Jan. 13, 2020

Tax Benefits for New Homeowners

New Homeowner Tax Benefits

Did you buy a home this year? Congratulations! The purchase of your first home is an exciting time, not to mention a huge step in your life.

In addition to having a place to call your very own, there are also tax benefits for new homeowners when you no longer take the standard deduction. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you visit your tax professional or complete your taxes.

Mortgage Interest - for most people, this is the largest tax break from owning a home. Your lender will send you a 1098 form and the amount you're able to deduct will be listed on the form. 

Points - some people pay points to the lender to qualify for the mortgage they want. It is usually expressed as a percent of the loan amount. Those points are deductible, even if you negotiated the seller to pay the amount at closing. This deduction will also be shown on your 1098 form. 

Property Taxes - you can also deduct the local property taxes you pay each year. If you pay your taxes through an escrow account (this is typical if you have a mortgage loan) this deduction will show on the tax form from your lender. If you pay directly to the municipality, you'll have to look through your finances to see the exact amount that you paid. 

PMI - buyers who make less than a 20% downpayment usually have to pay premium mortgage insurance on their home loan. Lenders require this because it protects them if the borrower fails to repay the loan. Buyers being able to deduct this amount has been extended through 2019. 

There are various other deductions you are now able to take as a homeowner. Make sure you get them all. If you're doing your taxes yourself, do a little research as to what you qualify for. If you use a tax professional, your job will just be to provide them all the data they need to get that extra money for you. If you need anything that we can provide, please let us know (970) 858-9870! We're here to help you through your home buying journey, and that includes after the sale too. 

Posted in Homebuying Tips
Jan. 7, 2020

Tax Aspects of Selling a Home

Tax Aspects of Selling a Home

Did you sell your home in 2019? You might be wondering what the tax implications are for you.

Most home-sale profits are tax-free, but there are ways to maximize your tax benefits if you sold your home this year. Keep reading to learn how to figure your gain home improvements, and more!

Do you have to pay taxes on your profits?

This depends on how much profit you made and how long you owned your home. You must own the home for at least two years, and have it be your primary residence. If you owned your home for five years but rented it for two years, you still qualify. You also can't gain on the sale from a different home within two years before this sale. For example, if you lived in your home two of the five years leading up to the sale, then up to $250,000 of your profit is tax-free. If you file jointly, you can bump that number up to $500,000. 

Are there any special circumstances for the above rule?

Yes! Separation, divorce, the death of a spouse or members of the uniformed services all have exceptions to the above rule. For example, a member of the armed forces can suspend their five-year test period for up to ten years during active military service. 

 What is a reduced exclusion?

If you don't qualify for the rule above, you might still be able to treat part of your profit as tax-free. A reduced exclusion might be available to you if you had a change of employment, change of health, or other unforeseen circumstances. If you qualify for one of these items, you might not get the $250,000 exclusion, but you should get part of one.

Should you take it?

Most of the time, yes! But there are some instances where you might be selling another home in a couple of years and want the tax break on the larger profit. You just need to evaluate your situation to see what is best for you.

Do you have to report the sale on your tax return?

It depends. If you receive a 1099-S form or don't meet the requirements for excluding the gain on a home sale then you will have to report this on your taxes. The 1099-S comes from your real estate agent. So, if you don't want a copy sent to you and the IRS, you need to let your agent know before February 15th that the profit on the sale will be tax-free.

These are just some basic examples of tax rules dealing with the sale of a home. To know for sure what you should do, contact your tax professional. They will be able to look at the full picture to see exactly what you should do this tax year. If you need any paperwork from us, just ask! We're here to make every aspect of homeownership as simple as possible. 

Posted in Selling Tips
Jan. 3, 2020

4 Winter House Hunting Mistakes

4 Winter House Hunting Mistakes

If you're house hunting this winter, keep an open mind. Here are four things to remember when you are looking for your dream home.

