Connect with us


Things You Should Know About Property Taxes, and Probably Didn’t

flipping a house

The phrase tells it all. Property tax is the tax that you’re required to pay by the national, county, regional, state government or some other local jurisdiction for owning real estate property. When looking to buy or own property, most people barely consider that property ownership goes beyond mortgage repayments. Paid either monthly or annually, taxes are basically an expense, which should be factored in as part of the cost when buying a home. Having the right and important information about property tax is crucial to every homeowner or property owner. Among other perks, you get to plan better and probably pay less and save a couple of dollars off your tax bill annually if you’re lucky. Without further ado, here are some things you probably didn’t know about property taxes and you should.

Things You Want To Know About Property Taxes

  • The types and the fees involved
  • How Property Tax is calculated
  • Penalties and foreclosure
  • Tax exemptions
  • Tax breaks

1. Know Your Tax Types and Fees

The tax rates imposed on a property may differ from state to state and county to county or local government to local government. Pretty much the amount you pay for your annual property tax depends on where your property is located and its current value. Some local governments have various types of taxes depending on the kind of property you own, including temporary tangibles. In areas such as Nashville, Tennessee, for instance, you may be required to pay personal property tax in addition to real property tax. Especially before buying a home or real estate property, it is important to visit your local government’s office and ask about the taxes you’re required to pay.

2. How Property Tax Is Calculated

In most areas, a tax assessor conducts an assessment of your property and determines your tax rates based on the property valuation. In some areas where development and expansion are rapid, property tax rates may increase as the property appreciates in value. The general rule of thumb is that the rates are tied to your home or building’s value and its location.

The calculation formula may vary from place to place though. In Boca Raton Florida, for instance, local governments set defined millage rates that they use in the assessment process and every 10 mills are equal to 1%. Your property tax is calculated by multiplying the millage rate with your property’s value. You barely need to cram this formula though. Fortunately, you can find property tax calculators on government websites and other reliable sites online. It is also worth noting that in case you add a structure or building on your property, your annual tax is highly likely to increase since your property value also does.

3. There’re Penalties to Worry About

Paying your property tax is one thing, doing so on time is absolutely another. Note that there are penalties involved for late payment and taxes in arrears. In Florida, for instance, delinquent property taxes attract a 3% interest along with advertising fees. These monies are added to the total due amount. Failing to pay your property taxes can plain and simply lead to foreclosure. You don’t want to lose your home over a few dollars a year.

4. You Can Be a Beneficiary of Tax Exemptions

In some areas, the government offers tax reliefs for certain classes of property owners. People with disabilities and veterans, for instance, are beneficiaries of tax exemptions in most states in the US. In some areas, local tax jurisdictions provide a certain amount of tax relief to homeowners. Florida is a good example where senior citizens aged above 65 are eligible for up to $50,000 homestead exemption and $5000 veteran disability exemption. Since exemptions may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it is advisable to liaise with your local tax assessor and ask whether you’re eligible.

5. Property Tax Can Lower Your Income Tax

Last but not least, you can get tax deductions, credits, and rebates just by being a homeowner. The next time you file your federal income tax returns, you may want to itemize your property taxes as deductibles. However, special assessment costs are not deductible along with the actual tax. In some instances, paying your property taxes in time can even help you claim for a refund off the amount you paid for federal income tax.

Knowing how property taxes work can actually reduce your home ownership costs depending on your area of residence. It is also good for your budget, especially when it comes to property ownership expenses.


Should You Consider A Physicians Mortgage?


Mortgages have been around since the 1930s and today there are many providers and types of home loans.

Some loans are based on fixed or variable interest, while other products target specific borrowers e.g. mortgages for veterans which are called VA loans. This blog article focuses on home loans for doctors, which are also known as ‘physicians mortgages’.

One of the main reasons these loans where created was to give new doctors a chance to get into their first home. Graduating as a Doctor takes many years of study and during this time, the student debt has grown.

Standard mortgages are less flexible than Doctor home loans and with a standard home loan the student debt would get in the way and in many cases disqualify the borrower altogether. The huge benefit of the tailored physicians mortgage is it offers a lot more wiggle room on preconditions or qualifications to secure the mortgage.

