Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more.  Early-Group

When it comes to owning a home, there are several benefits that tax payers may take advantage of when filing their itemized return. Here are just a few to consider when preparing your taxes:

  • When purchasing a home, some closing costs may be deductible. Discount points and origination fees are tax deductible to the buyer. If these apply to your mortgage.
  • If you took out a loan to purchase your home, the mortgage interest is typically deductible in the year in which it was paid. This adds up quickly in most federal tax brackets. Your deduction may be limited if certain circumstances apply in higher tax brackets, or if you took out a mortgage for reasons other than to buy, build or improve your home.
  • Real estate property taxes also provide a tax benefit. In the year you purchase the home, you are entitled to deduct the real estate taxes paid on your settlement statement either to an escrow account or directly to the taxing authority. You may continue to deduct property taxes annually during your home ownership.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) may also be deductible when your down-payment is less than 20 percent. Several changes took effect on June 3, 2013 regarding cancellation and increases to the annual MIP, so it is best to consult your accountant or tax preparer to ensure you accurately claim any deductions
  • Do you work from home? If you have a home office that you use only for business, you may have a deduction for a portion of some items such as mortgage, insurance, utilities or other expenses relative to the office space. There are many considerations when deducting home office expenses, and it may or may not be a benefit to you based on your occupation and overall business use.
  • When selling your home, there are potential tax deductions as well as possible implications to consider. Some closing costs may be deductible including and not limited to real estate commissions, title insurance, legal fees, and surveys. Capital gains or losses may apply, and your tax expert can advise you on determining your basis and adjustments.

Some online resources that may be helpful regarding other home ownerships tax benefits include the Internal Revenue Service or National Association of Realtor (NAR).

A recent item to note regarding married tax filings… A new federal ruling now recognizes married same-sex couples just as their heterosexual counterparts for federal tax purposes regardless where they ultimately live. The Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, including income as well as gift and estate taxes, but this ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships/civil unions. This covers couples who marry in one state and move to another that may not recognize their union. As a result, lawfully married same-sex couples no longer have to declare themselves unmarried on federal income tax returns, and spouses will not have to pay tax on health insurance benefits received through a spouse – an average savings of $1,000 tax per year for same-sex couples. Changes could be especially significant on estate taxes, where spouses benefit from tax advantages. For more information, the Wall Street Journal published a review.

Disclaimer: The links to articles and resources here are only to be used for informational purposes. Tax payers should always seek professional advice on financial and legal matters from a tax preparer, accountant, attorney or other legal counsel.

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True. 

It can be intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership especially as a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths out there about the home buying process.  Such misconceptions have kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses.  If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller may be required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can refuse leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to move forward.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes may have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find a perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers and keep perspective separating little annoyances from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.  Call Terry Robinson and The Early-Group, your trusted Conifer, Evergreen, Pine, Bailey, Morrison and Front Range/Foot Hill Real Estate Team.  303.748.3838

It’s always in your best interest to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent represent you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, ultimately saving you money and a lot of headaches.  A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one.

Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Home

Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Home.

Imagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!  This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.  When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.  If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.  At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.  Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

Please feel free to contact your trusted real estate professionals at the Early-Group today to answer this and any other question you have on the home buying process.

3 Easy Tips To Protect Your Deck This Winter

3 Easy Tips To Protect Your Deck This Winter.   Barbecue season is all but over, and you won’t be spending as much time out on the deck. Don’t let it get you down, though. Spring will be here before you know it. There are a lot of things that can wear down and damage your deck, so protect your deck and make sure it stays in tip top shape over the winter.

Cover The Furniture

You want your deck to look as good in the spring as it does now. The first step is to cover all the furniture (don’t forget the grill!). Cover everything with commercial furniture covers or just use a tarp. Be sure that the covers fit snuggly. They won’t do any good if they’re blowing through the neighbor’s yard. If you’ve got the space, make room in the garage for the deck chairs and table. They’ll last longer if you store them indoors for the winter.

Give It One More Good Cleaning

Dirt and dust can get trapped in the wood over the course of the summer, not to mention dog slobber or barbecue sauce. If you let these things stain your deck all winter, it will be a pain in your neck to get them out in the spring. Make sure to give your deck a thorough cleaning before it gets too cold.

You can use a pressure washer to spray away all the dirt. However, be careful not to splinter your wood, as pressure washers are powerful. Another option is to scrub the deck down with a brush.  There are several commercial cleaners to choose from, but don’t get one with bleach. You don’t want your wood to fade. If this sounds like too much work, consider hiring someone to give your deck a professional cleaning.

Moisture Is The Enemy

Rain, sleet, and snow will seep into the cracks of your deck all winter. They can cause discolor, warping, and even cracking. Now is the perfect time to use a waterproof finish to seal all the little cracks in your deck and keep out the moisture all winter. There are a wide variety of finishes to choose from. Choose a darker or lighter finish to give your deck a new look.

We’re leaving behind the days of barbecues and swimming pools, and replacing them with wool socks and fireplaces. Over the winter you can’t give your deck as much attention, but you can make sure it stays healthy and strong until spring. A good deep cleaning and a fresh new finish are your keys to avoiding cracking, warping, fading, and mold. Put in the time now, and you’ll extend your deck’s life by years.

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away.   Any family would feel violated after coming home to a ransacked house. Burglars look for specific things when choosing a home to break into, and many homeowners are unknowingly inviting criminals through the front door.  Below are five ways you can avoid drawing the eyes of thieves and deter your home from becoming a target.

Beware Of Selling To Strangers

If you’re wanting to sell items on Craigslist or another internet-based classified ad website, attempt conducting your transactions outside of the home.  If you must meet at home, screen the person over the telephone to ensure that they are truly interested in the item you’re selling. Thieves have been known to make appointments just to check out your home.

Be Careful If You Tweet About It

Not all of your friends protect their social media information, or may not have the most virtuous acquaintances. If you share your upcoming vacation or big event, then a mischievous friend of a friend will know the perfect time to forcefully check out your home.  Learn how to limit your social media posts to only your trusted contacts.

Mind Your Trash

Be careful when it comes to taking out the garbage, especially around holidays. Criminals will drive around nice neighborhoods and specifically look for empty boxes of high-price items. Then all they have to do is wait for you to leave the house before they force their way in and nab the goods.  Break down boxes and conceal them in garbage bags or trash cans.

Prepare For Your Vacation

Make sure when you leave on vacation that you put a few lights on timers and have someone collect your mail. A home that is obviously vacant is every burglar’s dream.  And if you’re on an extended holiday, ensure you also hire someone to take care of the lawn – overgrown grass is a no-one-is-home indicator.

Secure The Safe

Just because you put your valuables in a safe doesn’t mean they’re secure. If the safe isn’t installed in a wall or bolted to the floor, then a burglar can just carry it through your front door. They can figure out how to break into it later.  Make the additional time investment to ensure your safe can’t walk out the door.

With a little common sense and by following the advice above, you’ll reduce the risk of your home being targeted by burglars. If you would like more information about keeping your Colorado home secure, call your trusted real estate professionals Terry Robinson, Stephanie Foster, Mike Fuentes, Christi Patrick or Deborah Oakes today.



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