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Tax Day is approaching quickly and now is the time to take advantage of every deduction possible. As a homeowner, there may be more deductions than you thought!  Here are some homeowner tax breaks you might not have known about:

  • Mortgage interest deduction - If you’ve taken out a loan to buy a house, you can deduct the interest you pay on a mortgage, with a balance of up to $1 million. To access this deduction, you must itemize rather than take the standard deduction. The savings here can add up in a big way. For example, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket and deduct $10,000 of mortgage interest, you can save $2,500.
  • Private mortgage insurance - Qualified homeowners can deduct payments for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, for a primary home. Sometimes you can take the deduction for a second property as well, if it isn’t a rental unit. However, this only applies if you got your loan in 2007 or later. Also, this deduction only applies if your adjusted gross income is no more than $109,000 if married filing jointly or $54,500 if married filing separately.
  • Property taxes - You can include state and local property taxes as itemized deductions. An interesting note: The amount of the deduction depends on when you pay the tax, not when the tax is due. So, paying property taxes earlier could have a positive impact on your return.
  • Capital gains on a home sale - The dreaded capital gains tax can be avoided when the gain from selling your personal residence is less than $250,000 if you are a single taxpayer or $500,000 if you are a joint filer. To qualify, you must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two years out of the five years leading up to the sale.
  • Medical improvements - If you’ve made improvements to your home to help meet medical needs, such as installing a ramp or a lift, you could deduct the expenses—but only the amount by which the cost of the improvements exceed the increase in your home’s value. (In other words, you can’t deduct the entire cost of the equipment or improvements.) These types of deductions can be tricky, but are worth looking in to. Guidelines for Medical Improvement Tax Deductions
  • Home office - If you have a dedicated space in your home for work and it’s not used for anything else, you could deduct it as a home office expense.
  • Renting your home out on occasion - If you rented out your home for, say, a major sports event like the Super Bowl or the World Series, or a cultural event such as Mardi Gras, the income on the rental could be totally tax free—as long as it was for only 14 days or fewer throughout the course of a year.
  • Discount Points - Discount points which are paid to lower the interest rate on a loan, can be deducted in full for the year in which they were paid. If you’re buying a home and the seller pays the points as an incentive to get you to buy the house, you can deduct those points as well.
  • Energy-efficiency tax credit - You can take advantage of an energy efficiency tax credit of 10% of the amount paid (up to $500) for any “green” improvements, such as storm doors, energy efficient windows and AC and heating systems.

For more tax tips, check out IRS Publication 530 for a list of what homeowners can (and cannot) deduct.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/You-Can-Never-Have-TMI-about-PMI

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Home-Is-Where-The-Heart-Is

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at yourkeytomemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a House: Right Now, or Wait?

by Melissa Thompson

You know you should buy a home. Eventually. But timing matters when it comes to such an enormous and potentially life-changing purchase. Which begs the question: When is the best time to buy a house? Does such a moment exist when all lights turn green, guaranteeing this is a decision you won’t regret?

While there’s no crystal ball in real estate, there are some fairly easy-to-read signs that a home purchase is something you should consider. Let’s dive into some of the factors that can influence whether the time is right for you to pull the trigger.

Your finances

For many people, knowing when to buy a home all comes down to the numbers. Here are the biggest pieces of that equation.

  • You have a down payment: If you need a mortgage to buy a home, you should know that most lenders will want you to show them the money—that is, have a sizable down payment. For most conventional loans, you’ll need to scrape together 20% of a home’s price, or $60,000 on a $300,000 home. Amassing that cash can be challenging, but know that some lenders can require as little as 5% down. You also may want to check into down payment assistance programs; many homeowners are surprised to find that they qualify.
  • You can afford a monthly mortgage: How much you can afford in monthly mortgage hinges on your income and debts. Higher income is good, of course; higher debt is bad. Check out a mortgage calculator for an easy way to plug in your salary and debts to see how much home you can afford in your area.
  • You have a good credit score: Your credit score is a measure of how well you’ve paid off past debts. Lenders look at this number to prognosticate how well you’ll pay them back, too. If you have no credit history, you should get some fast (lenders will want to see at least a year of payments under your belt). If your credit score is poor, you may want to do what you can to bring it up to snuff, because a higher credit score means you’ll stand to land a better loan.

Market conditions

Housing markets go through highs, lows, and bubbles—much like stocks. As such, you may be wondering whether current market conditions are conducive to buying (e.g., “Wow, you can buy a whole townhouse for under two hundred grand?”) or a total rip-off (e.g., “a two-bedroom for a half-million, seriously?!”).