 

  1. Use Your Imagination - winter can make any home look drab and dreary. Every house has less curb appeal without green grass and blooming flowers. Try to look past those items during the winter months and see the potential that will be there in the spring. 
  2. Expect Delays at Closing - while we're past the season that brings the most delays, there are still many other things that can cause your home loan to be delayed. These can be snow days, sick days, vacations, and seasonal office closures to contend with. Don't worry though. Just talk about everything with your lender. They will be able to give you a good timeline of their planned closures. They can also let you know if they have someone to back them up if sickness happens to ensure your loan gets done in the timeframe you need.
  3. Don't Always Expect a Deal - just because a home is on the market during the winter does not mean that you will get a great deal on the price. Don't be fooled into thinking that the seller is in a rush to get rid of their home before the snow melts. Be respectful of your offer and listen to the advice from your realtor. They will have the most intel on the current housing market and, possibly, the seller.
  4. Holiday Debt - it feels good to spoil your friends and family with gifts, but if you're searching for a home, that debt could cause trouble when it comes time to close your home loan. Make sure you're paying off that holiday debt or you have a budget and timeline in mind as to when that will happen. You don't want to find the perfect home and not be able to get the financing for it.

Winter is still a great time to look for a home, as long as you go into it expecting the above four things. If you're ready to start searching for your next home, call us (970) 858-9870! We'd love to help you through this life-changing journey. 

Posted in Homebuying Tips
Dec. 26, 2019

Fruita Market Report - December 2019

Fruita Housing Market Report - December 2019

Here's the latest market report from Fidelity National Title. Their current report indicates that it is still slightly a seller's market.

They use an index that measures the current rate of sale vs. the amount of inventory available. Anything over 30 is a seller's marketing. Anything under 30 means it is a buyers market. As of today, the index lists Fruita at a 41, so it is a seller's market.

The median list price increased from last month and now sits at $435,108 and the 90-day average days on market has increased to 151.

To view the full market reports click below.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 7, 2019

6 Winter Tips for Staging Your Home

6 tips for staging your home in the winter

If you're selling your home during the winter, you want to make the most out of every home showing you get.

Read these tips for staging your home during the winter to wow every potential buyer that comes through your home.

  1. Light It Up - and we don't mean Christmas lights, though they can be festive and beautiful too. With the winter months having less daylight, you need to use what you can! If a showing happens during the day, pull back those window coverings and open the blinds. It will make your home look larger and brighter, which is more inviting. Change those lightbulbs. Bathrooms look great with daylight bulbs. Livingrooms and bedrooms are more flattering with soft light. If you've got any dark corners, consider bringing in a floor lamp to brighten up that space.
  2. Home Maintenance - this is important no matter what time of year. For winter showings, you want to fix drafty windows and doors. Check your furnace to ensure it is in good working order. Also, change air filters in the home to reduce odors and allergens. 
  3. Deep Clean - this includes the spaces under kitchen and bathroom sinks and your showerhead. During the winter, buyers will make sure plumbing is in good shape and doesn't have the potential to freeze and break. So, give those spaces some extra love.
  4. Seasonal Decor - we know you love to go all out with decorations, but this year, do a little less. Less is always more with potential buyers. You want to keep your home looking large, which means fewer decorations. Don't fill every surface of your home, just choose your favorite items and display them proudly.
  5. Keep Those Sidewalks Clean - we might not get a lot of snow in the Grand Valley, but on those days it happens, shovel! It will make it easier for buyers to enter your home, and it will keep your home cleaner during showings. You don't want anyone to track snow, mud, sand, or salt all over your house.
  6. Warm Up Your Home - when you've got a showing scheduled make sure you keep your thermostat around 68-70 degrees. This is an inviting temperature and will make the buyer feel more comfortable during the showing.

Wintertime is magical, and you can use that to your advantage during showings. Contact Robinson and Co. Realty to make your home selling process as easy and quick as possible no matter what the season (970) 858-9870.

Posted in Selling Tips
Dec. 7, 2019

Why Listing Your Home This Winter is a Good Idea

6 reasons to sell your home during the winter

We've all heard that spring is the best time to list (and sell) your home but is that true?

A substantial amount of homes are indeed put on the market during the spring, but winter is also a busy time for house hunters. Here are 6 reasons why selling your home in the winter is a great idea!

