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I’m so happy for my clients who are moving to 1956 West Wesley. We just closed last Friday!
As many of you know, Paces Neighborhood has large lots, estate style homes and is my dream location. Earlier this year, I had moved another family to 3111 Ridgewood just around the corner. Although different in style, both of these homes have over one acre lots, pools and fabulous kid friendly terrace levels. We are going to plan something soon so both of these families can meet other friends in the neighborhood. Fortunately, they are both still close to Vinings and I still consider them neighbors!
I’ve never copied someone else’s post before. But I drove home today from a week in Charleston and our whole family was there to celebrate the baptism of my niece and nephew who are international adoptions, as well as my son. They are from Bulgaria and my sweet boy is from Russia. My son came home at 13 months ( I met him and he was “mine” at 11 months), but my niece and nephew were a whole different story. My poor brother and sister in law had a year between meeting them and bringing them home. So many points in this article rang true for me, but even more so for them as they waited and wondered if they’d really become part of their family. They recently suffered a very sad and tragic loss of one of their little friends at 11 years old. This prompted my niece to request to be baptized. They don’t belong to a church but go with my parents often, so they asked to be baptized in their church. So this weekend surrounded by 20 members of their close family they were blessed in the ocean. I will post a distant picture here to maintain their privacy. It was a very special day and made so even more by the parents of the little girl who passed away joining us.
I was just reviewing articles and saw this one and thought it might be helpful to some. As always, I use a professional to help me with all the changes that happen each year, but I’m always looking for extra advise. Hope this helps!
Your Top Home Ownership Tax Questions Answered
By: Natasha Padgitt
Published: December 31, 2012
Which tax benefits do home owners miss? Will you get audited if you take the home office deduction? Find out the answers to these questions and more before Tax Day.
There are a lot of home ownership tax benefits — if you don’t forget to take them. To make sure you get your due, HouseLogic asked tax expert Abe Schneier, a senior technical manager with the American Institute of CPAs, for tax-filing tips.
HouseLogic: What’s the most common home-related tax deduction or credit claimed by home owners?
Abe Schneier: The mortgage interest deduction, [which the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® estimates amounts to about $3,000 in tax savings for the average itemizing home owner] and [the deduction for] real property taxes.
HL: Which tax provision do home owners often overlook?
AS: [An area of tax-filing confusion is] whether you’ve correctly treated any points you paid if you refinanced. In a new home purchase, the points can be deducted [in the tax year you paid them]. But typically in a refinancing, you have to amortize and deduct any points you paid over the life of the mortgage, and people tend to forget that after a couple of years.
HL: What’s the No. 1 mistake home owners make when filing their taxes?
AS: Because you receive a statement from the bank with details [such as] how much mortgage interest you paid over the year, and how much the bank pays on your behalf in real estate taxes, the number of mistakes has dropped.
But if you’re in a state where you pay the real estate taxes on your own — the bank doesn’t handle it for you — [people] make mistakes because sometimes real estate tax bills include other items besides pure real estate taxes. It could be trash collection fees; it could be snow removal fees that the state or county is assessing on the real estate tax bill. Since the items are included in the same bill, home owners sometimes deduct [those fees] regardless of whether the items are actually taxes.
HL: What’s the single most important piece of advice for people filing their taxes as a first-time home owner?
AS: You have to take a look at your closing statement from when you bought the house. It’s commonly called the HUD-1 form and you receive it at the closing. Occasionally, there are fees such as prepaid taxes or interest at closing that can be deductible.
HL: What tax advice do you have for someone who’s owned their home for 10 or 20 years?
AS: If you’ve been a longtime home owner and you’ve been through refinancings, you have to be careful about how much interest you’ve deducted, especially if you have a home equity loan or equity line. A lot of people who’ve refinanced have sizable equity lines. The maximum outstanding home equity debt that’s deductible is $100,000; the maximum deductible amount of interest paid on mortgage debt is $1 million.
HL: What home improvement-related records should home owners keep?
AS: Absolutely keep your receipts for couple of reasons:
1. You want to make sure — if there are any warranties attached to the work that was done — that you maintain those records and you have something to go back to the person who did the work in case something doesn’t function properly.
