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.

Where?

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

When?

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.

Ready to Make Some Home Improvements?

May is National Home Improvement Month and chances are that you are thinking of tackling some home improvement projects all on your own. Many homeowners want to take on home projects to add value or simply make it their own.  If you are one of the growing number of American homeowners that are rolling up their sleeves, our hats are off to you. Go for it.

You can save a lot of money by putting on your DIY (Do It Yourself) hat and putting some sweat equity into your home. However, the downside is that, if you don’t know what you are doing, you could end up with less than perfect work or even cause damage to your home. So, how do you know which jobs you can do yourself and which projects are better given to someone that knows what they are doing? Here are a few questions to ask before you start swinging that sledge hammer.

Do you have the skills required to do the work?

Many jobs seem deceptively simple until you get into the project and find that you don’t know how to finish the job. When this happens, you end up needing to call in a professional to finish the job or much worse, undo the damage you caused and start all over again. If you wanted to DIY in order to save money, you might end up costing yourself a lot of extra money instead.

For example, you might feel comfortable replacing a light switch or installing a ceiling fan. However, do you have the skills needed to take on plumbing jobs?

If you don’t know where to start on a project, call in a friend or family member that knows what they are doing and get their advice. Remember those YouTube videos? They really are great for small projects.

Do you have the right tools?

Nothing makes a project go easier than having the right tool for the job. For instance, do you want to refinish those wonderful oak floors that were a big selling feature for your home? You probably don’t have a big floor sander lying around in your garage. You should plan on renting the tools and equipment that you don’t own or can’t borrow from your friends and neighbors. Be sure that you have the skills and knowledge required to safely operate the tools.

Does the job require a permit?

If the work requires that you seek a permit, this might be a big sign that you should hire a professional. Permit jobs often require inspections and advanced skills. A professional will know how to handle the permit process as well as how to complete the job safely and with the quality you want.

Do you have the time and energy?

You have the skills and knowledge you need. You have the tools required to do the job. Are your ready to finish the job?

Let’s say that you want to do a bathroom make over. You have the skills to paint walls, replace the cabinets, install a new sink, and re-tile the shower area. Great! However, are you willing to live with the mess and can you do without the bathroom for the three or four of weekends it might take you to finish the job on your own? If not, tap your pool of friends and ask them to help. Your project will go faster, and you will have a great time getting it finished.

Are there some jobs that you should never do on your own?

There sure are.

  • You don’t want to get involved with hazardous materials like asbestos or lead paint. Leave those to professionals.
  • You should never work on your home’s gas system. Call your gas company instead.
  • You should be very cautious of working on your roof.
  • If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t work with electricity.

Here are some final thoughts about DIY projects for you to consider.

DIY home improvement projects can be rewarding. You feel good about doing the job on your own. You can save money and you can make your home look and feel just the way you want. You might even be able to add value to your home. Our advice is to be honest with yourself. Don’t start projects that you are not qualified to complete safely or that you can’t do well. Otherwise, go ahead and get to work.  Flex your home improvement muscles. You just might be surprised at what you can do on your own.