Question on homewonership and taxes

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by i-sidd, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2006
    We are planning to buy a house- first time. Our combined income is around $120,000. The property manager told us that our mo. payments would be around $2100 but since we will get tax claims we be getting come of the money back and it would be fell like paying $1850 or so.I am not sure how that works so would like some clarification from you guys.

    Also, we would be paying around 3.5% down with closing costs so we would have PMI.What other expenses shoudl we inlcude besides the Monthly payments as homeowners that I may not have considered.
    Also, right now both of us file jointly but witholding status is ste to single 0.

    Should one of us or both of us chnage our staues to married to bring in more per pay check. however we don't want to end up paying when we file our taxes.

    Any suggestions
  2. macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    Is that $120,000 combined before or after taxes? Figure out your after taxes amount and go from those numbers. Never by a house at the upper end of what you are approved for. A lot of places will "over loan" you and approve you for more than you should spend.

    1. Does that $1,850 include the property tax?
    2. Add in cost of the TV and internet service
    3. Find out the average cost of gas (if applicable) for the month of January/February and for the month of July/August
    4. Find out the average cost of the electric bill for the month of January/February and for the month of July/August

    3.5% down must be an FAH loan. I suggest making as much of an "extra" payment as you feel comfortable.
  3. macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    Are there any HOA fees?

    The rule of thumb is that you should set aside 20% of your mortgage for repairs/upkeep. So ideally, you'd save away $370/month for that.

    Maybe it is just me but $1850/month seems like a lot for a $120k income.
  4. macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    You will pay...

    1. Monthly mortgage payment - the principle plus interest based on your home loan paid to the bank or lender.

    2. PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) - a monthly fee based on the risk the bank is taking in making you a loan without 20% of the principle being paid upfront.

    3. Property Taxes - these will either be added to your monthly payment and held in escrow or you will have to pay them one time a year in a lump sum. If you do pay through escrow then the bank can make adjustments to this based on the conditions in your loan. The monthly rate could go up or down at any time for "adjustment" based on the escrow conditions.

    4. Homeowner's Insurance - the bank will require proof of homeowners insurance in order for your loan to remain in good standing. You are free to secure your own policy, but depending on your loan it will have to meet certain requirements or limits. Often your homeowner's insurance can and will be paid through your escrow as well.

    5. Depending on your neighborhood there could be mandatory HOA (Home Owner's Association) fees or dues.

    I think that's pretty much it as far the "requirements" go for home ownership. On top of this there are all kinds of other expenses that go along with being a homeowner like utilities, repairs, warranties, etc..

    I hope it all works out well for you. Just don't buy more than you can afford and definitely look at the sum total of all your expenses in terms of your monthly budget. A general "rule of thumb" is that your house payment shouldn't be more than 20 - 25% of your monthly income.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Feb 9, 2010
    I got the same song and dance when I bought a house a decade ago. "Your taxes will go down X amount" Its not always accurate. I'm not a tax expert but everyone's income is different, your deductions are different then mine, etc etc. My only advice: don't count on your taxes going down a lot. Budget yourself without thinking about this and if make sure you can afford the house on what you bring home today. Next year, when you do your taxes, if you get a bunch back, that's a bonus. Either take less money out of your paycheck so you'll have more monthly or take that nice surprise and do something extra with it every April. Pay down other debt, use it for your vacation, etc.
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2006
    That amount is combined before taxes, and the price of the house is around $370,000.

    Does that $1,850 include the property tax?
    yes and it also includes insurance and PMI

    Where can I find the average cost or water, electricity etc?
  7. macrumors 603


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    No, it is most certainly not just you - that stuck out like a big red flag to me. :eek:

    OP, my wife and I went into the house-shopping process believing we could afford to spend about $150-160k, based on mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance, for a monthly payment of around $1,600. Our income is a bit more than yours. The bank was willing to approve me for a $270k loan. Me, as in solely my income. I told them they were out of their minds and went with the smaller loan, FHA, like you're looking into.

    Our taxes have gone down to the tune of about a hundred dollars a month, but it's because the home value has gone down - not because the tax rate has dropped. In addition, our insurance premiums have doubled in the last six years, so keep that mind.

    If there's one thing you need to take away from this thread, it's this: do NOT let yourself become "house poor." You don't want to overspend.

    How is this possible? Even at a 3% interest rate, if you're only putting 3.5% down, your payments over 30 years are nearly $1900 just for interest and principal.
  8. macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    $1,850 seems like a low estimate to me for a $370k house but what do I know? What is the loan percentage? I ran a $359,000 loan through a mortgage calculator and with a 4% loan, the estimated payment is $2100/month. At 3%, it is $1900/month.

