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How Do the New Tax Laws Affect Homeowners?

When the new tax laws were put in motion at the end of last year, a lot of people—including the National Association of Realtors—were concerned about how they would affect the housing market. If you’re a homeowner or a homebuyer, there are a few specific changes that potentially impact you.

First, though, we should talk about a change that, thankfully, didn’t take place, and that’s your ability to not pay capital gains tax when you sell a primary residence that you’ve occupied for two out of the last five years. In several different versions of the house and senate bill, this was going to get modified, but it wasn’t. If you sell a home you’ve occupied for two out of the past five years, you still don’t have to pay any capital gains tax.

There was a slight change to the mortgage interest deduction. It mostly stayed the same, albeit with a slight wrinkle. The majority of homebuyers still can write off their mortgage interest deduction, but the new cap for this deduction is $750,000. This can be for a first loan, a second loan, and it can be for a second property, but it no longer applies to a HELOC loan.

There was also a change with the property tax deduction, which was capped at $10,000. Anyone buying an average or above-average home, though, should still have property taxes below $10,000 and, therefore, be able to deduct them.

The majority of homebuyers won’t be harmed by these changes.

From a homeownership perspective, the majority of homebuyers won’t be harmed by these changes. Most of the deductions that were available to you beforehand are still available. You only start to lose some of your protections as you climb the price charts, and there were also other changes that offset the deductions that aren’t available anymore.

There is another caveat to this situation that’s worth mentioning. We may see an improvement in our local market because people in other states with high property taxes and state income taxes may end up moving here because of the lack of income tax that they can no longer deduct.

Since we only have 2.4 months’ worth of inventory—a record low—and more buyers potentially flocking to our market, our challenge moving forward is finding more inventory. This means if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, there has never been a better time to sell quickly and for top dollar.

If you have any other questions about these tax changes or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you.

Have You Filed Your Homestead Exemption? The Deadline Is 3/1!

One of the questions we recently got from buyers is, “If I bought a home in 2017 and I live in the property, when do I need to file my homestead exemption?”

The homestead exemption is very important. You may have filed it when you bought the home. Some title companies do it and some don’t. Others may give you the application and encourage you to file it yourself.

If you bought a home in 2017, then you need to file your exemption by March 1.

Counties will consider applications after that date, so you can file after the deadline, but if you want to guarantee exemption, file by March 1.

You can go to hcpafl.org or, if you’re in Hillsborough, pcpao.org. You can also search for your county’s property appraiser website to get the application. Some counties may have you print it out and mail it in, while some may allow you to submit online. They will need some information about the house.

If you bought your home in 2017, you need to file your exemption by March 1.

Make sure to file other exemptions that you may qualify for. There are exemptions for disabled veterans, the widow or widower of a disabled veteran, seniors, and more.

If you bought your home a few years ago and feel like your taxes are too high, take a look and see if you have filed your homestead exemption. It’s possible that you didn’t. Look up your property on the property appraiser’s website to see if you did.

When you file for the homestead exemption, it caps your property taxes from going up any more than 3%. If you’re not homesteading, your property taxes can go up to 10%.

The homestead exemption can save you a lot of money. After all, no one wants to pay more taxes.

If you have any other questions about the homestead exemption or real estate in general, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Should You Buy a New Home Before Selling Your Current One?

Welcome back to “The Duo Talks”, the monthly series where my wife Angela and I take questions about what’s going on in the real estate market from radio show listeners. We aim to give them the best advice possible to make informed decisions about real estate.

The question of the week to answer is: Why should you sell your house if you’re worried about finding another one to buy?

This is a fear a lot of people have. The most recent statistics from the Tampa Association of Realtors show that we only have 2.4 months of inventory, which is a record low over a decade span. Today, we have some practical advice about how to get the best for yourself out of this real estate market.

In a competitive market like this, it may be a better decision to buy a home before you sell. There are consequences that you might want to keep in mind, however. One is that you might, for a short period, have to make two mortgage payments.

But there is the convenience factor of not having the hassle of dealing with the home on the market. Additionally, buying first can allow you to search for and buy the right house without being pressured for time. If you have the ability to buy first in this market, it’s something I’d consider.

In a competitive market like this, it may be a better decision to buy a home before you sell.

You might worry about the ramifications of having to pay two mortgages at once. On the alternate side of that worry, however, is that if you rush to buy a house, you might pay too much or just buy a house that is wrong for you. The competitiveness of the market can cause people to skew their judgment.

Some people really just feel more comfortable about selling their home before buying, and there are ways you can do that, too.

First and foremost, hire us. We can do a guaranteed sale where the home is sold in 29 days, or we’ll buy it. We can also give you an immediate cash offer for your home. In this situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get top dollar, but you will have the convenience.

Another option would be to sell your home and move to a temporary location until you can find a new home to purchase. You may not like that idea, but is it worse than buying the wrong home and having to live there long-term? Maybe three months in an apartment is a decent trade-off.

Just make sure that you take your time and buy the right house. Don’t get caught up in the emotion and pressure of the existing real estate market. A competitive market like this one makes it hard for sellers to accept offers from buyers who say that they need to sell their home before they can close on the seller’s.

Opportunities like that are few and far between. If you do manage it, you probably will end up overpaying and you won’t get great terms.

If you have questions about this or other real estate topics, feel free to give us a call or visit www.theduncanduo.com. We’d love to give you the right advice for your specific situation.