Tax Benefits of Home Ownership

by plano 27. March 2017 07:23
U.S. taxpayers have enjoyed specific tax benefits for home ownership since personal income tax was introduced by the 16th amendment in 1913. While these benefits may not be the primary reason that motivates a person to buy a home, they are still tangible and not available to tenants.

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The exclusion of capital gains tax on the profit made from a home is unique from other investments and provides homeowners significant savings.

Single taxpayers can exclude up to $250,000 gain and married taxpayers up to $500,000 gain. During the five-year period ending on the date of sale, a taxpayer must have: owned the home for at least two years; lived in the home as their main home for at least two years; and, ownership and use do not have to be continuous nor occur at the same time.

Gain on the sale of a principal residence in excess of the allowed exclusion are taxed at the lower long-term capital gain rate of the owner.

A homeowner may take the standard deduction or itemized deductions in any tax year based on which will create the largest deduction. Property taxes and qualified mortgage interest are allowable itemized deductions.

Qualified mortgage interest is acquisition debt plus home equity debt not to exceed the maximum amounts. Acquisition debt is the amount of debt incurred to buy, build or improve a first and second home up to $1,000,000. Home equity debt is limited to $100,000 over the current acquisition debt on the combination of a first and second home and may be used for any purpose.

For more information, see your tax advisor or see IRS Publications 523, Selling Your Home and 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. 




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Save the Cost of Mortgage Insurance

by plano 27. March 2017 07:21

Save the Cost of Mortgage Insurance

During the banking crisis in the Great Recession, certain types of mortgages were unavailable that are once again being offered. Fortunately, the 80-10-10 mortgage is one of those making a reappearance and it can save borrowers a considerable amount of money. 

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The objective of an 80-10-10 mortgage is to avoid the expense of mortgage insurance for buyers wanting a 90% loan. A buyer can obtain an 80% first mortgage and a 10% second mortgage with a 10% down payment and not be required to have private mortgage insurance. 

For example, a buyer could put $30,000 down on a home priced at $300,000 and get an 80% first mortgage without mortgage insurance. The borrower could get a second mortgage, either through the same lender or a third party.

In the example, the 80-10-10 would save a buyer $193.71 per month which can be a considerable amount of money over a ten-year period. The interest rate on the second loan will be higher than the first because there is more risk. 

Helping buyers make better choices is a valuable service real estate professionals can provide. Having the right tools and information can make the decisions easier to understand. Using an 80-10-10 calculator, you can see what the savings might be for your situation.


Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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Before You Pay Cash for a Home

by plano 6. March 2017 12:37
The National Association of REALTORS® reports in its 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers that 12% of all buyers paid cash for their home.

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Before paying cash for a home, a buyer should decide if they might put a loan on the home in the near future.  It may affect the ability to deduct the interest on a mortgage placed on the home at a later date.

Homeowners can currently deduct the interest on up to $1 million of acquisition debt which are the borrowed funds used to buy, build or improve a home. Paying cash for a home establishes acquisition debt at zero. The only deductible interest to the owner would be home equity debt which is limited to $100,000 over acquisition debt.

Paying cash certainly seems like a simple decision but it may limit a homeowner’s ability to deduct interest on a future mortgage. You can get more information about this from IRS Publication 936 or from your tax professional.




Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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Not Available for All Buyers

by plano 26. February 2017 05:45

Not Available for All Buyers

Lenders regularly publish mortgage rates but they may not be available for all buyers. 
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Imagine that the mortgage payment based on an advertised rate influenced a buyer to make an offer on a home. After negotiating a binding contract, this buyer makes a loan application and finds out that for any number of possible reasons, that rate isn’t available. 

Even if the person does financially qualify for a loan at a higher interest rate, it will not be the payment that the buyer expected when the contract was negotiated.

Lenders evaluate several factors such as the borrower’s credit score, debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratios. These variables are used to assess the risk associated with the repayment of the loan.

While mortgage money is a commodity, it isn’t priced the same way items are that involve cash for goods. The lender puts up the money today based on a promise from the borrower to repay over a long term, possibly up to thirty years.

The simple solution to avoid surprises such as the one described here is to get pre-approved at the beginning of the home search process. Since pre-qualification does not mean the same thing to all lenders, call if you’d like a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.



Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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What Would You Give?

by plano 13. February 2017 13:08
Yogi Berra said he’d give his right arm to be ambidextrous. While most first-time home buyers are not going to that extreme, it is interesting to see what sacrifices are being made according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.42271463-250.jpg
  • 43% - cut spending on luxury or non-essential items
  • 34% - cut spending on entertainment
  • 27% - cut spending on clothes
  • 14% - canceled vacation plans
    9% - earned extra income through a second job
  • 7% - sold or decided not to purchase a vehicle
  • 44% - did not need to make any sacrifices
Forty-percent of first-time buyers experienced some difficulty during the mortgage application and approval process. Single, male buyers expressed a higher incidence of difficulty than single females and married or unmarried couples.
Pre-approval from a qualified mortgage lender before the home search process begins is still considered the best advice for all buyers who will purchase with a mortgage. Your real estate professional can make recommendations for a loan officer that could help you avoid unnecessary aggravations.


Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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Mortgage Loans from Relatives

by plano 8. February 2017 16:13
Occasionally, when dealing with close relatives who might also become heirs, signing a note and handling the paperwork properly may seem like a needless effort but it could mean the difference in being able to take a legitimate interest deduction.

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Home mortgage interest is deductible only if the loan is a secured debt which involves the buyer signing an instrument like a mortgage or deed of trust that makes the ownership of the home security for the debt. That instrument must then be recorded or otherwise perfected according to state or local law and the home, in case of default, must be able to satisfy the debt.

In a family situation, a parent, grandparent or other relative may decide to loan a buyer the money to purchase a home because they have it available and it isn’t earning much in certificates of deposit. They offer to loan it for a rate equal to what a conventional lender is charging but without the fees. 

While it may appear to be a win-win situation, there could be problems if things are not done correctly. Even if the borrower makes the payments, they are not entitled to an interest deduction unless three criteria are met: 1) sign a debt instrument specifying the terms 2) securing and record the debt properly and 3) the home is sufficient collateral for the loan.

It would be prudent to consult with an attorney before you sign the final settlement papers to be comfortable that both buyer and the lender-relative are complying with IRS regulations. For more information, see IRS Publication 936 – Home Mortgage Interest.


Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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Proof of Purchase

by plano 31. January 2017 08:15
People who experience a property loss are usually asked by their insurance company for proof of purchase which can come in the form of a receipt or current inventory of their personal belongings.

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Even the most organized people might find it challenging to find receipts for all the valuables in their home. If the inventory isn’t up-to-date, a homeowner might forget to add some items to the claim and may not recognize the omission for long after the claim is settled.

The inventory can serve as a guide to make sure a homeowner gets compensated for all the loss.

Photographs and videos can be adequate proof that the items belonged to the insured. A series of pictures of the different rooms, closets, cabinets and drawers are helpful. When video is used, consider commenting as it is shot and be sure to go slow enough and close enough to things becoming recorded.

For your convenience, download a Home Inventory, complete it, and save a copy off premise. Good places for your inventory could be a safety deposit box or digitally, in the cloud if you have server-based storage available like Dropbox.

Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
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Boomers Are Staying In-Place

by plano 23. January 2017 08:37
There seems to have been an accepted progression for homeowners going from starter home, to gradually moving into one’s dream home, then, downsizing after becoming an empty nester and finally, into a retirement home. However, Marianne Cusato’s 2016 Aging-in-Place Report indicates that many older Americans don’t plan on following that pattern.

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61% of homeowners above the age of 55 intend on staying in their homes indefinitely. 2/3 of them believe that the home’s layout will serve their needs without having to make aging-related improvements. 

Some of the reasons being cited for staying in place are:
  • 66% say their home is conveniently located
  • 38% say they live close to their family
  • 68% say they feel independent in their home
  • 54% say they are familiar with their neighborhood
  • 66% say the feel safe in their home
Typical renovations that might be considered for their current home are things like grab bars in the tub or shower, shower seats, taller toilets, handheld showerheads and additional handrails on stairways.

It seems that the report’s conclusion is that regardless of a homeowner’s age, they want to thrive in their home. The same emotional reasons that causes a person to want to buy a home are the things that cause them to hold onto them if is practical.

Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
Wendy HuangMBA,SRS, GRI, CRS, IRES, e-pro, ASP, ALHS, SFR, RFC, RE/MAX Premier Group, RE/MAX Hall of Fame, 
RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement ; Over 22 years' experience!
Helping Over 1000 Families Meet Their Real Estate Needs !!!
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Attracting Buyers

by plano 16. January 2017 13:44
There is a common body of knowledge among real estate professionals that indicates that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price will be. Many sellers discount this belief in the beginning because they feel confident their home will sell quickly.

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Lowering the price is the most obvious thing that can be done to encourage buyers but it might be good to look at what builders do. Builders offer a variety of incentives such as upgrades, seller-paid closing costs, interest rate buy downs, washers, dryers, refrigerators or big screen TVs. 
Interestingly, much of the resale market doesn’t employ these techniques. 

According to the latest NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 64% of sellers did not offer any incentives at all.

21% of sellers offer a home warranty. 16% of sellers offered assistance with closing costs and 6% offered credit toward remodeling or repairs.  

The attached chart indicates that while 80% of sellers were not willing to offer incentives in the beginning of their marketing period, as weeks passes and their home hasn’t sold, closer to half did add incentives.

The ideal outcome is to maximize proceeds in the shortest time possible with the fewest unexpected issues. This involves having a firm understanding of current, local market conditions and crafting a marketing plan that will insure results.

There is so much at stake, the value of a trusted real estate professional is essential.


Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
Wendy HuangMBA,SRS, GRI, CRS, IRES, e-pro, ASP, ALHS, SFR, RFC, RE/MAX Premier Group, RE/MAX Hall of Fame, 
RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement ; Over 22 years' experience!
Helping Over 1000 Families Meet Their Real Estate Needs !!!
Direct: 972-365-7888  


Plano real estate, Frisco real estate, Allen real estate, DFW real estate, Dallas real estate, McKinney real estate, Coppell real estate, Highland park real estate, TX real estate, Addison Real Estate, Allen Real Estate, Anna Real Estate, Carrollton Real Estate, Collin County Real Estate, Coppell Real Estate, Dallas Real Estate, Denton County Real Estate, Distressed Properties, Flower Mound Real Estate, Frisco Real Estate, Irving Real Estate, Lewisville Real Estate, McKinney Real Estate, Murphy Real Estate, North Dallas Real Estate, Parker Real Estate, Plano Real Estate, Prosper Real Estate, Richardson Real Estate, The Colony Real Estate, Wylie Real Estate

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Rent or Buy- You pay for the house you occupy

by plano 9. January 2017 05:12

The ironic thing about people who think they can’t afford to buy a home for themselves, end up buying the home for their landlord. There are several facts that support this notion.

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Mortgages, whether held by an owner-occupant or an investor, are usually amortized so that each payment reduces the principal amount owed so that the loan will be repaid totally over the term. A tenant is inadvertently retiring the landlord’s mortgage with his monthly rent.

In most cases, the mortgage payment including taxes and insurance will be lower than the rent tenants are paying. Some experts are saying that we may never again experience the incredibly low mortgage interest rates currently available.

Renting precludes a person from enjoying the advantage a home has as a leveraged investment. When the borrowed funds cost less than the investment is returning, the rate of return on the down payment grows much faster. As you can see from the chart, a 2% appreciation on a home could result in big returns on the down payment. In most cases, there are very few or no alternative investments that offer homeowners similar returns.

Even if a buyer agrees with all of these things but doesn’t have the down payment or cannot qualify for a loan, they still need to investigate further. To find out exactly what types of loans are available and the specific down payment required which can be a whole lot less than 20%, they need to consult with an experienced, trusted loan professional (an Internet lender or a “BIG” bank may not be the best choice.) Call for a recommendation.


Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage service click here
Wendy HuangMBA,SRS, GRI, CRS, IRES, e-pro, ASP, ALHS, SFR, RFC, RE/MAX Premier Group, RE/MAX Hall of Fame, 
RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement ; Over 22 years' experience!
Helping Over 1000 Families Meet Their Real Estate Needs !!!
Direct: 972-365-7888  
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