When it comes to owning a house, there are some benefits homeowners may see when they do their annual taxes. Along with other expenses related to your home that may be deducted, homeowners can deduct the cost of their property taxes and mortgage interest from their federal taxable income.
Mortgage interest is the amount of money homeowners pay in interest on their mortgage. Since interest rates vary depending on the terms of each individual mortgage, this number is different for every homeowner, and many rates will change throughout the life of the loan. When it’s time to prepare annual taxes, the amount of money that was paid in interest on a mortgage can be deducted from total income.
Property taxes are determined by the county in which you live. These taxes can include different taxes such as school, and city government taxes, combined into one payment. The county sets the property tax percent and the amount a homeowner pays depends on the value of their home. For example, if the property tax is 3%, a house worth $100,000 will pay $3,000 per year, while a house valued at $300,000 will pay $9,000. The taxes paid can vary if a home increases in value, or vice versa.
When you do your taxes, the money you paid for mortgage insurance and property taxes can be deducted from your total taxable income. If your taxable income is $50,000, and you paid $5,000 in insurance and taxes, you new taxable income is $45,000. The more deductions you have, the lower the taxable income is, and the more money you may potentially receive in a tax refund. Your accountant will know what can and cannot be deducted, so the best course of action is to keep track of all interest, taxes, and monies spent on your home.
While we can’t ever predict the fluctuations of the market with absolute accuracy, it’s always a good idea to explore ways to be prepared for the next possible real estate market crash!
So, how can you protect yourself and your investments to weather the next real estate storm?
BE CAREFUL TAKING OUT LOANS
Buying a home is an investment. For many, it’s the single most expensive thing they’ll buy in their lives. But, in an unstable market, it’s much more difficult to judge whether your home with appreciate with time or not. It’s always smart to only take out a loan for what you can reasonably pay.
DIVERSIFY YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes! If you want to be prepared for a housing market downturn, you may want to diversify your portfolio with stocks, bonds, as well as with home equity.
CREATE A SAVING PLAN
To be better prepared for a sudden market downturn, it’s best to start saving for it. Build up an emergency savings account. You should save enough money for 3 to 6 months’ mortgage payments so you don’t need to worry as much about defaulting or a foreclosure.
LOCATION OVER DESIGN
If you’re worried you won’t be able to sell your home when the market crashes in the Maryland location, Virginia location, Washington DC location, or anywhere else, remember this simple phrase: “location over design.” Even when the housing market turns sour, people still need to buy homes. Good neighborhoods won’t suffer in a market downturn as much as bad neighborhoods.
GET A FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE
This is possibly the most important piece of advice to take away from this article. Fixed-rate mortgages give you a huge amount of security because, if the market goes down, your mortgage won’t go up. This is something worth sacrificing a bit of square footage over!
If you’re bettered prepared for the next housing market downturn, you can ride out the storm in relative security and comfort even while others scramble to sell their depreciated homes and try to find a way to pay their rising mortgages.
When it’s time to refinance your home, understanding where to start and the exact steps to take can be daunting. If you’re unsure how to refinance your home, it can be tempting to pick the first action plan and end up paying for longer than you need to just to get a lower payment. Going into the process of refinancing fully prepared will keep your confident with what you want and help you make sure that your refinancing fits your goals while staying manageable for your income.
Your goal in refinancing should be to either shorten or maintain the current term of your home loan, while also lowering the rate of your interest. For example, stay you start out with a loan of $200,000 and an fixed rate of 6%, to be paid off over 20 years. The goal of refinancing is to switch out those terms, and come up with something better. For example, the goal of the refinancing would be the same, $200,000 loan, but with a fixed rate of 4% to be paid off over 10 years.
When you get ready to refinance your home, make sure that you know what your credit score is. If your credit score is a little on the low side, you may want to wait to refinance. The better your credit score is, the lower your interest rates will be when you refinance your home.
Before going in, you’ll need to know your home’s current value. Websites like Zillow are perfect for this. For example, you can search the average home value in any county. Take Prince George’s County in Maryland. You can see here the average home value in Prince George’s County. You can do this for any county that you live in. You can see the average rates for other counties, like Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County. This is a good resource, no matter where you live. Once you know your home’s current value, you can start searching for the mortgage rate that will best suite you. You can do this easily online.
Make sure you have all of the necessary documents and paperwork. Even though it can be a time consuming process, you’ll be glad that you put in the effort. Gather up your bank statements, W2s, and check stubs so that you have everything on hand that your lender might need when it comes time to getting your new interest rate.
Remember: refinancing your home can include an array of upfront costs, such as application fees, fees to process documents, and even a charge to run your credit report. Make sure you have the money set aside for the cost of beginning to refinance your home, not just the money you’ll need to start making payments. You’ll also want to make sure you have money set aside for closing costs. Once you’ve decided and settled, you’ll likely need to pay for even more costs at the end of the experience as well.