Sadly, the adage for stocks applies to housing, too: It’s impossible to perfectly time the market. Yet there is still something to be said for considering economic conditions.

“You should never buy a home you can’t afford, but sometimes market conditions offer a little incentive to get off the sidelines,” says Mark Abdel, a real estate professional with Re/Max Advantage Plus in Minneapolis–St. Paul.  

You’ll want to consider the following:

  • Inventory: Look through listings for your area. If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, then the market is slow and prices should be OK. But if many properties get snapped up in months, or even weeks, this suggests you’re in a seller’s market—and that’s where buyer bidding wars could drive up prices. Of course, they could just continue to climb, or they may have peaked and go down. Local real estate agents can give you the lay of the land and their predictions, but just remember it’s anyone’s guess what could happen next.
  • Interest rates: Interest rates on home loans also fluctuate depending on market conditions. Currently interest rates are fairly low but have been inching up fast, which has many thinking of buying a home before they rise even higher. Make sure to check out interest rates in your area.
  • Renting vs. buying: A final factor to consider is whether it’s cheaper to own or rent, based on the market conditions in your area. You can figure that out with our rent vs. buy calculator.

Does time of year matter?

Conventional wisdom says to buy during the peak seasons of spring and summer, when there may be more options. But that also translates into more competition and potentially higher prices. That’s why you shouldn’t neglect fall and winter for home shopping, especially if the other conditions above line up.

“Buying off-season usually gives buyers more negotiating power for both the price and the closing date,” Abdel says, because off-season sellers are often more motivated to sell and therefore may be more willing to make a deal.

How long should you stay put?

Last but not least, one final factor to consider regarding when to buy a house is whether you plan to stick around. Buying a home carries a bunch of upfront costs, so it’s generally best you don’t sell soon after you’ve closed the deal. Typically home buyers should expect to stay in their house at least five years to make this investment worthwhile.

 

Learn more about buying Memphis Real Estate at yourkeytomemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

 

By and photo credit: Cathie Ericson, Realtor.com

Open House at 440 Shambala, Sunday, February 26 from 2:00 - 4:00!

by Melissa Thompson

Come join us for our Open House, Sunday, February 26 from 2:00 - 4:00 at 440 Shambala Drive, Collierville, TN 38017! A spectacular, brand New Celtic Manor built home situated in The Spring Creek Ranch Subdivision in Collierville Reserve! Every amenity you can imagine!!!

Welcome home to 440 Shambala Drive, a spectacular, brand new Celtic Manor built home situated in The Spring Creek Ranch Subdivision in Collierville! Built for entertaining this home offers an open floor plan with impressive formal rooms, plus comfortable everyday living spaces. Quality features include 4 bedrooms with 2 down, 4.5 baths, massive game room upstairs, granite galore, gleaming white oak hardwood floors, incredible covered porch with a wood burning Isokern fireplace, GE Profile stainless steel appliances, GE Monogram Professional Series 36" gas range with 6 burners, soaring smooth ceilings, soft close drawers and doors, incognito custom closets, all bedrooms with attached baths, spacious great room with a cozy gas log fireplace with a custom wood mantel and stone veneer, 3 car garage, crown molding, 2 A.O. Smith gas water heaters, 1 gas line to the porch for a grill, Trane XR14 Seer HVAC units, Tamko Heritage architectural 30 year asphalt roof, custom made cedar box beams and so much more! Do not miss out on this incredible new construction home! Collierville’s best in elegant country living, Spring Creek Ranch is a master-planned residential community. Nestled around the 330-acre Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in the area's best rural reserve area. It offers its residents stunning vistas, while reflecting the excellence of the course. Within Spring Creek Ranch offers low county-only taxes in the Collierville reserve area. The community has natural trails and walking paths in a beautiful serene setting unlike anything else in the region.

101 Things To Do In Memphis #54: Memphis Comedy Festival

by Melissa Thompson

The Memphis Comedy Festival (MCF) is a four-day celebration of stand-up comedy and the comedic arts. 

MCF hosts stand-up showcases, themed comedy shows, improv showcases, podcasts, informational seminars, comedy open-mics, and probably (definitely) a karaoke session. It spans a few neighborhoods and several venues and attracts thousands of Memphians.

Founded by a gaggle of young, independent comics in 2011, MCF has grown exponentially each year, culminating last year in a festival that featured more than 60 comics, almost 50 shows, and attendance of more than five thousand.

MCF is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with wide-support from the Memphis independent comedy and arts communities.

Click here for the full line up performers.