  1. Less Competition - there is lower inventory during the winter months, but that could be beneficial for you! Lower inventory means less competition. Just because the seasons change doesn't mean buyers aren't out there looking. So, if you're ready to list your home, this could be a great time of year for you.
  2. Show Those Winter Features - does your home have a fireplace, great windows, and incredible insulation? Winter is a great time to showcase those features. If the weather outside is harsh, show what your homes got - energy efficiency is a selling point for any potential buyer.
  3. New Parents - weirdly enough, there are lots of babies born in September, meaning, new parents might be ready to upgrade their home by the winter. Less space and more toys from a new baby can mean parents will want to look for more home space quickly! 
  4. Serious Buyers - when it's spring, everyone just wants to get outside, and lots of people like going to open houses. It doesn't mean they will buy your home. But, during the cold, winter months, you're more likely to encounter serious buyers who could put an offer on your home!
  5. Year-End Bonus - while the holidays cost people a lot of money on gifts, a lot of people get year-end bonuses and payouts. This is also true for those first-time buyers looking to enter the market. The end of the year might be the best time for them to make a home purchase, with all the money they've saved during the year.
  6. Relocation - businesses tend to make relocation decisions at the end of the year, so January and February are times when employees are looking for new housing if they've been relocated.

If you're thinking about listing your home this spring, but you're ready now, call us (970) 858-9870! We'd be happy to help you sell your home during the winter months, and make the process easy for you. 

Posted in Selling Tips
Dec. 4, 2019

Fruita Market Report-November 2019

Median List Price - Fruita - November 2019

Here's the latest market report from Fidelity National Title. Their current report indicates that it is still slightly a seller's market.

They use an index that measures the current rate of sale vs. the amount of inventory available. Anything over 30 is a seller's marketing. Anything under 30 means it is a buyers market. As of today, the index lists Fruita at a 41, so it is a seller's market.

The median list price decreased from last month and now sits at $432,111 and the 90-day average days on market has increased to 144.

To view the full market reports click below.

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 23, 2019

What is on a Home Inspector's Checklist?

What is on a home inspector's checklist?

It doesn't matter if you're the buyer or seller in the home owning process, you will probably have to hear from an inspector before the deal is complete.

So, what exactly does a home inspector check? While an inspector has over 1,600 items to check during their inspection, here are 10 general categories on the checklist.

  1. Grounds - they are looking for current or future problems around the outside of the home. This includes standing water, faulty grading or downspouts, pathways, retaining walls, sheds, and general health of trees and shrubs. Basically, they are looking for any red flags that might impact the house at a later date. 
  2. Structure - is the foundation solid? Are door and window frames square? Is the house sloping? This part of the inspection is extremely important for older homes. You can never be too careful about the overall structure of a home, especially an older one. 
  3. Roof - the inspector will look at the age of the roof, and see if there are any defects on the shingles, flashing, fascia, or anything else that could cause leaks inside the home. 
  4. Exterior Exam - this is when the inspector looks at the condition of the exterior of the home itself. They will look at the siding to see how old it is and what shape it is in. The inspector will also look at cracks in the stucco (if that is the exterior), dents in the vinyl, blistering and flaking paint, and proper clearing between the siding and the ground. 
  5. Windows, Doors, Trim - the inspector will make sure that the windows are sealed properly, and there is no rot in the frames. Basically, anything that could allow heat or cool air to escape is what is on their radar at this point in the checklist.
  6. Interior Rooms - finally! they made it inside the house. The inspector will look at walls to make sure they are structurally sound, ceilings to make sure there is no water damage, and sufficient vents to keep each room the same temperature as the rest of the house.
  7. Kitchen - this gets a special category in the checklist. Hood fans should vent to the exterior, ground-fault circuit interrupters exist, no leaks under the sink and cabinets and drawers operate properly.
  8. Bathrooms - these rooms are all about water flow. Inspectors make sure the toilets flush, drains are actually draining, showers are spraying, and tubs are securely fastened. 
  9. Plumbing - the evaluation of pipes, drains, water heaters, water pressure, and temperature of the water is what gets looked at in this step. They will also double-check everything to make sure there is no visible water damage.
  10. Electric - inspectors want to know that electric panels are in good, working order. Light switches and HVAC systems should also be working correctly, and there should be enough electric outlets in each room.  

