Affordable Housing vs Low-Income Housing: What is the difference?

There is lots of talk these days about the need for more affordable housing in the Southern California region. It is important to recognize the difference between “low-income” housing and “affordable” housing.

Low-income housing is subsidized by the government. There are several projects throughout the region that are monitored by local government housing authorities. An on-line search or call to the regional housing authorities will provide a list of available low-income housing rental projects. Some projects are for veterans, seniors and others for all-ages. There are also low-income for-sale housing projects sponsored by housing authorities and by organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

In these low-income housing developments, renters or home buyers must meet strict income guidelines. Only low-income can qualify to live in these developments. The income is determined by the income of the entire family and includes funds in the bank and investments.

Affordable housing, on the other hand, is not limited to low-income renters or purchasers. There is no limit to the amount of income a person or family has. It is their choice to live in the available affordable housing. Apartments, condominiums, and mobile home parks/manufactured housing communities are considered affordable housing stock in the various individual jurisdictions housing elements. Continue reading

Californians vs. Gas Prices

California is the third largest state in the United States by square miles. Although some cities have reliable public transportation, it’s easier to get around in the suburban cities if you have a car. Whether you drive a few miles every day for your errands or commute for an hour for your work, we have all seen the gas prices going up recently.

An article written by Kevin Smith, published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, explores a few reasons why you might be paying more for gas than you should. If you are looking for ways to lower your expenses, consider the following points made in the article titled, “Here are the top money-wasting habits when buying gas, are you guilty of any of them?”
Smith uses a study done by GasBuddy and boiled down the list of these money-wasting habits to a few categories.

The study showed that almost 80% of the respondents have a gas station they regularly go to. It’s not a surprise that many people have a gas station they regularly go to, since it’s probably the most convenient location. Continue reading

New Year New Tax Rate

Are you up-to-date with the new California tax rate? Sales tax rates have been decreased by 0.25%. Use the link below to find the new sales tax rate by city.

http://www.boe.ca.gov/app/rates.aspx

Keep in mind that if you are returning an item that you purchased before January 1st, the store must provide you the refund of the old tax rate. However, if you purchased something before January 1st but you receive it after the New Year, you are still charged the rate used at the time of purchase.

An article published by the Golden State News states the following:

“A retailer who continues to charge and collect the higher statewide sales and use tax after January 1, 2017, must either refund the excess tax collected to their customer or pay the excess tax to the Board of Equalization (BOE). If the excess tax collected has been paid to the BOE, the retailer may request a refund on behalf of their customer by completing form BOE-101, Claim for Refund or Credit.”

Remember that sales tax rates differ by cities and counties, so make sure you look up your area using the California State Board of Equalization website!

Resources:

http://www.boe.ca.gov/app/rates.aspx

https://goldenstatenews.com/2017/01/03/a-tax-in-california-has-actually-been-lowered/

Getting A Loan On A Manufactured Home

Financing Your Manufactured Home

Loans for manufactured homes are available from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Veterans Administration (VA), are other avenues to finance a manufactured home. Personal loans can work, too.

What’s available to you depends on your eligibility as a borrower, the type and age of the structure, and whether it’s considered real or personal property. Manufactured housing allows many to buy homes who could not otherwise afford home-ownership. Fortunately, there are many available options for financing these purchases.

Is The Home “Real” Or “Personal” Property?

Not all manufactured housing is considered real estate, which is a requirement to qualify for a traditional home loan.

If your mobile home is at least 400 square feet, on an approved foundation and taxed as real property, you can apply for conventional or government-backed mortgages.

If you pay annual fees to the DMV, or the building is still on wheels, however, you’re technically living in a vehicle, not a house.

That’s okay, though. Moveable mobile homes can still be financed, just not with home mortgages.

Financing For Moveable Homes

Manufactured housing loans for personal property — homes that are not classified as real estate — are readily available if you have at least five percent down and the home is reasonably new.

Interest rates are higher than mortgage rates because loans for movable property are riskier for lenders.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs loans for mobile home vehicles with its Title I program. Interest rates are negotiated between borrowers and private lenders offering this loan type. Keep in mind that the typical home lender might not offer this type of loan.

The interest rate is fixed for the entire loan term, which varies and there are also maximum loan amounts.

Many manufactured home loan programs have strict guidelines about the property condition and age. That’s because manufactured housing tends to depreciate, while traditional home values tend to increase over time.

