Top 6 Home Tax Deduction Mistakes: North Shore Real Estate

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Across the nation and of course here on the North Shore of Chicago that time is upon us….tax season-2018!  For North Shore real estate homeowners, home sellers, or prospective first time North Shore home buyers, having a basic understanding of tax guidelines can potentially shield you from Taxbreaksfinancial heartache and can help to ensure you’ll benefit from many of the exceptional tax benefits of property ownership. Below are the top 6 tax deduction misconceptions.

Note: Due to the various restrictions and conditions regarding real estate tax benefits, it is important to consult with one’s financial advisors or accountants to fully understand the benefits and opportunities of tax benefits to those who own North Shore real estate. The tips provided give general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction or location.

See a list of available North Shore tax preparers and financial advisors HERE . Or, let us know who you recommend for tax preperation on Chicago’s North Shore!

Schedule A is the part of Form 1040 commonly used to list myriad deductions, and the more details, the more prone someone may be to misinterpretation with their taxes. To save time and money, four tax experts weigh in on the following 6 most common Schedule A concept mistakes homeowners may make.

Concept #1: Line 6 – real estate taxes

Your monthly mortgage payment often includes money for a tax escrow, from which the lender pays your local real estate taxes.
The money you send the bank may be more than what the bank pays for your taxes, says Julian Block, a tax attorney and author of Julian Block’s Home Seller’s Guide to Tax Savings. That will lead you to putting the wrong number on Schedule A.
Example:

  • Your monthly payment to the lender: $2,000 for mortgage + $500 escrow for taxes
  • Your annual property tax bill: $5,500

Now do the figures:

  • Your bank received $6,000 for real estate taxes, but only paid $5,500. It may keep the extra $500 to apply to the next tax bill or refund it to you at some point, but meanwhile, you’re making a mistake if you enter $6,000 on Schedule A.
  • Instead, take the number from Form 1098—which your bank sends you each year—that shows the actual taxes paid.

Concept #2: Line 6 – tax calculations for recent North Shore buyers and sellers

If you bought or sold a North Shore home in the middle of 2013, figuring out what to put on line 6 of your Schedule A Form is tricky.
Don’t simply enter the number from your property tax bill on line 6 as you would if you owned the house the whole year. If you bought or sold a house in midyear, you should instead use the property tax amount listed on your HUD-1 closing statement, says Phil Marti, a retired IRS official.
Here’s why: Generally, depending on the local tax cycle, either the seller gives the buyer money to pay the taxes when they come due or, if the seller has already paid taxes, the buyer reimburses the seller at closing. Those taxes are deductible that year, but won’t be reflected on your property tax bill.

Concept #3: Line 10 – properly deducting your points

You can deduct points paid on a refinance, but not all at once, says David Sands, a CPA with Buchbinder Tunick & Co LLP. Rather, you deduct them over the life of your loan. So if you paid $1,000 in points for a 10-year refinance, you’re entitled to deduct only $100 per year on your Schedule A Form.

Concept #4: Line 10 – HELOC limits breakdown

If you took out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you can generally deduct the interest on it only up to $100,000 of debt each year, says Matthew Lender, a CPA with EisnerLubin LLP.
For example, if you have a HELOC for $200,000, the bank will send you Form 1098 for interest paid on $200,000. But you can deduct only the interest paid on $100,000. If you just pull the number off Form 1098, you’ll deduct more than you’re entitled to.

Concept #5: line 13 – Private mortgage insurance

You can deduct PMI on your Schedule A Form, as long as you started paying the insurance after Dec. 31, 2006. Unless Congress acts to extend the PMI deduction, however, 2011 is the last year for which you can take this deduction. (Also, this is also a good time to review your PMI: You might be able to cancel your PMI altogether because you’ve had a change in loan-to-value status.)

Concept #6: line 20 – casualty and theft losses

You can deduct part or all of losses caused by theft, vandalism, fire, or similar causes, as well as corrosive drywall, but the process isn’t always obvious or simple:

  • Only deduct losses that are greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income (line 38 of Form 1040).
  • Fill out Form 4684, which involves complex calculations for the cost basis and fair market value.  This form gives you the number you need for line 20.

Bottom line on line 20: If you’ve got extensive losses, it’s best to consult a tax pro. “I wouldn’t do it myself, and I’ve been dealing with taxes for 40 years,” says former IRS official Marti.