March 9-12, 2017 Buy Tickers Here

2085 Monroe Ave
Memphis, Tennessee
Info@memphiscomedyfestival.com

 

By and photo credit: memphiscomedyfestival.com

Open House 5345 Shady Grove Saturday February 25 from 1:00-3:00

by Melissa Thompson

Please join us for an Open House, Saturday February 25 from 1:00-3:00, hosted by Mike Pyrdom.

Welcome home to 5345 Shady Grove Road, an amazing completely renovated home that you will have to see to believe! Built for entertaining, this spacious home offers an open floor plan with impressive formal rooms, plus comfortable everyday living spaces. Quality features include gleaming hardwood floors, irrigation system, fireplace, crown molding, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, separate in-law living quarters featuring a full kitchen and full bath, smooth ceilings, plantation shutters, laundry room with cabinets, granite and sink, updated fixtures, new HVAC, new windows, 2 car extended garage plus an additional heated and cooled 3 car tandem garage or workshop, attic, granite galore, Kosher kitchen, every exterior door with built-in blinds and keyless locks, sparkling gunite in-ground pool, and so much more!

Welcome home to 9583 Salem Terrace located on 5 beautiful acres in Lakeland. This stunning home features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, smooth ceilings, custom built Shiloh cabinetry, boutique upgraded plumbing fixtures, crown molding, unique leathered 3cm granite, custom built solid knotty alder doors, Jenn-Air stainless steel appliances, gleaming sawn white oak hardwood floors, floored attic, security system, 2 car garage and more! Relax in the large great room, which boasts a cozy gas starter stone fireplace with an ash cleanout and wood storage niche. Style and utility are masterfully fused together in the gourmet kitchen with desirable Jenn-Air stainless steel appliances, lustrous granite countertops, decorative tile backsplash, gorgeous custom built cabinetry, pantry, ample counter and cabinet space, and recessed lighting. Host the finest dinner parties in the romantic dining room embellished with a dazzling chandelier. Retreat to the master suite and relax in complete splendor. The spa-inspired luxurious master bathroom boasts gorgeous natural stone flooring, double walk-in closets, his and her vanities with custom cabinets and desirable granite countertops, whirlpool tub and a divine walk-in shower with tile surround and dual thermostatic valves. Enjoy the peaceful, serene backyard with an abundance of wildlife. Deer, foxes, and turkey sighting regularly, making this setting truly majestic. The home was built with a house pad with 6' deep post holes, all soffits, fascia and cornice are 'Royal Wood' which is painted PVC plastic that'll never rot, all exterior walls tyvek wrapped with BIBS, and the roof was built with 3/4" solid wood board. This great home has 1 acre cleared with 4 remaining natural for privacy and low maintenance. It has an oversized 2" water main, oversized electrical service, double pain windows, 2 AC units, exterior is 100% stone and brick. All interior doors are custom built 8' tall x 1 3/4" thick solid knotty alder. The attic is 100% floored and has (2) power vents to remove heat. All molding, window casings and door casings custom milled in knotty alder and stained to match cabinetry. Do not miss out on this one of a kind magnificent home!

Open House 6098 Aubrey Ranch Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00

by Melissa Thompson

Please join us for an Open House at 6098 Aubrey Woods Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00 hosted by Mike Pyrdom.

Welcome home to 6098 Aubrey Ranch Drive, a stunning home nestled in the Ewing Place Subdivision in celebrated Arlington. Built for entertaining, this spacious home offers an open floor plan with impressive formal rooms, plus comfortable everyday living spaces. Quality features include gleaming hardwood floors, smooth ceilings, fresh neutral paint, stone fireplace, lots of storage space, 4 bedrooms plus media room, butler's pantry, covered patio, 2 car garage, and so much more! Come in and drop your jacket, umbrella, and shoes in the mud room for easy pick up the next morning as you are walking out the door. Enjoy comfortable everyday living in the captivating hearth room open to the kitchen with its impressive stone fireplace, perfect for those cold winter nights. Cooking will be a delight in the breathtaking eat-in kitchen with cabinet and counter space galore, tile backsplash, cherry cabinets, granite counter-tops, piano shaped island, pantry, durable tile floors, and a full complement of stainless steel appliances. In addition, this kitchen offers a delightful breakfast area. Host the finest dinner parties in the romantic dining room. Come home after a hard day and relax in the spacious, warm and inviting two-story great room with an overlook. You will rest easy in your downstairs master retreat with 2 walk-in closets and spa-inspired luxury bathroom featuring his and hers granite vanities, relaxing whirlpool tub and a divine walk-thru shower. This home offers an additional bedroom downstairs with a private bathroom as well as two additional bedrooms upstairs. You will also find a large media room offering a great space for relaxing and entertaining upstairs. Relax outside on the covered patio overlooking the spacious backyard. This amazing home is in the sought after Arlington School District!