The professional medical mortgage has been custom designed to allow for no deposit or down payment, limited assets and student debt. This may seem like favouritism but remember the attributes of physicians and also their earning power as their career progresses. Also, let us not forget, we all trust doctors and so too do the lenders. 🙂

How To Get A Physicians Mortgage

The minimum education requirement for this funding is a bachelors degree of D.M.D, D.D.S., D.O., D.V.M., or M.D. What you don’t need when you apply for the loan is an actual job! Yes, sound too good to be true and that’s because there’s a catch. You need to have a job ready to go within sixty days. You will need to show your employment letter with the start date.

Even if your job is in another state or at any time you need to move interstate your physicians mortgage in most cases will remain, but as there are many different providers, you’ll need to know the loan’s terms. It is at this time, when we recommend getting professional advice from your accountant, lawyer and financial advisor.

Standard Home Loan Versus Physicians Mortgage

Here are some of the key differences of a standard mortgage versus a Doctor loan from the guide to physicians loans:


Standard loans require a down payment. It can be as much as twenty percent of the sales price of the home. The opposite applies to physicians loans where little to no deposit is required.

No Two-Year Employment Proof Required

Typically, standard loans require a work history of two years in the same industry before you apply for a mortgage. As a Doctor, you may be just starting out and this is no barrier to securing a home loan. To apply for the doctor loan, show an employment contract, with the guaranteed hourly rate or salary, and the number of hours you will work.

Private Mortgage Insurance

There are varying rules for PMI with standard mortgages but the rule of thumb is if as the borrower you’ve put less than twenty percentage of the sales price as a down payment, then you’ll need to pay PMI which can be as high as 1.2% of the loan amount. With doctor loans PMI is not required at all.

Student Loans

A loan is a loan and it affects the borrowers serviceability and what is known as DTI (debt to income) ratio. Standard loans include the student debt in the calculation whereas the physicians mortgage does not.

No Rate Jumb On Jumbo Loans

Standard loans that are over say $450,000 can incur a higher interest rate. This is not case with the Doctor loan.


Whatever your profession, always consider the pros and cons with all loan agreements.

When you’re ready to make the next step on the property ladder consult the professionals. Your profession may qualify for a custom loan, that better suits your position.

However,  as we all know, ‘one size doesn’t fit all’, there may be other factors, pertinent to you and your family, that require your accountant’s input before taking on debt. Plus if you’re buying a home also get advice from your lawyer before you sign on the dotted line!

Continue Reading


6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Crowdfunding Platform

funding for property investment

Property crowdfunding has caught up, and more people are now looking to invest in this lucrative platform.

Since the first platform started more platforms have been set up, but how do you choose the right platform?

Here is how to evaluate and make the best decision according to your budget and risk portfolio according the Shojin Property Partners.

1. Returns

When it comes to property crowdfunding the most important thing is the returns on offer. Returns received are based upon how well a property performs; it would be wise to research the location of the properties and how well rental yields perform in that area.

After such an analysis then the next question would be whether the yield been offered beat the averages for that area. If not then you need to analyze and make sure you are clear on the actual return on investment after all costs have been deducted.

2. Yield vs capital growth

Crowdfunding allows you to diversify your investment across different properties thus cushions you from significant losses. As an investor, although your reasons may be different, yield and capital growth are an essential part of your final decision.

To gain high returns and growth on capital you need to invest in properties producing healthy cash flow. This way you will not be under pressure to sell or liquidate you can wait it out and enjoy the returns.

3. Security and risk of investment

Security of your investment is critical and to ensure it’s safe you need to ask how your investment is protected in case something goes wrong, and how much equity is there.

When you invest on a platform check what security is in place to help you recover your capital investment in case something goes wrong?

Some types of investment to check out that is low risk include already valuable properties with a healthy cash flow.

If you decide to go big with your investment with long term, buy to let investment then ensure you are protected with either ownership of the property through a shareholding in an SPV or the charge is registered at the land registry.

4. Success record and transparency

Crowdfunding is a lucrative investment, and it’s becoming increasingly popular, at the same it’s important to look for one with a proven track record.

Find out who are the people running the platform and if they have a proven track record in property investment. If they have a proven record with their own property portfolio, this will grow your confidence in terms of protection of your investment as well as their ability to make the right decisions.

