Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Deduct Mortgage Interest On Taxes

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

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? Either way, that interest also is deductible, again within IRS guidelines.

Generally, equity debts of $100,000 or less are fully deductible. But even then, the remaining amount of your first mortgage could restrict your tax break. This could be a concern if you excessively leverage your house.

When a homeowner takes out an equity loan that, when combined with his first mortgage amount, increases the debt on the house to an amount more than the property's actual value, the homeowner faces additional deductibility limits. In these cases, the IRS says you can deduct the smaller of interest on a $100,000 loan or your home's value less the amount of your existing mortgage.

For example, say you bought your home three years ago with a minimal down payment. Your mortgage balance is $95,000 and the house is now worth $110,000. Your bank says you qualify for a 125 percent loan-to-value equity line, or $42,500 ($110,000 x 125 percent = $137,000 - $95,000 left on your first mortgage). To pay for your daughter's college tuition and buy her a car to get to school, you take the bank up on the offer, thinking the interest deduction on the loan would be icing on the tax-break cake.

However, you're not going to get to deduct all that interest. Instead, your deduction is limited to interest on just $15,000 of the loan; that's the amount your home's value exceeds your first mortgage. Interest payments on the other $27,500 are not deductible, even though the equity line is secured by your home. So don't automatically assume you can deduct all interest on home equity debts.

What if your real estate circumstances are a bit brighter? Say, for instance, you're able to swing a vacation home on the lake. You're in tax luck. Mortgage interest on a second home 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.

For help navigating the other benefits of home ownership, call us at 215-576-8666!

Taken from

Housing & Recovery Act

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) amends and impacts several aspects of obtaining a mortgage, the disclosures required for borrowers, and the timing of their delivery. This impacts the minimum time required to close, and should any changes be made to a loan application that could impact the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), this could impact the closing date.

Other than paying for a credit report, lenders may not accept any additional fees from a borrower until four business days after disclosures have been provided to or mailed to a borrower. This has the potential to delay aspects of the application process.

Finally, upon making application, a borrower is provided a Truth in Lending (TIL) statement, detailing the total expected costs that could be incurred over the life of the loan. Should anything change in the loan application that could change the APR by more than .125%, a new TIL must be reissued to the borrower a minimum of 3 business days before closing. Items impacting the APR could include a borrower accepting a higher interest rate than initially qualified by floating their rate at application, a change to the loan amount, a change in product, a change in closing date, and any changes to fees.

For help navigating the new rules and regulations of buying and selling a home, contact one of our specialists at 215-576-8666!

Information from Allen Bornstein, Gateway Funding.

Condo Insurance

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

You own a condo and the association has insurance. So why do you need insurance, too? Your condominium association insurance covers the condominium building, commonly owned property, and liability insurance for the association. But that insurance doesn't cover losses to your unit as a result of a burglary, if water damage ruins your living room walls, or if someone slips on your wet kitchen floor and is injured. That's why you need condominium insurance designed specifically for condo or co-op owners.

Condominium policies protect you from losses to your personal property and the interior of your unit. You will also have liability protection for bodily injury or property damage to others. It's easy to get a quote for a condominium insurance policy that will provide these coverages.

The articles of the condominium association and state law determine exactly which building components are covered under the association's master insurance policy. In most instances the association's coverage stops inside the exterior walls meaning that you are responsible for the interior walls and possibly for fixtures, as well as your personal property and liability exposures. This is where your own personal condo policy would come in.

To discuss more about condo living, call us at 215-576-8666! To search for condos, go to!

Taken from

Energy Auditing Tips

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Check the level of insulation in your exterior and basement walls, ceilings, attic, floors, and crawl spaces.

Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home.

Check for open fireplace dampers.

Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained.

Study your family's lighting needs and use patterns, paying special attention to high-use areas such as the living room, kitchen, and exterior lighting. Look for ways to use daylight, reduce the time the lights are on, and replace incandescent bulbs and fixtures with compact fluorescent lamps or standard fluorescent lamps.

2009 Conforming Loan Limits

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

2009 Single-Family Mortgage Loan Limits

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 changed Fannie Mae's charter to expand the definition of a "conforming" loan. Effective with the November 2008 release of the conforming loan limits, two sets of limits are provided for first mortgages -- general conforming loan limits, and high-cost area conforming loan limits.

