Amanda Hill's Blog Posts

Things Have Changed

The soothsayer in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar issued his famous warning "Beware the Ides of March."  Who knew that in 2020, around the middle of March, the world, as we knew it, would

Read More

Do you like to negotiate?

Whether you like to or not, buying and selling a home involves negotiation at all stages of the process.  It is not like the retail world where once you decide to purchase, you pay the

Read More

REALTORS Thoughts on the Recovery

The National Association of REALTORS® just released the Market Recovery Survey of a random sampling to close to 100,000 members conducted June 24-26, 2020.  The following

Read More

Who Decides Value?

The seller can put a price on the home but the value is ultimately, determined by the buyer. Individually, a buyer could pay over market value because they love the location, or the elevation of the

Read More

Prepaying Your Mortgage

Paying off your mortgage can provide peace of mind and is a worthy goal but is it the best thing for you to do at this time.Do you have higher interest rate debt currently?  If you have

Read More

Lower Your Cost of Housing

Homeowners still have considerable advantages from the amortization of the mortgage and the appreciation enjoyed by most homes even with taking the standard deduction instead of itemizing to take

Read More

Annual Advisory

Homeownership is a privilege and a responsibility. Even after decades of owning a home, you may still need some help to handle some of its challenges by focusing on the three "M"s of homeownership:

Read More

Rethinking Home

Rethinking HomeThe last two months of the new normal stay at home has led many homeowners to rethink the way they live in their home.  It has now become an office for working at home; a

Read More

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own Is a Mistake

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an

Read More

Convenience at a Cost

The convenience of selling your home without the hassle of getting it ready, putting it on the market, showings, open houses, negotiations and repairs comes at a cost ... a significant part of your

Read More

Rise to the Top of the Pool by Selling Your House Today

Rise to the Top of the Pool by Selling Your House TodayWith the release of the latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), results

Read More

It Starts Before the Statement is Sent

It Starts Before the Statement is SentThe deadline for challenging your property tax assessment this year may be later than normal due to the stay at home orders but when you are notified, you'll

Read More

One More Reason to Refinance

Taking cash out of the equity of your home could be a legitimate way to fund a temporary cash crisis now or to have it on-hand if the need arises.  Most homeowners can pull out the difference

Read More

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree.

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree.The uncertainty the world faces today due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many things to change. The way we interact, the way we

Read More

Check This Off Your List

Everyone knows someone it has happened to or has heard a tragic story.  It could have been a fire, a flood, a burglary or some other disaster but to file a claim on their insurance, they

Read More

Did you know that you can still buy a home right now? We can do it virtually!

Hey there,Did you know that you can buy a home without leaving your current house!?! It is definitely not as much fun but it is doable ?  Here are the ways we can work together

Read More

How Technology Is Enabling the Real Estate Process

Today’s everyday reality is pretty different than it looked just a few weeks ago. We’re learning how to do a lot of things in new ways, from how we work remotely to how we engage with

Read More

We are in this together!

FAMILY  INTEGRITY  COMMUNITYTRUST EARNED EVERY DAY SINCE 1946. 1015 N 7th Street • Grand Junction, CO 81501 • 970-242-3647 • www.brayandco

Read More

Mortgage Closing Scams

The American bank robber, Willie Sutton, was asked why he robbed banks and his answer was "because that is where the money is."  During his 40-year career, he stole about $2 million but

Read More

What Buyers Can Do While Staying at Home

While you're isolating at home, there are things you can do to help buy a home now or in the near future.  Instead of spending time surfing the Internet looking at homes, do the groundwork

Read More

Showing Procedures During Covid-19

During these unsettling times, sellers and buyers are concerned about staying healthy and virus-free as we all are.  To keep all parties safe, new procedures should be considered regarding

Read More

Why have a mortgage during retirement?

