7 Tax Benefits Of Owning Real Estate

There are so many advantages to purchasing your own home. For instance, it offers the pride of ownership, provides an overall sense of accomplishment, and is a place where you and your family will build many lasting memories. Among others, real estate opens the door to many tax benefits as well. Let’s discover some of the following ways that owning a home/s can help to create a tax shelter.

  • Mortgage Interest & Points: If mortgage debt is $1,000,000 or less, married couples filing jointly can deduct the full amount of their interest. Otherwise, those filing separately can write off up to $500,000 worth. This also includes second homes or adjacent land to your main residence. Points on either a home purchase or refinance can also be deducted, but these must be amortized for the latter.
  • Property Tax Deductions: All state and local taxes regardless of how many properties you own can be deducted, up to the alternative minimum tax required by law. Funds that are held in escrow accounts can only be written off once the taxes are paid.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): A portion of PMI can also be deducted if household income is less than $109,000 per year or $54,500 for those filing separately.
  • Interest On Home Equity Loans: As long as you have the necessary equity in your home to secure the required debt, you can write off the interest on a loan of up to $100,000 for those who are married filing jointly, or $50,000 when submitted separately.
  • Working From Home: That’s right! Even those who use a portion of their home for work purposes are able to deduct a percentage of the home’s depreciation, utility/maintenance costs and insurance. This is one you definitely want to review with your tax professional to make sure you are getting the maximum available to you.
  • Home Maintenance Interest: This is a tricky one, as you can write off the interest on any capital improvements made to your home, which will increase value and/or prolong the life of your home. This includes certain types of restorations or additions made to the home with no cap on the investment. However, you will not be able to deduct minor patching or cosmetics made to the home.
  • Capital Gains/Selling Costs: As long as you have lived in your primary residence for at least 2 of the last 5 years, you are permitted to sell your property for up to $500,000 of profit for married couples filing jointly, or $250,000 for singles with absolutely no tax penalties. However, if you end up selling for an amount above either threshold, you can subtract the amount of closing/selling costs that you incurred from your total gain. Those who fall outside of the 2 out of 5 year limitation may be granted an exception given certain unique circumstances such as health problems, relocating for work or other such occurrences.

Therefore, it pays to consider the benefits of homeownership and to discuss with your tax professional what you may qualify for. Especially for those who are entertaining the thought of buying instead of renting, it is very important to consider the long-term impact that owning real estate can have on your overall financial future. There are advantages whether you are buying for yourself or investing in properties for additional income. Contact us today using our information above to start exploring what options may be available for you!

College Grads – Consider A Future In Real Estate!

If you’re approaching the end of you college career, you may be starting to consider some potential options for employment. Since the current job market isn’t the best, so many students are getting their degrees only to go back to working in a position like serving tables.

Unless graduates move onto either a masters or doctorate program in a more specialized field, competition for undergraduates is becoming fiercer than ever. In addition, many students struggle with finding direction or a career that they can be passionate about.

Whether you are on the way to earning your diploma or want to begin your professional career, becoming a Realtor could be the answer you are looking for. Let’s review some of the top benefits to earning your license as a real estate professional:

1. Total Freedom – One of the main reasons that people start a career in real estate is the flexibility it offers. If you are a highly motivated, self starter than you could have what it takes to be successful in real estate. It is a perfect path for those who have an entrepreneurial spirit.

First, you have the ability to set your own hours. You can work as long as you like and when the time comes to take a vacation with the family, you won’t have to push through all the red tape only to be denied by HR.

Next, this isn’t a restricted desk job either. If you choose to work from home or from your mobile office, you won’t have the requirement of checking in everyday. In essence, you are your own boss and you get to call the shots!

2. Perfect for Tech Savvy Individuals – If you are under the age of 30 and own a mobile phone, ipod, personal computer, etc., then you have what it takes to crush it in real estate. This is where the future of real estate marketing is headed.

It is estimated that nearly 90% of people start their search for real estate online. There are so many ways to apply your skills using mobile technology, affiliate marketing, blogging, social networking, etc., that gives you a distinct advantage over many “old school” professionals who have adapted to traditional methods.

You can bypass the entire learning curve of implementing these concepts to promote your business, make contacts with professionals and potential customers, and quickly become a big player in your local market.

3. High Earning Potential – What you are able to put into a real estate career is exactly what you’ll get out of it. Instead of working for a set paycheck, you can determine to double or even triple what most students are earning on average today within a short time period. That’s the beauty of commissions.

Additionally, since you probably have very few debts or family responsibilities holding you down, you will have ample time to establish yourself as a well known authority in the area. Overtime, many of your efforts can be set to autopilot as you build up referral sources and establish solid marketing avenues.