The conforming loan limits apply to all conventional mortgages that are delivered to Fannie Mae on or after January 1, 2009. Please note that the 2009 general conforming loan limits are identical to the 2006, 2007, and 2008 conforming loan limits. The high-cost areas are determined by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The company may purchase loans up to $625,500 in designated high-cost areas.

  Maximum Original Principal Balance
Units Contiguous States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  General High-Cost* General High-Cost*
$417,000 $625,500 $625,500 $938,250
$533,850 $800,775 $800,775 $1,201,150
$645,300 $967,950 $967,950 $1,451,925
$801,950 $1,202,925 $1,202,925 $1,804,375
*The limit may be lower for a specific high-cost area; use the Loan Limit Look-Up Table above to see limits by location.


Taken from:

For more information about qualifying for a mortgage, call our office at 215-576-8666!

Feature Property: 2188 Schaeffer Road, Abington PA 19001

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Fabulous Abington Colonial On Cul-De-Sac!

Offered at $289,900!


View This Home's Website at:

To View This Home, Call Us At 215-576-8666!

Fabulous Colonial In Heart Of Abington, Cul-De-Sac Location. Home Is Situated On A 1/4 Acre Fenced Lot With Large BackYard; The Home Features Pergo Floors On First Floor, Newer Carpets On Second Floor, New Windows On First Floor, Newer Roof & Heater(2003) & Lots More. Spacious Living Room With Pergo Floors & New Windows. First Floor Powder Room With Newer Vinyl Floor, Freshly Painted. Family Room With Brick Glass Enclosed Fireplace With Blower, Wall Air Conditioner & Door To Covered Patio. Energy Efficient Home With Newer Appliances Large Eat-In Kitchen With Breakfast Room, Island, Chair Rails, Freshly Painted, New Dishwasher, Ceramic Tile Backsplash, ndRefrigerator. Laundry Room On First Floor With Door To Oversized Garage. Second Floor With 3 Very Spacious Bedrooms. Hall Bath With Ceramic Tile Floors. Huge Master Bedroom Suite With His and Her Closets. Master Bedroom Bath Has Been Totally Updated With Stall Shower. Third Bedroom Has Entrance to Huge Crawl Space Through Closet, Room For Tons Of Storage. Yard Has Trees & Tons Of Landscaping. The Rear Features a Covered Porch Off Family Room, Fenced Yard and Picnic Area. Oil Tank Is Outside, Taken Out Of Ground by Previous Owners. Walk To Schools, Septa, Train Station & Supermarket. Hospital Is a Mile Away, as Well As Library,YMCA and Loads Of Shopping.Don't Miss Out On This Wonderful Home!!!

20 Things You Should Know About Purchasing Property

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

1.      What is the neighborhood (and your neighbors) like...are their certain features in the area that would effect the value of this property in the future?

2.      What are the realty taxes on the home?

3.      What are the utility costs...especially electricity if the home is electrically heated?

4.      How far do I have to travel for schools, public transit, and shopping?

5.      What  major repair expenses do I have to look forward to within the next two years?

6.      What is the traffic flow in front of or near the property... any main roads, bus routes or railway tracks?

7.      Are there any utilities easements or encroachments over the property?

8.      Is there a fairly recent survey that shows all the building  and additions on the property?

9.      Has the property had a home inspection done when the present owners bought that you could check to see what minor and major problems there were?  Ask the vender for a list of those problems that were fixed!

10. Has the homeowner signed a disclosure document? (After January 1, 1995 they became mandatory.)

11. How much are the closing there a better time in the month to close to minimize them?

12. Who has the best rates and service in the mortgage field...bankers or mortgage brokers?

13. How do you select the best lender to work with?

14. What are the other comparable homes in the area selling for?  You don’t want to overpay or get carried away by snazzy finishing touches in a home which may be priced higher than other neighborhood homes.

15. How flexible are venders usually on their asking price?

16. At what price do we start with when we go to put in an offer?

17. How is my financing approval determined?  Is there any beneficial existing financing on the property that I can assume?

18. What does the yard look like when it isn’t covered with snow?  Are there any problems with drainage or runoff after heavy rain or in the spring?

