Most Popular Days for Closings

Fridays and the last business day of the month tend to be the busiest for closings, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Researchers at NAR analyzed the top closing days of 2014 based on existing-home sales data.

The top seven closing days in 2014 were:

  1. Mon., June 30
  2. Fri., May 30
  3. Fri., Aug. 29
  4. Wed., April 30
  5. Thurs., July 31
  6. Tues., Sept. 30
  7. Fri., Feb. 28
  8. Fri., June 27
  9. Fri., Oct. 31
  10. Fri., Aug. 15

“Spring and summer days figure prominently in the top of the list, but all seasons are represented,” researchers note on NAR’s Economists’ Outlook blog.

The data confirms that, based on existing-home sales data, June and July were the top months for home sales in 2014, followed by August and May. June and July alone accounted for more than 20 percent of the sales that occurred in 2014.

Source: “Part 1: EHS in 2014 by the Numbers – Popular Closing Dates,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook Blog (Jan. 12, 2015)

Tax Planning With Life Insurance

Norm Jones A cash value life insurance policy is a product that helps to secure the financial futures of families upon the death of an individual and enjoys a very favorable tax status.

 

While payments into the policy are generally not tax-deductible (unless the policy is bought within a qualified
retirement program), the death proceeds are received by the policy beneficiaries free of income tax1.  This favorable tax treatment of the policy death benefit reflects the government’s acknowledgement that providing financially for one’s family is an undertaking that should be encouraged.

 

In addition, since the typical cash value life insurance policy is funded with equal payments over the lifetime of the insured, amounts paid in excess of the cost of insurance and other expenses in the early years of the policy are allowed to compound on a tax-deferred basis over the life of the policy.  This tax-deferred cash value growth may allow the policy to be “pre-funded” at reasonable amounts over the life of the policy, rather than requiring an increasing payment as the insured gets older and has a higher probability of dying – which is the way a typical term policy is structured.

 

The structure of a whole life insurance policy with level premiums helps to make a lifetime death benefit protection program work efficiently and remain in force until the insured eventually dies and proceeds can be paid to the family to meet its ongoing financial obligations.  Were the premium to increase each year, eventually the insured might find the cost of the insurance to be too much of a financial burden and discontinue making premium payments, perhaps leading to the lapse of the policy and loss of the needed insurance protection.

 

Another attractive feature of a cash value life insurance policy is the ability to take loans against the value of the policy2 which can be done without current income tax.  Proper policy design from inception is critical to having these intended tax advantages, which is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable life insurance professional.

 

Tax Form with a Man on topFor example, policy loans can be used for a number of purposes over the lifetime of the insured.  One typical use of policy loans is to pay for the increasing costs of attending college.  The death benefit of the policy also serves as a self-completing feature, were the insured to die prematurely, before the family has the opportunity to accumulate sufficient funds to send the children to college.   Life insurance cash values can also serve as a sort of “emergency fund”, which can be accessed when life throws the family a financial challenge.

 
Finally, policy cash values can be accessed income tax-free using policy loans and withdrawals in retirement as a source of supplemental retirement income.  Who among us could not use an additional source of retirement
income?  Of course, accessing policy funds during lifetime will decrease the total death benefit that will be paid out when the insured eventually passes on, and enough cash value must be left in the policy to keep it in-force until the death of the insured.  This is another reason why working with an insurance professional is so important.

 

Many families have come to recognize and appreciate the many tax advantages of cash value life insurance.  Structured properly, such a policy can offer both living and death benefits that complement well their other financial strategies.

 

To determine if the many tax-advantages of cash value life insurance should be a part of your financial strategy, contact a life insurance professional for a thorough review of your particular situation.  You may be surprised to find that you have a number of alternatives that may be able to help you and your family pursue greater financial security in these unsettled times.

 

 

  1. Internal Revenue Code § 101(a)(1).  There are some exceptions to this rule.  Please consult a
  2. qualified tax professional for advice concerning your individual situation.
  3. Policy loans and withdrawals reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and may result in a taxable event.  Withdrawals up to the basis paid into the contract and loans thereafter will not create an immediate taxable event, but substantial tax ramifications could result upon contract lapse or surrender.  Surrender charges may reduce the policy’s cash value in early years.

The views and information contained herein has been prepared independently of the presenting representative.  It is presented for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as tax advice.  Please consult with a tax professional before acting upon any such information.

What your Buyer’s Agent Can Do for YOU

Home For Sale Sign in Front of Beautiful New Home

If you are thinking that NOW is the time to start looking for a new home, you are probably right!  There are many reasons for this quick answer, but some of them are: low interest rates, supply, and the availability of your buyers agent’s time.

If you are in hopes of moving this spring or summer, it probably is the right time to start, but how should you start?  Step one is to starting working with one of our agents, by sitting down with him or her and discussing your situation, wants, and needs.  This should be done as a face-to-face meeting and will require about 45 minutes to an hour of your time, but will be time well-spent.  The agents at the Coup Agency are very experienced and have the expertise to work with new home buyers as well as seasoned buyers.

The purchase of a home is a process and many steps need to be followed.  We can help you navigate through those steps and can assist in assuring that the steps are followed in the right order to make the most efficient use of your time.  Doing the steps out of order can actually delay the purchase of your dream home and disappoint you in the process.  Many want to start looking at homes immediately and when they find something they like, then get started with the “details” of house hunting.  Our experienced agents will let you know why that is not the best way to get started and what the pitfalls of such an actions might be.

If after sitting down with an agent and listening to the benefits, you may decided to “hire” that agent to represent you through the entire process.  That is done with some forms that will be thoroughly reviewed with you, so you know what you are signing.  If you do “hire” the agent, please know that they are then bound to have YOUR best interest at heart throughout the entire process.

Here is a list of just some of the tasks and events that a buyer’s agent can do for you:

Help arrange financing.

  1. Assist in locating sources of mortgage loans.
  2. Help you examine how much you can afford but how much you may want to spend.
  3. Assist in comparing different financing options.
  4. Provide information on purchasing incentives that may be available.
  5. Educate and discuss the differences, between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage.

Assist in finding the right property.

  1. Identify your needs and wants in a property.
  2. Find appropriate available properties.
  3. Be able to discuss a property and how it may or may not qualify for the type of financing that you are approved for.
  4. Set up an automated email alert system that immediately notifies you of properties that fit your requirements, thus saving you the time to constantly search for new listings.  Our website will also assist you to search for homes.
  5. Sort through inaccurate information about homes in the area.
  6. Provide ready access to all MLS-listed properties.
  7. Preview properties prior to showing.
  8. Help select for viewing only those homes that fit  your needs.
  9. Aid in narrowing your search until you have identified your top choices.
  10. Assist in analyzing the pros and cons of each property.
  11. Disclose all known latent material defects and assist in securing experts that can provide answers to those defects.
  12. Assist you in evaluating properties for suitability, affordability, and resale value.
  13. Assist with the many aspects of negotiating the terms of purchase for your new home.  (It’s more than just price!)

Educate you on market conditions.

  1. Educate you on whether it is a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market.
  2. Show statistics on what percent of list price the sellers are currently receiving.
  3. Show trends, current average days on market, current absorption rate, and/or current months of inventory.