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The 15 Best Housing Markets For The Next Five Years

by Mark Rieger, Mark Rieger Realty

 

I wanted to pass on a link to article that was written last month in the Business Insider about the Best 15 housing markets in the US for potential home price appreciation. You'll see when you read this article that Bend, Oregon is predicted to be the number ONE location for home price appreciation over the next 5 years. I know that not all of you receiving information from me are looking to Buy in Bend and are instead looking in some of the outlining communities not far away. However since Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon, the surrounding areas could follow close to the same track as Bend.
 
If the link below is not active, simply copy and paste it into your browser and it should take you right to the article. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know.
 
http://www.businessinsider.com/best-real-estate-markets-2016-2011-12?op=1

Top 5 tax breaks for homeowners

by Mark Rieger, Mark Rieger Realty

Since so many people have jumped back into the real estate market buying homes, I thought I would copy this article written by Tara-Nicholle Nelson of Inman News®. Since tax season is just around the corner, make sure that you take full advantage of the tax breaks you get when buying a new home. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please give me a call.

 Q: We bought a house this year! We put $33,000 down and the bank financed $28,000. Can I write this off on my 2011 taxes? How much of it?

A: First things first: Congratulations! You've become a homeowner, and seem to have done so using an enviable financial arrangement. But now that you own a home, you might need to shift the way you think and look at some things, including your taxes and other financial matters.

Owning a home is one of those landmarks that signify financial adulthood. And one of the things that responsible financial adults do is get professional help when the situation requires it. Taxes are one of those areas that often do warrant calling the pros in.

I'm not just shilling for the tax prep industry here, either: The ultimate aim of using a tax professional is to make sure you get every deduction, credit and other tax advantage for which you qualify, without jacking up your chances at triggering the universally dreaded Internal Revenue Service audit by claiming dubious deductions.

Your mortgage debt is fairly small, as was your home's purchase price, though I don't know whether they are large or small in the context of your overall financial picture (i.e., income, assets, investments, etc.).

The fact that you saved or somehow came up with such a sizable chunk of change to put down makes me hesitate to assume that your finances are as simple as your mortgage balance might otherwise lead me to believe.

So, it might be the case that you can easily handle your own taxes -- in fact, it's even possible that your real estate-related deductions won't even outweigh the standard deductions, so that filing a simple form without even itemizing your deductions is actually the financially advantageous move.

Whether that's the case cannot be determined in a vacuum -- you may have other financial and tax issues going on. But with software and tax preparation services as inexpensive as they are, starting at under $20 for simple returns, I think it behooves you to get some professional advice and ensure you get the deductions you need.

Hiring a tax preparer might be a worthwhile investment to make, even if just this year, so he or she can brief you on what records you should keep and strategies you should do moving forward, like home repair and improvement receipts, or documentation of your use of an area of the home as a home office.

Now, let's talk more substantively about the deductions that are available to you, in the event you do decide to itemize your taxes (IRS Publication 530 offers a more nuanced view into Tax Information for Homeowners):

1. Mortgage interest deduction. Assuming this home is your personal residence, 100 percent of the mortgage interest you owe and pay before Dec. 31, 2011, is deductible on your 2011 taxes. In January, your mortgage lender will send you a form documenting the precise amount of interest you paid, although most lenders also now make this form immediately available to borrowers online.

Chances are good that you paid some amount of advance interest on your home loan at closing -- expect to see that on your statement from your lender, but you should also be able to find it on the HUD-1 settlement statement you received from your escrow agent at closing.

2. Property tax deductions. Again, assuming that this is the home you live in most of the time, you should be able to deduct 100 percent of the property taxes you've paid to your state and/or local taxing agency this year.

3. Closing-cost deductions. Discount points and origination fees paid to your mortgage lender and/or broker at closing are frequently deductible, but there are rules around this, which tax software and/or professionals can help you make sure you meet. Also, state and local transfer or stamp taxes paid at closing are generally deductible on your federal returns.

Beyond these basics, there are various home improvements (especially those that increase your home's energy efficiency), state and local tax credits for buying a foreclosure, and other tax advantages that might be available to you.

My advice is to work with an experienced, local tax preparer or, at the very least, use reputable tax preparation software to ensure that you get the maximum tax advantages available to you as a result of your new role as a homeowner.

Maintaining a Good Relationship with your Agent

by Mark Rieger, Mark Rieger Realty

 

 

A relationship between you and your real estate agent is like any other. Sometimes it takes a little TLC on both ends. It’s important to remember that your real estate agent is working on your behalf. They may be making a commission off your transaction, but they want to do a good job for you. Not only do they have time invested in finding you a home, they also hope you’ll hire them in the future and refer those you know to them. Real estate agents should always keep your best interests and your personal goals in mind, but remember that the relationship is a two-way street.

 Here are 5 things you can do to maintain a good relationship with your real estate agent:

  1. Remember that your real estate agent may have information you don’t. When you go online to look for a home, there are times that home may not be available anymore. Real estate agents have access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data that you don’t. It’s great to look online, but don’t bombard your agent. There is a lot of information about homes that you will not have access to. Hire an agent you trust and relinquish some control to let them help you find homes that best suit your preferences and needs.
  2. Don’t accuse your agent of sabotage. Granted, there are some people who may take advantage of you in a business situation, so it’s very natural to be suspicious of someone who is making a commission off your transaction. However, most agents live by a Realtor’s Code of Ethicsand strive to maintain professionalism. They don’t have the ability to forsee all problems with the transaction such as the things a home inspector might find. If you don’t trust your agent for any reason, find a new one.
  3. Don’t demand to only see homes after hours and on weekends. Most real estate agents work the same hours you do. There may be special circumstances that cause you to only be able to view a home at a certain time, and that’s okay every once in a while. Your agent has a choice, too. Banks, attorneys, brokers are all closed on the weekends. Make sure you openly communicate with your agent about the best times for you to view properties. While a good agent is generally flexible, you may also have to rearrange your schedule a bit.
  4. Don’t automatically think you can get a much better deal than the agent can. It’s highly likely that your real estate agent has a better handle on the market than you do, despite the research you’ve done. Your agent lives with the market every day - some of them have years of experience - so trust them to know their stuff. If you continually make low ball offers that have no chance of being accepted on multiple properties, be assured that your relationship with your agent may be strained.
  5. Don’t work with more than one real estate agent. Sure, shop around and find an agent you like and trust. However, don’t get to a point with an agent where you’ve consulted with them, toured numerous homes and afterward say, “We’ll give you a call. We have an appointment next week with our other agent.” If you don’t like your agent, fire them and find a new one, but don’t work with more than one agent in the same market. Keep in mind that if you only give 50% of your loyalty, you’ll only receive 50% back. 

 

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