A platform with a history of successful investments and transparency can protect you from potential pitfalls.

5. Exiting

In crowd funding liquidating your investment may take a while; thus if you need money in a short while then maybe it is not the right type of investment.

As an investor you will have little to no control over the sale of property; thus you need to understand how it works. For example, you can look for shorter-term projects between 6-12 months with defined exits.

In some companies, they will assist you to sell your shares but there are no guarantees, so check if that option is available.

Property crowdfunding works well as a long term investment and gets you more returns in terms of growing yields and capital growth.

6. Customer service

A supportive customer service that is responsive and looks after customer needs is an essential part of a crowdfunding platform.

When it comes to investing your money, you don’t want to be frustrated by inconsistent replies to queries or non-responsive customer service. To help you figure out whether it’s a good choice check for testimonials and reviews from other customers.

Positive feedback means they offer excellent service and lousy feedback, well you already know that’s not the place to invest your money.


Property crowdfunding is a lucrative investment, and with the right platform, the returns will be worth it.

Finding the platform that works for you in terms of the length of investment will help you be a better asset manager. Besides, you get to expand your property portfolio and pick what works for you.

Another thing you should consider as in a platform is third party engagement; they should be able to conduct due diligence on all properties listed to avoid risking your investment.

Roll up your sleaves and research the platforms you might be interested in and simply check off the above factors before considering your investment. Invest in companies with a good property investment track record of success and with lucrative properties to invest on.

Consult with crowdfunding companies that already have a good property portfolio for advice and tips on investing.

Continue Reading


Remortgaging: When is the best time?

people, keys

Do you have one or more mortgages you’re paying off? And has your credit rating, your finances, or the value of your home gone up? Then consider remortgaging. It can save you a lot of money every year, release some of your equity as cash, and even lower your interest rates and payments. In short, it can be a better deal than what you currently have. So when is the best time to remortgage?

At the End of Your Fixed Term

Regardless of your reasons, when’s the best time to remortgage? It’s at the end of your term, of course, which is anywhere from 2 to 5 years. And as for the best time of year, quarter, or month, it’s usually at the end when lending officers are more cooperative.

Remember, they have monthly and quarterly targets to reach, especially if they work for a publicly listed company. And at the end of the year, they want to finish well and earn high bonuses.

When the Price of Your Home Goes Up

When the prices of the neighboring properties go up, even if it’s midway through your term, then it’s time to consider remortgaging. And the reason for this is obvious. As the price of your home increases, so does your equity.

What does this have to do with mortgages? Everything! For the most part, your mortgage depends on your equity. The higher the equity, the lower the interest rates and monthly payments. But there’s a catch. Remortgaging in between a term attracts a fee. Fortunately, with high equity, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the cost.

When You Need Cash

Is credit card debt weighing you down and needs to be repaid? Is an expensive wedding on the horizon? Or, is your child joining college soon and needs tuition fees? If this describes you, then it’s a high time you find out how to remortgage, and more so if your home has equity.

Remortgaging frees up some of your property value as cash, which you can then use in whichever way you please. However, take this step only as a last resort or if you need money for home improvements, which further increase the value of your property.

When You Want a Better Deal

Like most homeowners, you likely had limited finances when buying your first home. And without enough money, you had few options and little negotiating power over your final mortgage deal. As a result, you ended up with a variable-rate deal or with high-interest rates and monthly payments. Now your financial situation has improved and you want a better mortgage.

Then why don’t you remortgage? Shop around for a better deal about 3 months before the end of your mortgage term. When you get one, grab it. It could save you thousands of dollars a year while offering more predictable yet lower rates and payments.

Don’t be stuck with your current mortgage deal if you consider it unsuitable or if the value of your home has increased. Likewise, don’t fail to meet your financial obligations for lack of cash. Try remortgaging to get a better deal or much-needed cash.

Continue Reading


Stamp Duty: How Does It Work?

stamp duty on homes

When budgeting for a new property, there’s always something that people forget to include in their sums. Sometimes it’s the cost of moving, sometimes it’s life insurance, and sometimes it’s protection cover. While these are all extremely important, there’s still one thing that people often slip people’s mind when thinking about how much they need to borrow: Stamp Duty.