You will gain a strong feel of what percentage of prospects and contracts it will take to earn a commission. And there are dozens of niches you can become a specialist in, which can lead to even bigger paydays.

4. Working With People – If you like talking with and meeting new people, then this is one of the best careers available to you. Not only will you have the pleasure of working with others on a daily basis, but you will also be able to meet some highly influential people in other verticals.

It pays to have friends in high places, and simply by investing time in helping others will provide you the opportunity to build a powerful professional network. You will also be able to fine tune your people skills and learn others that are so valuable to succeeding in the real world.

5. Learn How To Buy/Sell/Invest – Regardless of what is happening in the economy, real estate is one of the top proven strategies for building wealth and a retirement fund. Did you know that many Realtors also invest in their own properties as well?

You will be able to acquire invaluable skills that will teach you all about the buying and selling process. Additionally, you will attain a working knowledge for your local area and will know where and what the best deals are. Working as an agent is a fast track to succeeding with real estate investments as well!

Thus, there are unlimited possibilities for personal growth and success as a real estate professional. If you have been feeling frustrated or unsure what your next step is after college, then it may be time to invest in your future as a licensed Realtor.

We are here to support you throughout this process and to get you started on building a promising future. It is out desire that you realize your full potential. Contact us @ 813-863-5917 right now using the information provided above to discover what possibilities are available to you!

When The Kids Have Moved Away It’s Time To Play

Empty Nest Rejoice

“We’re not getting any younger honey!” Have you heard this one before? You may be getting to that age now where the kids are either close to finishing college, finding full time jobs and picking up a sweet rental, or finally tying the knot. There may still be one 20 something year old lingering around for longer than expected, and you haven’t fully achieved “empty nest” syndrome yet, but the time is coming soon.
So what do you intend on doing with all this new found time, space and energy? Chances are you don’t plan on just staring at each other longer than you have in decades, so there must be another solution. It’s time to get back to living on the edge and taking a few calculated risks. Maybe what you need is a little adventure!
Is there something that you have been aiming to do forever, but with the kids, mortgage and other heaping responsibilities, these goals turned more into faded dreams than a reality? Perhaps we can help offer some insight and direction. Believe us, we have worked with many clients in the past who have faced the same choices that you may be dealing with now.
Whether that involves taking a 3 month long European vacation, visiting family across the country, buying that boat and spending your time out at sea, or investing your time serving orphans in Africa, one thing that may be crossing your mind is what you plan to do with your oversized house for two.
For most reading this, we would presume that you either have a majority of your mortgage paid off or at least some retirement savings stashed up that will provide you the flexibility to sell and downsize into a more modest living space. With that extra income, you will now be able to finally experience those long anticipated dreams.
Maybe this looks like taking a leap and moving into a high-rise condominium in the big city. Or perhaps you would rather pick up something a little more tranquil out in the country. Others may be interested in building up a small rental portfolio and not being tied down to any one location. And there are plenty of luxurious 50+ retirement communities that offer mindboggling amenities.
The options could seem overwhelming, so we’re here to serve you along the way. We understand the hesitation and concerns that can arise when making such a big decision, after living in a residence for 20+ years. These feelings are normal.
Whether you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss possible options with your current home or need assistance in planning for your future move, we encourage you to contact us using the information provided above. Consider us to be your trusted advisors as you begin mapping out your next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your dreams!

Bill Engvall – Empty Nest (Funny)

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Bill Engvall – Empty Nest
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Multifamily Units for First Time Home Buyers

Multiunit Homes in Tampa

If you’re getting ready to purchase your first home, you may
want to consider the advantages of leveraging your money through the use of a
multifamily property.  This can be
especially appealing to young families just getting started out or busy
couples/singles on the go.  So let’s
review some of the top benefits of multifamily investing:

First, by purchasing a 3 or 4+ unit within a desirable area,
you will immediately start reaping the benefits of home ownership and
collecting strong investment income.  By
finding reliable tenants, you will be able to cover up to a half or more of
your mortgage payments.

And you will be consistently paying down principle and
building up great equity.  When the time
comes to upgrade to a different property, the consistent income from you
multi-unit home will help to cover a portion of your new mortgage, plus you
will already be on the path to building your investment portfolio.

Additionally, instead of driving across town to keep up with
maintenance and tenant issues, you will essentially be your own on property
manager.  This makes it infinitely easier
when trying to collect rent or conduct showings, and you don’t need to pay
another party to keep up with your home.

Next, in today’s market, cash flow is of the utmost
importance.  Nothing is worse for a new
investor then when the property goes vacant for months.  With a multifamily unit, you can alleviate
the fear of being stuck with the full amount of mortgage payments, because
typically your home should be at least 50% occupied.