You don't have to watch TV for long before Tom Selleck, Henry Winkler or Robert Wagner will tell you why seniors should consider a reverse mortgage.  However, there are a seniors who are

Read More

Shopping for a Mortgage

A lower rate will not only result in a lower payment, it will amortize the loan quicker.  A $250,000 mortgage at 4.5% for 30 years will have a $1,266.71 principal and interest payment.;

Read More

Why Put More Down

The least amount in a down payment is an attractive option when people are thinking of buying a home.  A common reason is to have cash available for furnishing the new home and  possible

Read More

Financing Home Improvements

Home improvement loans provide a source of funds for owners to finance the improvements they want to make.  These are usually, personal installment loans that are not collateralized by the

Read More

House-Hacking Rental Property

House-hacking refers to buying a multifamily property on an owner-occupied mortgage, living in one unit and renting the others.  If you're thinking about becoming a rental mogul, starting early

Read More

Expectations

Ideally, what every owner wants when they sell their home is to get the highest possible sales price in the shortest period with the least inconveniences.  They may not realize that's what

Read More

Take the Standard Deduction & the Home

Now that the standard deduction is increased to $12,200 for single taxpayers and $24,400 for married ones, many homeowners are better off with the standard deduction than itemizing their deductions

Read More

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgage loans are like traditional mortgages that permits homeowners to borrow money using their home as collateral while retaining title to the property.  Reverse mortgage loans

Read More

Downsizing in 2020

Approximately 52 million or 16% of Americans are age 65 and over.  It is easy to understand that some of them are thinking of downsizing their home because they don't need the same space

Read More

Another Source for a Down Payment

Borrowing from a 401k, 403b or the cash value of life insurance policy is a common financial strategy.  While taxpayers are not allowed borrow from either a traditional or Roth IRA, they

Read More

Anticipating the Cost of a Home

The largest expenditure a buyer has when purchasing a home is the down payment which can range from zero for veterans or 3.5%, 5%, 10% and 20%.  With mortgages come closing costs which can be

Read More

Personal Finance Review

Even if Benjamin Franklin never actually used the expression "a penny saved is a penny earned", the reality is that it has been a sentiment for frugality for centuries.  He did say: "Beware of

Read More

An Investment Perspective on a Home

Looking for an investment that will turn $10,000 into $80,000 in seven years?  Sound too good to be true?  What if I told you that you could live in it every day during that seven years?

Read More

Understanding the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Mortgage interest paid on your principal residence is deductible today as it was in 1913 when 16th amendment allowed personal income tax.  The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act reduced the maximum

Read More

Title Insurance

Most people who have car, home and health insurance have probably made claims and wouldn't consider being without it.  However, it might be difficult to find a homeowner who has made a claim on

Read More

7 Reasons to Buy a Home

Some people don't need a reason to buy a home, they just want it.  That can be enough justification by itself.  Other people need some solid logic before they're ready to make the

Read More

What's the Difference in Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

Before looking for a home, you need to know how much you can afford. While you may have a number in your head, the lender has the final say. Securing a pre-approval from a lender helps make the home

Read More

Buy Your Retirement Home Now

Buy Your Retirement Home NowMaybe you're not ready to move into it but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take advantage of the present opportunities to acquire the home you want to live in during

Read More

A Good Time to Buy a Home

You may have noticed that REALTORS® seem to always think now is a good time to buy and they can usually justify it with solid reasoning.  While it can be true in general, a good time to buy

Read More

Time for a Toilet Upgrade

Whether it is a cosmetic or a mechanical reason for upgrading a toilet, you may not know all the choices that are involved to choose the right one for your home.  The current toilet may

Read More

Interior Condensation Solutions

Condensation occurs when the air has too much moisture in it which is felt as high humidity.  The water deposits on various surfaces that are cooler than the air itself.  Several

Read More

Selecting an agent

Selecting an agentWhen a whole lobster was presented at the table of a restaurant, the customer noticed there was only one claw on it.  He asked what happened to the lobster and the waiter,

Read More

Price It Right the First Time

Price It Right the First TimeThe Internet has empowered all buyers with information and home buyers are no exception.    The amount of information available to public includes details

Read More

What every homeowner should know about their property insurance

Insurance is required on a home by the mortgage company, but homeowners rely on it for peace of mind also.  Unfortunately, people may not take the time to investigate their policy and what

Read More

Want to be a Landlord?

