Dympna Fay-Hart
Serving Chicago Area Sellers & Buyers

(773) 230-3800

Send me a message

Real Estate

Why Empathy Helps You Ask Better Questions

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 26, 2018 - 1:00am

Asking questions of your customers can help you learn more about them, but there’s an art to phrasing your queries.

Categories: Real Estate

Is Salt Lake City the ‘Next Denver’?

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 26, 2018 - 1:00am

Researchers observe that Salt Lake City home prices are following a similar growth pattern as in Denver, where rapid increases began in early 2015...

Categories: Real Estate

IRS Clarifies Home Equity Loan Tax Deductions Under New Law

RisMedia Consumer News - February 25, 2018 - 1:05pm

This year’s tax season is bringing to light taxpayer confusion surrounding The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which could impact homeowners in next year’s tax filing. The IRS is taking steps to clarify what the new provisions mean for the real estate industry and homeowners.

One of the most misunderstood provisions in the new tax law expires in 2026 and prohibits the deduction of interest paid on home equity lines of credit and home equity loans except when the funds are used to substantially improve the taxpayer’s home. The IRS recently issued a statement clarifying that the deduction has not been removed, but is instead available under new home improvement restrictions:

“…despite newly-enacted restrictions on home mortgages, taxpayers can often still deduct interest on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage, regardless of how the loan is labelled,” according to an IRS release.

Homeowners must continue to meet the requirements of the previous law, which stated the loan must be secured by the taxpayer’s main or second residence, and the funds cannot surpass the cost of the home.

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Elizabeth Mendenhall commended the IRS on its efforts to clarify how homeowners can take advantage of the HELOC tax provision.

“The National Association of REALTORS® is pleased with the IRS announcement clarifying and confirming that under the new tax law owners can continue to deduct the interest on a home equity loan, line of credit or second mortgage when the proceeds are used to substantially improve their residence,” said Mendenhall in a statement. “There has been much confusion on this issue, and the continued deductibility will bring real benefits to those who choose to take on remodeling projects to bring more resale value to their home or gain equity that may have been lost during the downturn.”

Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders NAHB), also supported keeping this provision within the new law.

“The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauds [this] announcement by the IRS clarifying that households can take a tax deduction on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit if the loan is used for home improvements,” said Noel in a statement. “This is a major victory for remodelers and for homeowners who want to invest in their homes. NAHB has been pushing hard for this outcome since December, when The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration as they hammer out the details of the new tax law.”

Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post IRS Clarifies Home Equity Loan Tax Deductions Under New Law appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

3 ‘Dirty Words’ of Real Estate?

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

A Forbes columnist reveals the buzzwords that she wishes real estate professionals would stop using.

Categories: Real Estate

RE/MAX Co-Founder Violated Ethics Code

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

The company’s internal investigation has found that its former CEO David Liniger violated its code of ethics when he gave an...

Categories: Real Estate

The Power of Flowers in Your Listings

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

Glean some floral inspiration: using flowers can help get buyers out of the winter funk and inspire emotional connections to a house.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Still Climbing, Not Fading

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

There’s no let-up in sight as rates continue to be at the highest averages in four years. 

Categories: Real Estate

The First Cities to Get 5G

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

Many places across the country are eager to premiere the super-fast network speeds.

Categories: Real Estate

What Happened to the Condo Market?

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 23, 2018 - 1:00am

New construction of condo units has softened in recent years. Some housing analysts are wondering why.

Categories: Real Estate

Spring May Not Be Pretty for First-Time Buyers

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 22, 2018 - 1:00am

A shortage of homes and surging prices could hit rookie home buyers particularly hard.

Categories: Real Estate

IRS: HELOCs Still Deductible for Renovations

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 22, 2018 - 1:00am

Taxpayers can continue to deduct the interest they pay on home equity loans and credit lines when the funds are used for home improvements, the...

Categories: Real Estate

Environmental Hazards Don’t Quell Price Hikes

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 22, 2018 - 1:00am

Home values in ZIP codes with high risks of pollution, brownfields, and other dangers are appreciating at a faster pace, a new report shows.

Categories: Real Estate

HUD Gives $35M to Aid Low-Income Families

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 22, 2018 - 1:00am

The agency says the money will be used to hire or retain service coordinators to help poor residents find jobs, educational opportunities, and...

