“Tax Advantage” is not necessarily an oxymoron!

If you have recently bought or sold a home, there are a few tax advantages that may be available to you. Generally speaking, real estate broker’s commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs and inspection fees are considered selling costs and may reduce taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

However, every year the tax code can change and your situation may be unique. So the following is provided only as a guide. It is highly recommended that you seek a professional tax consultant to be sure.

janfincThere are several other key areas where you might benefit:

Mortgage Interest: Within limits, it may be tax-deductible. For example, a married couple filing jointly can deduct interest payments on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home. Buyers may also be able to deduct some of the interest they paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit.

Points: Points or origination fees on a home loan paid during purchase are generally tax-deductible in full, for the year in which they were paid.

Refinanced mortgage points: These may also be deductible, but only over the life of the loan. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new.

Improvements: Improvements made to property prior to the sale (or once one moves in) might qualify for an interest deduction on your home-improvement loan. Qualifying capital improvements are those that increase your home’s value, prolong its life, or adapt it to new uses, such as adding a porch or installing energy-efficient windows.

Real Estate Taxes: During a sale, the seller will send the local tax collector’s office a check for real estate taxes prior to the closing. In many circumstances, however, the buyer will pay a pro-rated portion of the taxes for the year at closing. This tax deduction also gets overlooked.

Business Use: For new buyers who work at home: If a room is used exclusively for business purposes, they may be able to deduct home costs related to that portion, such as a percentage of your insurance and repair costs, and depreciation.

Moving Costs: If you have moved because of a new job, moving costs might be deducted. These can include travel or transportation costs, lodging, and fees for storage of your household goods.

In today’s economy, it’s critical that we take advantage of every possible tax break. A home provides a great opportunity to do just that.

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The Importance of Assets

Lenders dissect the entire credit history of a potential client with strict attention to income, credit, collateral and assets. Of the four, assets are perhaps the least discussed, yet may be the most important in securing credit and buying a home.

pigAssets include the amount of money needed for the down payment plus closing costs, pre-paid costs (e.g., insurance and taxes, escrow fees and funds that would be available in case of an emergency).

Assets could be considered a reflection of a one’s fiscal strength. Savings and budgeting could be a significant factor in assessing paying habits.

What are assets? Common considerations for a loan include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401Ks, retirement accounts, life insurance, cars, boats, antiques, jewelry and other real estate.

The source and timing of assets is also critical as restrictions have tightened. When borrowers are paying off credit cards to get their ratios in line, lenders want to know where the money came from. If it can’t be determined when a direct deposit is made from your employer or a transfer from one account to the next, a letter of explanation and a showing of proof of where it came from is likely to be required. It may not be advisable to make cash deposits or take any monies from someone personally unless it is a gift from a relative.

Large and recent savings deposits raise underwriter concerns as they can indicate loans that have yet to appear on borrowers’ credit reports. Borrowing from relatives to boost savings and credit worthiness also doesn’t help. If funds aren’t reflected on income statements and tax returns, they can’t be used to qualify for mortgages.

Make sure your assets are in order with proper documentation. Your preparation can speed you on the road to homeownership.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!