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.
Take Action on Interest Rates
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.
Clark Real Estate
305 W. Moana Ste C
Reno, NV 89509
Reno Property Management