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A good credit history means good rates on loans and other credit facilities. Once damaged though, rebuilding your credit can be difficult. However, you can get started by using a secured credit card that is easier to acquire than most other lines of credit. In this post, we shall look at how to increase your […]
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Hereâs a real estate tip for folks joining the incoming Biden administration: A rental vacancy has opened up in the tony DC neighborhood of Kaloramaâan area known for foreign diplomats and political heavy hitters.
Ivanka Trump and her husband, ex-presidential adviser Jared Kushner, have decamped for Florida, following in the footsteps of her father, former President Donald Trump.
Now, the couple’s former rental is in search of a new tenant. It’s available to lease for $18,000 a month.
The recently renovated home with six beds and 6.5 baths has all kinds of style points. It’s billed as “one of the most well-known and photographed houses on the planetâgiven its recent tenants.”
During the Trump years when the upscale abode served as the DC home of the first daughter and her family, it attracted protests and candlelight vigils, according to the Washingtonian. The 2017 gathering shown below was to protest Trump’s immigration policies.
Concerned Community members from WA, CA, NM, AZ, TX, ID, VA holding a vigil outside Jared Kushner & @IvankaTrump's house #DefendDACA pic.twitter.com/caGf0mIFah
— Cris Ruiz (@votecris2040) September 5, 2017
On the other hand, the Washington Post recently reported that the mansion’s bathrooms were off limits to the couple’s Secret Service detail. As a result, the security team had to rent a nearby studio apartment at a rate of $3,000 a monthâwhich ended up totaling more than $100,000 over the years, according to the Post.
Bathroom access aside, the 1923 home has been âmeticulously maintained by the landlord and former notable tenants,â the listing asserts. Details of the 7,300-square-foot layout include crown moldings, recessed lighting, and wood floors throughout.
Plus, the âvery contemporaryâ interiors boast high-end finishes and electrical updates made within the past four years.
And you might catch a glimpse of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in the neighborhood. The couple liveÂ just a âstoneâs throw away,â the listing notes. That proximity to power might appeal to a house hunter joining the Biden administration.
Watch: The D.C. Neighborhood That Power Brokers Ivanka Trump and the Obamas Call Home
While new listing photos aren’t yet available, the images from 2017 showcase a modern, minimalist living space in a neutral palette decorated with abstract art.
The living room features a fireplace and plenty of space for oversized furniture. The sleek kitchen with a long, white island looks to have everything you need to whip up a meal (or unpack takeout). The kitchen also has room for a table and adjoins a family room.
A formal dining room features a fireplace and recessed lighting. The master suite includes French doors, another fireplace, and cool tones.
Down south, the home’s former residents are apparently leasing a luxury condo in Miami, according to the Wall Street Journal. But their long-term plans look to involve a 2-acre lot they reportedly purchased on uaexclusive Indian Creek Island for the jaw-dropping sum of $32 million.
Rodrigo Valderrama with Keller Williams Capital Properties holds the rental listing.
The post Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s DC Home Is Available To Rentâfor $18K a Month appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
As part of his plan of leaving Los Angeles and moving his family to the Big Apple, Matt Damon has now listed his Pacific Palisades home for sale. And he’s hoping to cash in big from the sale, asking $21 million for the Zen-inspired contemporary home set in one of LA’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Recently listed with Eric Haskell, an agent with celebrity real estate brokerage The Agency, Matt Damon’s house is an architectural masterpiece with 7 bedrooms, 10 baths, tons of distinct design features and some pretty extraordinary amenities. The Academy Award-winning actor will be trading all this for a 6,000-square-foot penthouse in Brooklyn, New York, having broken records last year by paying $16.745 million for the top floor unit of a famous former hotel, The Standish.
An architectural gem with striking features & Instagram-worthy interiors
Designed by award-winning architect Grant Kirkpatrick, founding partner of leading-edge design studio KAA Design Group, Matt Damon’s house is an extraordinary contemporary home that showcases masterful craftmanship throughout its 13,508-square-foot interiors.
With a modern-yet-timeless design, the house is anchored by a breathtaking atrium with 35-foot mahogany vaulted ceilings. The interiors are bathed in natural light and mix warm wood elements with natural stone, giving the whole space an inviting, relaxing vibe. Other striking features that deserve a shout-out: clerestory windows and glass walls that fuse the indoors with the outdoor areas.
The family room opens to the magnificent chefâs kitchen with custom mahogany cabinetry, Bluestone countertops and stainless steel Viking, Wolf and Miele appliances. The kitchen then opens to the expansive backyard retreat (but more on that in a minute).