    And what about closing costs? We paid something like $20k in closing costs beyond our down payment. Granted, we got an assist from the sellers since they were eager to sell so it was less but closing costs are no joke.

    My general rule of thumb for house buying (unless you have a large downpayment) is to stick with a house that is 2-2.5x your yearly income. This house is over 3x your yearly income.
  9. macrumors 68020


    Feb 9, 2010
    With 3.5 %down and a 4% mortgage, WITHOUT taxes and PMI, I figured his payment would be 1,704.37 a month for 30 years. We need to know taxes and PMI and his final interest rate and know for sure if he is getting a 30 year and not a 40 year loan (can u even get those anymore?) for final payment, of course. But, from personal experience, on 120K a month. It sounds tight.
  10. macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    When I went in to get preapproved for a house the bank approved me for almost a 170,000 dollar house. I sat down after the meeting, ran the numbers and if i had bought a house at around that price I would be very much house poor.

    Your $120,000 is a little more than double what I make myself and I am the sole owner of my house and name on the papers.

    Frankly, you should be looking for a house that is probably in the 270K range.

    I ended up buying a bigger house than I needed, but I got a good deal on it as the seller had been holding on to it for a while and was finally ready to just sell it. If you are halfway handy you might be able to find a house that needs some fixing up and you can get a good deal on it. Plan a single remodel for every year and go from there. That is the strategy I have taken with my house and given a couple more years it will be as close to fully renovated as I want to take it.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    Never heard of getting lower taxes for purchasing a house. You can claim the interest paid on you mortgage as a deduction on your income taxes, but no tax break for buying a house. There was a tax credit a few years back for first time home owners but not anymore. Sounds like someone is trying to grease the wheels as it were, to get you to make a rushed decision.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2010
    This is the place
    You mention "property manager". That implies to me that you will have Homeowners Association Fee, generally not included in your monthly payment.

    Also, it sounds like you are considering favorable financial advice from the property manager who likely has a vested interest in your purchasing a home. That is akin to taking car buying advice from a car salesman.

    I recommend taking a step back, a deep breath, and having a frank discussion with your sig other.
  13. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2008

    Go here and run your scenario's. Quick guess you will pay $150 less per month in income taxes (could be less if you do a 401k/IRA), but do not count on this as income deduction for home mortgage interest is being discussed for removal as part of the fiscal cliff fixes.

    quick guess
    S1 Income - personal deduction = taxable income
    S2 Income - (personal + mortgage Int + Property tax) = taxable income

    House fee's = Principle, Interest, PMI, Prop tax, Home Ins, HoA, garbage, water, elec/gas, blood and sweat (repairs, yard work, etc)
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2006
    Ok, I am writing the numbers from memery, once I get home I will write the amount that he gave me on paper.

    Its Ryan homes community that we looked at and he did a quick pre-approval just by asking us some questioand and if I remember correctly I think he also added bonuses that we got into our income to do his rough calculations.

    I think he said that the monthly payment were around $2100 or so that we woudl be writing the check for, but since we will get some money back due to tax deductions or something it would feel like a payment of $1800-$1900.

    there is a HOA of $40 a month.

    That mo payment is nayways high, but we pay rent as high as $1200 a month so we want our house monthly payments to bein the $1800 a month range.
  15. macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    It sounds like he is doing an excellent job at selling you something :)

    My strong recommendation would be to take a large step back and look at other options. I'd also strongly recommend looking for a house that is $280k at the most based on your income.
  16. Zerozal, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    Wow, you need to stop for a minute, take a step back, and draw up a realistic monthly budget taking ALL spending into consideration. Please trust me--you do NOT want to buy a $370k house on a combined gross income of $120k.

    Forget the blather that you were told about taxes. Your monthly payment will be your monthly payment, regardless of what you may or may not get back in taxes at the end of the year. Yes, currently you can deduct your mortgage interest to reduce your AGI (adjusted gross income), but that doesn't change your monthly mortgage payment, and it's only 1 element of your total financial picture. Not to mention that there is no guarantee that current deduction will continue, especially in light of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

    Put together your monthly budget. Start with your incomes AFTER taxes, i.e., what you actually take home each month. Then deduct your monthly payments. Here are just some examples of things that you might be on the hook for each month:

    Mortgage principle and interest+PMI+Escrow payment (escrow may or may not include all property taxes and homeowner's insurance)
    All utilities (electric, gas, water, sewer, trash, etc. To give you a feel for it, I have a 2400sq ft house and these average a bit over $400/month).
    Home owner's association fees
    Cell phones (x2 if you each have a cell phone)
    Car payments
    Car insurances
    Grocery store/food

    That's what I would consider the basics. Then you need to figure out how much you want to have available for routine "entertainment" - eating out, going to the movies, etc. Be realistic.