Finally, you will be learning the ins and outs to one of the
most effective investment strategies available.
Purchasing your first multi unit will teach you all about how to buy,
repair homes, market your property to tenants, collect rent, and how to invest
your income into future properties.

Therefore, it is worth considering a multifamily home for
your first purchase.  Before choosing an area
to live in and searching for a property that fits your needs, it will be to
your advantage to consult an experienced Realtor within you local area that can
give you professional guidance.

Contact us today @ 813-863-5917 to start learning more about
the opportunities available to you and to discover where you can make a wise
investment for your financial future!

What To Be Aware Of When Shopping For A Mortgage

 Shopping for a mortgage is one of the most important steps involved in purchasing your next home. Since the terms and conditions that you agree to will impact your financial future for years to come, it is vital that you take the necessary time to research and compare the best packages available to you.
Many buyers tend to primarily focus on obtaining the best interest rates; and though this is an extremely important piece, there are a host of other factors to consider. Therefore, let’s discuss some of the other criteria that should be reviewed before signing on the dotted line.
First of all, please be wary of only searching for rates and quotes online. Although there are very reputable companies that can be found using an internet based search, it is wise to also spend time working with local companies and banks that are familiar with the current market. This is a very detailed process, so you should not base your decision on simply one or two sources.
As you have seen from the recent mortgage industry scare, it is typically best to invest in a fixed rate loan. With adjustable rate mortgages, you could be stuck paying higher amounts of interest and maybe even eventually owe more on the loan than the house is worth. Be sure to review this with your mortgage professional before making any final decisions.
Next, along with attractive interest rates may also come additional fees and terms. Be careful that you fully understand what you are signing up for before choosing your mortgage. Although the rates may look somewhat favorable, here is a list of some things to be aware of:

  • Processing Fees—Items such as processing and underwriting fees could be added to the cost of the loan as well. Although you typically will have to pay a few hundred dollars for the application fee, there are other extras that may be attached as an added expense.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)—In order for lenders to protect their own interests, buyers will be required to pay for PMI on a loan until they have built up 20% equity in the home. These fees are calculated based on a person’s credit score.
  • Appraisals—It is becoming more common for lenders to charge this fee upfront before an appraisal is conducted. Unfortunately, you will end up paying for this regardless of whether or not it gives you the evaluation necessary to obtain the loan.
  • Points—Each point equals 1% of the actual loan amount. Many buyers can elect to choose a plan that charges points so that they can acquire a lower interest rate. Lenders will typically charge anywhere from 1-3 points (or even more), and these will be charged as a fee at closing. Whether or not you should choose a plan with points will be dependent on your available cash and how long you plan on staying in the home.

This is just a sampling of what may be included with your mortgage. It is best to find out up front exactly what you will be responsible for with all additional fees included. As long as you are working with a reputable company, you should get a good feel of what will be expected at closing.

Be sure to avoid working with any parties that seem to make unfulfilled promises, suddenly change the terms at closing, ask for more information than is necessary to process the loan, or overall make this an uncomfortable process for you.

There are more than enough resources available to you to obtain a loan that will suit your needs. Additionally, we would be happy to provide any additional referrals and feedback so that you can get set out on the right foot. Please contact us right away for more information on how to get started!

First Time Home Buyer Tips

For the first time home buyer, buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do. If you have spent years living in apartments, there is nothing more satisfying than owning your own property. The process can be a little lengthy and you might hit a few bumps in the road to home ownership. The following tips will help the first time homeowner avoid some of the hiccups.

Step one is to talk to a real estate agent about the home buying process. It should not be a sales meeting and you should be able to find an agent that will agree to meet with you about the basics without having to sign a sales agreement with them. If you cannot find a good agent to talk to, you might want to consider talking to a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker.

An equally important tip is to get your finances in order before you apply for a mortgage. Order a copy of your credit report so you can check it for accuracy. Mistakes are common and you want to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report. If you come across something that you know is an error, circle it and send it to the reporting agency along with a letter of dispute.

Next, you should really study the mortgage industry. You need to be able to find the right loan and lender most suitable for your needs. Familiarize yourself with industry terms like debt to income ratio and adjustable rate mortgage. Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualified. It will all seem foreign at first, but taking the time to learn the business will spare you from headaches in the future.

Also, you need to figure out what your wants and needs are. What kinds of amenities are you looking for? How many bedrooms? One story or two story home? You also need to consider the size of the down payment and figure out what you need to do to come up with the money for it.

You must learn about how real estate agents work. There are buyers agents and sellers agents. A buyers agents responsibility is to negotiate the best deal for the buyer. The goal of the sellers agent is to get the price that the seller most desires. The best way to find the right agent is to ask your friends for suggestions. They have all probably been in the same boat, so they can probably recommend a good real estate agent.

