Tips for Buying or Selling a Home
Rick Floyd, National Director of Retail Sales for Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. discusses current home trends and the best times to buy and sell a home in 2011.
When is the best time to buy a home and what percentage should you have in the bank for a down payment?
It depends on who you are and what stage of your life you’re in. Most families with children look to purchase homes in the spring and summer, so they can be settled in a new location before the school year starts. People without children in the home tend to have more flexibility when making a purchase. If you can wait for the ‘off season’, you may be able to find a better value, but sometimes the selection can be limited because home owners won’t have their properties on the market during winter months.
In terms of a down payment, the buyer should look to put down at least 5-10 percent of the total cost of the home down, but it depends on what their credit profile looks like and their personal situation. There are options out there to put less money down, but if you really want the best rates for your loan, you should aim for at least 5-10 percent.
What are some homeowner trends that are waiting to sell their home?
We’re seeing some people wait for the market to bounce back before putting their home on the market, but it really depends on your personal situation. Some people have the luxury of waiting it out, but othersare more anxious to sell their home and move on.
For those waiting, little improvements can go a long way when showing your house to a potential buyer. You don’t need to install a new pool or even redo the master bath, but touch-ups, such as a new coat of paint or simply making sure your landscaping is crisp,can go a long way. Little things, such as removing clutter from coffee tables and washing the floors in advance, can go a long way as well.
What are some trends for those waiting for the best time to buy a home?
With gas prices as high as they are, many people are looking to lessen their commute when buying a home, so location continues to be a big factor.
Another trend we’re seeing is that home buyers are becoming more interested in distressed properties and FHA 203(k) programs. In short, a 203(k) is a mortgage and home improvement loan combined into one. This benefits the home buyer because they can wrap the home improvement loan into their mortgage, usually at a better rate and all in the same process. In essence, you’re securing a home improvement loan and a mortgage at the same time, through the same lender.
We just started offering 203(k) programs to our customers and have seen some great success. One of the issues we’ve seen in the industry is when a lender outsources the home improvementportion of the loan to a third party. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there could be a delay in securing payment for the home improvement side, which could cause issues with the contractors hired to renovate. To help prevent those problems and delays in payment, REMN is now handling the entire203(k) initiative in house. It is extra work on our end, but helps ensure the process runs smoothly and customers are satisfied with the end result.
What are the best resources to use when looking for a home?
Your personal network should be a top choice. Speak with someone you trust that has fully gone through the home buying process already and ask them for recommendations.
If you don’t know anyone in your area that has been through the process recently, local real estate agents and mortgage professionals should be able to provide you with references to the quality of their own work. Makesure to get a few references from each.
What’s your scope ofthe current real estate market?
We know that in the last few years, the mortgage industry has come under a lot of fire. For the most part, the people that gave the industry a bad name no longer have anything to do with it. Those that are still involved, care about the industry and helping make people’s dreams of home ownership a reality. When you’re ready to purchase your first or next home, look hard at the companies you’re dealing with to make sure they have the experience you need, but also provide the customer service you deserve.
River Edge, NJ-based Real Estate Mortgage Network (REMN) has been in business more than 20 years and is one of the largest, privately-held mortgage lending firms in the U.S. REMN is more than just a brokerage firm and combines the services of a large-scale wholesale brokerage with those of consumer facing retail branches and online channels, so customers benefit from the unique insight into all of the changes and challenges taking place in the lending industry.
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.