    Then you need to budget for unforeseen repairs for both your cars and your house--experts recommend budgeting 10% of your housing costs, so I'd set aside at least a couple hundred a month. New shingles, new A/C compressor, new hot water heater, new furnace, replacement siding, repainting the porch and front door, etc.. are all costs that you WILL have to pay at some point, and the money has to come from somewhere.

    Then plan to budget another couple of hundred for retirement savings.

    What about kids? If you have or plan to have kids, you need to take that into account as well--kids are expensive, especially if they go to college. :)

    Then you'll need to budget for buying routine "stuff" - new computer, new Apple toys, books, hobby stuff, electronics, etc. Not to mention furniture, drapes, blinds, and all the other boring house stuff that you'll need to buy--and eventually replace over and over again. I'd budget at least several hundred a month here too.

    Once you add up ALL of that, it better not come to more than, say, 90% of your after-tax take-home pay, or you'll be in debt trouble before too long. If you want to be REAL safe, you could try to live on only 1 of your incomes, and save 100% of the other's. If not, you'll also need to fund some sort of emergency account to tide you over should one of you get laid off at some point in your career.

    I hope that gives you something to think about. Again, from my experience (I'm 39 and have been a homeowner for 11 years), I wouldn't even THINK of buying a 370k house with your incomes. On combined incomes of $120k, I'd be more comfortable with a house around $250k, possibly less to be on the safe side in case of emergencies. And there WILL be emergencies.

    Good luck.
  17. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    I just want to emphasize mscriv's Point 2. It is a variable cost that (almost certainly) go up over time. If your mortgage lender collects money from you to pay your property tax, it will go up as your property tax goes up.

    Let's say you are paying $1800/month principle and interest on your mortgage, and $200/month to go into your escrow account to pay your property tax. When your property tax goes up the bank increases your monthly payment to cover the necessary amount in your escrow account to pay taxes.

    In short, whatever your initial monthly payment is, it will go up over time, as your property tax goes up.

    BTW; sometimes property tax bills come twice a least it does in my town.

    mscriv gave you terrific information.
  18. macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    And if you happen to fall for an ARM, your rate will go up. ARMs have their place but we have historically low mortgage rates right now so for most people a fixed rate mortgage is their best option.

    Also, your HOA fees will go up. $40 is a nice low fee but don't be surprised if it is $100 or more in 5 years.

    And I'll say my husband and I make more than double your salary and our price limit was $400k for a place. We ended up finding a place for $340k. It is nice not to be able to stress about our mortgage because it is definitely at a comfortable level for us.
  19. macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Agreed with this, and here is another thing to consider.

    You may want to, after everything is complete, keep your escrow account open, overpay a bit on your monthly payments, and have that overage be saved into that escrow account. That way, when property taxes are due, the lender can pay the tax for you from the escrow account directly. That way, you won't have to worry about taking a bigger hit once or twice per year in addition to your monthly payment.

  20. macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Why thank you sir. :)

    The other thing to consider is that the bank is allowed to "overcharge" you within certain limits so they can ensure that the account has enough to cover the predicted expenditures. Last year my escrow was "adjusted" by the bank. They increased my monthly payment by almost $50 a month. I called to inquire as to the reason for the adjustment and was told that based on their predictions of the next year's taxes and insurance rates that my account would be "short" at the end of the year. I asked how much it would be short. This is literally what she said on the phone, "by our numbers your account will go into the negative by about $20." I asked if that was a monthly figure and she replied, "no, in total at the end of the year the account will be $20 in the negative." Yep, they wanted to charge me almost $50 a month (or $600 a year) to cover a predicted $20 shortfall. I asked them to reanalyze my account and not to increase the monthly payment based on the information she was giving me. Without hesitation she adjusted the payment back to what it originally was and reminded me that if the shortfall did occur then I would have to come in at the end of the year and pay the $20 at that time. I told her I would by glad to do so.
  21. macrumors 68040

    Nov 20, 2008
    Nobody needs a $370k "starter home" IMO. Start looking in the $200k-$225k range.
  22. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    It depends where you live. You may not like where some of the $370k homes are located in parts of California until you see where you have to go for a $200k home.
  23. macrumors 68040

    Nov 20, 2008
    Problem is, EVERYONE says this and swears up and down they can only buy a shack for half a million. See it in every house thread on this site.
  24. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    I live in Los Angeles and still rent because of this. I wasn't really referring to size anyway, more condition and location. I'm considering a move, so it's not like I'd buy at the moment anyway.
  25. macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    Something is really off if you're payment is only 2100 on a 370k home... and if this is what the property manager is telling you, then there is something really off with him/her.

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