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THE COLUMNS
Control
Ever wait for the landlord to fix a leaky faucet or broken tile? Ever wonder when
your landlord will upgrade the property in which you’re living by applying a fresh
coat of paint or replacing old drafty windows? When they do, you’ll probably get
The opinions expressed in the columns are those of the authors
stuck with a rent increase plus live with a color paint you had no say in choosing.
and do not necessarily reflect the editorial viewpoint of the
While home owners have to pay for their own repairs and upgrades they decide
Publishers of the North Shoreian Magazine.
what to do and when to do it. They can fix things themselves or hire a contractor.
Landlords usually like to keep expenses low and often will not maintain or beautify
property as well as the one who calls it her home.
I On Money With Mark
Build Equity
Some home owners actually view their house as a regular savings account. Since
Financial

Advice and Commentary they are forced to send a part of their monthly income towards their mortgage, they
by Mark Snyder, ChFC
gradually but regularly reduce the amount of property owned by the bank or other
lending institution and increase the amount they own. Price appreciation helps the
owner and there are other intangible benefits to owning your own home. Should you
Enjoy the Benefits of a Home
ever need to raise capital, one of the first things you’ll need is collateral and almost
nothing beats real estate.
of Your Own
Financial institutions like to see that an applicant is experienced in maintaining
Despite what’s recently happened to the real estate market, it’s still a great feel-
property and understands the importance of mortgage payments and home owners
ing at the end of the day to slide the key into the door that opens to your own home.
insurance. In addition to the cash value (collateral) real estate can provide, the other
And while there is a certain peace of mind and security that come from knowing
experiences and responsibilities that come with home ownership can work in the
you’re the master of your domain there are many economic benefits as well – despite
borrower’s favor.
the recent real estate market turmoil.
“Mortgage accelerators” are plans that will send additional funds from your
Unfortunately, lots of people don’t believe they can afford a home of their own.
checking account to pay down your mortgage for a fee. There’s nothing illegal about
The widespread talk that credit is tight has only furthered scared away additional
these plans. Naturally they charge a fee for their services but you can do the same
potential home buyers. For those with poor credit histories, such as late payments on
thing yourself and save the fee. The plan companies argue that most individuals do
things like taxes and loans or for those with liens on their property, getting a lender
not have the discipline to do this themselves and many probably don’t but should.
to consider you will be difficult until those marks are cleared from your record. For
While renting can appeal to those who don’t want the responsibilities of home
those however, who’ve been paying their bills on time and living within their means,
ownership, in the long run, it seldom makes economic sense. When you combine the
there’s no reason why they should think home ownership is little more than a dream.
favorable economics with the peace of mind, it’s no wonder owning a home is the
American Dream.
Government Help
And the government is actually helping some people turn this dream into reality.
Mark J. Snyder, ChFC, is an independent financial adviser in Medford. For a free,
A tax credit of up to $8,000 is now available for qualified first-time home buyers
no-obligation copy of his newsletter, The Snyder Report, please call: 631-289-4224.
purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December
1, 2009. Unlike the tax credit enacted in 2008, the new credit does not have to be
repaid. First-time buyers who purchased a home between April 9, 2008 and January
1, 2009 may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
Government incentives are great but there are other reasons to get your own
A View Askew
home, such as price appreciation. Thanks to relatively low inflation the prices of
Wit and a Little Wisdom
many things have dropped in recent years. This has generally not been so for homes
and almost never has been but in many areas, purchasers can now get homes at price
By Joe Neuschatz
levels that are relative bargains compared to what buyers paid just a few years ago
for similar property.
