Monday, January 14, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples. There will be some instances that homeowners may be better off taking the standard deduction than itemizing their deductions. In the past, homeowners would most likely be better off itemizing but the $10,000 limit of state and local taxes (SALT) adds one more issue to consider.
Let's look at a hypothetical homeowner to see how a strategy that has been around for years could benefit them now even though they haven't used it in the past. The strategy is called bunching; by timing the payments in a tax year so that they can be combined to make a larger deduction.
Let's say that the married couple filing jointly has a $285,000 mortgage at 5% for 30 years that has about $14,000 in interest being paid. The property taxes are $6,000 and they have $4,000 a year in charitable contributions for a total of $24,000 of allowable itemized deductions on Schedule A.
Monday, December 17, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
Smart home technology promises to make your home more comfortable, convenient and secure. It may not be the home from the Jetson's but artificial intelligence is the hope to make it the home of the future which is available now and controlled from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
When Alexa appeared at Christmas-time two years ago, most people thought it was a novelty to ask what the weather will be or to play a song. Few people understood the vision of Amazon would be verbally purchasing everything imaginable and that your calendar, contacts, lights, and appliances would all be connected.
There are plenty of players in the market including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Smart Things, Apple and others. It starts with a hub that acts like a brain for your system to connect the different home automation devices. You'll establish an online account with the hub manufacturer so that you can adjust settings and controls.
You could start simple ...
Monday, November 12, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
It's been said that if you can find a home that has most of what you want, you should go ahead and purchase it. Many first-time buyers are using everything they have for a down payment and closing costs and would have to "live" with the less than perfect home until they can save the money to make the changes.
The FHA 203(k) mortgage allows a borrower to purchase a home and provides additional funds for improvements to be made. These types of renovations can include kitchen and bathroom remodels, flooring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, additions and other things.
The benefit to the buyer is that they have the opportunity to consider a home that needs repairs and might have been unacceptable without a program like this. Being a FHA loan, a minimal down payment is required, fair interest rates and generous qualifying requirements.
The 203(k) Streamline can be used for cosmetic improvements, appliances and minor remodeling up to $35,000 in c ...
Monday, September 3, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
Whether it is hesitation or procrastination due to uncertainty, it can cost buyers by having to pay more for both the house and the financing. This is one of those markets where most of the experts expect interest rates and prices will continue to rise through 2019.
The National Association of REALTORS reports there is currently a 4.2-month supply of homes for sale which is close to the same as last year's inventory. Normal inventory is considered to be a 6-month supply.
If during the period you're waiting to buy, the price of the home goes up by 5% and the mortgage rate increases by 1%, the payment on a $275,000 home with a 95% mortgage could be $233.80 more each and every month. Over a seven-year period, the delay to purchase would total close to $20,000.
To act decisively, you need good information; a confused mind will not generally make a decision. In today's market, you need to know exactly what price home you can qualify for and you need to kno ...
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
The American Flag is obviously a symbol of our country but it has come to remind us of every man and woman who has fought for the freedom that we enjoy. The emotions that are stirred by images of our flag can run from happiness to sadness to trust and everything in between.
Most of us learned American flag etiquette or the Flag Code when we were young but occasionally, it is a good idea to review the guidelines so that the flag is treated with the respect it deserves.
• The U.S. flag should not be flown at night unless a light is shown on it.
• The U.S. flag should not be flown upside down except as a distress signal.
• The flag should never touch the ground.
• A U.S. flag should be displayed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff in mourning.
• When displaying multiple flags of a state, community or society on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag must always be on top.
• When flown with flags of states, communities, or societ ...