When meeting with a potential agent, pay attention to how they treat you. Make sure they listen to you when you talk about what you want. Also, how are their follow up skills? Do they take the time to return your calls or emails? If they do not take the time to respond, move on. There is a better agent out there for you.

When looking for a home, consider all of the possibilities. Look up real estate agents websites. Do not rule out For Sale by Owner Properties and foreclosed homes. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homes can often be found for very reasonable prices. You do need to find an agent that is approved to sell HUD homes if you choose to take that road to home ownership.

Before you even think about making an offer, you need to consider the resale value. You might plan on being there for a long time, but you just never know. You might opt for a different climate to alleviate your allergies or you could simply be transferred by your company. You want to pick a good location that will be attractive to others as well.

Another issue that cannot be ignored are the deed restrictions, which govern what you can and cannot do with the property. If it has always been your dream to have a pool, you want to make sure that you do not buy a home in a subdivision that will not allow it because of deed restrictions.

Home inspections are an important part of the equation. Talk to your agent to find out when the inspection will be performed. It varies state to state. Sometimes the inspection will be right before the contract is signed and other times, they are performed right after an offer is made.

Finally, make sure you stay on top of things. Any number of problems can crop up at the last minute and delay the purchase of your home. If you are not sure about something with the paperwork, do not be afraid to ask questions. You might think of something that everyone else has overlooked.

Purchasing a home is a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task, but it is worth it when you have your backyard barbecues.

Do You Need A Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate business has seen tremendous growth and so has been the need of Real Estate agent. Today more and more people are getting interested to become home owner and as the demand for real estate need increases the role of Real Estate Agent becomes more important. In the past one agent use to provide services to both seller and buyer but as the real estate market changed people started to realize that specialized service is more logical and beneficial. In Real Estate industry now buyer/seller are looking for specialized agents who can provide specialized related expertise, information and services required to complete the process. When a real estate agent represents both buyer and seller it really restricts agents to provide impartial service to either party.

Let’s look at the both (Seller/Buyer) scenario separately. A real estate agents who is a listing agent of seller has a fiduciary, ethically and moral duty to represent seller only.

By getting Exclusive Right to Sell Listing, the real estate agent is promising seller that he will live no stone unturned to market the home and find the best buyer at maximum possible market value for the home.

As a Buyer’s real estate agent he need to find the right home for buyer along with should all information of the community. When a buyer is exploring to buy a real estate property in new community, he is very much interested to find out several information related to that particular community such as population, crime, climate, schools, traffic, living standards etc. Buyer’s real estate agent should be well informed with all these information so that he can provide that information to buyer. It will be easier for buyer to make the decision based on these information. Once the buyer is ready to buy real estate property in the community then other part of the real estate agent’s duty starts. As buyer’s agent it is his responsibility to find a real estate property, as per buyers requirement. It is also buyer’s real estate agents duty to negotiate the best market price with seller.

So if seller and buyer are represented by their own specialized agent then both agents can play a partial and specialized role for their client.

So it is quite clear that one real estate agent representing both seller and buyer can not justify providing specialized service to both party. Both buyer and seller are in different need of services. That’s why specialized real estate service has become more in demand where buyer/seller can get impartiality specialized service during the process.

Never before has the role of specialists in the world of real estate been more important. With buyers and sellers requiring more services, the industry has seen an explosion of agents who specialize in either the representation of sellers or buyers. These specialist agents can provide a wealth of services and maintain a complete impartiality during the sales process as there is only one client to concern them.

Historically the sales transaction and the concerns of the buyer were the purview of a single Realtor. However, as the industry has progressed so have the needs of each party and so the specialist arose. Buyers have some very particular needs, and specifically the need to feel that their best interests are seen to. Listing agents are representatives of the home’s owner and in that role they have a primary responsibility to that owner. How could they properly look after the needs of an interested buyer as well?

So what is it that a buyer’s agent does? Primarily the buyer’s agent will begin with the location of suitable properties for their clients. This is usually based upon a list of requirements and desires that the client has communicated to the agent. They will then arrange viewings and recap their findings with their clients and assist in deciding upon a good candidate for an offer. This will be based on the wealth of community information that a buyer’s agent commands. As specialists, they are experts on their given area which is critical in the education of clients on the areas that they are considering. Once a property is decided upon, the buyer’s agent changes significantly, evolving into an overseer-negotiator role. They will typically coordinate the inspections and conduct the negotiations with the listing agent. This includes the execution of the buyers subjects and the closing of the actual contract.

There is an art to representing a buyer. It is a role that has become ever more crucial in an industry where customer service is the single most important thing that an agent can offer. If you are in the market for a home then the buyer’s agent is the friend that you need to make sure that you are given the service that you deserve.

 

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