Sure, even the idea of homeownership is appealing for all of the traditional emotional and lifestyle reasons. Having proprietary control over your family’s center of operations is a goal for most Sebastopol residents—just as most of us would consider it a necessary evil if professional obligations make frequent moves unavoidable. Travel may be broadening, but most rolling stones (no matter how moss-less) eventually hanker to settle down.
But aside from the lifestyle aspects, another major advantage to settling down and owning your home gets its turn in the limelight at least once a year. This advantage is anything other than abstract. The time of year is April 15, when the concrete financial benefits are tallied up in the very welcome form of homeowner tax deductions.
Tax advice is not our specialty—for that, you should always defer to your qualified financial advisor, whose full time job it is to do all that’s humanly possible to keep track of the ever-changing Federal Tax Code. But even non-specialists know that some of the most beneficial provisions in the Code’s 75,000 pages do relate to the range of significant homeowner tax deductions.
In the National Association of Realtors’ periodical houselogic, writer Dona DeZube recently surveyed some of the major ones—tax tips that deserve to be investigated by any Sebastopol homeowner who will soon be charting out their own mid-April strategies.
The list was headed by the most obvious one, the mortgage interest deduction, which applies to interest paid on a loan secured by the place you live in. That doesn’t have to be a house—it could also be a trailer or a boat. As long as you sleep and cook in it, interest paid for its purchase falls into the category.
Likewise, there is the prepaid interest deduction. Prepaid interest (aka “points”) you pay in when you take out a mortgage or refi can usually be deducted in the year it is originated. An exception is when you refinance and use the proceeds for other than home improvements, in which case the deduction is spread out over the life of the loan. If you refinance again, it gets a little more complicated (may be time to ring up that qualified advisor again).
Another hefty deduction is the one for Sebastopol property taxes you have paid. If your mortgage lender required you to insure repayment through private mortgage insurance (PMI), if your income is less than a set amount, the premiums may be fully deductible (otherwise, a reduced deduction will apply). Even more complicated rules apply to government insurance premiums (qualified advisor time).
More homeowner tax deductions can be applicable, too, with varying degrees of complication—particularly those which relate to Sebastopol vacation homes. And there are also tax credits for things like energy-efficient home systems.
The bottom line deductibility of many aspects of homeownership can be a major reason why April 15 gets many Sebastopol renters to do some serious examination of their residential futures. We are here to help with any of your own real estate plans!