classic


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$126,000 :: 26429 EUREKA DR, Warren MI, 48091

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3 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,113 sq ft
Lot Size: 7,405 sq ft
Added: 02/16/18, Last Updated: 02/17/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21414936
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: WEDGEWOOD
Status: Active

YOU’LL LOVE THIS ONE! WELL CARED FOR BRICK RANCH WITH POPULAR LAYOUT HAS PLASTER WALLS, HARDWOOD FLOORS, WALLSIDE WINDOWS 2003, GLASS BLOCK WINDOWS, FURNACE & CENTRAL AIR 2002, HOT WATER HEATER 2002 AND HARDWOOD FLOORS UNDER CARPET. (CARPET JUST REMOVED IN ONE BEDROOM TO EXPOSE PRETTY FLOOR). SOMEWHAT NEWER ROOF (NOT SURE OF DATE). POPULAR LAYOUT WITH EATING AREA OPEN TO KITCHEN, ROOMY LIVING ROOM AND 29 X 25 FINISHED REC ROOM IN BASEMENT. ONE FULL AND ONE HALF BATH ON THE MAIN FLOOR. ATTACHED GARAGE WITH NEW DOOR AND OPENER PLUS PULL-DOWN STAIRWAY IN GARAGE TO ACCESS ATTIC! COVERED FRONT PORCH AND REAR PATIO IN LARGE BACKYARD . . .LOT IS 60 X 120. GREAT HOME IN TERRIFIC WEDGEWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD. INFORMATION IS DEEMED RELIABLE, BUT IS NOT GUARANTEED

Listed with Century 21 Curran & Christie


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$105,100 :: 4492 MARR AVE, Warren MI, 48091

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3 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 1,645 sq ft
Lot Size: 10,454 sq ft
Added: 05/06/16, Last Updated: 02/16/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21171088
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: S/P KIEFER LAND CO # 01
Status: Sold

Great ranch completely updated from top to bottom. Brand new kitchen with stainless appliances, newer floors, baths, and paint. Huge lot with 2 car garage

Listed with Real Estate One-Livonia


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$114,900 :: 11712 STAMFORD AVE, Warren MI, 48089

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3 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 1,240 sq ft
Lot Size: 7,405 sq ft
Added: 05/24/16, Last Updated: 02/15/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21167130
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: HOLIDAY GROVES
Status: Sold

Adorable ranch in a fantastic location. Walk to shops and restaurants. Kitchen was totally redone, garden windows. Living room has fireplace. Rear huge room could be a family room, office, huge bedroom. Finished basement with full bath. 2 car detached garage. Hardwood floors.

Listed with Ralph Roberts Realty LLC


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How Soon Can I Get My Tax Refund? 5 Things to Know

(TNS)—Got your 2017 tax return filed yet?

OK, you still have some time. But here’s a reminder that the tax season just kicked off Jan. 29, as the Internal Revenue Service began accepting returns.

The deadline this year is April 17.

Many tax software companies and tax professionals began accepting returns a few weeks ago and will now submit those returns as the IRS systems open.

Here are five things you need to know early in the tax season:

  1. How soon can I get my tax refund?
    Under the law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. The earliest those related refunds could show up in bank accounts or on debit cards could be Feb. 27.

Still, tax experts say if you have the paperwork to file early in the season, don’t wait.

The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, although some require additional time.

  1. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?
    Many lower income people still don’t realize they’re missing out on a big bonus check during tax season if they ignore the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The earned income tax credit is designed to help low to moderate working households.

For 2017 tax returns, the maximum adjusted gross income limit for claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit is $48,340 if you’re single and have three or more qualifying children to claim and $53,930 for a married couple filing jointly.

The limits are lower for those with fewer or no children. For those with no children, for example, the income limit drops to $15,010 for single, head of household and surviving spouse filers and $20,600 for married filing jointly.

The corresponding maximum tax credits range from $510 with no qualifying children to $6,318 with three or more qualifying children.

