Delaware Tops Kiplinger’s Most tax-Friendly State List!

It’s been no secret that Delaware is one of the most tax friendly states for retirees. In an recent article on Yahoo Finance, Kiplinger’s Sandra Block lists the top 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. and I am proud to say,

AAR Welcome to DE“It’s no “small wonder,” Delaware remains #1 on the most tax-friendly state list!

“These ten states impose some of the lowest taxes in the U.S., according to Kiplinger’s 2014 analysis of state tax rules,” says Sandra Block. “State taxes and the ways they are collected vary significantly across the country. For example, some states with low income taxes impose above-average sales or property taxes — a big consideration if you intend to own your house. Most states allow cities and counties to add their own sales taxes, which can boost combined sales taxes in some cities to 10% or more.”

It’s also important to consider the potential trade-offs. Low tax revenues may give a state less money to spend on education, transportation, public safety and other quality-of-life services important to you and your family.

1. Delaware

State income tax: 2.2%-6.6%, State sales tax: None, Gas taxes and fees: $0.23 per gallon (National average is $0.31)

The First State is first on our list. Known for its tax-friendly treatment of corporations, Delaware imposes no sales tax on consumers. Its income tax rates cap out at 6.6% on taxable income above $60,000.

Delaware also has some of the lowest property tax rates in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation. The median property tax on the state’s median home value of $249,400 is $1,078, low compared to other states.

Excise taxes on beer and wine are also modest: 16 cents per gallon for beer and 97 cents for a gallon of wine. Continue reading

Never judge a builder by its stock performance

I am an avid CNBC watcher but not as much as I used to be. They have gone from reporting hard news to advocating for their own positions and favorite companies. If you only evaluated companies based on their stock performance or the comments of a CNBC on air personality, would you end up with the best product?

Never judge a builder by its stock performance

If that company is a home builder would their stock performance guarantee you the best home?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-handsome-builder-moving-big-chart-image38285131Is a large publicly-traded company better than a local builder?

That depends. If you are buying a new home from a production builder, bigger might be better in some cases. Sometimes I find that the public accountability is a plus. Maintaining a good reputation can be very important to a company in business for the long haul. Good press, positive online reviews and satisfied customers can contribute to happy shareholders as well as happy homeowners. Continue reading

What will a new home cost in a 55+ community in Delaware?

How much will a new home cost? What will the taxes be? Will I have public water and sewer? These and other questions are important to ask and evaluate when you are buying a retirement home in another state. Statistics say that most people downsize and stay within an hour of their existing home when they retire.AAR Welcome to DE

An AARP survey in 2010 showed that people over 45 prefer to live near family, and within reach of basic services. The desire to stay close to the people and services that they rely on may be one factor keeping seniors in place.

If they do relocate, there are usually specific reasons and a lot of it has to do with taxes and cost of living. Weather may also play a role.

They will relocate to areas with a lower cost of living. Still, many boomers dream of relocating in retirement, leaving behind traffic, cold weather and high taxes. A quarter of a century ago, the most important consideration in choosing where to relocate in retirement was climate. Today, the primary drivers are the cost of living and access to affordable healthcare. US News

So, what will a new home cost in a 55+ community in Delaware?

In an improving real estate market I thought it would be a good time to talk about the relationship between lower taxes and the price of a home in Delaware. It has become no secret that Delaware is one of the most tax friendly states for retirees. (FAQ’s on DE Taxes) Depending on where live now, that does not necessarily mean that our home prices are lower. Continue reading

Report: Big Homes Are a Hot Trend on the National Real Estate Market

US Construction Big homes are a big deal on the national housing market, according to a recent article in USA Today.

Evidently, big homes are a hot trend and a growing number of home buyers are looking for larger homes to accommodate their every need and desire.

In fact, of the 569,000 homes built last year in the US, about 33 percent (or 188,000 homes) had three or more bathrooms. That’s the largest share since tracking of new construction homes started in 1987.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of last year’s total new homes (or 251,000 homes) featured four or more bedrooms – which is the largest share it’s been since 1973.

These homes also tend to come with a lot more amenities:

  • 53 percent of the homes built last year (301,000) had a patio
  • 63 percent (361,000) had a porch
  • And 22 percent (127,000) had a deck

It’s quite an interesting trend, especially given that at the same time, home ownership rates are remaining stable and the size of families and households is actually decreasing. Continue reading

DE Fall Foliage Drives and Farmers Markets

Day-tripper Alert: DE Fall Foliage Drives and Fresh Farm Markets are Fabulous!

Our state’s Byways are perfect for Fall Foliage Drives to our fabulous Farmers Markets. Being an agricultural state, Delaware offers a bountiful harvest of fruit and vegetables and many Scenic Drives to somewhere and to nowhere, too. Why not take advantage of this year’s harvest while you’re enjoying a drive through the autumn leaves.

We linked four of our favorite 1st state Byways highlighting a true taste of the state’s diverse geography!

For more 1st state scenic drives, visitdelaware.com has a comprehensive list of Delaware Byways and Scenic Drives, so go and get started exploring before the snow flies! Prime time for fall foliage driving in Delaware is from September through October. Continue reading

Buyers, Are You Ready To Bundle?

I asked Gail Alm at Fairway Independent Mortgage in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to comment on a question Buyers often ask,

“Can I bundle closing costs into my mortgage?”

