3 Tampa Bay Beaches Make Trip Advisor Top 25!

Water's Edge BeachTampa Bay Beaches are always on the favorite lists but this time Trip Advisor has added St. Pete Beach (#9), Caladesie Island State Park (#11), and Clearwater Beach (#21) to its 2014 Top 25 Beaches in the USA!

We pride ourselves about these pristine beaches that draw thousands of visitors to the area each year… sparkling white sand, azure sea, cool breezes – not to mention spectacular sunsets every night!  Congratulations Tampa Bay Beaches!!! No wonder sales are heating up!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches

Homeowner Tax Benefits Add Up

As April 15th nears yet again and you are preparing to pay Uncle Sam, don’t miss looking for homeowner tax benefits that may ease the pain of tax season.  While some Americans debate whether buying a home is still part of the American dream, it is fair to say that tax code remains highly favorable to people who own instead of rent.  Whether you were a first-time buyer, a longtime homeowner who refinanced, or a seller in 2012, there are a host of important deductions available.

HouseLogic.com, a consumer website created by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) points out seven important tax tips for home owners:

1. Mortgage interest is your best friend. Taxpayers collectively get roughly $100 billion annually in mortgage interest breaks. If you bought a home or refinanced in the last few years, the savings are even more significant, as more than half your monthly payment goes toward interest.

2. Mortgage insurance is still deductible. There were fears that the deduction for personal mortgage insurance would fall victim to fiscal fights in Washington. However, Congress left it in place. That’s a huge boon to lower-income homeowners who often can’t afford a big down payment and must pay private mortgage insurance until they have at least 20% equity in their homes.

3. Taxes are tax deductible. It sounds odd and is frequently overlooked, but homeowners can deduct their local and state property taxes on federal tax returns. There also may be special property tax benefits for lower-income home owners based on your state or municipality of residence, so look into further breaks specific to your community.

4. Qualified renovations count. Fixing a leaky faucet or putting crown moulding in the living room is not tax deductible. But there are a number of items in the tax code that allow for tax breaks and credits. A host of items covered under residential energy efficiency can provide tax relief, including new solar panels or certain water heaters. There are also deductions available for home office improvements, as well as for medically necessary changes, such as an entry ramp or a handicap-accessible bathtub.

5. Unqualified renovations can count later.
While that addition might not be “necessary,” the expense could be an important part of reducing your tax burden when you sell. This is especially noteworthy in hot real estate markets or for homeowners sitting on big property appreciation. The IRS allows you only $250,000 of tax-free profit when you sell a primary residence, but you can deduct any renovations that boosted your home’s value from any total profit to get under that threshold. Find those receipts if you’re sitting on a big profit and planning to sell.

6. Claim selling costs.
If you sold a home in the past year, costs including title insurance, advertising, and real estate broker fees can be claimed. You can claim certain repairs to reduce capital gains on the sale, presuming they were made within 90 days of sale and clearly for the intent of marketing the property. If selling a home less than what you originally paid, look for a loss to offset other income… even if it is a loss carry forward to next year.

7. Don’t forget moving expenses.
If you bought a home in 2012, there’s a chance you did so because of a job-related move. If this is the case, you may be able to deduct some expenses, provided you have the receipts. You must have moved 50 miles or more, and the reasons for your move can’t be personal.

Home ownership can really pay off for many reasons!  Contact The Purtee Team today to discuss your homeownership goals for 2013 whether you are looking to buy or sell, we are the experts in the Tampa Bay, Florida  Area.

 *Homeowners should consult a tax professional for specific advice about their own transactions or circumstances. Information on The Purtee Team Blog should not be relied on as tax or legal advice.

 Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/taxes-incentives/home-is-where-the-tax-breaks-are-7-tips/#ixzz2NMlKuZdz

Bargain Prices Reducing The Foreclosure Excess?

As the wave of foreclosures continues, prices are hitting record low numbers and reaching a level to generate huge interest among both consumers and investors. The Tampa area is definitely getting this attention.

According to the Associated Press, “For some buyers, the deals are now too good to pass up.” As buyers snap up these foreclosed homes, the inventory of unsold foreclosures is shrinking… up to 13% over the past year!*

The PURTEE Team has recently formed a relationship with several of these bank owned property managers and have released over a dozen onto the marketplace. Our job is to help these managers price these properties correctly to get them off the books quickly! The reality is that the buyer frenzy taking place to get one of these ‘super-deals’ creates multiple offers and bidding wars to get them. When the bank calls for “Highest & Best Offer”, this is the last chance for a buyer to be able to walk away with this property. 10% over asking price is not unheard of.

Many of these sales involve investors, private equity firms, foreign buyers taking advantage of the currency savings on top of the discounted prices, and out-of-state buyers looking for vacation homes. Cash is definitely king and March experienced 38% of all previously owned homes being purchased with all-cash.

As this activity heats up, these inventory is lessening which adds fuel to the frenzy. Although we can anticipated another wave of foreclosures (that have been hung up in the system) hitting the market, these devalued properties will eventually be gone. As that unfolds, prices will begin to stabilize. Home owners who had put off moving during the downturn become more confident of selling for a decent price… thereby generating more buying and selling.

*Associated Press, April 27, 2011