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A Quick Note From Judy Niemeyer

A quick note from Judy Niemeyer ~

Welcome to our Fall!  Mornings are beautiful with lower temperatures and beautiful skies.  Of course, you have to imagine fall leaves because in the South, our leaves stay green.  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is around the corner?

What a year 2020 has been. It has been a tough year for all of us.  It reminds me of a very bumpy road, smooth in sections, and then a rut comes and bumps us off our path. Covid-19 was the first issue that bumped us. Masks became the new norm. Then Sally struck us with unbelievable winds and destruction. Now, we sit back and see what is next. Is it another Covid-19 burst or just the flu? Who knows?

Thank goodness, our real estate market has been very active. Interest rates continue to be very low. It is a great time for people to sell and buy. A lender last week quoted a 30-year interest rate of 2.8% which is hard to believe. Even with these low interest rates, buyers are still very opinionated. Selling a home is not as easy as the general public thinks.

 

 

Let’s compare 2019 to 2020:

Presently we have 523 active homes on the market from Spanish Fort to Point Clear with 460 homes under contract.  If all of these homes close, 2020 will be an incredible real estate year.

If you have questions, please feel free to call me. I always love to hear from you!

 

Tax Advice if You Sold Your Home

Tax Implications of Selling a Home

Did You Sell Your Home After Making Improvements?

Keeping track of the cost of capital improvements to your home can really pay off on your tax return when it comes time to sell.

Tax Implications of Selling a Home

It’s no secret that finishing your basement will increase your home’s value. What you may not know is the money you spend on this type of so-called capital improvement could also help lower your tax bill when you sell your house.

Tax rules let you add capital improvement expenses to the cost basis of your home. Why is that a big deal? Because a higher cost basis lowers the total profit—capital gain, in IRS-speak—you’re required to pay taxes on.

The tax break doesn’t come into play for everyone. Most homeowners are exempted from paying taxes on the first $250,000 of profit for single filers ($500,000 for joint filers). If you move frequently, maybe it’s not worth the effort to track capital improvement expenses. But if you plan to live in your house a long time or make lots of upgrades, saving receipts is a smart move.

What Counts As a Capital Improvement?

Although you may consider all the work you do to your home an improvement, the IRS looks at things differently. A rule of thumb: A capital improvement increases your home’s value, while a non-eligible repair just returns something to its original condition. According to the IRS, capital improvements have to last for more than one year and add value to your home, prolong its life, or adapt it to new uses.

Capital improvements can include everything from a new bathroom or deck to a new water heater or furnace. Page 9 of IRS Publication 523 has a list of eligible improvements.

There are limitations. The improvements must still be evident when you sell. So if you put in wall-to-wall carpeting 10 years ago and then replaced it with hardwood floors five years ago, you can’t count the carpeting as a capital improvement. Repairs, like painting your house or fixing sagging gutters, don’t count. The IRS describes repairs as things that are done to maintain a home’s good condition without adding value or prolonging its life.

There can be a fine line between a capital improvement and a repair, says Erik Lammert, former tax research specialist at the National Association of Tax Professionals. For instance, if you replace a few shingles on your roof, it’s a repair. If you replace the entire roof, it’s a capital improvement. Same goes for windows. If you replace a broken window pane, repair. Put in a new window, capital improvement.

One exception: If your home is damaged in a fire or natural disaster, everything you do to restore your home to its pre-loss condition counts as a capital improvement.

How Capital Improvements Affect Your Gain

To figure out how improvements affect your tax bill, you first have to know your cost basis. The cost basis is the amount of money you spent to buy or build your home including all the costs you paid at the closing: fees to lawyers, survey charges, transfer taxes, and home inspection, to name a few. You should be able to find all those costs on the settlement statement you received at your closing.

Next, you’ll need to account for any subsequent capital improvements you made to your home. Let’s say you bought your home for $200,000 including all closing costs. That’s the initial cost basis. You then spent $25,000 to remodel your kitchen. Add those together and you get an adjusted cost basis of $225,000.

Now, suppose you’ve lived in your home as your main residence for at least two out of the last five years. Any profit you make on the sale will be taxed as a long-term capital gain. You sell your home for $475,000. That means you have a capital gain of $250,000 (the $475,000 sale price minus the $225,000 cost basis). You’re single, so you get an automatic exemption for the $250,000 profit. End of story.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Had you not factored in the money you spent on the kitchen remodel, you’d be facing a tax bill for that $25,000 gain that exceeded the automatic exemption. By keeping receipts and adjusting your basis, you’ve saved about $5,000 in taxes based on the  15% tax rate on capital gains. Well worth taking an hour a month to organize your home improvement receipts, don’t you think?

The top rate for most homesellers remains 15%. For sellers in the 39.6% income tax bracket, the cap gains rate is 20%.

Watch Out for These Basis-Busters

Some situations (below) can lower your basis, thus increasing your risk of facing a tax bill when you sell. Consult a tax adviser.