Real estate has consistently been one of the highest rated investments available to individuals.  TV shows certainly make rentals look easy and you may even know someone who has made a lot of

Read More

Money You Saved for a Down Payment

Occasionally, buyers who can qualify to purchase a home decide to "take a break" and wait to purchase a home.  When the focus of buying a home is relaxed, other uses for the money that was

Read More

Downsizing is an Alternative

It is estimated that over 15% of the population in the U.S. are over 65 years of age.  With one of the most common fears of seniors being their money will run out early, it is understandable

Read More

Steps in Home Buying Process

The process of buying a home can be different based on the price range and whether a mortgage is needed.  While some things are different, others are similar regardless of price, financing or

Read More

Invest in Equity Build-up

Equity build-up could be one of the biggest advantages to buying a home.  There are two distinct dynamics that take place to make this happen: each house payment applies an amount to

Read More

America Still Considers Real Estate the Best

35% of respondents, in a recent annual Gallup poll that dates back to 2002, identified real estate as the best long-term investment option compared to 27% who identified stocks.The top choices

Read More

Determining Property Type

The Internal Revenue Service considers four different types of real estate.  Specific types of properties have benefits based on their classification.  The determination does not depend on

Read More

Get Leverage Working for You

Get Leverage Working for YouLeverage is an investment term that describes the use of borrowed funds to control an asset; sometimes referred to as using other people's money.  Borrowed funds can

Read More

Delay Will Usually Cost More

Two things can happen when the mortgage rates go up before you've found a home or locked-in your mortgage.  You'll either pay the current mortgage rate which means a higher payment, or you'll

Read More

Measuring Square Footage

Measuring Square FootageSquare footage is commonly used to determine if a home will fit a buyer's needs.  The price per square foot can be used to compare the costs of different homes and

Read More

Checking for Water Leaks

Checking for Water LeaksAside from standing water in your yard or water running out from under a sink, the first indication that you might have a water leak comes from a larger than normal water.

Read More

Building Equity

Owning a home is the first step to building equity.  Tenants build equity but not for themselves; they build it for the owners.Equity is the difference in the value of the home and what is owed

Read More

Taxes and the Homeowner

Whether you're an owner now or expect to be one in the future, it is important to be familiar with the federal tax laws that affect homeownership.  Since personal income tax was enacted in

Read More

Temporarily Renting a Home

IRS has provisions for homeowners regarding the sale of a principal residence that allows for temporarily renting the home without losing the ability to exclude the gain if the home is sold under

Read More

Time to Buy Again

For people who have experienced a distressed sale of a home and gotten their finances and credit back in shape, there can still be an unanswered question of "How long do we have to wait to qualify

Read More

Tech to Find the Right Home

According to the 2018 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 52% of buyers want help to find the right home to purchase.  Physically locating the home is certainly part of what buyers want from

Read More

Comfort Systems

Heating and air-conditioning are frequently referred to as the "comfort systems."  If one has gone out in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort becomes a primary.

Read More

A Home Warranty Can Save Money

A Home Warranty Can Save MoneyYour income tax is probably filed for last year by now and you've been through your expenses for the year.  Money spent on repairs to your home is not deductible

Read More

Buyers - Convenient at a Price

There are an increasing number of real estate companies, termed iBuyers, like Open Door, Offerpad, Zillow, Knock and others that market a service that has an appeal to homeowners.  The pitch

Read More

One Loan for Purchase & Renovations

One Loan for Purchase & RenovationsThe FNMA HomeStyle conventional mortgage allows a buyer to purchase a home that needs renovations and include them in the financing.  This facilitates the

Read More

Get Rid of Things You Don't Need

Get Rid of Things You Don't NeedPeriodically, you need to rid yourself of things that are taking up you time and space to make room for more of what you like and want.There's a frequently quoted

Read More

Qualified Charitable Contribution

Qualified Charitable ContributionIf you're at an age where you need to be taking Required Minimum Distributions (age 70.5) from your IRA, a qualified charitable contribution and some planning may

Read More

Auto Pay Your Mortgage Payment

4/3/2019In the time that it takes to write one check, you can set it up with your bank and never have to do it again.  You won't have to write checks, envelopes or buy stamps anymore.;&

Read More

To-Do List for Better Homeowners

Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done.  They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us

Read More

Reasons Rental Homes Rank Highest

Single family homes offer the investor an opportunity to borrow large loan-to-value loans at fixed interest rates for long terms.  Lenders will loan 75-80% of the purchase price at 5.5% to

Read More

Will Points Make a Difference

Lenders typically quote mortgages at a market rate but can offer a lower interest rate loan if the borrower is willing to pay points up-front which is considered pre-paid interest.  These

Read More

More Than Just an Address

More Than Just an AddressFor a short time after the housing crisis a decade ago, some homeowners thought the value of home is a place to live rather than an investment.  A home certainly

Read More

Depends If You Can Afford It

Affordability, stability and flexibility are the three reasons homebuyers overwhelmingly choose a 30-year term.  The payments are lower, easier to qualify for the mortgage and they can always

Read More

When It's Important...Find the Facts

When It's Important...Find the FactsMost parents don't put a lot of credence in the statements "Everyone is doing it" and "No one does that anymore."  They'll dig a little deeper and get

Read More

Your Real Estate Resources

Being a better homeowner is a full-time job.  It takes good information to make good decisions not only when you buy and sell but all the years you own a home.Think of times when you need

Read More

Is a Home Equity Loan an Option?

