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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Introducing Ridgewood Of Skippack

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

We have just been introduced to a wonderful community, Ridgewood, in Skippack Township. This picturesque setting has 5 more homesites available for your new dream home.

The Cardano Group, a local custom homebuilder has several floorplans to choose from or to serve as your inspiration. Driving through the community, you'll see an array of exquisite homes on large homesites, set amongst rolling hills.

With prices starting at $489,900, this is the best value around to have a totally customizable home in a great location. Visit www.RidgewoodOfSkippack.com for more information and visual tours!

Low Interest Rates For The Taking!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

If you've followed the news yesterday and today, you know that because of economic conditions in Europe, mortgage interest rates have fallen below 5% again.

The smallest change in interest rates can mean big savings in your monthly payment.

Now is a great time to purchase a home or consider refinancing to decrease your monthly payment.

Call us at 215-576-8666 if you need help getting started. You may want to check out http://www.bankrate.com/ to see what rates are running in your area.

Free Home Buyer Workshop Tonight!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Our team is going to be busy all day getting everything ready for our home buyer workshop tonight.

If you haven't signed up and wish to attend, go to www.FreeREWorkshops.com to register. We'll be at the Fort Washington Hilton from 6:30-8pm.

Hope you can come!

How To Claim Your $8k or $6500 Tax Credit

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Many homebuyers have taken advantage of the tax credits the federal government offered this Spring. Because of this, there are also many questions about how you actually get a hold of that money. Here is information right from the government's website about how to claim your $8k credit:

For Qualifying Purchases in 2010

For qualifying purchases in 2010, you have the option of claiming the credit on either your 2009 or 2010 return.

Deadlines

  • You must have bought — or entered into a binding contract to buy — a principal residence on or before April 30, 2010.
  • If you entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, you must close (go to settlement) on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

Filing Requirements

2009 Tax Return

Because of the documentation requirements for claiming the credit, taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return must file a paper — not electronic — return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit (see the instructions for help with the form), and a properly executed copy of a settlement statement used to complete the purchase.

  • Purchasers of conventional homes should include a copy of Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement, or other settlement statement, showing all parties' names, property address, sales price and date of purchase.
  • Purchasers of mobile homes who are unable to get a settlement statement should include a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties' names, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
  • Purchasers of newly constructed homes where a settlement statement is not available should include a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

Long-Time Residents: The November 2009 legislation extends the credit to long-time residents of the same main home if they purchase a new main home. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. For long-time residents claiming the credit, the IRS recommends attaching, in addition to the documents described above, any of the following documentation of the five-consecutive-year period:

  • Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
  • Property tax records or 
  • Homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information, visit the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204671,00.html

How Do You Cancel or Terminate PMI?

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

This is a question we've heard a lot lately...for those of you paying PMI, do you know when it "goes away"? Here are some answers taken from http://www.frbsf.org/publications/consumer/pmi.html. Please note that some of this information may have changed, so contact us at 215-576-8666 for the most up-to-date information.

Cancellation

Under HPA, you have the right to request cancellation of PMI when you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less. You also need a good payment history, meaning that you have not been 30 days late with your mortgage payment within a year of your request, or 60 days late within two years. Your lender may require evidence that the value of the property has not declined below its original value and that the property does not have a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan.

Automatic Termination

Under HPA, mortgage lenders or servicers must automatically cancel PMI coverage on most loans, once you pay down your mortgage to 78 percent of the value if you are current on your loan. If the loan is delinquent on the date of automatic termination, the lender must terminate the coverage as soon thereafter as the loan becomes current. Lenders must terminate the coverage within 30 days of cancellation or the automatic termination date, and are not permitted to require PMI premiums after this date. Any unearned premiums must be returned to you within 45 days of the cancellation or termination date.

For high risk loans, mortgage lenders or servicers are required to automatically cancel PMI coverage once the mortgage is paid down to 77 percent of the original value of the property, provided you are current on your loan.

Final Termination

Under HPA, if PMI has not been canceled or otherwise terminated, coverage must be removed when the loan reaches the midpoint of the amortization period. On a 30-year loan with 360 monthly payments, for example, the chronological midpoint would occur after 180 payments. This provision also requires that the borrower must be current on the payments required by the terms of the mortgage. Final termination must occur within 30 days of this date.

Free Home Buyer Workshop This Week!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

If you're thinking about purchasing a home in the next year or so, now is a great time to start planning for that purchase-it is, afterall, one of the most important decisions of your life.