Categories: Real Estate

Townhouse Starts Indicate Sturdy Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 22, 2018 - 1:00am

Construction in this housing segment jumped 21 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Categories: Real Estate

Why Your Mortgage Is Getting More Expensive

RisMedia Consumer News - February 21, 2018 - 3:48pm

(TNS)—World events are conspiring to make it more expensive for you to borrow money to buy a house.

Mortgage rates have increased for five consecutive weeks, according to Bankrate data, bringing interest on a 30-year fixed rate loan to 4.44 percent—the highest level in 11 months—while home prices continue to rise due to a lack of available homes.

After years of tepid economic growth, animal spirits are aflame. Inflation and wage growth recently found a groove, while the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise short-term interest rates multiple times for a consecutive year has reduced the value of government debt. The yield on 10-year Treasuries is close to a four-year high. (Bond prices and yields are inversely related.)

Oh, and China may reduce its appetite for U.S. bonds.

Homebuyers Should Get off the Fence
Mortgage rates are moved by the yield on 10-year Treasuries, rather than short-term rate hikes by the Fed. That’s why mortgage rates fell throughout 2017, for instance, even as the central bank raised the federal funds rate three times.

Rates remain cheap, however, compared to historical prices. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came with an interest rate above 6 percent just before the Great Recession in 2007.

Potential homeowners should get off the fence and make a bid, assuming you have an affordable home target and adequate savings, because rates are likely only heading north.

Why Mortgage Rates Are Increasing
You’ve seen this movie before.

Immediately after the 2016 election, investors sold government debt en masse, causing the 10-year yield to rise from 1.88 percent on November 8 to 2.60 percent five weeks later. That dramatic rise was predicated on investors thinking a newly Republican-controlled Washington would bring about faster economic growth through infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

Optimism waned throughout 2017, though, as the GOP failed to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, casting doubt on their cohesion as a governing party. The long-promised massive infrastructure bill never materialized, while the prospects of a tax overhaul dampened. By the first week of September, the 10-year yield was 2.05 percent.

But then Republicans made progress on a $1.5 trillion tax bill, while the employment picture continued to brighten, and the U.S. economy grew at a solid clip over the last six months of the year.

With Congress agreeing to a $300 billion spending bill—which will only throw more coal on the burning economy—investors see fewer reasons to own bonds. Economic growth and higher pay could result in long-awaited inflation gains. Prices have been rising below the Fed’s 2 percent target, according to the central bank’s preferred prices gauge, for years now.

Higher inflation is a boon for fixed-rate borrowers but hurts debtors. The January jobs report, which showed a 2.9 percent-year-over year earnings increase, was a signal to market observers that inflation may be coming.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported in January that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, may reduce or cease U.S. debt purchases, causing market jitters.

Should You Be Worried?
Given the recent run-up in yields, you may be worried—but don’t panic just yet.

“This is not alarming,” notes Chris Vincent, fixed income portfolio manager at William Blair. “There is no significant drama in the credit markets.”

Markets, after nearly a decade of low rates and low growth, are adjusting to the new normal and corresponding volatility—and while China may own over a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, that’s less than 20 percent of all debt owned by foreign nations, and a fifth of what America owes itself.

You are entering a world where it’s going to become more expensive to borrow money. It’s time to get used to it.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Why Your Mortgage Is Getting More Expensive appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Buyers Use Escalation Clauses to Win Bidding Wars

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2018 - 1:00am

But escalation clauses aren’t always a winning strategy for either buyers or sellers, housing experts warn. 

Categories: Real Estate

2018 Home Sales Off to Sluggish Start

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2018 - 1:00am

Blame it on the housing shortage: Existing-home sales posted their largest declines on an annual basis in more than three years. Read more from...

Categories: Real Estate

Man Pleads Guilty to Hiding Arizona Agent’s Body

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2018 - 1:00am

A handyman pleaded guilty to concealing the body of Sidney Cranston Jr., who disappeared two years ago after showing a property in a remote area...

Categories: Real Estate

Higher Rates Offset Loan Demand

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2018 - 1:00am

Home buyers and homeowners may be getting spooked by higher mortgage rates, as loan applications plummet. 

Categories: Real Estate

How Will Wakanda Come to Real Cities?

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2018 - 1:00am

The new super-hero movie is so popular that architects and urban planners are looking for ways to bring its look into real-life counterparts.

Categories: Real Estate