Homeowners ‘Tax Snags’ Update

Tax season is here, and many homeowners may have questions about what they can and can’t write off under the new tax code.

One big change: Homeowners who used to write off property taxes and interest paid on their mortgage may no longer be able to entirely. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pay higher taxes. HouseLogic, the National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer-facing website, offers guidance and worksheets on the changes for homeowners.

Under the new law, the standard deduction every tax filer gets has nearly doubled ($24,000 for married couples who file jointly and $12,000 for single filers). Most people likely will be better off taking the standard deduction than itemizing their write-offs.

Other interesting information at: “Tax Deductions for Homeowners: How the New Tax Law Affects Mortgage Interest,” HouseLogic.com (2019) and “Are Closing Costs Tax Deductible Under the New Tax Law?” HouseLogic.com (2019)

“Home Ownership” makes Tax Time less Taxing!

Our tax updates for sharing! With the April 17 tax deadline less than a week away, you still have time to take advantage of the valuable tax benefits home ownership affords. The National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer site, HouseLogic.com, can help.

“Our government encourages home ownership because it benefits families, communities, and our nation’s economy; home ownership is an investment in our collective futures,” says NAR President Moe Veissi. “HouseLogic.com helps home owners identify the benefits that will save them money today and plan ahead for future savings, as well.”

HouseLogic.com provides tips and tools for home owners, and devotes an entire section of its site to tax incentives for the home. Check out A Home Owner’s Guide to Taxes to find helpful articles you can pass along , such as 10 Easy Mistakes Home Owners Make on their Taxes, 12 Tough Questions (and Answers) About Home Office Deductions, and 6 Deduction Traps and How to Avoid Them that provide consumers with a wealth of information to ensure they get the maximum return to which they’re entitled.

Tax benefits that encourage home ownership include mortgage interest deduction, deductions for property taxes, and tax credits for energy-efficient remodeling projects and heating and cooling systems.

For more information on tax deductions and preparation as well as articles you can add to your blog or Web site, visit www.houselogic.com.  Article data source: NAR

“Mortgage Rates Reach Another Low” for 2011

For the fifth straight week, mortgage rates inched down again–this time reaching the lowest level of the year as well as lowest year-to-date. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent this week, while the 15-year rate averaged 3.80 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

The 30-year mortgage hasn’t reached 4.61 percent or below since December 2010. Last year at this time, it averaged 4.84 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24 percent.

The falling rates may be yet another lure to buyers during real estate’s traditionally prime home buying season. Owning a home has also recently been found to be more affordable than renting in 78 percent of the major U.S. cities, according to the latest data from Trulia.

Mortgage applications, meanwhile, are increasing as interest rates continue to fall. Mortgage loan application volume increased 7.8 percent this week when compared to the week prior, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancings,  hit the highest level since mid-December, increasing 13.2 percent over the prior week, while the purchase index for mortgage applications dropped 3.2 percent.

Source: “Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit a New Year-to-Date Low,” Freddie Mac (May 19, 2011) and “Mortgage Applications Grow Again on Home Refinancings,” HousingWire (May 18, 2011) 

Other articles relating to the Sacramento and Placerville, California regions at: www.sierraproperties.com

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Plan to Curb “Mortgage Interest Deduction” Remains in Play?

President Obama’s deficit reduction commission flamed out, right? It needed to get 14 of its 18 members on board for the commission’s final report to go to Congress for an automatic vote on its recommendations, which include curbing the mortgage interest deduction. But the commission only received 11 votes, so we’re back to square one, right?

Actually, we’re not back to square one. Although the report doesn’t automatically go to Congress for a vote, the individual recommendations in the report are alive and well and could yet be voted on by Congress. That’s because there’s nothing stopping President Obama from taking the pieces of the report that he likes and including them in the proposed budget he sends to Congress in January.

Will changes to MID be part of the mix? They could be. The President took a swing at MID last year, when he proposed some curbs for the wealthiest households. Those curbs failed, but the effort shows that the President isn’t hesitant about taking on MID.

So, the deficit commission report in its own way is alive and well. It’s just that the script Congress will follow for dealing with it isn’t known upfront but will be written as the budget debate unfolds next year.

Video and full information at: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1465406675?bctid=710851563001

By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

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