Lynn D'Avolio
Century 21 North East | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/15/2018

You have probably been claiming the standard deduction on your taxes up until the time you bought a home. Now that you’re a homeowner, you may want to start itemizing your deductions. Your property investment will help you to start saving money in a new way. There are many different kinds of tax breaks that are available to you. Here’s the breakdown of some of the best deductions:  


Mortgage Interest Deductions


Many times, the biggest tax break comes from deducting mortgage interest. As a homeowner, you’re able to deduct interest on up to $1 million worth of debt that was used to purchase or make improvements to your home. Each January, your lender will send you what’s called a form 1098. This lists the mortgage interest that you paid during the previous year. The form should include the amount of interest that you paid from the date you closed on the home through the end of year. 


Real Estate Tax Deductions


You’re able to deduct the local property taxes that you pay each year from your April tax forms as well. If you pay your property taxes through an escrow account, you’ll receive a statement from your lender. If you happen to pay your taxes directly, however, you’ll need to keep good records. You may have also reimbursed the seller for taxes that were paid on the home in the year you purchased it. This can be be included on your real estate tax deduction form. Payments into your escrow account cannot be deducted, as these are just set aside for future tax payments. 


Mortgage Insurance Premiums Can Be Deducted 


If you make a down payment that’s less than 20% of the home purchase price, you may have to pay monthly premiums for mortgage insurance. This is an extra fee that protects the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. The good news is that these premiums are tax deductible. 


Home Improvement Projects May Be Deductible


You should save your receipts for all of the home improvements that you make throughout the year. This can be anything from windows to landscaping to new energy efficient heating systems. While you may not be able to make these deductions right away, if you make a large profit when you sell your home, the IRS could tax you. You’ll want these deductions available to you if this happens to save money.   


Energy Saving Homes Get Deductions Too 


Any energy saving home improvements that you make can give you an additional tax break. You can earn tax credits worth up to $500. Tax credits are more valuable than deductions since credits actually reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar. Other improvements work on a percentage-credit based on the cost of the improvements and the type of project that was done.        




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/8/2018

It’s easy to fall in love with a house if it has all the features you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to ignore the qualities of the neighborhood the house is in as well.

The state of the surrounding neighborhood is important for many homeowners. You’ll use the local amenities, walk on the sidewalks, drive on the roads, and eventually even set the price of your home based partially on the price of those surrounding it.

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons you should pay attention to the neighborhood when shopping for homes, and what qualities to look for to find a place that has both high quality of life and resale value.  

Neighborhood Inspection 101

There are a number of things you’ll want to learn about a neighborhood before you move in. Some of them you can observe with your own eye, some you can find online via public records, and others will require talking to the locals to see what their experience has been.

Things to observe

When you go to visit a home, set aside some time beforehand to drive around the neighborhood. Check out the roads, sidewalks, and the general state of the neighborhood. Boarded up houses and closed businesses aren’t always a sign of doom and gloom, but it can give you insight into the pricing of some homes and give you some negotiating power.

If you love the house and feel okay about the neighborhood swing by during rush hour, if possible. This will give you a sense of traffic and how long it will take you to get to work from your new home.

If you’re moving into a city, it’s also a good idea to check out the after-hours scene. If a peaceful evening at home is what you seek, it will be a good idea to know ahead of time if your street comes alive at night.

Things to research

It’s a good idea to get a feel for the local culture before buying a home to see if it fits with your lifestyle. Are businesses closed on Sundays? Are there community events and clubs that you ur your family would be interested in? You can find most information online through Facebook groups, library websites, and local newspapers.

If you’re concerned with crime, you can find local data online. Similarly, records are available for local schools, such as where the town’s test scores land compared to state and national averages.

Talk to the neighbors

The most practical way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask the people who live there. They’ll be able to tell you how it has changed over the years, which will give you a sense of where the neighborhood is headed. They can tell you whether it’s a neighborhood filled with young families or aging retirees, and will likely be able to let you know if there are any problems in the neighborhood.

Aside from the local culture, you should ask your potential new neighbors about the infrastructure. Do they have frequent power issues? Is there often noisy construction, or have there been potholes that haven’t been filled for years? You can learn a lot from the people who have lived in a neighborhood for multiple years.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/1/2018

You know that you want to buy a house, but you may have only a limited amount of time to conduct a home search and discover your ideal residence. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to speed up your homebuying timeline.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Refine Your House Search

A list of homebuying criteria is a must-have, particularly for a property buyer who wants to enjoy a quick, seamless house search. In fact, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can refine your house search and move one step closer to finding your dream residence.