While you might think you’re familiar with how this tax works, keep in mind that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made some substantial changes to stamp duty rates back in 2014, so if you haven’t gotten a mortgage since then, things may be different from how you remember.

Like many taxes, it’s unavoidable, so it’s crucial that you factor it into your budget calculations. If you don’t, you could find yourself in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to trying to purchase that dream property.

Unsure of how Stamp Duty rates work? Read on to find out more

What is Stamp Duty?

If you’ve never dealt with mortgages before, you might have never come across the term “Stamp Duty Land Tax,” before. Don’t worry. It’s isn’t difficult to understand.

The tax as we know it today was first introduced in 2003 and applies to both freehold and leasehold properties in England and Northern Ireland. Designed to cover the cost of all the legal documents for the purchase, paying it proves that the ownership of the land has changed from the previous occupant to you. If you don’t pay this tax, then legally you will not be able to officially purchase the property.

The tax still applies if you’re getting a mortgage or buying your property outright.

Do I Have Pay Stamp Duty?

Like most taxes, Stamp Duty rates don’t apply to everyone, so make sure you are aware if you fit the criteria to be charged.

The first significant group of people who won’t be affected are first-time buyers. As of November 2017, Stamp Duty changed so that all first-time buyers purchasing a property under £300,000 were exempt from paying it. However, if you aren’t a first-time buyer, you still won’t be taxed if you’re purchasing a property under £125,000.

Are you thinking about purchasing in Scotland or Wales? Congratulations, you don’t have to pay Stamp Duty either. However, don’t put away the cheque book just yet as you’ll instead be liable for a charge called the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland or the Land Transaction Tax in Wales, both of which apply to all purchases over £145,000.

The tax also doesn’t apply to mobile residences such as houseboats or caravans.

In summary, if you:

  • Aren’t a first-time buyer
  • Aren’t buying a property in Scotland or Wales
  • Are buying a property over £125,000
  • Aren’t buying a house that floats or that is on wheels

Then you will be paying some amount of Stamp Duty, with the amount depending on the value of your property.

How is it Paid?

Like many other taxes, Stamp Duty Rates vary wildly depending on the circumstances.

As mentioned earlier, how much you’ll pay will depend on the value of the property that you’re buying. There are several different rate bands, each one meaning that you’ll pay a certain percentage of the property’s value in Stamp Duty:

  • Up to £125,000: 0%
  • £125,001-£250,000: 2%
  • £250,001-£925,000: 5%
  • £925,001-£1.5 million: 10%
  • Over £1.5 million: 12%

There are circumstances where you may not end up paying this amount. For example, if the price of your property is only slightly over one of the Stamp Duty rate bands, then the estate agent or the seller may accept a lower amount. Also, if you divorce your partner, there is no Stamp Duty to pay if you give a portion of your property’s value to them.

To pay it, you will have to submit a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and send off what you owe within 30 days of completing the purchase. Keep in mind that Stamp Duty for a residential leasehold property will be charged differently.

Joint Ownership

If you’re jointly buying a property, then both parties will need to meet the criteria to be exempt from Stamp Duty.

While unmarried people can still be eligible for a reduction in the tax, it will only apply if there’s only one person named on the mortgage deed and that they’re a first-time buyer. Be aware that the maximum saving you can make in this scenario is £5,000 and with only one name on the mortgage application, it will be solely judged on their income which could limit your choices. Also, if you aren’t married and you split up, legally only one of you will have a claim on the property. While it might not be something you want to think about, it’s still a possibility you should keep in mind when it comes to such a large purchase.

Stamp Duty on Second Homes

If you purchase a second home, the tax still applies, and you will have to pay an extra 3% on top of what it would usually be.

If you’re planning on moving, make sure that you’re careful with dates and transactions. If you buy a new principal residence while not having sold your old one, then you will have to pay the higher Stamp Duty rates because you’ll technically be owning two properties. However, if this happens to you, you can be liable for a refund of the extra tax if you sell your previous house within three years of moving into your new home.

Stamp Duty is unavoidable for many, but as long as you’re aware of your circumstances and the amount you’ll be paying for your property, working out how much you’ll owe isn’t too difficult. Plus, there are plenty of free mortgage calculators online that are also capable of working out your Stamp Duty tax.

