The energy-efficient home upgrades tax credit is scheduled to expire on December 31st this year. If you need to make improvements to your home, this could be an incentive to do it before the end of the year. If you have already made qualifying improvements without realizing the tax credit is available, it may seem like a holiday gift you weren’t expecting.
The equipment must be installed to qualify for the credit which can put you under a time crunch. Heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows, doors, skylights, water heaters and home weatherization may qualify.
The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been available for purchases since January 1, 2011. The tax credit is 10% of up to $5,000 of qualifying improvements which would make a maximum of $500 tax credit.
The cumulative maximum amount of tax credit that can be claimed by a taxpayer in the different years this law has been in effect is $500. If it has been claimed in previous years, the taxpayer is not eligible for this credit for additional new purchases.
For more information, see energy.gov or talk to your tax professional.
With a 2,000+ mile long winter storm affecting much of the country, there are plenty of home owners who wish they were better prepared. Even when you live in warm climates, some of these things are important to check periodically.
Preparing for the change of seasons can make your home more comfortable and protect your investment. Regular maintenance extends the various components of a home and can generate savings in operating costs while avoiding expensive replacements.
- Weather strips around doors and windows should be checked for possible air leaks.
- Caulking around windows and doors should seal out moisture and air leaks.
- HVAC should be inspected and serviced by a professional annually.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested regularly.
- Ductwork and supply lines from water heaters should be insulated.
- Fireplace chimneys should be cleaned regularly and fireplaces should be inspected for cracks in mortar and to see if the damper closes properly.
- Gutters should be free of leaves and debris to prevent rainwater build-up.
- Tree branches touching or hanging over your roof should be trimmed.
Please contact us if you need a service provider recommendation.
The Winter Home Buyer Report conducted in the second week of November by REALTOR.com® revealed the sentiments of current home buyers expecting to buy a house during the winter months. It appears that there is pent-up demand with buyers who were unable to purchase a home recently.
Most cited as an impediment to purchase was the challenge of low inventory. Strong demand coupled with short supply explains why home prices have been increasing.
“This summer and spring home buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory. In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home buying season,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at REALTOR.com®. “While buyers are still experiencing challenges with inventory and approximately one in five buyers plan to put down all cash, there are advantages to looking for a home in the winter. Motivated sellers, better prices and less competition between buyers are some of the top reasons winter home buyers are interested in purchasing a home during the colder months of the year.”
Some interesting statistics taken from the report are:
Biggest challenges when searching for a home during winter:
• 34 percent shared that there is not enough inventory on the market
• 29 percent believe that winter weather makes house hunting unpleasant
Traditionally, the industry has found that the fourth quarter of the year has a lower sales volume and is generally attributed to distractions from the holidays and not wanting to make a move during consistently inclement weather. Even in areas that are not affected by extreme winter weather, there seems to be a mindset about moving in the winter.
Indications are that it may be advantageous for sellers to put their home on the market now rather than wait until after the first of the year.
When you’re buying or selling, the obvious source to get your real estate question answered is your agent but where do you go the rest of the time? As a homeowner for many years to come, you’ll need reliable help and solid suggestions.
Our business goal is to have a select group of our friends and past customers who consider us their lifelong real estate professional. We want to earn that trusted position so they’ll enthusiastically refer their friends to us. Our plan to achieve this is simply to help these people with all of their real estate needs not just when they buy or sell but for all the years in between.
Throughout the year, we offer reminders and suggestions by email and social media that benefit your homeowner experience. When we find good articles to help you be a better homeowner, we’ll pass them along. You’ll discover new ways to maintain your property, minimize expenses and manage debt and risk.
We want to be your “Go-To” person for everything to do with real estate. If we don’t have the answer you need, we’ll point you in the right direction to find it.
We’re here for you and your friends…now and in the future. Please let us know how we can help you. Email Charles
Lenders, like any business, have to make a profit. The cost of acquiring the funds, the operating costs to service and the expected profit margin are easily identified. The variable in pricing is the type of mortgage and the credit worthiness of the borrower.
A loan with a 3.5% down payment is riskier than a loan with 20% down payment. If the lender has to take the property back to recover their expense, the margin is greater between what is owed and what the property is worth on an 80% mortgage.
Credit scoring is a risk-based pricing method that allows a lender to be competitive in the market for the best loans from different borrower groups. Individual lenders set their own levels for what they consider “A” credit which is reserved for the best rates. If good credit is approximately 710 to 740, scores below that are considered higher risk and will have higher rates.
Risk must be assessed for both the borrower and the property that collateralizes the loan. The borrower’s credit history and income stability are strongly evaluated by the lender but if a default should occur, the property must secure the loan to avoid a loss to the lender.
The challenge for some buyers is they are unaware of what their credit score is and how it will affect the interest rate offered by the lender. It is to the buyer’s advantage to be pre-approved by a reputable lender prior to starting the process of looking for a home. In some cases, the lender can actually improve the borrower’s credit score to help them qualify for a lower interest rate.
Contact me for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional – Email Charles