As you craft a list of homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside too. That way, you can further narrow your house search and focus exclusively on homes in your preferred cities and towns.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

At first, it may seem like a lot of work to get pre-approved for a mortgage. But if you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you may be able to avoid time-consuming home financing hurdles down the line.

Oftentimes, it does not take long to get the financing you need to buy a house. Banks and credit unions are available across the United States, and these financial institutions are happy to teach you about a variety of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your financial needs and kick off your homebuying journey with a mortgage at your disposal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you face a time crunch to purchase a house but don't know how to start the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. By hiring a real estate agent who can offer in-depth homebuying guidance, you can find your dream house in no time at all.

A real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can speed up the homebuying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and help you create a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will help you search for residences and assess houses in the cities and towns of your choice. And if you discover a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.

Let's not forget about a real estate agent's housing market expertise, either. A real estate agent understands how to navigate a buyer's or seller's market. As a result, he or she will make it simple for you to review houses that match or exceed your expectations. If you have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them as well.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a great house and make your homeownership dream come true.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/24/2018

If you recently bought a house, you likely will need to purchase chairs, couches and other furniture for your residence. Luckily, we're here to help you streamline the process of discovering the right furniture, at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you find the right furniture for your residence.

1. Consider the Size of Your Home

Take close measurements of your house before you purchase any furniture – you'll be glad you did. Because if you fail to measure properly, you risk buying furniture that might not fit inside your house.

Also, it is important to account for the weight of furniture. If you consider the weight of furniture prior to purchase, you can ensure that you'll be able to carry this furniture into your house. Or, if you cannot lift furniture on your own, you can reach out to family members or friends for assistance.

2. Visit Several Furniture Stores

Dozens of furniture retailers are located in cities and towns nationwide. As such, if you shop around, you should have no trouble finding furniture that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Take a look at furniture from several furniture stores. That way, you can consider a variety of furniture for your kitchen, living room and other areas of your residence.

In addition, don't forget to ask a furniture store about delivery. If you can get a furniture store to bring benches, sofas and other furniture to your house, you won't have to worry about transporting these items to your residence.

3. Consider Pre-Owned Furniture

Sometimes, furniture stores will provide pre-owned furniture at a fraction of the cost of brand-new items. It often pays to check out pre-owned dining room sets, patio chairs and other furniture, as these items may help you furnish your house without breaking your budget.

It may be beneficial to search for furniture at yard sales too. These events may allow you to discover top-notch furniture at bargain-basement prices.

Furthermore, Craigslist and other online marketplaces can make it simple to assess myriad furniture options. And if you find furniture that you like, you can contact the seller and set up a date and time to evaluate it in-person.

Furniture shopping may prove to be time-consuming and costly, particularly for those who are already in the process of packing and moving to a new residence. Fortunately, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you may be able to speed up the process of finding deluxe furniture.

A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a terrific residence. He or she also can help you negotiate with a seller, and in some instances, may be able to convince a seller to include his or her furniture in a home transaction.

Take the guesswork out of furnishing your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring top-notch furniture that complements your personal style.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/17/2018

Applying for your first home loan can seem scary or daunting to many first-time homeowners. However, this process, if done correctly, can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on interest over the lifetime of your loan.

Before you apply for a loan, there are several documents you’ll want to gather and steps you’ll want to take to ensure the application process goes smoothly. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one specific aspect of the mortgage application process--credit scores.

Credit scores may seem confusing. However, since they can so drastically affect your home loan interest rate, it’s important to understand their implications.

Credit checks and mortgages

One of the things that all lenders will want to see before approving you for a home loan is your credit score. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, odds are that you’ve been working to build credit by paying off loans and credit cards on time each month.

The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are all required to give you a yearly free credit report. This is a detailed document that outlines your lines of credit, payment dates, and amounts. It’s a good idea to get a detailed credit report and check for errors before applying for a loan.

Unlike a hard “credit inquiry,” a free report does not affect your credit score, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a few points by requesting one of these reports.

When applying for a mortgage, however, lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry to determine your borrowing eligibility. This is a part of the pre-approval process and is typically unavoidable.

This is important to note if you are planning on applying to multiple lenders. Be aware that each “prequalification” and “preapproval” may come with a temporary drop in your credit score.

Since credit inquiries make up a total of about 10% of your credit score, these inquiries can make a difference in the short term. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid opening new cards or taking out other loans (such as an auto loan or student loan) within six months of your mortgage application.

If you aren’t sure of your current score, you can always check for free from websites like Credit Karma and Mint.

One last thing to note about credit scores and their relationship to mortgages is that most lenders use a specific type of score known as a FICO score. In fact, every adult in the United States with a credit score will have three FICO scores, one from each major credit bureau.

So, when checking up on your credit score, it’s good to remember that each score will be slightly different and your lender’s score may not reflect what you see online.




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