Friday, April 27, 2007

Second Home Tax Rules

Vermont has seen an influx of second home buyers in the past few years. Here are some second-home tax rules to keep in mind.

Mortgage interest.
The mortgage interest you pay on your second home is tax deductible just as the interest on the mortgage on your first home is.

You can write off 100% of the interest you pay on up to $1 million of debt secured by your first and second homes and used to acquire or improve the properties. (That's a total of $1 million of debt, not $1 million on each home.)

However, if you rent your second home for more than 14 days a year different rules apply. See below.

Property taxes.
You can deduct property taxes on your second home, too. In fact, you can deduct property taxes paid on any number of homes you own.

If you rent your second home out for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the cash tax-free. The house is considered a personal residence, so you deduct mortgage interest and property taxes just as you do for your principal home.

If you rent for more than 14 days, though, and you must report all rental income. You also get to deduct rental expenses, and that gets complicated because you need to allocate costs between the time the property is used for personal purposes and the time it is rented. Taxes are based on the amount of time the house is rented and it is a good idea to talk with your accountant concerning details.

Tax-free profit.
You are allowed to take up to $500,000 of profit tax free when selling your principal residence. However if you make your second home your principal residence, you can extend this deduction.

Some retirees, for example, are selling the big family home and moving full time into what had been their vacation home. Once you live in that home for two years, up to $500,000 of profit can be tax free. (Any profit attributable to depreciation while you rented the place, though, would be taxable. Depreciation reduces your tax basis in the property and therefore increase profit dollar for dollar.)

Are you thinking of buying a second home in Vermont? Visit my website to view all Vermont real estate or give me a call at800-659-1819 #103. I'm glad to help you find your Vermont vacation home!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vermont Interest Rates Decline

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. Rates have decline for the first time in six weeks due to signs of moderating inflation.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.17 percent, down from last week when it averaged 6.22 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year averaged 6.53 percent.

This is great news for Ludlow home buyers. Historically rates inch up during the spring buying season. Now is when the most homes are available for sale and to have rates low is having your cake and eating it too.

Thinking of buying Ludlow real estate? Visit my website to view all Vermont real estate listings or give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Saving The Down Payment For Your Vermont Home

Foreclosures are on the rise. Lenders are tightening their belts and their lending practices. No money down loan programs are becoming harder to find, which means Vermont home buyers need to have money available for a down payment. Here are some tips on how to come up with the down payment.

1. Ask for help.
Ask relatives if they would be willing to contribute to your down payment or give you a no interest loan with no repayment time frame.

2. Borrow from your life insurance.
If your life insurance has built up value, you can borrow against it. this does not count as a debt because you are borrowing from yourself.

3. Borrow from your IRA.
First-time home buyers can take $10,000 for an IRA to put toward a home purchase, penalty free.

4. Increase your income.
Get a second job and stash or do free lance work.

5. Change your withholding taxes.
This will give you more take-home pay, which you can start saving!

6. Consider government backed loans.
VA and FHA loans require lower down payments and there are many state loan programs available.

For more information on how to save your down payment and the Vermont home buying process, visit my website or give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103 for more personal service.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pending Home Sales Index Declines

The National Association of Realtors reports the Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed in February is at 109.3, down 8.5 percent from February 2006. David Lereah, the chief economist for NAR, attributese this decline to unusually bad weather in February and the problems in the subprime market. Read the full story...

For updates on Ludlow real estate market, visit my website or give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103.