2. If you’ve added value to the home — you’ve added a deck, you’ve added a room, you’ve added something new to house — you’ll need to know what the gain is on that capital improvement when you sell the house.
HL note: Tax rules let you add capital improvement expenses to the cost basis of your home, and a higher cost basis lowers the total profit or capital gain you’re required to pay taxes on. Of course, most home owners are exempted from taxes on the first $500,000 in profit for joint filers ($250,000 for single filers). So it doesn’t apply to too many people.
HL: How do I tell the difference between a capital improvement and a repair?
AS: Typically a repair is [done] to allow an item, like a home furnace or air conditioner, to continue. But if you were to replace the heating unit, that’s not a repair.
HL: Does taking any home-related tax benefits, such as the home office deduction, make a taxpayer more likely to be audited?
AS: Only if numbers look out of the ordinary — for instance, if one year you were writing off $20,000 in mortgage interest debt and the next year you’re writing off $100,000 in mortgage interest. Taking the home office deduction in and of itself doesn’t usually generate an audit. However, if you claim nominal income and significantly higher expenses in an effort to create artificial losses, the IRS will see that there’s something else going on there.
HL: Once filing season is over, when should home owners start thinking about next year’s taxes?
AS: Well, hopefully, when you visit your CPA to give information about or pick up [this year's] tax return, your CPA has spoken with you about your plans for [next year]:
If any major improvements are scheduled
If you’re planning on moving
How to organize any expenditures for fixing up the home before sale
If you’re planning to do any of those things, talk with your CPA so that you’re prepared with documentation and so that the [tax pro] can help minimize your tax situation.
Can I hear a big woo hoo from everyone out there. This is something I’ve felt since last October and recently in competitive bidding on properties. I’m thrilled that it shows that prices are coming up. The appraisals have been lagging slightly, but we are making the transactions happen. Super low interest rates and the bottom is behind us. If you haven’t made the move yet, you’re missing out! Lump California together and we’re actually number 4 in low inventory. Prices were down so low and many people have chosen not to sell at those prices. Now that pricing is coming back slightly it may be time to go on the market! Let me know if I can help!
Top 10 metros for shrinking inventory
Realtor.com data shows 20 percent annual decline in US listings in May
By Inman News, Wednesday, June 13, 2012.
Editor’s note: Data collected and analyzed by Realtor.com through May 2012. Includes single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops.
The national housing market continues to stabilize, according to data compiled by Realtor.com for 146 U.S. metros through May 2012.
May continued April’s year-over-year upswing, with for-sale inventory dropping 20.07 percent, median list prices jumping 3.17 percent to $194,900, and median age of for-sale inventory falling 9.78 percent compared to a year ago.
|Data Point||Percent Change, May 2012 vs. May 2011|
|Number of Listings||-20.07%|
|Median List Price||3.17%|
|Median Age of Inventory||-9.78%|
As of May, national for-sale inventory stood at 1.88 million units, roughly 60 percent of a September 2007 inventory peak of 3.1 million units (2007 was the first year Realtor.com tracked this data nationally).
Despite a slight 1.96 percent month-over-month increase in national inventory — expected because listings usually swell during the springtime buying season — all but two of the 146 metros Realtor.com tracks had fewer homes for sale than a year ago.
Some of those markets hit hardest in the housing crisis — Atlanta and metros in Florida, Arizona and California — are showing some consistent, month-by-month turnaround. In May, Phoenix, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., and Atlanta were among the top 10 metros Realtor.com tracks with year-over-year percentage drops in for-sale inventory.
This month, six of the metros in the top 10 that saw the greatest reduction in inventories from a year ago were in California, including three in the San Francisco Bay Area: Oakland at No. 1 (56.6 percent fewer listings than a year ago); San Jose at No. 6 (40.88 percent fewer listings); and San Francisco at No. 10 (38.9 percent fewer listings).
Top 10 metros for greatest year-over-year reduction in for-sale inventory, May 2012
|Rank||Metro||For-sale inventory, percent change, May 2012 vs. May 2011|
|6||San Jose, Calif.||-40.80%|
|7||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.||-39.76%|