Here's the scenario: you have a project and need to borrow some money, but you want to do it in the most economic manner.  You've got a low rate on your existing first mortgage and don't

Read More

Home Inventory

Generally speaking, when you need an inventory of your personal belongings, it is too late to make one.  Sure, you can reconstruct it but undoubtedly, you'll forget things and that can

Read More

Standard or Itemized Deductions

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples.  There will be some instances that homeowners may be better off taking the standard

Read More

Year End Tax Newsletter

One of the first steps in a good outcome is knowing a little bit about what you're about to undertake.  By being aware of some of the areas regarding homes that may not come up every year

Read More

Your Real Estate Resource

Being a better homeowner is a full-time job.  It's not just about making better decisions when you buy and sell; it's making better decisions throughout the time you own the home.It takes

Read More

More Comfortable, Convenient and Secure

Smart home technology promises to make your home more comfortable, convenient and secure.  It may not be the home from the Jetson's but artificial intelligence is the hope to make it the home

Read More

Another Type of Financing Concession

Price, condition and terms are factors that any owner must consider when marketing their home.  Price is usually the easiest to adjust to compensate for shortcomings in location or

Read More

44 Times More Than a Renter

The Federal Reserve Board's Triennial Survey of Consumer Finances recently revealed the net worth of a homeowner was $231,400 compared to $5,200 for a renter.  The net worth of homeowners

Read More

Gift of Equity

There is a little-known mortgage program that could provide the vehicle for the right person to get into a home.  If a person sells their home to another for less than the fair market value,

Read More

Roll the Repairs into the Mortgage

It's been said that if you can find a home that has most of what you want, you should go ahead and purchase it.  Many first-time buyers are using everything they have for a down payment

Read More

Getting the "Right" Home

Finding the right home is still the biggest challenge buyers are faced with in today's market as is shown in the latest Confidence Index Survey.  Assuming the buyers find the "right" home

Read More

Start Early and Live Happily Ever-after

As storybooks go, the character is introduced, they meet their love interest, a villain thwarts their intentions, true love overcomes, they marry and live happily ever-after.  It's a very

Read More

It's Not Just the Tax Benefits

When the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly was increased from $12,700 to $24,000 for 2018, there was some speculation that the bloom was off the rose of homeownership.  

Read More

The "Right" Agent and the "Right" Home

Some buyers think that finding the right home is the critical part of the buying process and that is how they determine which agent to use. While it is important, there may be a broader skill set to

Read More

Your Refund Could be the Difference

One of the silver linings to filing your income tax return is finding out that you are going to receive a refund. If you happen to be one of these fortunate taxpayers, your next decision is what to

Read More

FHA Advantages

The Federal Housing Administration, operating under HUD, offers affordable mortgages for tens of thousands of buyers who may not qualify for other types of programs. They are popular with both first

Read More

HELOCs Becoming More Expensive

In September, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time in 2018 and they're expected to go up one more time this year and three times next year.  If you have a Home Equity

Read More

Don't Let a Killer In

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don't want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says

Read More

Mortgage Prices

t’s understandable; you’re excited; you’ve found the right home, negotiated a contract, made a loan application and inspections.  Closing is not that far away, and you

Read More

Moisture & Mold

Moisture is mold's best friend and it thrives between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit which is why it is commonly found in homes.  Mold spores float in the air and can grow on virtually any

Read More

Consumer Protection and Mortgage Practices

Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 in response to the mortgage crisis that led to America's Great Recession.  The two parts that apply closely to homebuyers are the Ability-to

Read More

How to Clean Gutters

The gutters and downspouts on your home are intended to channel rainwater away from your home and its foundation.  When they're blocked and not functioning properly they can lead to the

Read More

Mortgage Rates Surge to 7-Year High After Fed Hike

Mortgage rates surged to their highest averages since 2011 following the Federal Reserve’s announcement Wednesday that it is raising its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point. The 30

Read More