According to figures supplied by real estate firm Coldwell Banker, on a national
basis, homes generally appreciate annually by about five percent – current real estate
Saving Energy Without Really Trying.
dynamics not withstanding. This can vary from year to year, neighborhood to neigh-
For OPEC, a barrel of oil is a barrel of fun. They play with energy prices like
borhood and region to region but for the long term, most owners can expect to see
a child plays with a Yo-Yo. I don’t know if those shortages are reality or fiction but
their home’s value grow. Other factors like home condition and location play an ob-
I do know that now and then, the price of gasoline is higher than I would like. The
vious role in determining value but for the most part – that value regularly increases.
service stations are often the perfect locations to fill-up tanks, and empty banks. But
here is some good news: cars are finally getting smaller, engines seldom souped-up
Good-Bye Rent
and the “If I Had a (G.M.) Hummer” song, no longer popular. The bad news? De-
People are often heard complaining about the length of their mortgage as 20- or
spite President Barack Obama’s great speeches, nuclear power is still at a standstill,
30-year terms are common. But mortgages are designed to end one day. Not so for
wind energy gone with the wind and, the new chapter in solar energy, ready to be
rent. Taxes, another bane of the home owner, can seem stratospheric but they are
nicknamed “Chapter Eleven.”
frequently more stable than rent, which has a way of increasing every year.
I am deeply aware of the mental trauma taking place when one has to give up
Home owners also have a choice of mortgages. The two basic kinds are fixed-
the good life: leisure driving, speedboating or barbecued spare-ribs. And I know that
and variable-rate (or adjustable-) mortgages. A fixed mortgage requires the same
the proposals of schooling kids four times a week could save fuel but complicate life.
payment for a certain time period. Some home owners prefer this method because
Cheer up! There is no need to suffer. Here are the ten commandments of pain-free
they like knowing what their expenses will be or they had the opportunity to secure a
energy savings:
competitive rate. Others prefer adjustable-rate mortgages, which offer a rate that can
1) SUBPOENA CENTERS. Our litigious society is divided in two major groups:
fluctuate. When rates head lower, so do the payments. When rates rise…you get the
A) subpoena servers and B) subpoena receivers. In major cities, subpoena serving is
idea. Combination mortgages are also available. These offer a fixed-payment period
child’s play. With dozens of subpoena receivers in each skyscraper, subpoena servers
of five, ten or 15 years and then become adjustable for the balance of the loan.
are able to do a day’s work in a couple of hours. But here in the suburbia, a place
Interest-only mortgages had been widely offered and were often viewed as a
in which the distances between subpoena receivers is measured in miles, subpoena
way to “leverage” one’s cash flow thus being able to “afford more.” While when
serving is a time-consuming, gas-guzzling experience.
done with discretion and diligent planning, an interest-only mortgage may have been
The installation of Subpoena Centers in shopping malls will allow the saving of
beneficial, homeowners must be cautious and fully understand what they’re signing.
thousands of gallons of gasoline. Instead of driving like maniacs from door to door,
A lot of home buyers got into trouble with these loans recently and they are virtually
subpoena servers will now sit comfortably behind desks. All citizens, 18 or older,
non-existent today. I’d be very skeptical of anyone recommending an interest-only
will have to stop-by once a month –by law- and ask: “Anything for me?”
mortgage.
2) REAL-ESTATE VANS. Real-estate agents are energy wasters. Prospective
With an interest-only mortgage, as the name implies, the home owner pays only
buyers are driven from house to house. When the tour of the “For Sale” homes is
the interest on the mortgage in monthly payments for a fixed term – usually five to
ended, the agent returns to the office and the next prospective buyers are driven from
seven years. Once that term expires, the home owner can then either refinance, pay
house to house. A busy agent does seven to eight circuits a day and refills the gas
the balance in a lump sum, or start paying down the principal, in which case the
tank every 24 hours.
payments often increase. This is where many got into serious trouble and wound up
A roomy minibus will transport groups of would-be home buyers, on a twice-
losing their home.
a-day schedule. This method will save energy and, due to mass psychology and
Whenever applying for a mortgage you’ll also need homeowner’s insurance.
competitive bidding situations, will also sell more houses in less time.

Improper Northshoerian April 2006 6 4/2/2009 10:17:38 AM
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