19. Does the basement show any signs of moisture...can it be fixed simply by cleaning/repairing the even though or is it a more serious problem?

20. What can I have included in the sale?  Are there any exclusions?

To find out more tips and advice, it would be wise to consult with a Buyer Specialist. Call for more information at 215-576-8666.

When It Makes Sense To Refinance

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Usually people refinance to save money, either by obtaining a lower interest rate or by reducing the term of the loan. Refinancing is also a way to convert an adjustable loan to a fixed loan or to consolidate debts. The decision to refinance can be difficult, since there are several reasons to refinance. However, if you are looking to save money, try this calculation:

Calculate the total cost of the refinance
Calculate the monthly savings
Divide the total cost of the refinance (#1) by the monthly savings (#2). This is the "break even" time. If you own the house longer than this, you will save money by refinancing.
Since refinancing is a complex topic, consult a mortgage professional.

For more information on refinancing, contact Vision Mortgage Capital or our office at 215-576-8666.

Survey Clause

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team
Homebuyers have the right to have a survey clause added to the
real estate contract on the home they wish to purchase.  When
this home is yours, you should be aware of the implications of
this clause.
Your current survey may no longer be up-to-date if you have had a
swimming pool built, or an addition added, since the survey was
drawn up.  If your survey is not up-to-date by these standards,
the buyer may request an updated survey.  The homeseller may be
required to bear the cost to have a new survey prepared.  The
cost for this process typically runs anywhere from $700 to
$1,000.  This is $700-$1,000 less that you will net for your
An experienced real estate agent should provide you with a survey
and it is up to the buyer to decide if the survey is acceptable.
Your agent should be able to advise you appropriately when
dealing with this issue, but if you or your agent are unsure, you
have the right to consult your lawyer before you sign the offer.
Don't be afraid to take this important step, as thousands of
dollars could be riding on the decisions you make at this point.
For more information, call us at 215-576-8666!

Short Sales vs Foreclosures

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Editor's Note: Short sales and preforeclosures are two home types that constitute a growing subset of bargain homes that also includes properties referred to as "distressed" and "auction" homes.

With many Americans facing the very real threat of foreclosure, many are looking for ways to avoid it. One option, and a topic that has garnered a lot of industry interest, is a real estate short sale. Normally reserved for stocks and other finance-related transactions, short sales are becoming an increasingly popular, and common, foreclosure avoidance tactic for homeowners.

To help understand how a short sale would relate to, or differ from, a foreclosure, it may be helpful to point out that short sales can also be referred to as "pre-foreclosure sales" which, as the name implies, precedes the home being officially repossessed or foreclosed on by the lender. That is, the property is sold much earlier than the months it typically takes to reach foreclosure, allowing all parties to move on from the transaction sooner.

It should be noted that there are still negative ramifications for short sales, even if less damaging than those associated with foreclosures and/or bankruptcy. For example, a short sale homeowner's credit will still be adversely affected by settling with the lender. In fact, according to an article by Elizabeth Weintraub on, the effects on credit are about the same for short sale and foreclosure and could drop a sellers overall score by as much as 200-300 points. However, short sales do carry less negative effects than foreclosures. Short sale sellers are widely seen as less risky than foreclosed sellers. Case in point, Fannie Mae recently adjusted their guidelines to dictate only a two year waiting period for a short sale seller to buy another primary residence, while they extended the waiting period for foreclosures to five years. Fannie Mae Guidelines

At its best, a short sale can be a win-win for both parties. For the seller, a short sale provides the opportunity to avoid foreclosure and the dreaded implications that a foreclosure brings, in addition to being able to return to home ownership sooner; alternately, the lender receives most of the value of the loan sooner, and avoids incurring additional legal or carrying costs while the foreclosure process plays out, which can sometimes even take years. And, frankly, short sales are great options for savvy buyers - but these buyers need to not only be looking for a bargain, but have the time and skills to negotiate effectively as well. See "Buying Short Sales".

The net-net of this topic - short sales do present a better option for distressed sellers than foreclosures. However, it is neither an easy or short process, and sellers should seek thorough legal and tax advice when considering this route.

Taken from:

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18




Contact Information

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