All in all, Matt Damon’s soon-to-be former Los Angeles abode packs 7 bedrooms and 10 baths across 13,508 square feet of space. The primary suite comes with its own private terrace, dual dressing rooms, massage room and a spa-style bath with soaking tub and expansive shower. Pretty much every room offers leafy property and treetop views, adding an extra note of serenity to this wonderfully Zen-inspired home.
Amenities galore and a wonderful backyard retreat
Most celebrity homes tend to outdo themselves when it comes to amenities and bonus rooms and Matt Damon’s house is no exception. Interior amenities include a game room, bar, office, gym, plush media room, staff quarters and wine storage and tasting room. And that’s just what you’ll find inside the house.
Outside, the modern home has quite a few amenities that invite calm and relaxation (perfectly in tune with the rest of the house), including an expansive pool, spa, a cascading waterfall, koi pond and Hawaiian-inspired Lanai with a covered lounge and alfresco dining terrace. To appeal to the little ones — Damon is a father of four — there’s also a nice childrenâs play area.
Matt Damon’s next home is vastly different from his Los Angeles digs
The Academy Award-winning actor, who is starring in the highly anticipated Ridley Scott-directed The Last Duel (to be released this year), will soon be leaving Los Angeles behind. The move has long been planned, with Damon and wife Luciana BozÃ¡n Barroso having purchased a Brooklyn Heights penthouse two years ago for a record-breaking price.
The couple paid $16.745 million for a 6-bedroom, 6,201-square-foot penthouse at The Standish — a historically significant converted building that was originally built in 1903 as a Beaux Arts hotel. At the time, Damon’s purchase set a new record for the borough, making him the owner of the most expensive property ever sold in Brooklyn.
Despite the fact that the penthouse consists of several units merged for extra space, the actor will be downsizing considerably. And the loss in square footage is matched by a significant downgrade in outdoor space — though it’s worth noting that Matt Damon’s new home does have an expansive terrace, a rarity for New York City. There’s no Zen backyard pool though, so we’re pretty sure the Good Will Hunting actor will, at times, miss his Pacific Palisades retreat.
More beautiful celebrity homes
Check Out this Beautiful House the Hemsworth Brothers Just Sold in Malibu
Wayne Gretzky is Selling his $22.9M California Home Designed by âThe Megamansion Kingâ
Morgan Brown Re-Lists Stunning West Hollywood Home Amid Split from Actor Gerard Butler
Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Buy $17.5M Beverly Hills Mansion
The post New to Market: Matt Damon’s Zen Los Angeles Home Asks $21 Million appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
One Direction star, Louis Tomlinson, is relisting his Los Angeles mansion he shared with ex-girlfriend, Danielle Campbell. The home is currently for sale on Homes.com for $6.8 million.
The post One Direction Star Louis Tomlinson Relists L.A. Mansion for $6.8 Million appeared first on Homes.com.
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What are the tax benefits of owning a home? Plenty of homeowners are asking themselves this right around now as they prepare to file their taxes.
You may recall the Tax Cuts and Jobs Actâthe most substantial overhaul to the U.S. tax code in more than 30 yearsâwent into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The result was likely a big change to your taxes, especially the tax perks of homeownership.
While this revised tax code is still in effect today, the coronavirus has thrown a few curveballs. For one, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed filing season by about two weeks, which means it won’t start accepting or processing any 2020 tax year returns until Feb. 12, 2021. (So far at least, the filing deadline stands firm at the usual date, April 15.)
In addition to this delay, many might be wondering whether the new realities of COVID-19 life (like their work-from-home setup) might qualify for a tax deduction, or how other variables from unemployment to stimulus checks might affect their tax return this year.
Whatever questions you have,Â look no further than this complete guide to all the tax benefits of owning a home, where we run down all the tax breaks homeowners should be aware of when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021. Read on to make sure you aren’t missing anything that could save you money!
Tax break 1: Mortgage interest
Homeowners with a mortgage that went into effect before Dec. 15, 2017, can deduct interest on loans up to $1 million.
“However, for acquisition debt incurred after Dec. 15, 2017, homeowners can only deduct the interest on the first $750,000,” says Lee Reams Sr., chief content officer of TaxBuzz.
Why it’s important: The ability to deduct the interest on a mortgage continues to be a big benefit of owning a home. And the more recent your mortgage, the greater your tax savings.
“The way mortgage payments are amortized, the first payments are almost all interest,” says Wendy Connick, owner of Connick Financial Solutions. (See how your loan amortizes and how much you’re paying in interest with this online mortgage calculator.)
