Even if you’re having a professional help you with your income tax return, you need to provide them with information on the money you spent that might be deductible. Look at the following list to see if any of these things need a little more investigation to determine if they apply to your situation.
- If you refinanced your home for the second or subsequent time in 2014, there may be points that can be taken as an interest charge.
- Compare mortgage interest, property taxes and other eligible itemized deductions to your standard deduction to see which will give you a larger deduction.
- If you’re paying mortgage insurance premiums with your payment, you may be eligible to deduct them.
- If you purchased a home in 2014, there may be some deductions found on the HUD-1 form you received at closing.
- If you purchased a home in 2014 and the seller paid points on your behalf in order to get a mortgage, you may be able to deduct them.
- If you purchased and installed in 2014 qualified residential energy efficiency property or improvements, you may be eligible for tax credits.
- If you have dedicated, exclusive space in your home for a home office, you may be eligible for a deduction that may include a pro-rata share of insurance, utilities and other things.
If you need another copy of your closing statement for the home you purchased or sold in 2014, contact your real estate professional.
Over 50% of homebuyers don’t shop to find the best interest rate for their mortgage. While a buyer wouldn’t rarely purchase the first home they look at, they will accept the rate and terms offered by only one lender.
While the borrower and the property affect the rate and terms that a lender may offer, it is not to be said that all lenders will offer the same terms and rates to the same buyer. Credit score, home location, home price and loan amount, down payment, loan term, interest rate type and loan type all affect the interest rate but different lenders can interpret this information differently.
Shopping around to compare rate and terms for a mortgage is a reasonable exercise considering that a half percent lesser interest rate could not only lower the payment but the cumulative interest that is paid while that loan is outstanding.
Some borrowers don’t shop the mortgage because they are concerned that having their credit checked multiple times could adversely affect their credit score. The credit bureaus take this into consideration when several requests are made by the same category of lender in a short period of time.
Check to see the difference 0.5% could make in the mortgage you’re considering by using the calculator provided by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Contact your real estate professional for a list of trusted mortgage professionals to consider.
A simple decision to rent your current home instead of selling it when moving to a new home could have far reaching consequences.
If you have a considerable gain, in a principal residence and you rent it for more than three years, it can lose the principal residence status and the profit must be recognized.
Section 121 provides the exclusion of capital gain on a principal residence if you own and use it as such for two out of the last five years. This would allow a temporary rental for up to three years before the exclusion is lost.
Let’s assume there is a $100,000 gain in your principal residence. If it qualifies for the exclusion, no tax would be owed. If the property had been converted to a rental so that it didn’t qualify any longer, the gain would be taxed at the current 20% long-term capital gains rate and it may incur a 3.8% surcharge for higher tax brackets. At least $20,000 in taxes could be avoided by selling it with the principal residence exclusion.
Depreciation, a tax benefit of income property, is determined by the improvement value at the time of purchase or at the conversion to a rental whichever is less. If the seller sold the home and took the exclusion and then, bought an identical home for the same price, he would be able to have 60% more cost recovery and avoid long term capital gains tax.
It is always recommended that homeowners considering such a conversion get advice from their tax professional as to how this will specifically affect their individual situation.
A well-planned garage or yard sale can make room in your home, get rid of unused items and make some money but it needs some planning to be successful.
- Start early to research and plan
- Promotion is key
- Display items attractively
- Price items right
- Organize checkout
Saturdays are generally the best day but there may be some exceptions. Experienced garage-salers believe that a well-planned one-day event will do as well as a multi-day event. Serious purchasers will look for the “new” sale and most people don’t come back multiple days.
Advertise in local newspapers and free online classified sites like craigslist. If several families are going together for the sale, mention that in the ad; it will be a big draw. Mention your bigger-ticket items like furniture, equipment and baby items.
Garage sale signs can be purchased or made at Staples, Fedex Office or Kwik Signs. Signs need large lettering so they’re easy to read while people are driving. Most important info: Garage or Yard Sale, address, date and time. Directional signs are also important. Balloons and streamers to attract attention to the signs are very helpful.
Consider using the service Square so that you can take credit cards. The cost is 2.75% per swipe and can be done on your smartphone or iPad. You’ll need to sign up at least two weeks in advance to receive your reader.
Unless you’re having an estate sale, keep your home locked. You don’t want people wandering through your home while you’re outside. If you start to accumulate a lot of money, take some of it inside. Don’t discuss how much money you’ve made during the sale or how successful it has been.
People will want to bargain; it’s the nature of the game. Consider this strategy: less negotiations early in the sale and possibly, more toward the end of the sale.
Each day, if you pay attention to news media, you may find yourself either riding a roller-coaster or pulling at an old fashion taffy pull when it comes to the housing market.
The Wall Street Journal had an article “Home Prices Sink Further”: Declines Reported in All 28 Major Metropolitan Areas; Unsold Inventory Piles up”, stating that Portland home values went from approx. 6.25% down in the 2nd Quarter to 12.1% down in the 4th Quarter. As stated in the article, “Falling prices are a reflection of weak demand and tight credit conditions that reduce the number of potential buyers.”
Question: If Portland area homes dropped 6% (approx) in 3 quarters, how much further will they drop in 2011?
