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Spring is finally here and as the weather continuing to get warmer; do you find yourself thinking about a vacation? As you dream about venturing to that ideal destination make sure you also dream about the process of packing luggage, long flights and crowded hotels. What if you vacation became more permanent? Have you been wondering how much fun a beachfront or vacation home might be but really haven’t gotten too deep in the details? 

A vacation home is considered a “non-owner occupied” property and you’ll need a down payment of at least 20% when using conventional financing. However, there are other options with lower down payments as long as the  property is considered a vacation, or second home and not primarily used as a rental property. For income tax purposes, a second home becomes an investment property if the unit is rented out for more than two weeks each year.

Many people assume they must own a primary residence before owning a vacation home, but this isn’t a rule you must follow. What’s really important is matching your housing choices to your lifestyle.

You may live in a city and want lots of space that you can’t afford there. You could rent a modest condo in the city, and buy a large vacation home outside the metro area.

When buying a vacation home you’ll need to get ...


April 15th is quickly approaching and it is time to ask yourself, what has your apartment done for you lately?  When it comes to evaluate the benefits of owning versus renting, the benefits you reap or don’t can easily indicate which is better for you in the financial long-term. One of the main advantages of owning instead of renting is when it’s time to file your income taxes. It’s quite an impact and so much so you may wonder why you didn’t buy sooner. Note however, for personal income tax advice you need to speak with your tax preparer but here are some general tax advantages you’ll soon discover.

Mortgage interest is a tax deduction. That means when you begin calculating your taxable income, mortgage interest is deducted from that amount, lowering your overall income tax bill. Your lender will send you a 1099-INT form that will show how much interest you paid over the previous year and you use that amount when figuring your taxes. And because most of the monthly payment in the early stages of a home loan is dedicated toward interest, most of your payment will be tax deductible. For example, say you have a 30 year loan and borrow $250,000 at 4.00%. Your payments are just shy of $1,200. Your first payment of $1,193 includes $360 toward the loan balance and $833 to interest. Over just the first year alone your mortgage interest tax deduction is $9,919.

Now compare that mortgage payment ...


Many people aren’t aware of the fact that, in most situations, there really is no gift tax. Here’s why…

$14,000 Annual Exclusion

The federal government gives each of us an allowance to gift anybody $14,000 per year without incurring any gift tax. This $14,000/year replenishes every year, and it’s $14,000 per person. So, theoretically, I could gift every person that I know $14,000 today, and then another $14,000 next year and the year after, and there would be NO gift tax.

$5,450,000 Lifetime Exclusion

What most people don’t realize, is that there’s a second allowance of $5.45mm! In other words, let’s say that I want to give you $114,000. That’s $100,000 more than what I can give you out of my $14,000 annual bucket. That’s not a problem at all, because I also have the $5,450,000 bucket. The $5.45mm bucket is called my “Lifetime Exclusion.” If I use any of it during my lifetime, I simply reduce my estate tax exclusion by that amount.

So in our example, if I gift you $114,000, I would take $14,000 out of my annual bucket and $100,000 out of my lifetime bucket. My annual bucket replenishes each year. But my lifetime bucket does NOT replenish. In fact, I must reduce my lifetime ...


Tax Tips When Owning a Home

Feb 22
2:20
PM
Category | Blog

Did you just close on your new home? It was a fun journey, wasn’t it? You applied for your mortgage and with your preapproval letter in hand you went shopping and found the perfect home. You now have a place to call your very own and you’re no longer paying your landlord’s rent. But now that you’re all moved in and settled, it’s also time to start thinking about income taxes and as a homeowner, there are some tax advantages you now have that you didn’t when you were a renter.

You probably know this already but perhaps the single biggest advantage is the mortgage interest deduction. What you probably didn’t know is that very early on with a new mortgage, the bulk of your monthly payment goes toward interest to the lender and less to the principal balance. That means almost all of your monthly payment in the early years is an income tax deduction. Interest is deducted from your gross income, reducing your income tax obligation. For example, with a 30 year term on a $300,000 loan at 3.75%, the principal and interest payment is $1,389 and in just the first year, your total interest paid is $11,155 which is the amount that will be deducted from your taxable income.

Your new lender will send a form 1099-INT which will list the amount of interest paid during the previous year. If you just closed in December and are ready to file but have not yet received ...


As you begin the process to find and purchase a new home you will quickly learn the road to homeownership is laid with acronyms. Two of the most mysterious you will certainly hear are PMI and LTV.

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. It is insurance that a borrower must purchase, in certain scenarios, that protects the lender’s obligation on a mortgage if a borrower defaults.

LTV stands for Loan To Value. It is a way to compare the amount of your mortgage loan and the value of your home.

Your LTV changes over time, and once it reaches 80 percent or lower, the PMI is no longer a requirement.

Here’s how it works:

Say you have $10,000 saved to buy a house, and the house you want to buy is $180,000.

That means if you qualify for a mortgage, the lender is paying $170,000, which is 94% of the obligation to the seller. The Loan To Value (LTV) is 94% ($170,000 divided by $180,000).

In most cases, the lender will require the borrower to purchase PMI to protect the money they are providing to purchase the home if the LTV is above 80%.  So in the example above, the borrower would have to pay the mortgage costs (principal and interest) as well as a ...


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