The Miles & Smith Group Louisville Real Estate Blog
"9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes
Published: January 30, 2014
Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary — know the score on each home tax deduction and credit.
Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes
You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds.
Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in 2013, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, tax manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen home owners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.
Sin #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid
If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed, says Bob Meighan, CPA and vice president at TurboTax in San Diego. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two.
For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200. Your lender will send you an official statement listing the actual...
If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?
Published: November 8, 2013
Knowing what appeals to today’s homebuyers, and considering those trends when you remodel, can pay off years from now when you sell your home.
Two new surveys about what homebuyers want have me feeling pretty smug about my own home choices. Maybe you'll feel the same.
Privacy from neighbors remains at the top of the most-wanted list (important to 86% of buyers), according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® "2013 Community Preference Survey." Privacy is no doubt the best feature of my mid-century ranch home, since I can only see one neighbor’s house and it’s a couple hundred feet down my driveway.
It may not be practical to move your neighbors farther away (although I’m sure many people wish they had that superpower), but you can increase your home’s privacy (and therefore its resale value) by planting a living privacy screen of trees and shrubs or by physically screening off your patio.
Related: Trees Contribute to Property Value, Energy Savings, and More
3 More Takeaways for the Next Time You Remodel
1. More and more generations are living together. Another NAR survey, the "2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers," found 14% of buyers purchased a home suited to a multigenerational household due to children over the age of 18 moving back into the house, cost savings, and the health and caretaking of aging parents.
I did that back when my parents were still alive, and it worked out great for everyone. I didn’t...
Matching Room Color and Lighting to Get the Effect You Desire
Published: February 10, 2014
Light changes color, so your lighting design -- a top priority for any remodel -- should help guide your color choices. Here’s how.
It’s all determined by the way light and colors interact.
“People have to understand that the color of an object won’t look the same 24 hours a day,” says lighting designer Joseph Rey-Barreau. “I just had bamboo flooring installed throughout my house, and during the day it looks totally different than it looks at night.”
The way we “see” color primarily depends on two things:
1. The light that an object absorbs. Black absorbs all colors; white absorbs none; blue absorbs red.
2. How the light source works. Natural light (sunlight) changes throughout the day and is affected by a room’s location. Artificial light changes with the type of bulb you use.
How Sunlight Affects Colors
As the amount and angle of the sun changes, so will your room colors.
“Natural light should always be considered when choosing color for a space,” says Sarah Cole of the Farrow & Ball paint company. North-facing rooms: Light in these rooms is cool and bluish. Bolder colors show up better than muted colors; lighter colors will look subdued. “Use strong colors and embrace what nature has given,” says Cole.
Rising Home Prices Create Affordability Issues for Homebuyers
Published: February 11, 2014
Tight inventory pushed home prices up in most U.S. metro areas. That’s good news for homesellers, but bad news for buyers struggling to afford a home.
Home prices rose strongly in the lion’s share of U.S. metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2013, data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows. As homes became more expensive, however, they became less affordable, particularly for Western homebuyers.
The national median existing single-family home price was $196,900 in the fourth quarter, up 10.1% from $178,900 in the fourth quarter of 2012. The median price is where half of the homes sold for more and half for less.
Home prices rose in 73% of the 164 metro markets NAR tracks. In 26% of those metro areas, the increase was in the double-digits.
There are two ways of looking at the price gains, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The vast majority of homeowners have seen significant gains in equity over the past two years, which is helping the economy through increased consumer spending,” he said. “At the same time, home prices have been rising faster than incomes, while mortgage interest rates are above the record lows of a year ago. This is beginning to hamper housing affordability.”
Most Expensive Housing Markets
Homebuyers were feeling the pinch of rising prices in the five most-expensive housing markets in the fourth quarter:
|San Jose, Calif.||$775,000...|