Continue Reading


A Home is in Your Future: Modular Home Financing Tips

modular home

Prefab manufactured home use in the US has grown to reach revenue of $10 billion in 2018. With so many people opting for modular homes, are you missing out?

What do you do if you need modular home financing? Is financing a modular home the same as financing a traditional home? Continue reading this article to learn about getting modular home loans.

Modular Home Financing Explained

When you’re looking into financing, there are key things you need to know about the buying process. When you have all of the information you need, it is easier for you to go through the process smoothly.

Financing Is Financing

You may have heard that getting financing on your modular home is going to be more difficult than getting financing on a home that is built on-site. This simply isn’t the case.

The main difference in the home you’re purchasing and the homes built on-site is where they are built. It is true that some homes have different benefits and many people go back and forth on the topic of modular vs manufactured, but you can get financing for prefab structure.

More people are seeing the benefits of buying a prefab home, and banks are used to financing them. Here is how you can get the best results when applying for financing.

Know How Much You Can Afford

When you start looking through potential homes to see which ones are going to be the best option for you, you need to know how much you can afford. If you start looking online or in person and fall in love with a home that is out of your price point, this can lead to dissatisfaction.

When you look at homes out of your price range, you waste your time. Instead of spending time looking at homes you can’t afford, know your price range and spend your time finding the perfect home in that price range.

Think About the Location

When you purchase a modular home, you can put it anywhere you want to put it. When you’re looking at property, you should think about how close it is to town, what the view is going to be like and all of these personal things.

Other points you need to think about is how much the land you’re looking at is worth. If you want to purchase the land but the bank doesn’t think it is worth the asking price, you may set yourself up for disappointment.

Figure out how much of a loan you can get and look at how much money the land you want is actually worth.

Pre-qualified Might Not Mean What You Think

When you see that you’re pre-qualified, make sure you understand what it means and don’t take it as the amount you can use on anything you want. Pre-qualification isn’t even a true approval.

Getting pre-qualified only does a soft pull on your credit. You can pre-qualify as much as you want with as many banks as you like without hurting your credit.

Pre-qualification can help you get an idea of how much money you can qualify for, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re good to go. If you want to buy a home, you need to go through the approval process after you’ve found the home you want to buy.

Understand Higher Interest Rates Mean Big Payments

Since you have access to the internet, there are so many different lenders and options available to you. You can go onto one website and see many offers come up asking you which one you would like to take. Seeing all these offers can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming.

When you look at some of the terms available to you, some of them could be very high-interest loans. Unless you have derogatory items on your credit or very young credit, you shouldn’t expect to pay high interest rates.

As you look at the offers that come to you, look at the APR as well as the term. A high APR and shorter term will mean a higher payment than a low APR loan with a longer term.

You need to find the sweet spot of a payment you can afford and pay the least interest as possible. If you can’t afford a big payment all months, you can simply choose to pay extra on your loan as you can so you have less interest to pay as the principal decreases.

How’s Your Credit Score?

Before you try to apply for credit, you want to get your credit score as high as possible. You may be doing things that are easy to fix and can help you get a lower interest rate if you fix them.

Are you carrying high balances on your credit cards? If you’re carrying high balances on your credit cards, this shows as high utilization on your credit cards. High utilization on your credit cards makes it look like you’re living to the max.

Look at the date your credit cards report to the credit bureaus. Whatever date they report to the credit bureaus, pay the card off or down very low a few days before the date. Don’t use the card until a couple of days after they report, so your utilization shows low.

Using and repaying your cards actually helps to build your credit, but if you’re repaying them and reusing them at the wrong times, it won’t help you.

Another thing that hurts your credit is late payments. Set up automatic payments on everything that allows you to set up automatic payments and keep the on-time payments high.

Need More Information on Buying Property?

Now that you understand modular home financing, you may want to continue your education on the topic. Knowing as much as possible before you buy is smart.

Your home is a long-lasting investment, and you shouldn’t have to worry about the buying process. Continue your education by reading our articles on buying property today.

Continue Reading


Do We Need Mortgage Brokers?