  • If you use the actual cost method and take depreciation on a home office, you have to subtract those deductions from your basis.
  • Any depreciation available to you because you rented your house works the same way.
  • You also have to subtract subsidies from utility companies for making energy-related home improvements or energy-efficiency tax credits you’ve received.
  • If you bought your home using the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers, you’ll have to deduct that from your basis too, says Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Services.

Words of Wisdom from Judy Niemeyer

As you know, I definitely have a history in the art of surviving in real estate. Today, what we are experiencing causes me to go back in time to reflect what our country has gone through. Yes, my real estate career as you know started in 1979. Each time we experience hard times, our country comes back stronger, so our confidence needs to strengthen.

We at Ashurst and Niemeyer are encouraging agents to pre-qualify their clients and make sure that they are true buyers not just lookers. The number one thing is to use common sense during this crisis and hopefully all of us with be safe. Virtual tours are available for all agents to visit your homes so please do not think that real estate is at a standstill. In fact, we are still making sales and over all the market is very impressive when comparing this year to last year.

Positives right now, listings remain to be down the number of listings remains low, and so many people turn to real estate to invest when the stock market decreases. It is time that we need to enjoy our beautiful weather, say our prayers and know we will get through it with incredible strength.

Any questions on the market, let me know. I am definitely available.

Regards to all,

Judy Niemeyer, CRS

251-583-5923 or Judy@AshurstandNiemeyer.com

Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Tips For Buyers and Sellers

Today I attended a wonderful seminar on flood insurance guidelines and fortified homes.  In our area of Fairhope/Point Clear, our home owner’s insurance rates can be higher than in other parts of our state of Alabama due to our location being hurricane proof.  Tips for you, if you live on the bay or in areas that might have an issue on flooding–please get an elevation certificate.  If you have a elevation certificate, do not loose it.  Your insurance agent will want a copy of it.

In insuring homes, the age of the roof, as well as the electrical and plumbing upgrades are big questions of an insurance agent.  If you replace your roof, make sure you take the steps to get it certified.  Certification normally costs about $400-$500 but needs to be done while the roof is being replaced.  Photos need to be taken to show how the roof is being installed.  In our city, a permit is required and roofers have to comply with the city of Fairhope guidelines.

If your home was gold certified when it was built, you must have a certification from the builder.  This certification is good for 5 years.  All certifications will give an expiration date.  Home owners need to contact a local company that can re-certify your home which costs can vary between $150 to $300.  Beware of the recertification.

FEMA flood insurance will expire on November 21st, 2019 unless Congress extends it.  The House has approved the bill titled HR3167 which is now in the Senate’s hands.  Hopefully this will be approved and no extension will be necessary.  Limitations on FEMA is $250,000 for structure and $100,000 for contents.  If you need more coverage,  insurance agents encourage looking at private companies and compare costs for flood.  This was excellent information.  So many homes are underinsured today.

I hope these tips help you.

Any questions, feel free to e-mail me at Judy@AshurstandNiemeyer.com

 

Mobile Eastern Shore Home For Sale: 17861 S Section Street

Mobile Eastern Shore Home For Sale:

17861 S Section Street #9, Fairhope AL 36532
MLS Number: 144800

Fabulous buy at the Cottages of Point Clear in Fairhope AL. Gated community. Magificent view of the 11th hole of the Azalea Golf Course. Membership to Lakewood will transfer. Top of the line amenities throughtout – tall ceilings, crown moldings, open floorplan, GE Monogram appliances. Media room is fully equipped!

Learn more about 17861 S Section Street and other Mobile Eastern Shore real estate by visiting JudySells.com.

Search all Mobile Eastern Shore real estate and homes for sale. 

Fairhope AL Tax Rebates: What You Need to Know

Tax rebates, which are the centerpiece of Congress’ recent $170 billion economic stimulus plan are starting to trickle in, but few Fairhope AL real estate owners and taxpayers actually understand what the rebates mean or how they may benefit.
Below are some of the main points of the plan:
  • To be eligible for a full rebate, single tax filers must have 2007 adjusted gross income (AGI) below $75,000. These filers will get rebates up to $600.
  • Joint filers must have AGI below $150,000 and are eligible to receive rebates of up to $1,200.
  • Parents will receive $300 rebates per dependent child and there is no cap on the maximum number of children eligible.
  • Filers who do not owe income taxes because of various credits and deductions but who do have at least $3,000 in income (can include Social Security or disability payments) will get $300 rebates per person or $600 per couple.
  • The rebate is a one-time tax cut – an advance on a credit you’ll receive on your 2008 return.
If you made the IRS deadline and filed your taxes by April 15, you can expect to receive a check sometime between May and July.
Why not put your 2007 tax rebate toward the purchase of a new home? To learn more about Fairhope AL real estate, please visit JudySells.com or begin searching for Fairhope AL real estate here. For more personalized service, please call me at 251-990-056