The Federal Reserve reported that many U.S banks lowered their credit standards in November and have since reported a rising number of loan requests and higher demand for residential mortgage loans. The Federal Reserve stated, “modest fractions of domestic banks reported having eased their standards across major loan categories over the past three months on net. Domestic respondents indicated that demand for business loans, prime residential mortgages, and auto loans had strengthened.” This is positive news for the housing market and the economy as many prospective buyers will be able to qualify for loans. More here
There was plenty of discussion and debate leading up to the New Year’s looming “fiscal cliff”. Ultimately, the event was avoided, but not before legislation was passed which may benefit homeowners in Chicago and nationwide.
If you have yet to file your 2012 taxes, take a minute to review the tax limitations and credit extensions, which Congress passed through the HR 8 legislation. You’ll want to ensure you’re paying the proper tax bill come April 15.
Of course, every individual’s tax situation is unique. Review your allowable deductions and credits with your tax preparer.
The tax credit for homeowners to receive a ten percent deduction, up to $500, for energy efficient improvements to homes is extended for 2013.
Individual estates valued at up to five million dollars and family estates valued at up to ten million are now exempt from estate tax. After those cutoffs, the rate is 40 percent, which is up from 35 percent.
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
This act was also extended through 2013. It means that debt reduced through mortgage restructuring or debt forgiven in the case of a foreclosure may not be taxable.
Mortgage Insurance Premiums
This deduction for those making under $110,000 is extended through 2013. This deduction is also available retroactive for 2012. Mortgage insurance premiums paid as part of a conventional or FHA mortgage are eligible, as are premiums paid to the USDA.
These limitations that reduced the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers. However, they will be re-instituted for individuals making over $250,000, and for married couples making over $300,000 and filing jointly.
As a homeowner, you get access to special tax breaks which are unavailable to renters throughout Illinois and the country. Don’t leave tax dollars on the table. Speak with your accountant to see what claims you may make.
The deadline for filing 2012 federal tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2013.
Older Chicago homes sometimes offer more charm and character than the newer houses of today. They boast gabled roofs, crown moldings, hardwood floors and antique fixtures.
Buying an old house is like buying a piece of local history. Its beautiful period features can give it a timeless beauty and grace that is hard to resist.
However, buying a house from another era can be an endeavor fraught with potential problems. Older houses are not necessarily built to the same electrical or plumbing standards of today. Plus, if they have not been maintained correctly through the years, they can turn into a serious money pit or a potential hazard.
Here are six tips to keep in mind if you are considering buying an older home:
- Always hire a professional real estate inspector to take a close look at the property. A professional inspector is trained to spot structural damage or issues that might seem minor, but may cause major problems in the future.
- Look for signs of moisture damage. Many old houses have problems with moisture because over the years they have settled.
- If the old house you are considering has vintage wiring, such as the knob-and-tube technology that was popular around the 1920s and 1930s, plan to completely update the wiring for your safety.
- You might need to add insulation. Many older homes don’t have insulation in the walls or attic, which can increase the size of your energy bill.
- Be on the look out for iron pipes, which were popular up until 1940. They can become clogged with rust and may need to be replaced.
- Have the house tested for asbestos, if it was built before the 1960s.
These are just a few things to which to pay attention out when buying an older home.
Take time to inspect the property thoroughly. With proper attention, you can mix today’s modern technology with your home’s period features to create a combination of charm and safety.