For decades prospective homeowners have looked to mortgage brokers to help them to find the best deal on a mortgage product and ensure that they find a product that’s right for their needs.

Not only are they trusted in helping to set up an initial mortgage, they are also relied upon to keep changing the mortgage product over the years as the needs of homeowners change.

Yet, while mortgage brokers are trusted all over the world by first time buyers and veteran homeowners alike… Do we really need them? And are they getting us the fair deal we trust them to?

Peeking behind the curtain

In recent years we’ve had a peek behind the curtain at mortgage brokering practices. And said insights have often portrayed mortgage brokers in a less than flattering light, especially when a line is drawn between the practices of mortgage brokers and the property lending bubble which precipitated the global financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Anyone who’s seen Adam McKay’s biting satire The Big Short will have seen an image of particularly greedy and shortsighted mortgage brokers lining their pockets at the expense of their clients and the greater economy.

They get big fat commissions from the banks whether their client is able to actually pay the mortgage or not so why should they acre whether their client ends up losing their home?

How mortgage brokers are remunerated

In order for us to understand whether or not it’s worth enlisting the services of a mortgage broker it’s worth looking into how they are remunerated. This is not always clear, unlike in the case of a real estate agent whose commission is fully disclosed.

Mortgage brokers are remunerated in a number of different ways. In some cases they are paid on a commission only basis by the lender. Some will charge a fee to the borrower and some do both plus an additional fixed fee.

Why does it matter?

The way in which mortgage brokers are remunerated goes a long way to explaining their practices (it certainly did prior to the financial crisis).

If they are paid hefty commissions by one bank while another pays them a more modest commission they’re more likely to be inclined to sell a product by the bank that pays them more regardless of whether or not their product is right for the needs of the customer.

In this light how can we be sure that they are going to act in our best interests rather than their own.

Property Investors

For investors this may not matter as much. They will be inclined to use a mortgage broker to help them to borrow as much as possible because their rental income will be more than an owner occupier’s mortgage payments would be on the same property.

Owner Occupiers

For owner occupiers who will only ever buy a handful of properties in their lives at the most it’s a slightly different kettle of fish. Owner occupiers need to think about how their financial circumstances will change and how their mortgage product can help them to maintain a balanced household budget without their mortgage payments subsuming all of their income.

Are Lenders Listening?

It’s worth keeping in mind that banks are, slowly but surely changing. It’s taken over a decade for increased regulation of global financial services industries to kick in (at least in ways that are meaningful to most of us). Suffice to say, banks are certainly less cavalier when it comes to whom they lend to and how much they lend.

They are also growing increasingly wary of paying out fat commissions for mortgage brokers.

This means that more and more mortgage brokers are charging a flat fee to their customers rather than relying on heavy commissions from banks.

This is potentially a double edged sword for Australian buyers. They will have to face greater upfront costs, but in return they have greater assurances that the interests of the broker will be more aligned with the interests of the buyer.

The pros and cons of using a mortgage broker

So, as we can see, the question of whether or not we need mortgage brokers is fairly nuanced and depends largely on our circumstances.


One obvious pro is the fact that hiring a mortgage broker can take a lot of the legwork out of searching through the myriad products on the market.

Buyers will also be more likely to borrow more if they go through a mortgage broker rather than going directly to the lender. Once again, this is a double edged sword.

It’s understandable that owner occupiers may be tempted to go for a home at the upper end of their budget.

However, they may find themselves facing mortgage payments that become untenable if they lose their jobs, take a pay cut or face a long period of sparse work if they are self-employed.


In terms of cons, unless they are completely clear and transparent in how they are paid, you cannot be sure that they are acting in your best interests. If they are paid on commission by a bank they will be more inclined to push that bank’s products rather than the products which are best for you.

Keep in mind that the larger a mortgage you get, the more a mortgage broker could get paid. Don’t let a broker push you to borrow more than you feel comfortable with.

The bottom line

The decision of whether to go through a mortgage broker or apply directly through the lender depends on your circumstances; the kind of property you have your eye on and whether you can live within your means if you buy at the top end of your budget.

If your broker is transparent about how they are paid and has earned your trust, there’s a good chance that they can be trusted to act in your best interests.

Continue Reading