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Talking taxes with your home in mind

ALLISON SIMSON AND JOYCE NENNINGER

Question: Were just preparing our tax returns and are taking into consideration that we refinanced our home last year. What should we be watching out for? Answer: When filing taxes each year, many homeowners tend to overlook a number of possible deductions that they may have either forgotten about or are unaware of. These deductions can add up to significant savings on taxes, aside from the savings on mortgage interest that most homeowners are already aware of. One of these possible deductions is the amortized points on a refinanced mortgage. Any time a homeowner refinances, the points are amortized, or spread over the life of the loan. The points paid each year are typically the only points that can be deducted. But if a homeowner refinances a mortgage for the second or third time, any remaining amortized points that havent previously been deducted can be deducted in full during that years taxes. These unpaid points are often forgotten, but they can help homeowners save a considerable amount of money, according to Harvey Berger, associate partner at Grant Thornton. 1999 Information.Inc.Question: Were in the process of building a 4-plex in Silverthorne and want to set up a mini homeowners association. Where can we go to get information about how to set one up? Answer: Are you confused about homeowner associations? Contact the Community Associations Institute, an Alexandria, Va.-based trade group that offers a variety of publications on the ins and outs of homeowners associations. The group offers a 26-book series that gives all possible information about homeowners associations. The books can also be purchased individually, including Transition from Developer Control and A Complete Guide to Reserve Funding & Reserve Investment Strategies. Another book by the institute, The Homeowners Association Manual, is an overview of rules, meetings, and other common activities. One book worth examining that was not put together by the trade group is Joni Greenwalts Homeowners Associations: A Nightmare or a Dream Come True. Question: We have been in the building industry in Summit County for the past 5 years. We want to keep abreast of what the demand is in terms of new housing. What do you feel that the baby-boom generation is really looking for in terms of housing? Answer: The baby boomer generation is continuing to lead the way in the homebuying market, and homebuilders are scrambling to understand their needs and respond to them. The problem is that their needs are constantly changing. Five years ago, builders believed that aging baby boomers were looking to downsize their homes, but todays surveys indicate that baby boomers actually want larger homes with modern facilities. The booming housing market has allowed many baby boomers to sell their older homes at a much higher price than when they were purchased, which enables them to afford larger and more expensive homes. In fact, industry experts have pinpointed baby boomer preferences. Among them: design that provides value; exercise and fitness rooms; homes equipped with new technology; the desire to age in place, meaning the houses space must be flexible; and unique home designs to avoid the cookie-cutter effect. Other trends include universal designs, attached housing, variety in color, single-story homes with master suites, and retirement housing that allows them to remain in the area where they currently reside. Of course, not everyone wants a larger home, and the submarkets that exist within the baby boomer generation present a complicated situation for builders. Del Webb has been one of the more successful homebuilding companies in terms of catering to this generation. Its size has put it in a better position to offer the diversity craved by the baby boomers, and as a result its communities feature a variety in age, amenities, and home design. 1999 Information.Inc.Question: We want to build a home in Summit County and one particular lot that we are looking at is fairly close to high power lines. How do these lines affect property values? Answer: A study by St. Cloud State University of Minnesota examined the effects of overhead power lines on the sale of a home, and whether the power lines were a factor in the homes sale or price. Their findings confirmed that presence of the lines weigh down home value. Respondents were divided into homeowners with overhead power lines, sellers of homes located under power lines, homebuyers of properties near overhead power lines, and appraisers. About 51 percent of homeowners with overhead power lines said they didnt consider the lines at the time of purchase. A third of them lowered their offering price by an average of 4.1 percent, while the other two-thirds said the lines did not affect the offer price. Half of the sellers of these homes said the propertys value was affected, and two-thirds said the home took longer to sell. Slightly less than half of property owners near power lines said they would have lowered their offer if the home had been within 200 yards of the power lines. Of the appraisers surveyed, 83 percent said power lines had a negative effect on the home by lowering its property value an average of 4.1 percent, and 84 percent said the home took longer to sell. All the groups acknowledged that power lines could have a negative impact on property values, according to the researchers. For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email at Info@SummitRealEstate.com or visit their web site at http://www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allisons long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. Shes a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.


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