OregonLive.com: “University of Oregon Economist “much more optimistic” as Indicators Point to Recovery” by Tim Duy, the economist who prepares the UO Index of Economic Indicators. He states, as one of his supporting factors: Oregon residential building permits rose, although from low levels. “Still,” Duy wrote, “any improvement is welcome in this beleaguered sector.”
Question: So does that mean housing prices are at the bottom and we will see them start to rise?
RMLS Market Action for January 2011: Clackamas County, average sale price down 7.6%, Multnomah County, down 0.1%, and Washington County, down 2.3%. A graph shows that January 2011 average sales price equals the average sales price in January 2005. The number of closed sales were up 5% from a year ago and the new listings dropped 20.5% from January 2010.
Question: Sounds like there is less inventory and more people are starting to value owning real estate again – is this the time for me to consider it as well?
What about the Purchase $?
Although we are experiencing more cash purchasers than in past years, most people do still rely on a loan from a financial institution to purchase their next real estate property.
Many buyers wonder about waiting and hoping interest rates and prices of homes will continue going down?
Question: How much does it matter if the interest rate goes up if the home prices go down? I am just interested in getting the best price for my next property.
Interest rates do very much impact your purchasing power. An example: if a purchaser wants to pay $1000/mth for a mortgage payment with an interest rate of 4.75%, the home purchase price = $191,700 and at 5.25% the home purchase price = $181,092 — - so a difference of around $10,000 in home sales price for the ½ point interest rate or over 5% purchasing power.
So, again, To Buy or Not to Buy? We have seen the interest rates creep up in just the past week. Every indication says that there are fewer active listings on the market, we are seeing multiple offers in place once again (something we have seen very little of in the past 18-24 months) and indicators are stating the economy is growing. So you must ask yourself, if you are on the fence – will the prices continue to drop in Portland or are they stabilizing while the interest rate is rising?
The Reality: You actually may be losing $ while you wait.
For interest rate projections, see economist, Matthew Gardner’s graph below:
The Mortgage Insurance companies don’t seem to think so (at least not in Portland).
So what is Mortgage Insurance (MI)?
Contrary to what it sounds like, MI it is not insurance that your mortgage will be paid if you lose your job. In fact, it is not insurance for you at all, even though you may be paying it every month.
Mortgage Insurance is for the lender holding the loan on the property. The lender will typically require MI on any loan where there is less than an 80% loan to value ratio (LTV). For instance, if the down payment is less than 20%, the lender will likely require MI. The mortgage company wants some sort of insurance that if they lend over that magical 80% LTV mark and if the borrower defaults, they won’t lose their shirts. By having the insurance, the MI will help reduce or eliminate financial loss.
Who are these mortgage insurance companies anyway?
PrivateMI, one of such companies, studies economics, housing, employment, affordability, excess housing supply, interest rates and foreclosure activity, along with many other factors to determine the likelihood of lower home prices in 2 years in a particular metropolitan statistical area (MSA). I kind of view their researchers like actuaries, all they do is measure risk, risk of falling home prices. The risk may be a factor for PMI in deciding if they will indeed offer the insurance, and if so, how much the insurance will cost.
Is there good news?
Yes! Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro has seen the largest decrease in risk from quarter to quarter in the top 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. In fact, the Portland area saw a drop in rate of risk of 49 percentage points from 82.4% to 33.4%. See report below.
What does this mean?
It means that experts, the ones who study this data for a living, are saying that in the next 2 years, Portland has a 33% chance (moderate by their standards) of decreased home values. That coupled with the risk of rising interest rates make this a wonderful time to buy.
Next week learn how rising interest rates could affect you.
Recent experience – A buyer falls in love with a home that was purchased a couple of months ago and then was rehabilitated. New homeowner put it back on the market for considerably more than the original purchase price-obviously to compensate for the $$ spent on the updates/refurbishing.
Beware! FHA loans require that the sales contract be written on the 91st day after the home was purchased by the current homeowner, not one day sooner. For instance: current homeowner purchased on July 1, 2009, puts it back on the market on August 20 with all of its new features. Buyer comes along – no offer can be written/accepted until Oct. 2, 2009.
Short Sales: much has been written about them. From my personal experience on the listing side of a short sale, they are not for the faint-hearted – either as sellers or as buyers. Depending on the lender, the time is much different than in a normal sale for closing time, number of accepted offers, and communication with lender. Time is anywhere from 60 to 180+ days, the number of accepted offers, well we now have 4 and still accepting others, and the communication with the lender is very one-sided. My patience has been tested when speaking with the lender because I am continually told to call back in x amount of days, but on that appointed day, I am told “no status update” and call back in x amount of days–a little like “Groundhog Day”.
Bottom line: if you have a specific close date, if you require answers within a reasonable amount of time, and if you think that you should be the only accepted offer — Short Sales –RUN the other way.
What goes best after tasting good wine–great food. On our return trip from Maryhill Winery a week ago, we stopped at the Solstice Cafe in Bingen, WA. What a wonderful surprise. Scrumptious food with just the right presentation + daily menu made with local ingredients + knowledgable and enthusiastic food servers and chefs + a casual ambience = A dining experience worth the trip and stop. The special salad of the day and the Thai Chicken pizza were highlights for both my husband and I. In fact, the pizza was one of the best we have in a very long time–thin crust and just a hint of peanut sauce.
So—venture out, you will be glad you treated yourself so kindly.