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Lending

4 game changers for selling homes this tax season

To deduct or not to deduct?

February 26, 2014

New-homes sales reached a five-year high Wednesday morning, showing that buyers are still jumping into the market.

As mortgage rates start to rise and home prices stay solid, some level of pent-up demand is still hitting the market.

But this is the not only catalyst pushing homeowners into the market.

Kay Bell, Bankrate’s tax expert, outlines four game changers for homeowners that lenders and real estate agents can use when trying to sell a home.

With tax day less than two months away, it gives real estate agents and lenders extra reasons to help incentivize buyers.

1. Mortgage Interest: Homeowners can deduct mortgages under $1 million, and while everyone is pretty aware of this one, Bell explained, the key is to make sure you get the right amount. “If you accidently write down the wrong number, it could cause problems,” Bell said.

2. Property Tax: Property taxes are one of the most hated because there is not a lot you can really do about it, she said. However, people do have control over the timing. Leverage when you file your property tax so that it will fall in the year that it will do you the most good, Bell said.

3. Points: While this has not been a big deal recently, it is still an option for people and is one people overlook a lot since they look at it as just the price of doing business. These are deductible — in the year that you paid for a new purchase, or over the life of the loan for a refinancing, Bell said. “As the market heats up, points are going to be more of a consideration,” she added.

4. Not everything is deductible: Buying a home comes with a lot of different variables but not all of them are deductible. Some parts, like home hazard insurance, are just part of buying a homes.

However, Bell did note that right now is an important time for these tax deductions. “Congress is starting to think about tax reform again and any kind of tax break in there is at least thrown out there,” she said.

She said she does not think anything will happen before November, but 2015 will likely be a pivotal time for changes.