Federal Disaster Relief Approved for Much of Ohio Following Memorial Day Storms

In a press release dated Tuesday, June 18th, FEMA announced that the President approved federal disaster relief for parts of Ohio impacted by the Memorial Day storms and tornadoes. The information released included the following:

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.  Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters.  Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.   (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.  (Source: FEMA funded; state administered)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.  Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.  (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.  (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.

How to Apply for Assistance:

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.  The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

The City of Trotwood and The HomeOwnership Center Aim for Impact in Trotwood

The City of Trotwood partnered with the HomeOwnership Center to bring homeownership and financial counseling services to Trotwood! That’s right, clients of the HomeOwnership Center and the CCCS can make appointments and receive counseling and other services in Trotwood.

Thanks to an initiative spearheaded by Mayor Mary A. Mc Donald, the city made available the necessary office space in the Trotwood Community and Cultural Arts Center located at 4000 Lake Center Drive, Trotwood, OH 45426. The HomeOwnership Center will provide homeownership and personal finance counselors on Tuesday afternoons. Clients can book appointments with the staff members for counseling on subjects like homebuying, credit counseling, debt management, and more.

Would you like to book an appointment?  Call 938.853.1600.

The New Tax Overhaul Probably Won’t Make a Difference to Your Home Related Taxes.

When we think about taxes issues related to being a homeowner, we usually think of three areas; property taxes, the mortgage interest deduction, and the capital gains tax that comes with selling your home. Right now, with the House and Senate working on a tax overhaul, how will you be affected?

Property taxes – no change here

You currently get to itemize the first $10,000 that you paid in local property taxes on your federal income taxes. For the average family home, you probably never ran up against the upper limit. As a matter of fact, in most states only 3% of homeowners ever exceeded the $10,000 limit. Think big expensive homes and expensive costal states. The tax overhaul bills passed in the House and Senate maintain the same $10,000 limit.

Mortgage interest deduction – only a potential issue if you own an expensive home

Here we see differences between the House and Senate bills. In the House version, families can only itemize the first $500,000 in mortgage interest while the Senate version retains the current $1,000,000 limit. We will have to see how the upper limit changes after the House and Senate complete their negotiations on the final version of the law. However, it’s safe to say that the average homeowner will still be able to itemize the full amount of their mortgage interest.

Capital gains tax – you be the judge

Currently, when you have a capital gain (a profit from the sale of your property) on the sale of your home, you don’t have to pay taxes on any gain under $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a family…as long as you have lived in that home for 2 of the 5 previous years. Both the House and Senate versions of the tax overhaul bill would change the time requirement for living in your home to 5 years. With the change, if you’ve lived in your home less than 5 years and sell it, you will have to pay taxes on the capital gains that come from the sale.

What will be the impact of the change in the capital gains tax? In a recent study, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that approximately 25% of home sales occur before the homeowner has been in the home for 5 years. This is likely to change. More homeowners will probably stay in their homes the full 5 years to avoid paying the tax. Have you lived in your home for less than 5 years? Under the new tax bill, you probably won’t want to accept that job offer that requires you to sell your home and relocate, unless the job comes with a very big raise.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Unless you own an expensive home or plan on moving before you’ve been in your home for at least 5 years, and you itemize your deductions, you probably won’t see any changes in taxes related to homeownership.  That’s great news for most of us. What about your income taxes? Well, that’s another story entirely.

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

Are you a homeowner that is struggling to keep your home from going into foreclosure?

County Corp and The HomeOwnership Center are hosting a FREE foreclosure prevention workshop that brings many of the area’s foreclosure prevention experts into one place. This is the perfect opportunity for you to learn about home-saving resources and to get your questions answered.


Central State University
Dayton Auditorium
40 Germantown Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402


February 22nd
5:00 – 8 :00 PM

Here is what we’ll cover:

-Foreclosure and mitigation options
-The Save the Dream Ohio mortgage assistance program
–Financial Literacy programs
Unemployment and underemployment resources
-Upcoming Issues – Healthcare

Light refreshments and beverages will be served. Door prizes and raffles (4 chances to win 2-hrs of Budgeting Assistance, a Budget Tools Basket, and four $10 gas cards)


Estimating the Cost of Utilities for Your New Home

Google “new home budget” and you are likely to see a listing of web sites that show you how much it will cost you to buy a new home. That’s really great information that you should understand before buying a home. However, the actual cost of the home is only part of what it will cost you to live in the home. One of the most overlooked expenses of living in a home is the amount of money you will have to spend on utilities each month. So, how can you estimate the cost of utilities for your new home?

Ask for utility bills

Have your real estate agent ask for the home’s utility bills for the last twelve months from the current owner. Utility bills can vary greatly from one owner to another based upon variables like the number of people living in the house and the energy efficient mindset of the owner.  Still, this request gives you the actual costs of heating cooling, and powering the home in the recent past.

Call the utility companies

Many companies will give you the average utility cost for the last twelve months. All that you need to do is provide them with the address.

Get an energy audit

If you would like to go one step further, you can conduct an energy audit of your new home. Contact your local energy provider and ask about their energy audit programs. Professional auditors will use tools such as infrared cameras and blower doors to look for energy leaks. They will then make recommendations that will improve your home’s energy efficiency.

With a minimal amount of effort, you can get a good estimate of what your energy costs will be in a new home as well as learn steps that you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency.