Kerry Veach, Owner/Broker RE/MAX Souther Realty - Destin Florida homes for sale, Destin Florida real estate

Archive for February, 2012

Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Did you know that you could save big bucks by installing “green” home improvements such as an energy efficient roof and insulation, a geothermal heat pump, energy star windows and/or doors, or a small wind energy system?

Here’s the breakdown:

A small wind energy system consists of a small turbine which gets wired into your home’s electrical grid.  As the propellers turn, the turbine produces kinetic energy which is then converted into electricity.  This nifty little contraption could lower your electric bill by at least 50%, or $600/year, and can generate 30% – 80% of the electricity needed for an entire household.  It’s also eligible for a 30% tax credit for the total cost of equipment and installation.  A wind turbine is a good investment for households which average at least $150/month in electric bills.  And of course, it doesn’t hurt to live in an area that produces relatively good winds.

Don’t think that because it’s called a geothermal heat pump, it only produces heat.  In fact, a geothermal heat pump serves as a replacement for the more traditional HVAC system.  On top of that, installing one makes you eligible for a 30% tax credit.  And because it uses 25% – 50% less electricity than a traditional HVAC system, so you can save about $600/year on heating and cooling costs.

Anyone who has ever lived in a drafty home understands the importance of good windows and doors.  For storm door or standard door replacements, you can claim up to a $500 tax credit.  For storm windows or standard window replacements, you can claim up to a $200 tax credit.  For skylight replacements, you can also claim up to $200.  The only pitfall to this is that 2011 was the last year you could install to qualify for these credits.

Of course, energy efficient windows and doors will perform much better in a well insulated house.  If you added insulation to your home in 2011, you could qualify for a tax credit up to $500.

If you installed a new heat efficient metal or asphalt roof to your house in 2011, then you could qualify for a $500 tax credit.

And last, but certainly not least on the list, is a non-solar energy efficient water heater.  If you installed on of these in 2011, you can qualify for up to a $300 tax credit on equipment and installation.

To determine if the system or systems you installed qualify for the above mentioned credits, visit the Energy Star Website.  Make sure you save, or have saved, all receipts and certifications for equipment and installations.  And finally, file Form 5695 with your tax returns this year.

If you are thinking of selling or buying a home in the Northwest Region of Florida, contact The Veach Team for a complimentary consultation.

 

Information Source: http://www.houselogic.com/green-living/

 

Universal Design Tips for Any Home

Friday, February 17th, 2012

One of the basic principles of universal design, also called “ageless design,” is that it makes homes more practical and safer for everyone — not just the elderly or people with limited mobility. Even if you’re not a professional designer, you can certainly incorporate this smart thinking into your own home. If you’re remodeling or simply adding a few upgrades, be sure to keep universal design features in mind. Here are some simple (and great!) ideas from HouseLogic for getting started:

Replace doorknobs with lever-style handles. Doorknobs require lots of dexterity and torque to open; with levers you simply press and go. Imagine an emergency situation when everyone, including small kids, needs to exit fast: A lever handle is a safe, foolproof way to open a door. Levers are also attractive, and can contribute to the value of your home. A standard interior passage door lever in a satin nickel finish costs about $20; you’ll pay $25 to $30 for a lockable lever set for your bath or bedroom.

Replace toggle light switches with rocker-style switches. Rocker switches feature a big on/off plate that you can operate with a finger, a knuckle, or even your elbow if necessary (great if you’re carrying a laundry basket or bags of groceries!). Rocker switches are good-looking, too. Conventional toggle switches get dirt and grime embedded in them after a couple of years; no such problems with rocker switches! You’ll pay $2 for a single-pole rocker switch, up to $10 for multiple switch sets.

Anti-scald devices for your bathroom prevent water from reaching unsafe temperatures. An anti-scald shower head will reduce water flow to a trickle if the water gets too hot. An anti-scald faucet device replaces your faucet aerator and also reduces hot water flow.

Motion sensor light controls add light when and where you need it. They come in a variety of styles and simple technologies. Just stick plug-in sensors into existing receptacles, then plug your table or floor lamps into them. When the sensor detects motion, it turns on the light.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Panama City Beach, Destin or anywhere in the area—then the Veach Team is prepared to help you find the Florida home of your dreams or the investment property that will put your money to work for you. Contact us today, and let us show you why “Life is a Beach” here in beautiful Destin! And don’t forget to “LIKE” us on Facebook and Twitter – we’d love to talk with you.

TWO THINGS ARE FOR SURE: ONE IS TAXES

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

TAX TIME - MID STILL HOLDING ON

I have to say that I, for one, have had a love affair going on with a time-honored Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction (MID).  Up until the housing crisis, from which we are beginning to recover, interest rates weren’t all that friendly, if you remember what I mean, and we have all needed that deduction.

