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Showing posts from May, 2020

Rethinking Home

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The last two months of the new normal stay at home has led many homeowners to rethink the way they live in their home.It has now become an office for working at home; a school for children; a gym to stay in shape; and a place for recreation.The repurposing has people evaluating whether their home still meets their needs or if some changes are necessary.In some cases, adult children have moved back home, and, in others, there are parents who have moved in for the first time.Staying at home and sheltering in place is necessary but how much togetherness can one family take and how long is it going to last?Temporary is stretching into longer than expected and even when vaccines and treatments are discovered, will things really go back to the way they were? A home is a place to call your own; to raise your family, share with your friends and to feel safe and secure.Covid-19 has changed the scope of feeling safe and secure at home and may now be considered a sanctuary of safety more than ev…

Mortgage Forgiveness

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During the mortgage meltdown that caused the Great Recession a decade ago, some homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure or constructed a short sale to get out from under the debt.In most of the cases, the lenders forgave all or part of the debt owed them.Similarly, in the early 90's after the failure of the Savings & Loans in the U.S., thousands of homeowners lost their homes in the same way but back then, the policy of the IRS was to consider the forgiven debt as income.Today, it is still considered income which means that a homeowner could lose their home because they could not afford to pay for it and to make matters worse, they would owe income tax on the debt relieved.The good news is that in 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Act and it has continued to be extended with its current expiration of 12/31/20.The amount forgiven for income tax purposes may not be the same amount owed to the lender.Mortgage forgiveness has a limited exclusion for discharged home…

Convenience at a Cost

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The convenience of selling your home without the hassle of getting it ready, putting it on the market, showings, open houses, negotiations and repairs comes at a cost ... a significant part of your equity.The companies, referred to as iBuyers, that buy homes from sellers are for-profit organizations.They expect to make a profit from sellers who are willing to discount the proceeds they'll realize as an alternative to the conventional method of selling a home for people who need a quick sale.The promotions for these companies generally state that you can receive a cash offer in a few minutes after putting your address online.The discount can be between 10 to 18% compared to normal selling costs from 6 to 9%.The cost to a person with a $100,000 equity could be as much as ten thousand dollars.Even after you have accepted an offer, there can be contingencies in the contract that allow the company to inspect the home to discover the condition and reassess the offer to possibly make eve…

It Starts Before the Statement is Sent

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The deadline for challenging your property tax assessment this year may be later than normal due to the stay at home orders but when you are notified, you'll want to be ready to decide whether you can save some money on property taxes this year.There are two elements that determine the amount of property taxes you'll pay for the year: the assessment of value and the property tax rate.Both determinations occur long before the property tax statement is sent.Property owners are notified in writing what their assessed value is for the year.It is estimated that most owners don't challenge that value even though it could lower their tax bill.Not all appeals are successful, but many homeowners believe that it is worth the effort to try.Procedures for challenging the assessment are generally included with the letter and a deadline for filing the challenge.An initial step is to determine the accuracy of the information on your property's record such as market value and square f…