3 Tips for the Ultimate Staycation

The temperature is warming up, the kids are finishing school and plans for what’s next this summer are being made. Are you dreaming of unplugging from work and other responsibilities and, at the same time, looking to save up to make your next home purchase? You can do it all with a well-planned staycation that allows you to relax, recharge and enjoy some down time in the comfort of your own home. Here are three tips to get you started.

  1. Determine Your Staycation Style

Would you prefer to stay in all week, or get out and about and rediscover your hometown? Like you would do with a destination vacation, make a list of things you want to do, eat and see. This is the time to explore the new museum exhibit, hike the trail you have been meaning to check out or binge watch your favorite TV show.

  1. Prep like you are leaving town

The best part of a vacation is getting away from the day-to-day tasks of everyday life. Do yourself a favor and run errands and complete chores the week before your staycation. Do the laundry, fill the car with gas and clean the house (or, better yet, have it professionally cleaned). This way you can really settle in during your week at home without worrying about the clean clothes that need to be put away or the rug that needs to be vacuumed.

  1. Splurge A Little

One reason you chose to vacation at home is to save money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge a little on small luxuries. Stock the refrigerator with items for awesome homemade meals or budget for eating out at restaurants when the mood strikes. Even a nice bottle of wine or high quality bubble bath can make you feel luxurious and relaxed without breaking the bank.

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) worked throughout the tax reform process to preserve the existing tax benefits of homeownership and real estate investment, as well to ensure as many real estate professionals as possible would benefit from proposed tax cuts. Many of the changes reflected in the final bill were the result of the engagement of NAR and its members, not only in the last three months, but over several years.

While NAR remains concerned that the overall structure of the final bill diminishes the tax benefits of homeownership and will cause adverse impacts in some markets, the advocacy of NAR members, as well as consumers, helped NAR to gain some important improvements throughout the legislative process. The final legislation will benefit many homeowners, homebuyers, real estate investors, and NAR members as a result.

Read the National Association of Realtors article…

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Do You Know Them All?

The joys of homeownership are many: Your own house is a place to make sweet memories, build a financial nest egg, and whittle down your tax bill. Wait, what? Yep, it’s true: Your home can save you a bundle on April 15.

Realtor.com rounded up every last way to take advantage of the tax benefits of owning a home. Read on for the full rundown just to make sure you aren’t missing any, then pat yourself on the back for all the moolah you’ll save!

4 of 5 Americans Rate Housing a Good Investment

Young Family

The majority of Americans say that owning a home is a good investment, according to a new poll of more than 2,800 registered voters commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders.

“The survey shows that most Americans believe that owning a home remains an integral part of the American Dream and that policymakers need to take active steps to encourage and protect home ownership,” says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. Those surveyed were split on which one of the current presidential candidates they felt would be best for housing, at 37 percent each, while 25 percent of those surveyed said they “don’t know.”

The survey found that 72 percent of Americans say that they support the government providing tax incentives to encourage home ownership.

Eighty-one percent of 18-29 year olds surveyed say they want to be able to buy a home one day.

However, obstacles still remain in their path, as well as for others too. Among all those polled, 55 percent say that the biggest obstacle to buying a home is finding a home at a price that they can afford. Fifty percent said they were prevented from buying due to insufficient savings for a down payment, and 41 percent say they are struggling to get approved for a home loan.

Still, 36 percent of the more than 2,800 Americans surveyed say they hope to buy a home within the next three years, the survey showed.

Source: REALTOR Mag

Home Ownership Rate Nears Record Lows

Purple Door

The home ownership rate made gains in the second half of 2015, but that progress was muted in the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The first quarter of this year saw the home ownership rate back on the decline, plummeting to 63.6 percent, the third lowest on record.

For comparison, in 2004, home ownership soared to a high of 69.4 percent.

Read the article…

Who Pays the Highest Property Taxes?

Planning

The average median property tax rate across the nation is 1.31 percent. That means a home owner with a home valued at $200,000, on average, pays an annual amount of $2,620 in property taxes, according to an analysis by CoreLogic’s data team.

Illinois has the highest median property tax rate at 2.67 percent. Hawaii, on the other hand, has the lowest at 0.31 percent.

Read the article to see where your state lands in property tax rankings…

Where Owners Pay the Most, Least in Property Taxes

Proceeds from Sale

With tax burdens on the minds of many Americans as tax season approaches and election issues gain steam, one analysis of property taxes in the 50 states finds a wide spread of rates, including some surprising results.

24/7 Wall St. recently analyzed data from the Tax Foundation to review property taxes paid in each state as a percentage of home values to find which state’s home owners pay the most and least in property taxes.

Read the article to learn what the study found…