If you’re set on purchasing a home that doesn’t meet lender requirements, another option is a personal loan. Good credit will be required to get an unsecured personal loan, because it’s not attached to property. Expect to pay a higher interest rate — at least three-to-four percent more than current mortgage rates.

About Author: Gina Pogol writes about personal finance, credit, mortgages and real estate. She loves helping consumers understand complex and intimidating topics. She can be reached on Twitter at @GinaPogol.

Source: The Mortage Reports

Need Help Paying for your Prescriptions

There is a Medicare program in place that can help you pay for your much needed prescriptions. As is the case with most programs there are a few eligibility guidelines.

Single: You must make less than $17,235 a year and have resources less than $13,300

Married: You must make less than $23,265 a year and have resources less than $26,580

If you qualify you could have a lowered or no deductible, low or no premium and no coverage gap. The end result will be you paying significantly less for prescriptions you need! Visit www.benefitscheckup.org to apply now.

Nutrition and Meals- Free for Low Income Seniors and those with Disabilities

Being hungry is a terrible feeling but one that many seniors live with due to budget constraints. The California Department on Aging offers programs to help low income seniors who are in need of meals.

According to their website, Congregate Nutrition Services provide meals in a group setting. Services also include nutrition and health promotion education, and opportunities for socialization. People eligible for Title III C-1 nutrition services are 60 years of age or older, individuals with a handicap or disability who meet specific criteria, spouses of eligible participants regardless of age, and volunteers who provide needed services during meal hours. Project facilities and operations conform to health and safety standards and provide safe, wholesome and nutritious meal services to older clients.

Home Delivered Meal Services are available to people, age 60 or older, who are home bound by reason of illness, incapacity, or disability, or who are otherwise isolated. Because home bound meal recipients are typically older and frailer, they are usually referred to the program by a hospital, a family member, or other referral service. Most home-delivered meal programs provide their clients with a hot meal five days a week delivered by staff or volunteer drivers. In addition, nutrition education is provided.

For more information on these programs call 1 (800) 510-2020.

4 Steps to take if you think your Identity has been stolen or compromised

1) Call and Place a Fraud Alert with one of the three consumer reporting companies.

These are the companies that deal with your credit score. Placing a Fraud alert with one of these companies will allow you to be notified before a new account is opened or the status of an existing account in your name is changed.  If you contact ONE of these three companies they are required to contact the other two. A Fraud Alert also entitles you to FREE copies of your credit reports.  You may click on any of the following links for the contact information for: Equifax, Experian, Transunion.

2) Close/Cancel Open Accounts

Close all accounts you fear might be tampered with. If you suspect any tampering has occurred before you had the opportunity to close the account use the ID Theft Affidavit to dispute any new unauthorized accounts or transactions.

3) Contact Law Enforcement

File a report with your local police in the community the theft took place. Make sure they provide you with a copy of the report or the number of your report. This is important when dealing with your creditors. It will show proof that the transactions being disputed have been reported to authorities.

4) Contact the Trade Commission

File your complaint with the FTC. They maintain a database of Identity Theft cases that us used by law enforcement agencies for investigation. The Toll-free Hotline is 1 877-ID THEFT or 1 877-438-4338

Free Tax Help

taxes3

There are more than 1,000 centers statewide that are opening their doors as Volunteer Income Tax assistance for the elderly. These locations offer free help with tax form preparation. For more information on where these are located you can call 800-522-5665 or you can e-mail volunteercoordinator@ftb.ca.gov

With Tax Season Upon Us we need to Be Informed. Who has to File?

It comes down to more than just earned income when determining if you need to file taxes. Other circumstances include: age, if your income was earned from social security, if anyone can claim you as a dependent and your filing status.

In some cases even if your income is under the required amount it is in your best interest to still file. If, for example, you had a part time job for a portion of the year and you had federal taxes withheld, you could be eligible for a refund. If you don’t file then you will never see this money.

For more information about filing your taxes visit http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch01.html#d0e5173

 

Is your home in need of Repairs but your wallet is looking a little empty?

There are some cities and counties that have funds to loan or grant to mobiindexle home owners who’s homes are in need of repairs like roof and appliance or floor replacements. All you need to do is contact the city you live in and ask for the person who manages the allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds and ask if some of those funds are allocated for mobile home repairs.

 

As always some conditions apply. These usually are held for low-income home owners. If you think you qualify call today!