Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What Is Available If You Do Not Have A Downpayment?

You have found your dream home, but, you don't have a Down Payment, what are your options?

Saving the down payment may be unnecessarily keeping would-be buyers from getting into a home. They may be unaware that the funds might be available.
The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 81% of first-time buyers got all or part of their down payment from savings. Less than 4% said that all or part of the down payment came from a withdrawal in their IRA and 8% from their 401(k) or pension fund.21330457-250.jpg
Traditional IRAs have a provision for first-time buyers which include anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the previous two years. A person and their spouse, if married, can each withdraw up to $10,000 from their traditional IRA for a first-time home purchase without incurring the 10% early-withdrawal penalty. However, they will have to recognize the withdrawal as income in that tax year. For more information, go to
Allowable withdrawals from traditional IRAs can be from yourself and your spouse; your or your spouse’s child; your or your spouse’s grandchild or your or your spouse’s parent or ancestor.
Roth IRA owners can withdraw their contributions tax-free and penalty-free at any age for any reason because the contributions were made with post-tax income. After age 59 ½, earnings may be withdrawn as long as the Roth IRA have been in existence for at least five years.
Up to half of the balance of a 401(k) or $50,000, whichever is less, can be borrowed by the owner at any age for any reason without tax or penalty assuming the employer permits it. There can be specific rules for loans from a 401(k) that would determine the repayment; interest is usually charged but goes back into the owner’s account. You can consult with your HR department to find out the specifics.
A risk in borrowing against a 401(k) comes if your employment ends before the loan has been repaid. The loan may have to be repaid as soon as 60 days to keep the loan from being considered a withdrawal and subject to tax and penalty. Even if you continue with the same employer, failure to repay the loan could be considered a withdrawal also.
Your tax professional can provide you specific information on how making a withdrawal from your retirement program might affect you. Additional information can be found on

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Property Types Per IRS.

How does the IRS rank your Property?

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There are four types of property recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.
A principal residence is the place you live or expect to return.  You may only have one principal residence at a time.  The confusion comes because a taxpayer can deduct the interest and property taxes on two homes on the Schedule A of their tax return.  Only one of the homes is the principal residence and the other is a second home which is technically, investment property.

Rental property, also known as section 1231 property, is used for income purposes.  It includes homes, condos, apartments, shopping centers, office buildings, warehouses and any improved property which generates rental income.  Only rental property can be depreciated.  Income tax on the gain may be deferred through the use of qualified exchanges.  When gain is recognized, favorable long-term capital gains rates are available on any property owned for more than 12 months.

Vacation property is rental property that is used for personal purposes less than 14 days a year or 10% of the total time it is rented.

Investment property is real estate primarily held for an increase in value.  It can be improved property or vacant land.  Income tax on the gain may be deferred through the use of qualified exchanges.  When gain is recognized, favorable long-term capital gains rates are available on any property owned for more than 12 months.

Dealer property is primarily inventory and does not enjoy the benefits of exchanges and any income is taxed at ordinary income rates.  Examples would be builder's homes whether spec or custom; a home that someone purchases for immediate resale regardless of whether improvements are made

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's a Journey!!

It's a Journey.  
 Let's make sure that you have all that is needed to begin.

“It’s not far, if you know the way.” What this expression implies is that you could have a long way to go if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Just like reading a map, there are some definite steps that will improve your success in buying a home in today’s market.12137546-250.jpg
  • Know your credit score – the best mortgage rates are available to borrowers with the highest scores. Unless you know what your credit score is at all three major credit bureaus, you don’t really know what rate you’ll have to pay.
  • Clean up your credit – it is estimated that about 90% of credit reports have errors. Some are not serious but others could affect a borrower from getting the loan they want. It is your responsibility to know what is on your different reports and correct them if possible. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.
  • Get pre-approved – Taking the time to make a loan application with a qualified lender even before you start looking at homes will provide peace of mind, make sure that you are looking at the “right” homes and may help you negotiate the best price on the home you select.
  • Do your homework – when you find the home that meets your needs and desires, get the home inspected and research the tax assessments, school ratings, crime activity, possible zoning changes and comparable sales in the area.
Call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional and an inspector.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tax Benefits for Surviving Spouse

Surviving Spouse Tax Benefits on the Sale of Your Home.

Special consideration is made by IRS for the sale of a jointly-owned principal residence after the death of a spouse. Surviving spouse may qualify to exclude up to $500,000 of gain instead of the $250,000 exclusion for single people if certain requirements are met.30725703-250.jpg
  • The sale needs to take place no more than two years after the date of death of the spouse.
  • Surviving spouse must not have remarried as of the sale date.
  • The home must have been used as a principal residence for two of the last five years prior to the death. 
  • The home must have been owned for two of the last five years prior to the death.
  • Survivor can count any time when spouse owned the home as time they owned it and any time the home was the spouse’s residence as time when it was their residence.
  • Neither spouse may have excluded gain from the sale of another principal residence during the last two years prior to the death.
If you have been widowed in the last two years and have substantial gain in your principal residence, it would be worth investigating the possibilities. Time is a critical factor in qualification. Contact your tax professional for advice about your specific situation. Contact me to find out what your home is worth in today’s market. See IRS Publication 523 – surviving spouse.