Now that the craziness of the tax credit is over, many people are left wondering when the next best time will be to purchase a home. We'll review the answer to that question, other available credits and financing programs at our next Free Savvy Home Buyer Workshop.

This month's class will be held at the Fort Washington Hilton this Thursday, May 20th at 6:30pm. To register, go to www.FreeREWorkshops.com!

We hope to see you then!!!

"Cash For Clunkers" Program for Home Appliances

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Did you know that you can receive a tax credit in 2010 from upgrading your home to be more energy efficient? Consider it a "cash for clunkers" program for your home!

Tax credits are applicable toward appliances, windows-all kinds of things!

For more information, check out this site: http://www.energysavers.gov/financial/70010.html

Lists of Open Houses This Weekend

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

The Spring market is in full effect and there are many of you out there thinking about buying a home. Perhaps you're planning to move sometime over the next several months, and just want to get an idea of what's out there.

You may want to consider attending open houses on the weekend. Typically held on Sunday afternoons, there are bound to be 1 or 2 in your price range and area that you are considering.

If you'd like to receive a list of open houses weekly, give us a call at 215-576-8666 x14 and we can set that up for you, or just email dianeandteam@consultantsforlife.com!

Remember, you can also search online at www.MontgomeryHomesNow.com!

 

Choosing the right sump pump

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Now that the rain has arrived and is planning on sticking around for a couple of days, we thought it may be a good idea to discuss sump pumps.

Have you ever tried going to Home Depot or Lowes to pick one out? They have mutliple systems, various "gallons-per-hour" rates...so how do you know which one is best?

Check out this article about finding the right sump pump...

http://www.hometips.com/buying-guides/sump-pumps.html

 

Tax Breaks For Homeowners

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

For all those new homeowners out there who were brought in to the market by the tax credits, here's a great article from bankrate.com about the tax breaks of owning a home...

Congratulations, you've just taken another step up the American-dream ladder and are a homeowner. Along with the joy of painting, plumbing and yard work, you now have some new tax considerations.

The good news is you can deduct many home-related expenses. These tax breaks are available for any abode -- mobile home, single-family residence, town house, condominium or cooperative apartment.

The bad news is, to take full tax advantage of your home, your taxes will likely get more complicated. In most cases, homeowners itemize. That means you're not living on "EZ" Street anymore; you've moved to the 1040 long form and Schedule A, where you'll have to detail your deductible expenses.

For many homeowners, the effort of itemizing is well worth it at tax time. Some, however, might find claiming the standard deduction remains their best move, especially since recent law changes allow for at least some home costs to be counted as part of the standard deduction.

If you do find that itemizing is best for your tax situation, here's a look at homeowner expenses you can deduct on Schedule A, ones you can't and some tips to get the most tax advantages out of your new property owning status.

Mortgage interest

Your biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. And all that interest is deductible, unless your loan is more than $1 million. If you're the proud owner of a multimillion-dollar mortgaged mansion, the Internal Revenue Service will limit your deductible interest.

Interest tax breaks don't end with your home's first mortgage. Did you pull out extra cash through refinancing? Or did you decide instead to get a home equity loan or line of credit? Generally, equity debts of $100,000 or less are fully deductible.

What if you're the proud owner of multiple properties? Mortgage interest on a second home also is fully deductible. In fact, your additional property doesn't have to strictly be a house. It could be a boat or RV, as long as it has cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities. You can even rent out your second property for part of the year and still take full advantage of the mortgage interest deduction as long as you also spend some time there.

But be careful. If you don't vacation at least 14 days at your second property, or more than 10 percent of the number of days that you do rent it out (whichever is longer), the IRS could consider the place a residential rental property and ax your interest deduction.

Points

Did you pay points to get a better rate on any of your various home loans? They offer a tax break, too. The only issue is exactly when you get to claim them.

The IRS lets you deduct points in the year you paid them if, among other things, the loan is to purchase or build your main home, payment of points is an established business practice in your area and the points were within the usual range. Make sure your loan meets all the qualification requirements so that you can deduct points all at once.

A homeowner who pays points on a refinanced loan is also eligible for this tax break, but in most cases the points must be deducted over the life of the loan. So if you paid $2,000 in points to refinance your mortgage for 30 years, you can deduct $5.56 per monthly payment, or a total of $66.72 if you made 12 payments in one year on the new loan.