Note that the mortgage interest deduction is an itemized deduction. This means that for it to work in your favor, all of your itemized deductions (there are more below) need to be greater than the new standard deduction, which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled.
And note that those amounts just increased for the 2020 tax year. For individuals, the deduction is now $12,400 ($12,200 in 2019), and it’s $24,800 for married couples filing jointly ($24,400 in 2019), plus $1,300 for each spouse aged 65 or older. The deduction also went up to $18,650 for head of household ($18,350 in 2019), plus an additional $1,650 for those 65 or older.
As a result, only about 5% of taxpayers will itemize deductions this filing season, says Connick.
For some homeowners, itemizing simply may not be worth it. So when would itemizing work in your favor? As one example, if you’re a married couple under 65 who paid $20,000 in mortgage interest and $6,000 in state and local taxes, you would exceed the standard deduction and be able to reduce your taxable income by an additional $1,200 by itemizing.
Watch: Ready To Refinance? Ask These 5 Questions First
Tax break 2: Property taxes
This deduction is capped at $10,000 for those married filing jointly no matter how high the taxes are. (Here’s more info on how to calculate property taxes.)
Why it’s important: Taxpayers can take one $10,000 deduction, says Brian Ashcraft, director of compliance at Liberty Tax Service.
Just note that property taxes are on that itemized list of all of your deductions that must add up to more than your particular standard deductionÂ to be worth your while.
And remember that if you have a mortgage, your property taxes are built into your monthly payment.
Tax break 3: Private mortgage insurance
If you put less than 20% down on your home, odds are you’re paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which costs from 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan.
But here’s some good news for PMI users: You can deduct the interest on this insurance thanks to the Mortgage Insurance Tax Deduction Act of 2019âaka the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Actâwhich reinstated certain deductions and credits for homeowners.
“These include the deduction for PMI,” says Laura Fogel, certified public accountant at Gonzalez and Associates in Massachusetts. (This credit is retroactive, so talk to your accountant to see if it makes sense to amend your 2018 or 2019 tax return in case you missed it in past years.)
Also note that this tax deduction is set to expire again after 2020 unless Congress decides to extend it in 2021.
Why it’s important: The PMI interest deduction is also an itemized deduction. But if you can take it, it might help push you over the $24,800 standard deduction for married couples under 65. And here’s how much you’ll save: If you make $100,000 and put down 5% on a $200,000 house, you’ll pay about $1,500 in annual PMI premiums and thus cut your taxable income by $1,500. Nice!
Tax break 4: Energy efficiency upgrades
The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit was a tax incentive for installing alternative energy upgrades in a home. Most of these tax credits expired after December 2016; however, two credits are still around (but not for long). The credits for solar electric and solar water-heating equipment are available through Dec. 31, 2021, says Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting, a New Yorkâbased accounting firm.
The SECURE Act also retroactively reinstated a $500 deduction for certain qualified energy-efficient upgrades “such as exterior windows, doors, and insulation,” says Fogel.
Why it’s important: You can still save a tidy sum on your solar energy. Andâbonus!âthis is a credit, so no worrying about itemizing here. However, the percentage of the credit varies based on the date of installation. For equipment installed between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, 26% of the expenditure is eligible for the credit (down from 30% in 2019). That figure drops to 22% for installation between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021. As of now, the credit ends entirely after 2021.
Tax break 5: A home office
Good news for all self-employed people whose home office is the main place where they work: You can deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500.
For those who can take the deduction, understand that there are very strict rules on what constitutes a dedicated, fully deductible home office space. Here’s more on the much-misunderstood home office tax deduction.
The fine print: The bad news for everyone forced to work at home due to COVID-19? Unfortunately, if you are a W-2 employee, you’re not eligible for the home office deduction under the CARES Act even if you spent most of 2020 in your home office.
Tax break 6: Home improvements to age in place
To get this break, these home improvements will need to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. So if you make $60,000, this deduction kicks in only on money spent over $4,500.
The cost of these improvements can result in a nice tax break for many older homeowners who plan to age in place and add renovations such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in bathrooms. Deductible improvements might also include widening doorways, lowering cabinets or electrical fixtures, and adding stair lifts.
The fine print: Youâll need a letter from your doctor to prove these changes were medically necessary.
Tax break 7: Interest on a home equity line of credit
If you have a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, the interest you pay on that loan is deductible only if that loan is used specifically to “buy, build, or improve a property,” according to the IRS. So you’ll save cash if your home’s crying out for a kitchen overhaul or half-bath. But you can’t use your home as a piggy bank to pay for college or throw a wedding.