Making Your New House a Home

by Melissa Thompson

Congratulations!  You’ve just moved into your new house and now it is time to make it your own!  Here are some tips for how to make your house your home:

  1. Be active.  If you have moved to a new area where you don’t know anyone, you may be tempted to isolate yourself.  After all, you have unpacking to do and maybe a new job to start. But try to resist that temptation.  Staying socially, physically and communally active, triggers significant  cognitive processes that create the sense of home.  Make sure you take time to exercise; join a community such as a church, the school PTA or a book club and shop locally to get to know your surroundings.
  2. Surround yourself with living things.  A move can be difficult, especially if you are grieving the place you left.  It’s not uncommon for people to become depressed after moving to a new home.  Combat those feelings by cultivating relationships with living things. Start a garden, spend time with your children and pets or volunteer in the community. 
  3. Comfort yourself with colors.  Decorate with a palette of colors that makes you feel at home.  Choose colors that promote calm, happy feelings.  For example, earth tones create a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere that evokes feelings stability, reassurance and ease, while light pastel colors stimulate feelings of peacefulness, calm and cleanliness.
  4. Surround yourself with the familiar. Even before you are completely settled into your home, placing familiar items such as family pictures and heirlooms in your new space can make it feel more like you.  Some other ways to make you feel at home: cook favorite meals, burn candle with favorite scents, play your favorite music.
  5. Unpack.  This may seem obvious, but it’s not unusual for people to still have boxes cluttering the house months after moving in.  Take your belongings out of the boxes right away and begin decorating and arranging furniture. The sooner you do this, the sooner this once strange place will feel like home!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/101-Things-To-Do-In-Memphis-48-Aldos-Pizza-Pies

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Starting-to-Look-for-a-Home-Know-What-You-WANT-vs-What-You-NEED

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/101-Things-To-Do-In-Memphis-22-Flight-Restaurant-and-Wine-Bar

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at yourkeytomemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

Open House 1096 W. Perkins Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00

by Melissa Thompson

:

Please join us for an Open House at 1096 W. Perkins Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00 hosted by Tim Carlton.

Welcome home to 1096 W. Perkins Road, an amazing completely renovated, move-in ready, 4 bedroom, East Memphis home located in the Colonial Acres Subdivision, you will have to see to believe! Quality features include updated fixtures, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gleaming hardwood floors, walk-in attic, smooth ceilings, built-ins, security system, new plumbing, new carpet, fresh neutral paint throughout, gracious entry, lots of closets, updated bathrooms, subway tile backsplash, cozy brick fireplace, charming front porch with slate, delightful patio, and so much more! Welcome guests as they enter through the front door into the gracious entry leading to the living room and kitchen. Spacious, warm and inviting living room and dining room combination comes complete with tons of light beaming in through the wall of windows and a cozy fireplace, perfect for those cold winter nights. Style and utility are masterfully fused together in the wonderful updated eat-kitchen complete with pristine white cabinets, subway tile backsplash, durable tile floors, desirable granite countertops, and a full complement of NEW stainless steel appliances including an oven, range, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer and dryer. Enjoy comfortable everyday living in the captivating great room located off the kitchen featuring built-in shelves and cabinets, wonderful for storing all those extras. This home has two bedrooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, each complete with closets, hardwood floors, and neutral colors. The two updated full bathrooms are enhanced with durable tile floors, new vanities, updated fixtures, and new tub/shower combination with a complete tile surround to the ceiling. Relax outside in the fenced backyard with a nice storage shed and a delightful patio, perfect for cookouts and parties! Do not miss out on this amazing East Memphis home!

Open House 5315 Spruce View Way Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00

by Melissa Thompson

Please join us for an Open House Sunday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00 hosted by Lance Vaughn.

Welcome home to 5315 Spruce View Way, an incredible 4 bedroom home situated on a nice corner lot in the Evergreen Hills Subdivision in Lakeland, that you will have to see to believe. This spacious home offers impressive formal rooms, plus comfortable everyday living spaces. Quality features include gleaming hardwood floors, arched doorways, huge bonus room, smooth ceilings, plantation shutters, granite, stainless steel appliances, laundry room, master suite, fenced yard with covered patio and so much more!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Contact Information

Photo of Melissa Thompson Real Estate
Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620