While most folks are enjoying an increase in take home pay as a result of the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), understanding how the Act affects mortgage interest deductions is important. The legislation includes an increase of the standard deduction, which eliminates the need to claim the mortgage interest deduction at all for many tax payers. However, if your deductions exceed the standard amount ($12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly), you should be knowledgeable on what is allowable under the new rule. Here is a summary:
1. If your home loan was originated prior to January 1, 2018, and the loan was taken out to acquire, construct or substantially improve the home, the interest is still deductible.
2. Interest paid on Home Equity Loans are no longer deductible regardless of the origination date.
3. Interest on a mortgage taken out to refinance a previous loan will not be deductible.
4. The maximum mortgage amount allowed to deduct interest is $750,000.
5. If more than one house is owned and financed (for example; a lake home, ski home, country cabin, etc) only two can be used as mortgage interest deductions. So, if you have a primary residence with a mortgage and a second home with a mortgage and a third home with a mortgage, you can only count two of the properties as eligible for interest deduction. The properties selected can change from year to year which allows a home owner to choose the home loan with the highest interest rate to deduct.
While this is not a comprehensive list of the changes, it should help in making a decision on whether to refinance or to purchase. There are different methods available for calculating the allowable deduction and it is advisable to consult a tax professional for specific advice regarding this issue.
Mortgage interest rates are on the rise. After enjoying a long break from higher rates, home buyers and homeowners are realizing the impact of even small changes in interest rates. True, rates are far from what could be considered high. (As a comparison, consider mortgage rates in 1982-83 being over 16%.)
Currently, every $1,000 of financing a 30 year mortgage costs only about $5 per month. Here's what that means: If your budget allows for a monthly mortgage payment of $1,000 (not counting escrows for property taxes or insurance, PMI or HOA dues) that equates to a $200,000 loan. If interest rates continue to rise as experts predict, even a 1% increase in rates reduces that $1,000 monthly payment to about $178,000 in financing. That's a difference of about 11% less buying power! That could mean the difference between the home of your dreams and one you will settle for.
History shows that housing market activity actually goes up when rates increase. The reason? Buyers realize they may miss out on getting the house they want with the payment they can afford. That results in a higher number of buyers looking at the same time. This drives up prices as more homes are sold with multiple offers.
There are some steps borrowers can take to improve their situation in a rising interest rate market:
1. Get pre-approved by a lender with competitive rates and a reputation of being able to move a loan from purchase to closing in a timely manner.
2. Pull together all the information your lender will need before you get together with them. This will include:
4. Be prepared to address any negative items that may be on your credit history.
Having these items in advance will speed up the approval process significantly and give you an advantage in being able to move quickly when the right house becomes available.
Finally, discuss "locking" the interest rate with your lender. In a rising rate market, it is critical to understand the lender's policy to lock in a rate to protect you from changes that could occur prior to the closing of your loan. Typically interest rates cannot be locked until you have a purchase agreement signed by all parties and you have confidence in the closing date as well as having resolved any contingencies such as house inspections.
While rates are rising, it's still an excellent time to invest in real estate. Taking advantage of today's rates will make you look like a genius in the future and you will have locked in a stable payment for a long time to come.
First-time home buyers bought more than two million homes in the United States in 2017. Many of those homes were not new, which means quite a few people found themselves in possession of a fixer-upper. These houses can be a dream or a nightmare. If you get the house for a good price, you can make a considerable profit by fixing it up and selling it.
Of course, this may depend on your area of the country; the average price for a fixer-upper in Boston, Massachusetts, for example, is $420,000, but the average will be much lower in less-populated and rural areas. And if renovations head south, you could end up pouring a lot more money and resources than you intended into a money pit. Here are a few suggestions to keep your experience on the positive side.
The Buying Process
As a first-time home buyer, get prepared before you even begin looking. Check your credit score, know what kind of down payment you can afford, and get pre-approved for a loan so you can make an offer without having to wait.
Looking beyond traditional real estate listings often yields results when you’re searching for a fixer-upper in your area. Check your local courthouse for foreclosure notices and attend auctions and estate sales. Because you’re willing to do some work on a house, you’re more likely to find a gem others will miss. The ideal fixer-upper is the worst house in the best neighborhood.