The fine print: You can deduct only up to the $750,000 cap, and this is for the amount you pay in interest on your HELOC and mortgage combined. (And if you took out a HELOC before the new 2018 tax plan for anything besides improvements to your home, you cannot legally deduct the interest.)
The post 7 Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: A Complete Guide for Filing This Year appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
If you’re considering building your next home, but aren’t completely sure of your options, here are the pros and cons you should know before deciding.
The post The Pros and Cons of Building a Home in Today’s Market appeared first on Homes.com.
Purchasing a home is both exciting and a major milestone in your life, so you’ll want to be prepared for what to expect to avoid a stressful process. Having an in-depth look at the buyer’s journey can help you make informed and confident decisions.
From finding a real estate agent, negotiating offers to getting your keys on closing day, we’ve outlined all the steps of a home buyer’s journey in our free Buyer’s Guide, which you can download here.
The Buyer’s Guide will cover the buyer’s timeline from meeting an agent to preparing for closing day. We’ve outlined the 8 steps in a home buyer’s journey below.
1. Working With An Agent
Every city is filled with thousands of agents, but not all are equal. We believe it is important to choose an agent that you feel confident with. Before you commit to working with an agent, make sure you have a good understanding of the knowledge and experience they offer. It’s important that you ask your questions before making the decision to work with them.
2. Financing Your Purchase
Before you set a budget and start looking for a home, you’ll have to understand what costs to expect when purchasing a home. Here are some of the major costs involved:
- Down payments
- Mortgage insurance
- Closing costs
You’ll also want to calculate a rough estimate of the down payment that you will be expected to pay. Depending on the price of your home, your minimum down payment can range from 5% to 20%. If you’re interested in learning more about how to finance your home, you can get our free Financing Your Purchase guide here.
3. Searching For A Home
An important part of searching for a home is understanding how the home will fit with your needs and your lifestyle. You’ll want to consider home ownership as well as different types of properties and features.
Types of Home Ownership
- Freehold Ownership
- You purchase the home and directly own the lot of land it sits on
- Condominium Ownership
- For condos, you own specific parts of one building: titled ownership of your unit, along with shared ownership in the condo corporation that owns the common spaces and amenities
- Co-Op Ownership
- You own an exact portion of the building as a whole and also have exclusive use of your unit
Types of Properties
- Detached houses
- Semi-detached houses
- Attached houses
- Condos and apartments
Tip: Depending on your budget and desired location, you may need to be flexible to find a home that meets your needs. By being willing to trade some features for others, you’ll have more options to choose from.
4. Negotiating An Offer
When you are making an offer to purchase a home, the purchase agreement should include the essential components listed below. Your agent can help put together an offer that is compelling, while safeguarding your interests and puts you in a competitive position to secure your new home.
You’ll also have the opportunity to choose the conditions that you’ll want in your offer. Some of these may include a home inspection or a status certificate review.
5. Financial Due Diligence
Whenever you make an offer on a house, you need to provide a deposit to secure the offer. The deposit is in the form of a certified cheque, bank draft, or wire transfer; it’s held in trust by the selling brokerage and is applied towards your down payment if your offer is successful.
There are two types of deposits:
- Upon acceptance
- The deposit is provided within 24 hours of the seller choosing your offer
- The deposit is provided when the offer is made
6. Property Due Diligence
To firm up a deal or educate yourself more on the state of the property, you’ll likely want to have a home inspection if you’re purchasing a house. If you’re purchasing a condo, then your lawyer will review the building’s status certificate.
A home inspector will assess elements of the home such as the walls, windows, plumbing, heating and roof to judge the condition of the home. This process is non-invasive and is essential to help provide buyers with a good idea of the home’s current condition and the confidence of putting in an offer.
Tip: The home inspector will provide a summary of suggested work along with a minimum budget estimate for the repairs needed.
If you’re purchasing a condominium, you’ll need to obtain a status certificate from the condo board or management for your lawyer’s review. This document will include valuable information about the condo’s budget, legal issues, reserve fund, maintenance fees and future fees increases – and the lawyer can help identify potential red flags
7. Preparing For Closing
Before the big day, you’ll want to keep a checklist of what to do ahead of time. Some of these include:
- Review your contract
- Complete a final walkthrough of the home
- Purchase home insurance
- Meet with your lawyer
- Know how much cash you’ll need
- Secure cash required for closing
8. Closing Day
Closing Day is when you’ll finally get the keys to your new home! In addition to bringing the cash required for closing, you’ll have to sign a few more documents which will include:
- Mortgage loan
- Title transfer
- Statement of adjustments
- Tax certificates
For the full details on the home buyer’s journey including examples, advice, pictures and sample calculations, download a copy of our free Buyer’s Guide here.