Get more tax tips HERE

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Benefits of Year End Real Estate Investing: North Shore Chicago

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Here on Chicago’s North Shore, next to spring, fall is often the busiest real estate time of the year. Although you can buy and sell houses at any time, the fall North Suburban real estate market offers abundant benefits to home buyers, including year-end tax breaks, pleasant weather conditions for moving, commonly a wider selection of houses, and the beautiful presence of mother-nature all FallScene-2around!

To further provide examples of the North Shore home buying advantages you can enjoy during the autumn months, below is a more detailed look into the benefits of looking for and purchasing a home in the autumn 2017 season.

Mortgage loan year-end tax breaks

By October and November, people are already reviewing year-end tax breaks they may be eligible for. Fortunately for home-buyers, owning a home can yield immense dividends in tax returns. For example, both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income. In addition, if you have prepaid ant interest before the due date of your first payment and you close your loan before the year’s end, that amount will also be deducted. Consult a tax professional for specific details and guidelines.

Often more home buying choices

Given that North Shore home buying and selling is at a peak during the fall season, the real estate market often becomes a highly competitive arena. While there may be additional pressure to buy due to the quicker turnaround of houses on the market, at the same time you also benefit from the wider selection of homes available during the fall season. In fact, between the months of September and December, you may be fortunate enough to visit several North Shore open houses in a single day. Therefore, to make sure you don’t miss out on finding your dream house, it’s a good idea to examine on-line ads often since the listings are updated frequently.

Getting ahead of mother mature

Buying a North Shore house in the winter may not be very appealing to most home buyers. Low temperatures and poor weather conditions can potentially make moving more difficult. But by moving in early, mid, even late autumn, you gain the added benefit of eluding the sweltering summer heat.

Fall home buying TIP:  Taking into account that fall is the second busiest season of the year for buying and selling houses on the North Shore, you may be tempted to put a bid on a home for fear that another buyer will better your offer or snatch it up before you. Carefully assess your financial situation ahead of time and before your feet hit the pavement, know what your ceiling is and stick to it. More info HERE

The North Shore real estate Fall 2017 forecast calls for ongoing top tier results, high ranking top producing performance, and sustained elite service from Gloria Matlin and partner Zack Matlin of Matlin Residential Real Estate. With over 25 years of trusted real estate professionalism, she and Zack are the consummate guides on Chicago’s North Shore. Look to them for assistance with relocation, buying, selling, investing, or to inquire about local communities, they can help make North Shore real estate dreams a reality. Gloria’s home office is located within the top brokerage firm on the North Shore-Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office. 640 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe, Illinois 60022.

 

4 Reasons to Buy or Sell This Spring-North Shore Real Estate

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It is no surprise that a fresh start during the spring season for some means they’re ready to put their Chicago- North Graphic1Shore house on the market and/or start looking for a new Chicago-North Suburban place to call home.

Below are the top 4 reasons plus 1 tip on why spring can be an ideal time to get moving on selling, buying or both on the North Shore of Chicago:

1. A house on the market at the beginning of spring sets you up for a perfect timeline to move over the summer! The weather is most likely to cooperate with you during this time. A summer move is also ideal for those who have families…often better not to disrupt the children during the school year – especially if you’re relocating and changing school districts; this will allow a have a fresh start at the beginning of a brand new school year.

2. Uptick in traffic at open houses means increased probability of a sale. With milder weather, people are often more motivated to venture outside.

3. Houses look more appealing in the sunlight with nice curb enhanced greenery and/or flowers out front. Curb appeal is important year round. The spring shines a light on a home’s appearance literally and figuratively. It’s a little easier to make repairs to a home when the weather is mild. Spring is the time to finally stop putting off the little projects that have been building up through the winter. Fix that broken step banister put a fresh coat of paint on that chipped garage door, it can make the difference and have bearing on a buyer the moment they cross the threshold.

4. Take the fix-up projects a step further….There is certainly no better time to de-clutter than with the windows open for the first time after winter…can you say spring cleaning! Deciding to sell might be that extra push you need to finally get rid of those old clothes or an over abundance of toys. More tips and guides HERE and HERE

IMPORTANT TIP:

This spring season, look to knowledgeable and experienced Chicago North Shore real estate professionals. As a North Shore resident, Gloria Matlin  has kept an accolade producing  pulse on the North Shore real estate market for well over 2 decades. She and partner Zack Matlin intimately  know the North Shore communities.  With over 25 years of elite, client focused, top producing  experience, Gloria and her team sincerely want to make real estate dreams a reality for Spring 2015. For additional information and optimal attention/service, stop into their high-ranking Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office, located at 640 Vernon Avenue in downtown district of Glencoe, Illinois, 60022.