Year-End Checklist for First Time Homeowners

By: Elizabeth Porter

22772252686_388254b1a5_kCongratulations on your move to homeownership.  As the year comes to a close, we have some advice to help you maximize your benefits of owning.

  1. File for Homestead Exemption

Don’t forget to file that homestead exemption!If you live in your new home full-time, you may be eligible for tax savings on your primary residence.In most cases, you must own and occupy your home by December 31st.

In Florida for example, homestead exemption qualification forms are due March 1 and offer full-time residents a $50,000 reduction in their tax liability.So, if your home is valued at $200,000 and you live out of state and just use the home as a vacation home, you are taxed on the full amount of $200,000. If you live in that same home full-time, as classified by the property appraiser’s guidelines, you may be eligible for a $50,000 reduction, leaving you with being taxed on just $150,000.

Check with your state to verify dates and eligibility requirements.

  1. Check Your Payroll Deductions

Here is a little known secret of hidden savings.As a homeowner, you now get to deduct your property taxes and mortgage interest paid which leads to larger year-end tax returns.Check with your tax professional to review your payroll deductions.You may be able to adjust the amounts you have withheld now that you are a homeowner, giving you more money on each paycheck.

  1. Evaluate Your Mortgage Payment

By now, you should have received an update regarding your improved property tax rate for 2016.  If you operate with an escrow account with your lender, you can compare your current total payment, including your escrow payment versus any potential changes for next year.  Remember, higher tax values means you are also gaining equity and that’s a good thing.

  1. Homeowner Maintenance

At closing, we provided you with a Homeowner Maintenance checklist.  At the change of each season, be sure to take a peek at the manual and do the recommended work to protect your investment.  We are approaching the time of year we’ll be using our heater.  Be sure to check for any gaps in the caulking around your windows to be sure none of your hard-earned heat escapes.  Depending on your geographical region, there are some great tips to keep you informed on ways to avoid damage from sudden, drastic temperature changes.

  1. Celebrate the Good

The holiday season usually gets us all in a good mood.The harsh summer heat is gone and some long holiday weekends are near.Be sure to take some time to reflect back on all the personal achievements you have made this year and celebrate the little things.Not too long ago, you were renting and investing in your landlord’s future.You are now investing in yours and that’s something to celebrate!

Cheers to 2016!

Have questions about building a new home?  We have answers!  Contact

One thought on “Year-End Checklist for First Time Homeowners

  1. Being a new homeowner is exciting! Great tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your home.

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