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-real-estate-closing-costs-graphic-depicting-words-front-model-home-image37790550So, are you ready to bundle? Here’s what she said… “When Kathy asked me if you can bundle closing costs into your mortgage, the answer can be yes or no, depending on the circumstances of the mortgage and your personal financial situation.”

If you are making a new home purchase your loan officer will typically ask you how much of your hard earned money you are planning on bringing to the table to  include closing costs.  This helps us in discussing whether private mortgage insurance will be necessary or not.

Lenders believe if you have at least 20% of your money in the transaction as down payment then the risk of the loan defaulting is not very great.  Less than 20% down payment and the mortgage insurance (MI) is required by the lender.  The percentage of mortgage insurance is tiered so that someone with only 5% down will pay more mortgage insurance than someone with 15% down since they have less of their own money invested.

The real key is there will be closing costs and they will be paid from the money you are bringing to the table on a purchase.  Bottom line is, if rolling closing costs into the new mortgage keep your Loan to Property value (LTV) under 80% you can do it and keep money in your pocket.  It will make your monthly payment higher so you need to make sure you know exactly what that would look like from a cash flow perspective.

Now from a refinancing perspective, if there is enough equity in the property, you can roll the closing costs into the new mortgage so you do not have to bring money to the table.  Again, it will increase your monthly payment so depending on your personal financial situation, it may make sense and it may not.” Continue reading

Compare Historic Interest Rates By Decade

Ghosts of Historic Interest Rates Past… as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

In this case, the picture below courtesy of Gail Alm, Mortgage Planning Specialist shows thousands of interest dollars paid on mortgages through the decades. Go ahead, take a look and…

Compare historic interest rates from the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, 2000′s and today.

Mortgage-Information-KCM

Retiring and getting ready to move on and take advantage of today’s Historically low interest rates? Sign up for our Active  Adults Realty FREE Publications, order your FREE Buyers Guide. Are you ready to be a LOCAL now? Call 302-424-1890, or email us, let’s get started on your move to Delaware today!

Interest rate information, courtesy Gailof Gail Alm, Mortgage Planning Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage

37156 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Office 302-260-7088 | Mobile 410-868-0423
gaila@fairwaymc.com | www.gailalm.com

CLICK Here to Print The PDF and share it with your friends!

The Potential Pitfalls of DIY Estate Planning

When asked about the potential pitfalls of DIY Estate Planning… Cheap and easy but is it better than nothing?”

Michael Loftus, Managing Director at Loftus Wealth Strategies in Millville, Delaware, “Americans, by and large, are do-it-yourselfers. Books, websites, software programs, and even giant box stores exist solely to help ambitious Americans tackle all kinds of everyday challenges, from fixing leaky faucets to building backyard sheds.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-estate-planning-d-illustration-concept-image36471528The same holds true for estate planning–there’s certainly no dearth of information for those wanting to prepare their own wills and other important documents. However, do-it-yourselfers may want to exercise a bit of caution here.

Although do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning can cost a fraction of what attorneys charge, depending on your personal situation, this may be a case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

Proponents of DIY estate planning typically have two arguments:

1             It’s cheap and easy: Creating a will and other estate planning documents on your own can cost far less than doing so with an attorney’s assistance. You can find resources online and in the library that could help.

2             It’s better than nothing: What happens if you die or become very ill without important estate planning documents? In that case, the state will make important decisions for you, such as how your property will be distributed, who will care for your minor children, and what medical care you’ll receive if you are unable to make your wishes known.

These points are valid: For those who cannot afford to pay an attorney, DIY may be an economical alternative. For others, a poorly drafted will may be better than no will at all, especially when naming a guardian for minor children is involved. But there are several risks to DIY estate planning, including the risk that your wishes will not be carried out exactly as you intend. Continue reading

What’s Up with Your Docs?

Help us find a good doctors, practices, specialists or labs by sharing your knowledge base with other new Delaware residents.

Moving to a different state requires a lot of changes including finding a new doctor – someone reliable, someone trustworthy, and someone professional. Please help us build a resource of good doctors, practices, specialists or labs by sharing your knowledge base with other new Delaware residents.
     As the saying goes, “word of mouth is the best form of advertising,” we are hoping you can let us know, “What’s up with your Docs? The information we receive from this request, can help make the search easier for other Boomers looking to set up new medical services upon their arrival. It’s easy, just send us your comments via email regarding which doctors you use and like and if they are taking new patients. By sending us their contact information, we will be able to add them to a resource bank to assist other new residents with their medical checklist.
Who do you like?

Tell us your favorite Delaware doctors

 

Boomer Movers: As you consider your new LOCAL life in Delaware, spend time and research your medical options, consider the proximity to the nearest hospital, the emergency response time to your residence, access to primary care physicians and specialists and where you will have to go for specialized treatment. Continue reading

US Home Sales Outperform Experts’ Predictions

US Home Selling 2It’s always a good sign on the national housing market when US Home Sales outperform experts predictions!

And that’s exactly what happened recently when the latest market activity report was released by the National Association of Realtors in July.

Evidently, contracts to purchase previously-owned properties increased more than expected during the month of July, signaling that there truly is renewed momentum on the national housing market.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at The Numbers

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, the pending home sales index increased 3.3 percent after a 1.3 percent decrease during the month of June. Continue reading