When the  bipartisan deficit-reduction commission, appointed by President Obama, released its sixty-some-page final plan in December of 2010, it was called “The Moment of Truth.” The plan, which included suggestions to cut back on the MID, didn’t get a majority vote.  However, “The Moment of Truth” spelled out the unfriendly facts for all of us to face.

Then, last summer, when the so called, “Super Committee,” was supposed to be working on ways to cut the budget, MID was on the table again, presumably to modify it in order to curb capital gains on home sales, but they were also threatening to modify it for primary residences, to cut it for second homes and HELOC loans. I was worried . . .

Recently I watched an interview between Robert Freedman of REALTOR ® Magazine and Linda Goold, National Association of Realtors ® (NAR) Director of Tax Policy.

 “There is to be no deficit deal from the Super Committee that will be an impact on Realtors ® in 2012,” stated Freedman.  Then when he asked Ms. Goold to comment, she said,  “The news at this point is really good because we know that there will be no immediate proposal to limit the mortgage interest deduction.  This is consistent with the NAR new mantra of ‘Do No Harm.’”

 In November, 2011, we got a tax breather!  For now, we can pay our 2011 taxes and take the deduction.  However, when the committee failed to do anything, it left the House and Senate back where they started–looking for ways to cut the budget.  There will be lots of competing deductions being considered, so don’t think it’s not going to be a dog fight, because it sure is.

In the meantime, we can get on with the business of listing and selling houses to people who want to live in the best of all worlds—the Emerald Coast in Destin or Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding area.

 If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Panama City Beach, Destin or anywhere in the area—then the Veach Team is prepared to help you find the Florida home of your dreams or the investment property that will put your money to work for you. Contact us today, and let us show you why “Life is a Beach” here in beautiful Destin! And don’t forget to “LIKE” us on Facebook and Twitter – we’d love to talk with you.

 

“Education is intended to enlighten the understanding.”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I have been thinking about ways to educate readers, so they will be able to make more informed real estate decisions in 2012.  Sometimes when opportunities are plentiful as they are right now, and for the foreseeable future, it can be as difficult as it is when you have to dig around to find favorable circumstances.

This was the case a few years back.  Things were hard then, and many jumped on the chance to be a first-time homebuyer by taking advantage of the Housing and Recovery Act of 2008.

Let’s say you were one of those first-time homebuyers who took advantage of the Recovery Act of 2008.  Well, it’s February, 2012—now what?   It’s past time to begin paying back this no-interest loan—right?  In fact, if you purchased your home in 2008, the first installments were due in the 2010 income tax year.

But wait a minute; in 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was initiated expanding the first-time homebuyer credit from the original $7,500 to $8,000.  This was aimed at purchases being made during 2009, and before, December 1st of that year.

Then, later in 2009 the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extended eligibility to taxpayers who had binding contracts to purchase a home before May 1, 2010 and could close on or before July 1, 2010.

Then, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, which was enacted on July 2, 2010, extended that closing date (of July 1, 2010) to September 30, 2010.

If you purchased your home in 2009, you do not have to pay the government back as long as you live in the home (as your primary residence) for at least three years from the date you closed on the loan.

Since then,  it seems that the IRS has released the First-Time Homebuyer Credit Lookup Tool   to help you figure out how much you owe; what, if anything, you owe; how to pay it back and when you have to finish paying it back.

Therefore, I suggest you take a look at the DOT form 5405 along with the instructions for filling out the form, and then take a nap to rest, and let all this digest.

Then, if you still don’t understand any of it, like most of the rest of us——or if you have questions about your FTHBC account, call the FTHBC toll free number at 1-800-919-0352. “It’s the fastest way to get your questions answered,” or so they say.

However, if you are at all ready to move ahead, and your head (pun intended) is in the right place, then you are staring perfect-timing in the face (no rhyme intended)!  You can upgrade to a better home or invest in rental property here on the Emerald Coast, or both.

In a truly remarkable article titled, “Buy a House or Bury Your Money?” Robert Freedman has hit the proverbial nail on the head, if you will, when he so eloquently reports on the difference between property values and interest rates.

There are plenty of ways, when dealing with a really good lender, to upgrade your home and come out ahead while values are moving up and rates are holding.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Panama City Beach, Destin or anywhere in the area—then the Veach Team is prepared to help you find the Florida home of your dreams or the investment property that will put your money to work for you. Contact us today, and let us show you why “Life is a Beach” here in beautiful Destin! And don’t forget to “LIKE” us on Facebook and Twitter – we’d love to talk with you.

 

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