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Maine Real Estate News - March 2018

Use Your Tax Refund for a Downpayment!

It’s Tax Season…
Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes.
This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals;
for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.
(The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Simplifying The Market

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage.
Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%,
with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund
by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Simplifying The Market

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership!
For those in Alabama looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 69% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required,
the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

Avoid Wire Fraud

Do you know how to
Avoid Wire Fraud?

Wire Fraud seems to be happening more and more in real estate transactions and it is not always easy to spot.  Often someone involved in a real estate transaction gets an e-mail with a change to the wiring instructions.  Sometimes the buyer will get an e-mail that looks like it is coming from the Lender, Title Company, or even their Real Estate Agent saying where to wire the funds for closing.  A title company could get a request that looks like it is coming from the seller saying they want the proceeds from closing wired into a different account.  There are too many scenarios to list.  There are some common things to look for to avoid wire fraud. 

Spelling & Grammar
A lot of spelling and grammar mistakes.  They are often lacking punctuation and capitalization.

Logos & Company Names
Scammers e-mails are often missing logos or the Company Name.  Sometimes the logo and signature is copied from a legitimate e-mail but then the phone number might be changed. 

E-Mail Links
Often the e-mail looks just like the e-mail of someone involved in the transaction.  If you hover over the e-mail link before clicking on it, the e-mail may be different.  Even if it does look the same, avoid using the links in an e-mail.  They could lead to a phishing site that looks identical to the site you expect.

Password Changes
Lately there have been a lot of phishing e-mails arriving that look like they are from Outlook, saying you need to change your password.  When you click on it, it appears identical to the Outlook log-in but once you enter your password, the scammer has it and can access your e-mail. 

The bottom line is...
you can't be too careful when you are trying to avoid wire fraud. 
Always double check before giving out personal information or wiring any funds. 
Pick up the phone and call your agent or lender or both! 
Better safe than sorry! 

Buying Foreclosures - What You Should Know

What You Should Know About Buying Bank Owned Properties

If you are looking at homes in today's market, you have probably run across properties that were foreclosed and are now bank-owned.  Some buyers are scared off right away when they hear "foreclosure" or "bank-owned".  It is possible to get a good deal if you know what you are getting into. 

Here is a list of the top 5 thing you should know about buying a Foreclosure...

Expect Unknowns
The bank may own the property, but they have never lived there.  They don't usually know when the heating system was last serviced or if the roof leaked.  Expect there to be lots of unknowns on the disclosures...and plan to get a good inspection!

As-Is Condition
Most banks sell properties "as-is".  In other words, if you find a problem on you inspection, they will probably not fix it.  Your options are usually buy "as-is" or walk away.

Pre-Approval Letters
Most banks won't even consider an offer unless you provide a mortgage pre-approval, or if you are paying cash a proof of funds letter, with the offer.  It's a good idea to have this ready to go in today's fast moving market anyway.

When a bank does accept an offer, expect a bank addendum.  This document spells out lots of conditions of the sale and usually over-rides the Purchase & Sale.  Make sure you read it word for word and get help if you don't understand the legal wording.

Fees for Delays
Many banks include in their addendum a fee for not closing on time.  Most often this is a per-diem charge.  If you don't close on time, you could get charged a fee for each day you are late on closing. 

The bottom line is, as long as you know what you are getting into, you could get a great deal buying a bank-owned property...especially if you are handy and can do some repairs.  Having an experience buyer's agent to help you through the process will make the process much easier.  Give us a call today at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830 if you would like more information about purchasing a bank-owned property. 

Click here to see a list of all our bank owned properties!

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Fontaine Family - The Real Estate Leader
336 Center St. Auburn, ME 04210
432 US Route 1 Scarborough ME 04074
(207)784-3800 Auburn
(207)289-3830 Scarborough
Fax: (207)786-2957

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