The post Home Buyer’s Guide: How to Purchase a Property, From Start to Finish [Free Download] appeared first on Zoocasa Blog.
Once you decide to become a homeowner, itâs likely that you will need to take out a mortgage to purchase your new home. While the conclusion that you need a mortgage to finance your home is usually easy to arrive at, deciding which one is right for you can be overwhelming. One of the many decisions a prospective homebuyer must make is choosing between a 15-year versus 30-year mortgage.
From the names alone, itâs hard to tell which one is the better option. Under ideal circumstances, a 15-year mortgage mathematically makes sense as the better option. However, the path to homeownership is often far from ideal (and who are we kidding, under ideal circumstances weâd all have large sums of money to purchase a house in cash). So the better question for homebuyers to ask is which one is best for you?
To help you make the most informed financial decisions, we detail the differences between the 15-year and 30-year mortgage, the pros and cons of each, and options for which one is better based on your financial priorities.
The Difference Between 15-Year Vs. 30-Year Mortgages
The main difference between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage is the amount of time in which you promise to repay your loan, also known as the loan term.
The loan term of a mortgage has the ability to affect other aspects of your mortgage like interest rates and monthly payments. Loan terms come in a variety of lengths such as 10, 15, 20, and 30 years, but weâre discussing the two most common options here.
What Is a 15-Year Mortgage?
A 15-year mortgage is a mortgage thatâs meant to be paid in 15 years. This shorter loan term means that amortization, otherwise known as the gradual repayment of your loan, happens more quickly than other loan terms.
What Is a 30-Year Mortgage?
On the other hand, a 30-year mortgage is repaid in 30 years. This longer loan term means that amortization happens more slowly.
Pros and Cons of a 15-Year Mortgage
The shorter loan term of a 15-year mortgage means more money saved over time, but sacrifices affordability with higher monthly payments.
- Lower interest rates (often by a full percentage point!)
- Less money paid in interest over time
- Higher monthly payments
- Less affordability and flexibility
Pros and Cons of a 30-Year Mortgage
As the mortgage term chosen by the majority of American homebuyers, the longer 30-year loan term has the advantage of affordable monthly payments, but comes at the cost of more money paid over time in interest.
- Lower monthly payments
- More affordable and flexible
- Higher interest rates
- More money paid in interest over time
|â¢ Lower interest rates
â¢ Less money paid in interest over time
|â¢ Lower monthly payments
â¢ More affordable and flexible
|â¢ Higher monthly payments
â¢ Less affordability and flexibility
|â¢ Higher interest rates
â¢ More money paid in interest over time
Which Is Better For You?
Now with what you know about the pros and cons of each loan term, use that knowledge to match your financial priorities with the mortgage that is best for you.
Best to Save Money Over Time: 15-Year Mortgage
The 15-year mortgage may be best for those who wish to spend less on interest, have a generous income, and also have a reliable amount in savings. With a 15-year mortgage, your income would need to be enough to cover higher monthly mortgage payments among other living expenses, and ample savings are important to serve as a buffer in case of emergency.
Best for Monthly Affordability: 30-Year Mortgage
A 30-year mortgage may be best if youâre seeking stable and affordable monthly payments or wish for more flexibility in saving and spending your money over time. The longer loan term may also be the better option if you plan on purchasing property you couldnât normally afford to repay in just 15 years.
Best of Both: 30-Year Mortgage with Extra Payments
Want the best of both worlds? A good option to save on interest and have affordable monthly payments is to opt for a 30-year mortgage but make extra payments. You can still have the goal of paying off your mortgage in 15 or 20 years time on a 30-year mortgage, but this option can be more forgiving if life happens and you donât meet that goal. Before going this route, make sure to ask your lender about any prepayment penalties that may make interest savings from early payments obsolete.
As a prospective homebuyer, itâs important that you set yourself up for financial success. Fine-tuning your personal budget and diligently saving and paying off debtÂ help prepare you to take the next steps toward buying a new home. Doing your research and learning about mortgages also helps you make decisions in your best interest.
When picking a mortgage, always keep in mind what is financially realistic for you. If that means forgoing better savings on interest in the name of affordability, then remember that path still leads to homeownership. Try out these budget templates for your home or monthly expenses to help keep you on a good path to achieving your goals.
Sources: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The post 15-Year vs. 30-Year Mortgages: Which is Better? appeared first on MintLife Blog.