Another EITC tip: Be sure you have all your Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099 MISC, and all other income records, even if not reported on a form, before your file your return. And, you need to report all income you earn from running or owning a business or farm and deduct all allowable expenses.

  1. Where can you find free tax help?
    Tax filers who have incomes below $66,000 are eligible for “Free File” software via www.irs.gov. The IRS estimates that about 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File.
  1. What’s everybody going to do with those tax refunds?
    Many taxpayers, including millennials, are most likely to say they’ll save the money or pay off debts, such as student loans or credit cards, according to a poll by TaxSlayer.

But some acknowledge that they will splurge, too.

Roughly one in eight taxpayers say they’re going to treat themselves to a big gift, like electronics or jewelry. Roughly one in eight say they’re going to use that refund money toward going on vacation or out to dinner, according to the TaxSlayer poll.

  1. Where is your refund?
    The “Where’s My Refund?” tool at the www.irs.gov and the IRS2Go phone app are updated regularly with projected refund dates.

To check your refund status, you need your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status and the exact amount of your expected refund.

©2018 Detroit Free Press
Visit the Detroit Free Press at
www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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$161,000 :: 32351 NORWOOD, WARREN MI, 48092

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3 beds, 1.1 baths
Home size: 1,208 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,969 sq ft
Added: 01/15/18, Last Updated: 02/13/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 58031338218
Community: Warren
Tract: RIVER HEIGHTS SUBDIVISION
Status: Sold

Stunning Ranch located on the North side of Warren. House is located in a nice quiet subdivision with wide streets. Property was completely renovated a few years ago. House features Family room, living room, open concept kitchen, 3 bed and 1.5 baths. Large driveway leads to a 2 car detached garage with new roof that has been put on 2 weeks ago. Room sizes estimated.

Listed with RE/MAX Suburban, Inc.


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Buyers Entering the Market Solo Struggle

Zillow_Down_Payment

Accumulating a down payment is a struggle—and even more so for singles, according to a new report.

Singles are facing more than 10 years of saving, assuming they make a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced property, an analysis by Zillow reveals. Conversely, couples can do it in half the time: 4.6 years.

In addition, buyers have limited options when solo: 45 percent of inventory, compared to couples, who can afford 82 percent of supply.

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that buying a home is a central part of living the American Dream, but for unmarried or un-partnered Americans, that dream is increasingly out of reach,” says Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Single buyers typically have more limited budgets, which means they are likely competing for lower-priced homes that are in high demand. Having two incomes allows buyers to compete in higher-priced tiers where competition is not as stiff.”

The challenge is intensified in markets with rising values, the report shows. Couples face 14 years of saving in San Jose, Calif.—already a haul—but for singles, that span stretches over 30 years. In San Francisco, Calif., couples can amass enough for 20 percent down in 12.6 years, but singles have a longer road, at 27.8 years.

A handful of markets are more realistic for singles: Indianapolis, Ind. (7.5 years of saving); Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich. (8 years); and St. Louis, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Pa. (8.1 years).

Across the largest metros:

Analysts assumed buyers are portioning off 10 percent of their income each year to savings. According to 2016 Census data, annual earnings were a median $80,800 for couples and $34,500 for singles.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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$18,000 :: 23815 Kate, Warren MI, 48091

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3 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,000 sq ft
Lot Size: 4,356 sq ft
Added: 08/29/16, Last Updated: 02/11/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 31301658
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: Minock Gardens
Status: Sold

To follow.

Listed with Advantage Realty Inc.


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$84,944 :: 12342 CANTERBURY, Warren MI, 48093

Property Photo

3 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 1,256 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 10/22/15, Last Updated: 02/10/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 20726184
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: ROSALIE
Status: Sold

Listing Broker and Seller assume no responsibility and make no guarantees, representations, warranties (express, implied or otherwise) as to the availability or accuracy of information contained herein. ?4.5% buyer premium charged to buyer at closing.? SHOWING ID: 0007436386353

Listed with Owners.com


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