Real Estate Articles

Tips for writing off investment property on your taxes

You can maximize the return on your real estate investments by knowing the rules for writing them off on your taxes. Taxes on rental income Rental income is taxable as income on your ordinary income tax return, but is not subject to FICA tax. Income on your rental property includes anything paid to you as rent or royalty, minus any deductible expenses, which include mortgage interest and basic repairs to bring the property to a minimally

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Legislators work to create new options for security deposits

Cash security deposits, on top of high rents in most cities, make it difficult for many people to find affordable places to live. State and city lawmakers are working to eliminate the requirement that renters pay the deposits, which can be as much as one to two months’ rent, up front. The bills would require that landlords accept installment payments over time or insurance that would protect against damages to the rental. Legislators say many people

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2019 a big year for refinancing, mortgage recovery

The year 2019 was the best year for mortgages since the crisis in 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported. The lending boom amounted to $2.4 trillion in home loans, an increase of 46 percent since 2018, according to industry research group Inside Mortgage Finance. The trend is expected to continue this year. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancings made up nearly 40 percent of mortgage originations in 2019. Lending, fueled by cuts in interest rates,

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New tax break for rental real estate owners

The IRS recently clarified the terms under which rental real estate owners can qualify for a new tax break under section 199A of the Internal Revenue Code. The section provides a tax deduction of up to 20 percent of an entity’s qualified business income, or QBI, for many owners of pass-through entities, including sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations. (QBI is defined as the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction and loss from

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Appraisals no longer on certain home sales

Starting in October 2019, some home sales under $400,000 no longer require an appraisal. Previously, appraisals were not required on home sales of $250,000 and below. But federal regulators just approved a rule that will raise the threshold for the first time in 25 years. Loans that are partially insured by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency such as the FHA, VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will still require an appraisal, per each

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FHA reduces cash-out refinancing limits

The Trump administration is limiting the amount of cash borrowers can withdraw from their homes under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing program. As of September, the FHA now limits cash-out refinancing to 80 percent of the home value. Previously, borrowers could take out up to 85 percent of their property’s equity. The new FHA rule brings the limits in line with standards already in place at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Veterans Administration (VA) loans

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Will home equity affect financial aid for your college student?

With home values rising and college application time upon us, you may want to look at how home equity could impact financial aid decisions at your son or daughter’s school of choice. Nearly every school requires families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which asks for basic income and asset information. However, more than 200 institutions nationwide also require the College Scholarship Service (CSS) profile to determine aid. The CSS questionnaire includes

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Home-flipping seminars under scrutiny

Have you heard those radio ads for house-flipping seminars endorsed by HGTV stars? Did the sales pitch sound too good to be true? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks so. The FTC filed a complaint against Zurixx, a company that hosts real estate seminars endorsed by “Flip or Flop” stars such as Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead and “Love It or List It” host Hilary Farr, and others. According to the FTC complaint, Zurixx makes

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Challenging a quitclaim deed

The next-door neighbors convinced your aunt to sign over the deed to her house. Your stepfather’s long-lost son came to visit and walked away with a quitclaim deed to the family cottage. What do you do when you suspect someone did something “fishy” to get his or her name on a deed? A quitclaim deed is a legal tool that allows one person to release the interest they have in a piece of property. In most

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How home selling has shifted in the past decade

If you haven’t sold a home in the last 10 years, you might be surprised by how much trends and expectations have changed over the years. Here are some leading factors changing the home sale market today: Real estate sites: More than 90 percent of homebuyers use the internet as one of the primary ways to find a home, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). With the popularity of online tools like Zillow and

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