Nobody likes getting tax bills, especially homeowners who are burdened with ever-escalating local property taxes.
Americans are awash in record amounts of equity in their homes, posing the question for millions: So what do we do with it?
In an era of unceasing horror stories about breaches of sensitive consumer information, here’s some disquieting news for homebuyers: Federal auditors say the popular “tax transcript” program run by the IRS and used by millions of mortgage applicants a year lacks adequate security protections against disclosures of tax-return details to people who shouldn’t be allowed to obtain them.
Call them the frustrated wannabe sellers – eager to list their homes for sale this spring, but feeling locked out of their markets by severe inventory shortages and rising prices that are occurring in many parts of the country.
It’s one of the weirder documented facts about homebuying in America: Surprising numbers of consumers don’t bother to shop for mortgage money, even though they could save tens of thousands of dollars through lower interest payments by doing so.
It’s official: Despite widespread fears to the contrary, the IRS has clarified that last year’s big tax bill did not kill all interest deductions on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and equity loans.
You’ve probably never heard of a “mortgage trigger lead.” But as a consumer, you might be shocked to learn that in an era of massive data breaches and hacks – witness the Equifax debacle – they even exist.
Call it buried tax treasure for homeowners: Deep inside the behemoth 654-page bipartisan budget bill recently signed into law by President Donald Trump are little-noticed extensions of key tax-code benefits that expired in 2016, but now can be used for upcoming 2017 tax filings.
Could predatory lending practices affecting veterans also be inflating interest rates paid by thousands of unsuspecting homebuyers using FHA loans?
Were fears overblown that changes to the federal tax law would trigger plunging home values?
Many mortgage applicants have never heard of “rapid rescoring” or CreditXpert score simulations – in part because some lenders choose not to educate them.
The practice is called “greenwashing” and home shoppers need to be on guard: It means a house is being marketed as environmentally friendly and energy-saving when it doesn’t really deserve that description.
Whether you already own a home or are thinking of purchasing, the new tax legislation pending before Congress poses serious questions: Am I going to get smacked with punitive new taxes? Will the value of my home decrease because previous real estate tax benefits have been stripped away? Or am I one of the lucky ones, well insulated against big losses?
Here’s an important question for anyone hoping to buy a home next year but who isn’t quite confident about qualifying for a mortgage: Is it true that lenders have eased up on certain key requirements, making it simpler for first-time buyers and others who can’t pass all the strict tests to get approved?
If you hoped that Senate Republicans would treat homeowners and buyers more kindly in their tax overhaul plans than their colleagues did in the House, you were an optimist. It didn’t happen.
In this year of horrendous cyberheists – Equifax the most prominent – you’ve probably taken at least a few precautions: changed passwords, stopped opening files and links from unknown senders, upgraded your computer security measures, maybe put a freeze on your credit reports.
The political jostling and frenetic lobbying on Capitol Hill over the Republican tax overhaul bill are producing unexpected developments that could prove important to homeowners, sellers and buyers.
A recent legal settlement between the federal government and a title insurance agency is drawing fresh attention to one of the murkiest, least understood and most expensive items you get charged for in a real estate closing: title insurance.
Fraud in connection with home mortgages is on the rise, ranging from little white lies about the intended use of the property all the way up to much more sophisticated schemes.
If you’ve been pondering how you as a homeowner or buyer might fare under the new Republican tax overhaul plan, here are a few points to consider.