Monday, February 2, 2015

Feb. 'News & Views' Newsletter-TAX SEASON

Featuring our monthly newsletter, with helpful tax season tips! Save money with deductions and spend your returns on home improvement projects that increase the value of your home. Let us know if you'd like to subscribe! :) We always put helpful Real Estate tips in the content, and purdy pictures, too! Visit to contact us or reply in the comments box below. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Extreme Dream Homes

Holy Real Estate! Some people aren't satisfied with your typical single-family dwelling, and that’s okay. Certain people thirst to put their own artisan touch on the architecture and design of the home. Sometimes they even take on a whole construction project with an ethereal vision of something they can truly call their own. Some of these projects are a little too intimidating for the likes of us, but we are glad they exist to charm us far beyond a state of tickled-pinkness! Here are three such projects.

1. Project 1-Le Manois Exquis

Once upon a time (November, 2013), an Australian couple pursued their life-long dreams by purchasing a mid-eighteenth-century French château (Château de Gudanes) nestled by the arms of the Pyrénées Mountains in Château-Verdun, France.

Craig and Karina Waters took on this daunting project out of love and determination, grasping tightly a vision of returning the greatness of what “has-been” to what “could-be”, or better, what “will-be” <(that’s us putting faith in their colossal vision).

Watch the charming video below to experience the conception of their journey. The video captures the magnetism and old-world beauty of the surrounding village, nature, and of course the chateau itself.

2. Project 2-Ye Olde Paper Mill

This one is from HGTV’s ‘Extreme Homes’. A young Holyoke, Mass., couple turns an Industrial-textile paper mill into a 10,000-square-foot home! Melissa and Rich Cooper got the home for a fraction of the price of a regular home in the area, so they spent the extra cash on a massive renovation-of-their-dreams.  

The two own their own masonry business, and so touches of their bricklaying expertise can be seen throughout the home. Melissa also had fun with some personal artwork on a couple of the walls and doors. We can’t find any photos of the project or the couple online, so please accept our apologies. 

Check this video out, the result is just as quirky and endearing as their personalities! 

3. Living the High Life
(  (Photo Credits: Blue Forest)

Brothers Andy and Simon Payne are have turned their boyhood adventures into a career with their England-based tree-house building business, ‘Blue Forest’. The two grew up in Kenya where nature was their playground. Now, they build tree houses for anyone, any age. If you've always wanted to live in a tree house as an adult, behold your builders!  (Well, if you don't mind travelling to the U.K. to get the process started).

The only problem we would have with this is fighting the squirrels, monkeys (depending on where you live), tree snakes, and birds for territory. Also, what happens if you fall down and break a limb, tree or otherwise? Would they have to send a MEDEVAC flight to save you? It all seems so dubious, but so exciting! Check out their video, featuring all sorts of high-life whimsy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tax Season: The Best Time to Be a Homeowner

Now that tax season is here, it’s time to rejoice, all ye homeowners! You have the freedom and (possibly) extra cash coming your way to afford cosmetics, furnishings, fixes, and renovations.

The key to this freedom and (possible) cash is filling out your itemized deductions under Schedule A in the dreaded 1040 long form, which can be found here.
If you pay property taxes under your local or state government, great news—you may deduct them and any real estate taxes you pay. Also, a portion of your monthly mortgage may be deducted on your tax return. The interest is what’s deductible. The requirement is that you must stay in that home for at least 14 days per year (or more than 10% of the days it’s rented annually). If you fail to meet this requirement, it may be that the IRS has classified your home as a rental property and not a second home. Even more rules apply if the latter is the case.

Points may also be deducted which are calculated based on IRS’ criteria, usually loan origination fees, loan discount, discount points, or maximum loan charges. The full amount of points gathered annually may not be deducted in the full amount, so be sure to check out the IRS’ guidelines on points.
Mortgage interest, discount points, and origination fees are called the “big 3” mortgage write-offs.


If you have a VA home loan, you may be eligible for different deductions found under IRS Publication 530.  For instance, you may be able to deduct interest through a VA cash-out refinance loan, which would enable vets with credit card debt to reduce their high interest to low-interest for their home loans. Vets benefit doubly from using this program because not only can they reduce their monthly payments, but they can also deduct the mortgage interest. Also, be sure to check out the rules for capital gains. Most married homeowners (filing jointly) can sell their home every two years tax-free. Since service members typically move every couple of years, this is a very handy thing to keep in mind for when you put that VA loan to use!

If you need specific guidance on filing your tax return, contact a tax advisor or read up on the regulations in IRS Publication 936, which can be found here. Or, if you have any questions at all pertaining to this blog or anything else, please give us a call at (210) 566-6355. We can't guarantee we'll have the answer to questions like, "who was the speaker of the house in 1932?" or, "how does the theory of relativity apply to space travel?", but we'll definitely be able to help you with your real estate needs! We value all of you, and good luck on your taxes this year! Happy filing! :)