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Taxes for Homeowners

Oh my! Taxes are pretty much inevitable for most of us one way or another, aren’t they. They can be challenging to do.

Kaye Swain Roseville CA REALTOR blogger sharing tax tips

I have to admit, the quote below by Einstein made me feel a lot better! :)  Yes, we do all need to chip in. However, we also shouldn’t pay more than our share. And hopefully your tax bill won’t create an unjust burden on you. Most of us pay both income and property taxes. In essence that means that for homeowners, your tax burden is doubled. Here are some general homeowner tax deductions* that you might be able to take advantage of to help decrease your tax burden and boost your tax savings. Then, you can take those tax savings and use them for things you’d prefer like:

  • increase your child or grandchild’s college money
  • work on bulking up your retirement savings
  • finally get started on that home improvement project you’ve been wanting to do
  • maybe even take a grand vacation

Home Improvement Tax Deductions

Since you usually spend the majority of time in your home, it’s always a delight to keep it well maintained and make it a comfortable and lovely place to live. If you have a list of upgrades you plan to make on your home, you might want to plan ones that will basically help pay for themselves.

Did you know that you can get a tax credit of up to $500 when you install energy efficient insulation, air-conditioning, and heating systems (energy-efficient tax credit). Also, you could trade in your old windows for new updated energy efficient ones and you might earn $200. Be aware – this credit expires 12/31/16 so now’s the time to take advantage of these particular tax credits to help improve the energy efficiency of your home.

There is also a Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit that you may be eligible for if you install equipment that uses renewable sources of energy. The credit should cover 30% of the expense from equipment and installation. This is another credit to expire on 12/31/16.

Kaye Swain Roseville CA blogger REALTOR Sharing Einstein quote on taxes

Mortgage Interest – Refinancing

It’s never fun to see that monthly mortgage payment, is it? So it’s nice to know that you may qualify to deduct the following:

If you own more than one property, the mortgage interest on that extra property is also deductible. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be another house. It can also be an RV or a boat. If it has cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, it should count as an additional property though there can be some caveats – click here read one tale. If you do use your second house as a rental, click here for details on deductions.

In addition, you may be able to claim points on your mortgage in the year you paid for them if:

  • The loan was to buy or build your primary house
  • Payment of points is an established business practice in your area and the points were within the usual range

Property Taxes For Home Buyers

Here’s a big chunk! I very much appreciate the fact that the property taxes we pay each year are tax deductible. Check your lender’s annual statement to get the amount of property taxes paid for the taxable year. The schedule A tax form has an itemized expense spot for them.

First time homebuyers and new home buyers this year, be sure to look at your settlement sheet to find out what, if any, additional tax payment data may be there. You should be allowed to deduct the portion of property taxes you have paid during the 1st year of owning your home.

 

Happy Tax Savings Uses

Owning a home means you usually have several options that are available to lower your tax burden. That is happy news as it means you might have more money to save for those special major life events coming up such as weddings, growing your family, home improvement fun, vacations, and college expenses.

To learn more about your tax saving options* as a homeowner, please click here for tax information for homeowners. You can also contact me directly and I’ll be glad to point you to great research and resource options with the goal of helping you with all your real estate needs.

 

Kaye

 

*The tax information contained in this real estate blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. I always recommend that you consult with your own tax specialist or attorney to see what is appropriate for your personal needs and situation. :)

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National Real Estate Market Economic Outlook Improving

The National Real Estate Market definitely looks ready to take off in 2016, in spite of existing-home sales in many areas dropping last November. Here’s why.

Kaye Swain Roseville Sacramento CA real estate agent sharing National real estate market news

Improved weather in several areas of the country resulted in a rise in single-family and multifamily home construction. Also, the number of millennial (those born between 1980-2000) first time homebuyers is anticipated to grow in 2016. This could indicate an increase in demand for more homes which would definitely assist the housing market leading to positive gains. With unemployment numbers improving, orders for brand new durables increasing by three percent, inflation not changing, and incomes starting to grow, the Federal Reserve decided it was the right time to increase interest rates, although in a very small amount – .25%. Even such a small incrase, though does indicate that our economy seems to be improving. And, of course, sales often drop in the holiday months. So many are hopeful that with the economy looking stronger, home sellers can look forward to eager home buyers in this lovely new year of 2016.

Current Homeowners Across the U.S.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey, the Refinance Index increased 11% compared to the previous week. Therefore it seems homeowners have anticipated the Federal Reserve’s increase in mortgage interest rates. If you are a homeowner with an adjustable-rate mortgage or a variable home equity line of credit, you should expect your interest rates to rise in 2016. The first part of 2016 should be a good time to refinance. Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are both variable and fixed. Variable HELOCs are tied to the Federal Reserve prime rate while fixed HELOCs are not. By refinancing in early 2016, you should be prepared to afford any major life events that will occur such as a daughter’s wedding, high college tuition, or a home renovation.

Millennial Home Buyers Entering Real Estate Market

First time home buyers only had a 30% share in the November demand for homes, slightly down from 31% in October as well as last year. But in 2016, we are seeing an increase of first time homebuyers entering the national real estate market. This is due to more millennials getting older – 25-34 years old. The United States Census Bureau’s projections show that the population of millennials between the ages of 25-34 will increase by about 500,000 each year in the second part of the decade. In addition to that, the National Association of REALTORS’ quarterly survey, “Housing Opportunities and Market Experience ” reported that a large majority of those millennials who are currently renting desire to own a home in the future.

Mortgage Lenders & Home Buyers In 2016

Fannie Mae’s 4th quarter Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey™ shows that lenders expect to ease mortgage credit standards for GSE-eligible loans and government loans over the next 3 months. This should help reduce the affordability issues for first time homebuyers, helping young adults with their goal of home ownership. Although home prices will be high, this is great news for home sellers since they should expect an increase in demand for their house.

In 2016, the first-time home buyer will mortgage credit choices offered that weren’t offered throughout the housing down-turn. First-time buyers should have low-and no-down-payment mortgage loans offered to them. Some loan choices offered include FHA loans and also the conventional 97% program offered by Fannie Mae. Then, qualifying first-time home buyers should only have to put down 3% on their new home.

Interest Rates Have a Big Impact on the National Real Estate Market

As you have no doubt heard, this past December 2015, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates. Freddie Mac announced that the normal commitment rate for a conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage stayed under four percent. However it did rise from 3.80% to 3.94% in November 2015. Most experts believe that mortgage rates will rise to 4.50 % by the end of this year. Still, even at those rates, the interest rate continues to be at a historical low. 4.50% is a full percentage point below the interest rate during the 2008 recession. This low fixed rate for mortgages should help spurn demand and encourage many first-time home buyers to enter the real estate market. Still and all, prospective home buyers should keep an eye out for interest rate increases so as not to be caught by surprise once the spring buying season arrives. In fact, early 2016 would be a good time for home buyers to start house hunting.

National Real Estate Market Wrap-up

Yes! The National Real Estate Market looks to be on its way to expanding. The Federal Reserve raising interest rates indicates optimism in the housing market and also the economy as a whole. It looks like the 2016 housing market will stay a sellers market that should see a rise in first-time home buyers entering the real estate market thanks to the strong desire of homeownership by millennials 25-34 years old as well as the easing of credit standards and increases in wages. Homeowners with variable mortgage rates should expect their interest rates to rise in 2016, however early 2016 has been proving to be a good time to refinance so you won’t feel the brunt of further interest rate increases.

P.S. Curious about the real estate market trends are doing specific to our area of Sacramento and Roseville CA? Just click here. I know I was quite pleased to see that our greater Sacramento area sales only dropped in November. I know many of the REALTORS in my office, myself included, were thrilled to see it go right back up in December, with sales transaction going on along with caroling throughout the busy month. :)

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Sacramento CA is a BIG city.

Kaye Swain Roseville Sacramento REALTOR sharing welcome resources for those buying homes in Sacramento CA

With a population of over 418,000 it’s the 6th largest city in California. It’s nice to know that there are also plenty of Sacramento resources available for those who live in this delightful capital of California as well as those who come to visit.

The City of Sacramento CA Website

City websites can vary from very little info to massive amounts of info. I’m happy to report that the City of Sacramento resources website is chock full of great info! Here are some of the goodies I discovered today, while researching info for a future post

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Sacramento CA 311 System

Sacramento, CA uses the 311 system for sharing information with us. I’m familiar with something similar from a city one of my family members used to live in and it’s definitely got some nice advantages. Per their website, “Sacramento City 311 is an easy to remember phone number that residents, businesses and visitors can use to request service, report problems or get information from local government. Sacramento City 311 is your resource for connecting with the City of Sacramento. We handle requests for building permits, stray animals, utilities services, and much more – 311 Call Center is ready to help! Our customer service agents undergo extensive training to ensure each caller gets a courteous, quick and accurate response….311 provides a single point of contact for City of Sacramento government services.”

I like how their video description puts it, “Through integration and innovation the City of Sacramento offers citizens a “one stop shop” for city services.” :)

Sacramento Resources Includes Apps!

Sacramento likes apps as much as I do. :) They have all SORTS of apps. Apps for 311, apps to help you find Rover, apps for police (including reporting non-emergency issues, and some other useful options like utilizing the property portion to document serial numbers and upload photos of your personal property and store that information in your app and even email that catalog to yourself.), apps for the fire department (includes option to report non-emergency issues, maps of emergency locations like hospitals, social media and more), and a Parking app to pay for parking AND help you find your car. One caveat – be sure to read the comments before you download this. Apparently at least a couple people have had issues. Not uncommon, but always wise to go in with eyes wide open, whether buying a new house or using a new app. :)

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Sacramento Parks

Parks are one of my fave things about Roseville CA. It’s nice to know Sacramento puts a high priority on them as well. As they put it, “Parks add to the beauty of our city and represent a place where residents and visitors can go to relax, reflect and recreate. There are 222 parks and parkways totaling nearly 3,200 acres of land in the City of Sacramento.” CLICK HERE for a list them all including the important basics of whether they have a restroom or whether construction is going on. And once you’re on that page, you can click on each park for more detailed information. They also have a page of specialty parks HERE. This leads you to dog parks (11), skate parks (14), community gardens (12), spray parks (14) including , and the city cemetery.