Before you buy, make sure you get a home inspection so you know exactly what you’re facing in terms of repair work. You want to make sure you’re not missing something major that will spell disaster once the house is yours.
Prepping for DIY
Determine what projects you need to hire out and what projects you can handle. For the jobs you’ll be doing, make sure you have the appropriate tools. A few common power tools include a drill, circular saw, jigsaw, oscillating multi-tool, and an orbital sander. These will get you through most projects. If you’re not sure which models or brands to buy -- or which tool to use for which job -- do some research or ask your contractor or an experienced friend for recommendations.
What Projects to Tackle First
Deciding what projects to start with will depend on if you are living in the home. If you’re living there, you will likely remodel one room at a time so you can live in the other areas. If you have other living arrangements, you can work on the entire home at the same time.
Major projects come first. Knocking down walls, tearing out old kitchens, ripping up flooring, and doing major plumbing and/or electrical work are large changes that should come before smaller cosmetic improvements such as paint.
If you are working with a contractor, make sure he communicates his remodeling plan to you. If you’re doing everything on your own, create a timeline before you pick up the first hammer.
Love It or List It?
As a popular show on HGTV asks, once you have completed the fixing up process, should you love it or list it (stay or sell)? If you are emotionally invested in the property due to the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into it, it makes sense to stay. If the entire process is just a business transaction to you, you’ll be more willing to sell. Either way, you should have your house reappraised once repairs are finished. If the home value has increased significantly, you may be in a good position to sell quickly (make sure you research capital gains tax first).
If you’re up for an adventure, buying a fixer-upper can be an exhilarating experience for first-time home buyers. Go into the process with your eyes open, and get lots of advice from people more experienced than you. Every fixer-upper process has moments when you’re not sure if things will work out, but the end result can be well worth your time, effort, and investment.
Photo from Unsplash
Guest contribution by Bret Engle.
Cork and Rick Clark grew up in Reno, Nevada watching their father build and invest in real estate. They felt very fortunate to not only enjoy the direct benefits but also for the opportunity to learn about real estate investing.
"He paved the way and showed us the financial rewards," Rick shares, "Pops taught us the importance of a strong work ethic. If you want to be successful, you need to be on the job everyday."
The Clark family motto if we are going to reach a particular goal, you MUST be consistent by being on the job and working diligently everyday got the brothers through the 2008 crash, and lead their property management company into record-breaking growth and momentum.
Cork and Rick have used their knowledge of real estate and expertise in construction along with their unwillingness to sit still to build Clark Real Estate to over 700+ doors (households) under management.
Their favorite part of managing properties and real estate investments is that every day is different, every project is different, every house is different. They get to problem-solve every day--either from the office or out at a construction site. Their father and uncle, now in their 80s, modeled how to successfully work as brothers, and they have enjoyed working as a team. "Knowing somebody's got my back and that we have the same goals is the best part about working with my brother," Cork says. Rick is the second of seven children, and Cork is the younger brother as the fifth child.
The Clark brothers got started in real estate investing and property management by way of the construction industry. They had been in the construction industry since they were teenagers. With the construction experience "we could visualize firsthand all the possibilities," Rick says.
"We would look for the biggest problem property in a neighborhood," remembers Rick, "we would make offers on properties that weren't for sale." It wasn't long and the brothers had a handful of renovated properties that now needed to be managed. They started a property management company and took on leasing and maintenance for other real estate investors.
"No one knows the community better than we do. We're lifers," Rick smiles.
"We're hands on. We've started from the ground up. There are very few aspects of the real estate and investing game that we have not experienced first-hand," adds Cork.
Clark Real Estate brings drive and enthusiasm to folks looking to invest in the Reno area. Would you like to see their Map for building your real estate investment portfolio?
Which is right for you?
If you are new to the area, new to a job or career, or have less-than-adequate credit, renting may be the best avenue for you and your family. Even if none of the above applies to you, renting has its advantages.
On the other hand, buying a home right now is a great option because interest rates are so low. When you have investment or longevity on your mind, finding a home to own might be your best plan.
Whether you are in the market for buying or renting a home, our agents at Clark Real Estate want to help you find that perfect place to call home. Stop in or contact us today!
Clark Real Estate
305 W. Moana Ste C
Reno, NV 89509
Our inventory is constantly changing!
Please see our current listings!