Remember, an inspection is mandatory when you're working with a mortgage lender. They want to ensure that it is a solid investment, without any surprises. If you're still not comfortable with the home-owning process, don't worry! The Agents at Robinson and Co Realty are here to help. We will walk you through every step of the process to make you feel comfortable. After all, buying a home is exciting! We want to give that feeling back to you. Call us today to get started on finding your dream home (970) 858-9870.

Oct. 15, 2019

What are Closing Costs and What's Included?

What are closing costs and what's included in your payment?

You've found your dream home and your offer was accepted. Congratulations! Now comes the paperwork. You know there are some closing costs involved, but who is responsible for what? Well, here's a quick rundown of what closing costs are and what it might include. 

First, closing costs are the fees that are required to finalize your mortgage. Most of these costs are paid by the buyer, but buyers can negotiate the seller to pay a portion of the fees. The buyer will get a loan estimate at least three days before they close, so they can see the exact costs that will come up when the paperwork is completed. Next, let's get down to the actual costs.

Property-Related Costs

  1. Appraisal - this is a mandated fee by the lender. Your lender wants to make sure that the house you are buying is worth the amount of money that you have offered to pay. So, they enlist an appraiser to make sure. This is the fee to compensate the appraiser. 
  2. Escrow Fee - these are portions of the property tax and insurance that are required upfront. 
  3. Inspection - this is the fee involved with making sure the house you buy doesn't have any major damage or defects. This happens before you agree to purchase the home, but you usually pay for this service at the time of closing.
  4. Property Taxes - the buyer typically pays the city and county property taxes due at the time of closing through the end of the year. 
  5. Assessments - these can include an HOA fee if your house is located in an association. This cost may be due upfront at closing, it just depends on the covenants for the HOA. 

Loan Related Costs

  1. Title/Attorney Fees - these are the fees to complete the paperwork for transferring the deed to a new owner. 
  2. Loan Interest - if you aren't closing on the first of the month, the buyer will be required to pay interest on the loan from the date of closing to the first of the next month.
  3. Lender Fees - these vary depending on the lender but make up the amount of time it took to pull credit, and put together the paperwork for your loan.
  4. Origination Fee - this is paid to the lender to obtain the mortgage and is typical expressed as a percentage point. 

Other Fees

  1. Private Mortgage Insurance - otherwise known as PMI. This is an amount that you will see on your loan every month until you have 20% of the total amount paid. You can pay this amount of money upfront, and it will save you money over time, but most people don't have a lot of extra money to pay the lump sum, so it gets rolled into your monthly mortgage payment. 
  2. FHA, VA, and USDA Fees - if you are getting one of these types of loans, you might see a fee associated with them. They all charge for different things and different amounts, so ask your lender to explain the ins and outs depending on the specific loan you chose. 

This is the final stretch of your homeownership journey. Make sure that you ask any and every question you need to feel comfortable with this process. Your realtor can help answer these questions or your lender. Both of their jobs is to make sure that you understand what is happening and make sure the process is as simple as possible. 

If you're just starting this journey, let the realtors at Robinson and Co Realty help you! Our team of experts is here to guide you no matter what you're looking for. Give us a call today to get started (970) 858-9870. 

Posted in Homebuying Tips
Oct. 8, 2019

Fruita Market Report-September 2019

Median Fruita List Price - September 2019

 

Here's the latest market report from Fidelity National Title. Their current report indicates that it is still slightly a seller's market.

They use an index that measures the current rate of sale vs. the amount of inventory available. Anything over 30 is a seller's marketing. Anything under 30 means it is a buyers market. As of today, the index lists Fruita at a 38, so it is a seller's market.

The median list price decreased from last month and now sits at $409,950 and the 90-day average days on market is 120.

To view the full market reports click below.

Posted in Market Updates