The same rule applies to home equity loans or lines of credit. When the loan money is used for work on the house securing the loan, the points are deductible in the year the loan is taken out. But if you use the extra cash for something else, such as buying a car, the point deductions must be parceled out over the equity loan's term.

And points paid on a loan secured by a second home or vacation residence, regardless of how the cash is used, must be amortized over the life of the loan.

Taxes

The other major deduction in connection with your home is property taxes.

A big part of most monthly loan payments is taxes, which go into an escrow account for payment once a year. This amount should be included on the annual statement you get from your lender, along with your loan interest information. These taxes will be an annual deduction as long as you own your home.

But if this is your first tax year in your house, dig out the settlement sheet you got at closing to find additional tax payment data. When the property was transferred from the seller to you, the year's tax payments were divided so that each of you paid the taxes for that portion of the tax year during which you owned the home. Your share of these taxes is fully deductible.

Property taxes usually must be deducted as an itemized expense on Schedule A. However, homeowners who use the standard deduction can add at least some of their property tax payments to their 2009 tax return standard amount.

A single homeowner can add up to $500 of property tax payments to the $5,700 standard deduction; that same amount can be added by a head-of-household filer to the $8,350 standard deduction. Married taxpayers filing a joint return can add up to $1,000 to their $11,400 amount. To include the property tax amounts in your standard deduction, you'll need to file Schedule L.

This option helps homeowners who don't have enough deductions to itemize, but who pay property taxes on their personal residence.

When you sell

When you decide to move up to a bigger home, you'll be able to avoid some taxes on the profit you make.

Years ago, to avoid paying tax on the sale of a residence, a homeowner had to use the sale proceeds to buy another house. In 1997, the law was changed so that up to $250,000 in sales gain ($500,000 for married joint filers) is tax-free as long as the homeowner owned the property for two years and lived in it for two of the five years before the sale.

If you sell before meeting the ownership and residency requirements, you owe tax on any profit. The IRS provides some tax relief if the sale is because of a change in the owner's health, employment or unforeseen circumstances. In these cases, the tax-free gain amount is prorated.

A ruling by the IRS in late 2002 could put more dollars in homeowners' pockets when they must sell before they qualify for the full tax break. The Treasury has defined the unforeseen circumstances that often force homeowners to sell and under which they now can get some tax relief.

Unforeseen circumstances:
  • Death.
  • Divorce or legal separation.
  • Job loss that qualifies for unemployment compensation.
  • Employment changes that make it difficult for the homeowner to meet mortgage and basic living expenses.
  • Multiple births from the same pregnancy.

A partial exclusion can be claimed if the sale was prompted by residential damage from a natural or man-made disaster or the property was "involuntarily converted," for example, taken by a local government under eminent domain law.

Second home sales also can provide some tax benefits, but not as much as they did in the past, thanks to a law that took effect in 2008. Previously, you could move into your vacation property, live in the home as your primary residence for two years and then sell and pocket up to $250,000 or $500,000 profit tax-free. Now, however, you'll owe tax on part of the sale money based on how long the house was used as a second residence.

What's not deductible

While many tax breaks are available to a homeowner, don't get too carried away. There are still a few things for which you have to bear the full cost.

One such expense is insurance. If you pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, because you weren't able to come up with a large enough down payment, that's a cost you probably won't be able to deduct -- unless you meet the requirements of a special PMI law. Under this law, some homeowners can deduct on Schedule A their PMI payments on loans originated or refinanced between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2010, and which meet certain loan amount limits.

The other big home-related insurance cost, property hazard insurance premiums, still remains nondeductible for all, even though the coverage generally is required as part of the home loan and is included as a portion of your monthly payment.

Other nondeductible residential expenses include homeowners' association dues, any additional principal payments you make, depreciation of your home, and general closing costs and local assessments to increase the value of your neighborhood, such as construction of new sidewalks or utility connections.

What about all those repairs that seem to crop up the day after you move in? Surely they're tax-deductible. Sorry. While they'll make your house much more comfortable, you're on your own here, too.

But hold on to the receipts. Some long-time homeowners may find their property has appreciated beyond the $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) amount the IRS will let you keep tax free when you sell. If that happens, the records of property improvements could help you establish a higher basis for your house and reduce your taxable profit.

To see the article on their site, go to http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/home-sweet-homeowner-tax-breaks-1.aspx.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

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Diane Cardano & Associates
CARDANO Realtors
1021 Old York Road, Suite 401
Abington PA 19001
Office: 215-576-8666
Fax: 215-576-8677