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Tax Tips for Homeowners

by Colleen Lawler

Don't you just love thinking about taxes?  It gives me a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach!  Every year, I find myself kicking myself wishing I had given a little more time and energy at the BEGINNING of the year to prudent tax planning. 

Owning a home does have tax advantages.  They aren't set in stone, and they can and do change, but here are items to remember as you prepare to file your 2011 taxes.  If you bought a home this year, congratulations, you'll have more deductions!

  Remember to consult your tax advisor about what expenses you can deduct:

  • Mortgage interest and real estate taxes.  Washington keeps kicking around the idea of removing or modifying the mortgage interest dedutction...NOT a good idea in my humble opinion!
  • If you bought your home this year, deduct any money you paid toward points or origination fees.  You can find this on your closing statement, or your loan documents...if you can't find those, contact your real estate agent or your loan officer!
  • If you have an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less, you may be able to deduct premiums for PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance).  This is only allowed on loans that originated after December 31, 2006 and before January 1, 2011.
  • If you moved 50 miles or more for a new job, deduct packing, moving and storage of your your household goods
  • Remember to keep all receipts of permanent home improvements AND mortgage closing costs...they can be figured into the adjusted cost basis of your home when you go to sell.  Right now you are not subject to capital gains tax on sale profit of $500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for single owners, but I bet that will change in the future - that's when you will need these expenses!
  • If you did a short sale on your primary residence this year, the debt discharged by your lender may be excluded from your taxable income.  If you are considering a short sale, please please please talk to legal and tax advisors!
  • Green Tax credits include insulation, windows, heating and cooling systems and water heaters...high efficiency refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers.  It's my understanding that this expires December 31, so if that hot water heater or washer or fridge is limping along, you might want to head out to the appliance store today.  I think I have a coupon for Lowes...I can email it to you if you contact me today!

 

 

Forecasting The 2012 Housing Market

by Colleen Lawler

     Believe it or not, there are more than a few forecasts that the real estate market is showing signs of life.  Stephen Kim at Barclays Capital says "...the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place."  Even a very modest rebound could be very easily derailed, but here are some factors the experts are taking into consideration:  Rents are rising enough to consider buying, inventory levels are lower, affordability is at a record high, delinquencies may be peaking, job growth is slowly accelerating, and consumer confidence is also better than it has been. 

     In the St Louis market, some areas will continue to struggle with falling values in the new year.  In areas where inventory remains high and higher foreclosure rates prevail, it will be some time before values stabilize.  Overall though, the number of homes sold has risen steadily year to date compared with last year, and declining prices do show an encouraging trend. 

     There are very good opportunities to buy and sell right now, but buying is certainly a lot more fun that selling!  The old adage "it's both a price war and beauty pageant" has never been more true.  This is a "shoulda-coulda-woulda time, where people will look back and wish they had taken advantage of current interest rates to either upsize or downsize into a great home. 

    

This Weekend Around St Louis

by Colleen Lawler

·        Red Cross Blood Drive  Friday, Dec 9, 2011, 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM KSHE 95 St Louis College of Health Careers | West County ·

        Holiday ZootiqueFriday, December 9, 2011, 9:00 AM Shop in The Living World for unique gift ideas, ornaments and much more.·        The Rat Pack: Live at the Sands

  - The Fabulous Fox Theatre'The Rat Pack' brilliantly recreates the ultimate meeting of three legendary performers. In 1960, while filming the casino robbery caper 'Ocean's Eleven' in Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra got together a group of his closest buddies for impromptu concerts at the Sands Hotel. The Sands is no longer, and Frank, Sammy and Dean have left us, but 'The Rat Pack' transports you back to that moment in popular music history that has never been equaled.·       

Clint Black....Friday, Dec 9, 2011, 8:00 PM Lumiere Place | Downtown

        THE ONE-HOUR IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFEMagic Smoking Monkey Theatre presents a parody of the holiday classic...for audiences with short attention spans. Enjoy the...laughter, tears and heartwarming holiday fun as George Bailey battles the evil Mr. Potter and his army of orcs and trolls.
.Friday, Dec 9, 2011, 10:30 PM - 11:30 PM  LindenwoodUniversity·

         Ambassadors of Harmony Sounds of the Season  University of Missouri - St. Louis Social Sciences and... | Mid-County NorthAll Day,
A beloved St. Louis tradition. The first half of the show is an energetic look at the lighter side of Christmas. Then the chorus puts its heavenly harmonies on classic carols and songs. 8:00 p.m. (9-10), 2:00 p.m. (10-11), 7:00 p.m. (11) www.touhill.org, (314) 516-4949·        

Good VibrationsFriday, December 9, 2011, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM A one-night art opening, Good Vibrations will feature work by twenty-one undergraduate artists majoring in sculpture at Washington University in St. Louis. Independently organized and curated by the sculpture majors, this exhibition is a culmination of their work from this past semester. The pieces shown will demonstrate an exploration of a variety of media and concepts. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the artists while enjoying food and drink.

       Sunday, Dec 11…. Noon – 4pmHoliday Photos (with or without) Santa (Pets or their Humans) – featuring Pamela Parker PhotographyOne Lucky Mutt & Happy Go Lucky Outfitters2414-16 Taylor Road – Wildwood, Mo 63040Sitting Fee: $10 / includes ONE photo(cash or check preferred)Order additional photos online – choose from a variety of poses and backgrounds

Christmas Tree Hunting And an Art and Crafts Fair and More!

by Colleen Lawler

Lafayette High School in Wildwood is holding the Lander Marketplace Arts and Crafts Fair Saturday December 3rd from 9 - 4, and Sunday December 4th from 11 - 4.

Celebrate the season at 3 local, women owned businesses that have come together to offer 15% off your entire purchase at each store.  The Dream house and Tea Room, Mary Tuttles, and Three French Hens.  http://www.dreamhouseandtearoom.com/email.html

Dine with Santa, Breakfast or Dinner!

http://www.stlzoo.org/home/pagearchive/breakfastwithsanta

 

If you are looking for a place to chop your own fresh Christmas tree, here are some farms near St Louis:

Heritage Valley Tree Farm  636-239-7479

1668 Four Mile Road, Washington Mo.  This family farm only takes cash and checks, so leave your credit card at home!  Open weekends until Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Brushy Fork Pines  636-668-6084

228 S Lindsay Road, Old Monroe, Mo.  Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and kids run this family farm.  Open 9 a.m. to sunset weekends until Christmas.

 

 

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Contact Information

Photo of Colleen Lawler & The IrvineTeam Real Estate
Colleen Lawler & The IrvineTeam
Coldwell Banker Gundaker
111 Chesterfield Towne Centre
Chesterfield MO 63005
Office: 636-391-2100
Toll Free: 800-791-3276
Fax: 636-536-3018