Tag Archives: personal finance

Money Monday: Tax Deductions for Homeowners

With the tax deadline coming up, now is the time to refresh yourself and learn about tax breaks you could be getting if you are a homeowner.

Some of the following tax deductions are only applicable to new homeowners, but there are a few that any owner can file for:

  1. Mortgage interest
  2. Mortgage insurance premiums
  3. Energy related tax credits
  4. Capital gains exclusion
  5. Property inheritance
  6. Property taxes
  7. Home office costs
  8. Moving expenses

If you would like details on these potential tax breaks you could be getting, read Yahoo’s article here.

Money Monday: Investing in real estate

As with all investments real estate investment has it own risks and the decision to invest should be carefully considered.

As a landlord there are certain costs that you will need to cover, potential vacancy problems that may strain your ability to pay your mortgages, and liability issues. It is important that you speak with an expert before putting yourself in a situation where you can potential over-extend yourself.

With that in mind, I have included some of the basic property types and benefits associated with real estate investment.

Single-family residence. First time real estate investors are usually advised to buy a single family detached home and rent it out as it’s market value appreciates. The reason for the popularity is that they are relatively easy. They are easy to buy, easy to finance, and they hold appeal to buyers and renters. Also, if you find that the real estate investment game was not the right choice for you they are relatively easy to turn over. Mortgage brokers know this-so these properties are also usually easier to finance and refinance.

Vacation property and second homes. Investment options in this category are myriad, from outright purchase to fractional-interest contracts and timeshares. Even if the property isn’t income producing, it can appreciate into a worthy investment, and mortgage interest is fully deductible. If you do rent the property when it’s not in use, realized income and tax obligations depend on what percentage of the year it’s kept for “personal use”-a tightly defined term you should discuss with a real estate attorney.

Apartment properties. Apartment properties require a long-term commitment, as well as a substantial investment of borrowed and equity capital, but due to the availability of professional managers they often don’t demand a lot of personal time. If you are the do-it yourself type then you might find yourself spending your weekends painting, advertising vacancies, and repairing faucets – though the higher return might be worth it for you. They can have mortgage loans of up to 100% of value, while other investment types may require all cash. Loans can be amortized or paid with the income generated by rents.

Condominiums. Condominium investments provide a bit of extra risk. Their market value appreciates more slowly than for detached single-family residences, and rental rates usually aren’t high enough to cover mortgage, property tax, and maintenance fees.

Vacant land. Vacant land is probably the least liquid and therefore usually the weakest choice for a profitable shorter-term investment. While undeveloped land is easy to maintain, it nearly always takes longer to appreciate and longer to sell.

Commercial property. To reduce personal liability and offset the greater expense of these properties, some investors form or join a limited liability company. Because of the extremely high risks involved with this type of agreement, consulting a real estate attorney is essential before taking this step. You probably shouldn’t consider this arrangement if you aren’t personally familiar with the other partners and their business expertise.

Money Monday: Mortgage rates decline for the third week

mortgage ratesMortgage rates dropped for the third week in a row after rising significantly after President-elect Donald Trump won the election, however, the 10-year Treasury did see an increase.

“After trending down for most of the week, the 10-year Treasury yield rose following the release of the CPI report,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased yet again to 4.09 percent for the week ending Jan. 19, 2017. This is down from last week’s 4.12 percent but still up from last year’s 3.81 percent.
The 15-year FRM decreased from last week’s 3.37 percent to 3.34 percent this week. This is still up from last year’s 3.1 percent.

Read the full story: www.housingwire.com/articles/38992-freddie-mac-mortgage-rates-hit-third-straight-week-ofdeclines

Money Monday: Financial changes to build wealth

January is the perfect time of the year to plan ahead; especially when it comes to finances.

Forbes has a whole list of financial resolutions to make; here are some of the best suggestions:

  • Make a budget and stick to it
  • Review your credit card/financial statements and see what you can cut out
  • Refinance your mortgage
  • Get a will or living trust
  • Start investing

Read all 27 of their suggestions here: “27 Financial New Year’s Resolutions To Build Wealth“.

Money Monday: New money resolutions for the New Year

New year, new money resolutions!

cashIf you’ve trying to tackle your finances for awhile, the new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. Here’s three smart money moves to try this year:

  1. Get rid of credit card debt
  2. Open an IRA and contribute to it
  3. Up your credit score

More on these three top financial moves via CNN Money’s article here: “3 smart money moves you should consider making in 2017.”

Money Monday: Emergency cash is lacking for many Americans

You never know what might come up, which makes savings for a rainy day important.

Emergencies come up. “But a lot of Americans aren’t ready for them financially, according to new research from the New York Federal Reserve.

savings

“The average American age 40 or under says there’s nearly a 50% chance they would not be able come up with $2,000 next month if there were an emergency.”

“Overall, Americans said in October there was a 34% chance they couldn’t come up with that amount of money if they had to. That’s down from a 42% chance in 2013 when the New York Fed first started asking the question in its Survey of Consumer Expectations. But it’s still up from 32% in February.” (Gillespie, Patrick. “Many Americans Don’t Have Enough Emergency Cash. CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 7 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.)

Read more at CNNMoney here.

Money Monday: How to spend less during the holiday season

Over-spending during the Christmas season is common, but put a cap on spending by laying out a game plan.

holiday spending

Image by taxcredits.net

  1. Make a list of who to buy gifts for and a cap for each person
  2. Figure out a budget based on an income percentage
  3. Talk to your family and come up with a spending plan together

Read more tips at Forbes: “8 Ways To Keep A Leash On Holiday Spending.”

Money Monday: Cyber Monday tips

Cyber Monday is renown for all the good deals you can find on electronics, but you can be even more financially sensible when you follow some tips.

  1. cashCompare prices
  2. Compare historical prices
  3. Use Slice to monitor price drops after your purchase
  4. Shop the right categories
  5. Clear browser history to keep prices even lower

Read up on all the details and tips at ABC.com: “Shoppers Look to Score More Deals on Cyber Monday”.