First Time Homebuyers: Why Some First Time Homebuyers Still Rent

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“We keep looking, but we still don’t have a house.”   Like many potential first time homebuyers, Mark and Tara Carlson have been pre-approved for a loan and have looked at a number of homes.  There’s just one thing missing – they haven’t bought a house.  “Every time my husband and I find a great house, the monthly payment scares us away.  We know we qualify – we just get scared.”

Most people are paying less in rent than what a mortgage payment would be.  They’re not used to making that payment.  Then there’s maintenance, insurance, and other “first time” expenses.

For some first time homebuyers, there monthly housing cost will increase by 50% or more – but their true housing costs won’t.  Part of the equation is largely overlooked – income tax savings.

Homebuyers are aware that there’s some income tax advantage to owning a home.   

How much will they save?  They don’t know.

“Even with the tax refund, we’re worried about the payments,” added Tara.

What if you knew exactly how much you will save in taxes when you buy?

Better yet…….what if you could take home more in your regular paycheck?  And use that money toward the house payment?

You can!

Here’s how:  Find out your home ownership tax savings.  Put together some financial information, then make an appointment to meet with an accountant or tax preparer. Just follow these simple steps:

Putting together your information:

  • Meet with a loan officer:  Find out how much interest you’ll be paying per year, as a dollar figure.  (For example, a $100,000 mortgage at 5% would be $10,000 per year in interest.)
  • Next, ask either the loan officer or your real estate agent to tell you how much you’ll pay per year, in property taxes. 
  • Get copies of your last tax return, the W-2 form for last year, and a recent paystub from your job.

Make an appointment with a tax preparer*. Ask them these questions:

1)      Based on the mortgage interest and property taxes, how much less in income taxes will I pay?

2)      Based on these savings, how do change my withholding, so I get more net pay in each paycheck?

3)      How much more net “take home” pay will I get?

Does this really work?  You’re worried about that $2,200 a month house payment.  Then – because of the tax savings, you get $450 a month more in take home pay. 

A $2,000 monthly payment is easier to pay when you get $450 a month more in take home pay. 

“Knowing about the tax savings made a big difference for us.  We didn’t know we would save this much – and that we could get the savings in our take home pay!”

This one simple step could make the whole process a lot less stressful.  Soon – you’ll be celebrating your new house – just like the people on TV!

*Don’t have a tax preparer?  Ask your mortgage loan officer or real estate agent.  They should be able to refer you to someone who’s familiar with the process.

Joffrey Long is President of Southwestern Mortgage, in Granada Hills, CA.  He’s the author of several courses on FHA loans, and provides training to loan officers and real estate agents.  He’s past president of the California Mortgage Association and is a member of its education committee.  He can be reached at or at (818)366-5200.


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