Sacramento Parks and Recreation Fun

The Park and Rec page has a multitude of cool resources including the seasonal park and rec guide; aquatics options like pools, swim programs and map of pools (12 pools and 5 play pools across the Sacramento Area); year round childcare choices; adult sports including basketball, volleyball, and softball; Camp Sacramento (“Camp Sacramento is a family camp & conference center serving residents of the Sacramento Valley and beyond since 1920.”); golf courses including Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course, William Land Golf Course, Bing Maloney Golf Complex, and Haggin Oaks Golf Course; news and resources for boomers and seniors; Access Leisure (A program of the City of Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation providing sports, residential camping and outdoor education as well as social and fitness programs for children, teens, and adults – including veterans – with special needs); and more.

Sacramento Relocation Resources

CLICK HERE for a great go-to page for those moving to Sacramento whether from the local area or those relocating from out of the Sacramento area.

Kaye Swain Roseville CA Sacramento REALTOR sharing Traffic resources 1200

Sacramento Traffic Alerts

Wondering where there might construction going on in Sacramento to require a change in your commute? Yup, there are Sacramento resources for that too. CLICK HERE for that info.

Sacramento Resources for Visitors

Sightseers abound in the gorgeous Sacramento area. We had fun with one of my kids’ schools on a field trip from Southern California right when we were moving up here. It was a lovely introduction to our new area and very fascinating. From Old Sac to the Capitol to Sutters Fort and more. We had a great time exploring each place. And you can too. CLICK HERE for Sacramento resources and information about these spots popular with tourists and more.

Sacramento CA City Hall

The Sacramento City Hall section has all the info grouped dealing with the City government itself and it includes meeting schedules and minutes, holiday schedules, employment options, and more.

Kaye Swain Sacramento Roseville CA real estate agent blogger sharing Pinterest board Sacramento CA

Sacramento Neighborhoods

There is an excellent PDF map of all the Sacramento CITY NEIGHBORHOODS – this is useful for a variety of purposes including house hunting. If a house is listed as being in East Sacramento or South Natomas, you can open the PDF version of this map and search for it and voila – there it is. HANDY TIP – It’s important to save this map as a PDF as my browser isn’t letting me search it online but I COULD search it in Adobe as a PDF. They also have a great list of all the Sacramento neighborhood associations including meeting addresses, contact phone numbers, boundaries, and more.

Sacramento Neighborhood Services, Updates, and Info

The Sacramento resources page for Neighborhood Services is full of news and updates including food pantry resources, holiday safety tips, neighborhood watch info, neighborhood association info, and fun events in Sacramento CA through the year.

Sacramento Police Department News and Alerts

Important info and Sacramento resources including e-notify (The Sacramento Police Department offers an email notification system to provide up-to-date information on topics or events of interest), helicopter activity, and police daily activity updates in Sacramento.

Sacramento Utilities

Click here for service day finder, recycle calendar, ecycle weekly email reminders and other waste system resources?

SMUD – Sacramento Municipal Utilities District

The SMUD website has normal information like hours open, phone numbers and other contact information, and outage resources. It also has the “Call Before You Dig” phone number along with energy efficiency loan contacts and energy savings and safety tips.

Kaye Swain Roseville Sacramento CA real estate blogger agent sharing rain resources

Sacramento CA Resources In The Event of Flood Issues

My article, El Nino Heats Up- Roseville Area Flood Resources Abound, includes a myriad of Sacramento resources as well in the event of flooding.

So Many Great Resources for Sacramentans

These are just some of the many Sacramento resources you can find at the City of Sacramento website and other city sites! Great info, very useful, and now bookmarked at my Pinterest board, Sacramento California. Another great resource for you is my Facebook Group – Sacramento Area Joys – where I share family friendly information, news updates and alerts, fun things to do, great places to eat, and more. Do come join, won’t you? Just click here.

Real Estate Resources for Sacramento

For those who are looking to buy a home in Sacramento CA, I have more resources to help you. Here are single family houses, condos, and townhomes currently for sale in the city of Sacramento. And YES, I’d love to help you with all your real estate need! Just give me a call at 657-229-KAYE or email me at Kaye@KayeSwain.com :) :

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Thank you so much for sharing this post…ShareWest Roseville CA Neighborhood A lovely home in West Roseville CA 95747, this house is just a block or two away from one of Roseville’s bigger parks. William “Bill” Hughes Park is at 2796 McCloud Wy, Roseville, CA 95747. It has 31 acres and includes soccer fields, swings, tennis […]

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