Tips to prepare your budget before buying a home

PHILADELPHIA – Nov. 20, 2017 – It’s virtually impossible to know what size home you can afford if you aren’t fully aware of how much money you are earning and how much you are spending each month.
Start with your income: How much do you bring home after taxes and retirement plan contributions?
Next, look at your expenses: What are your necessary expenses? How much are you paying each month toward your debt? What additional expenses do you have that wouldn’t be deemed “necessary?” How much money do you have left (if any)?
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National flood insurance extended for three months

WASHINGTON – Sept. 13, 2017 – On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Senate voted to pass a three-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that was scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2017; and on Friday, Sept. 8, the House of Representatives passed the legislation and President Trump signed the bill into law later on that same day.
For real estate practitioners, the pressure to close all deals that required flood insurance before Sept. 30 is off and transactions can proceed under their normal time schedules.
For Realtors, it means the National Association of Realtors® (NAR)’ Call for Action has also ended, concluding on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
However, the three-month extension was not NAR’s initial goal. The association had first pushed for a longer extension and necessary changes to keep NFIP viable. NAR says it will continue those legislative advocacy efforts for the 21st Century Flood Reform Act until the long-term reauthorization and reform bill is enacted.
“Extending the National Flood Insurance Program was a must-do item, and Congress delivered,” says NAR President William E. Brown. “That’s good news for consumers, as well as an opportunity for proponents of meaningful reform. With a short extension on their side, leaders in the House and Senate should continue work on the 21st Century Flood Reform Act to strengthen the NFIP and ensure the long-term certainty that current and future homeowners demand.”
© 2017 Florida Realtors

Buyer – Questionnaire

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How to claim Florida as your state of residence to save on taxes

NEW YORK – June 13, 2017 –
Question: I live in New York. If I buy a second home in Florida, can I count Florida as my residence for state tax purposes?
Answer: Maybe, and claiming the Sunshine State as your permanent residence could save you a lot of money. Florida has no state income tax, whereas New York has a top income tax rate of 8.92%. But you can’t just tap your heels together to make it happen.
And tax officials in states that are home to a lot of snowbirds – New York and Minnesota in particular – have become more aggressive about going after people they consider taxpaying residents.
State laws vary, but in general, you need to be able to prove that you intend to make the low-tax state your permanent home, says Rocky Mengle, a senior analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.
The easiest way to do that is to sell your place up north and move down south. Of course, for many retirees, it’s not that simple. You may want to keep the northern home in your family or return there during the summer months. If that’s your plan, be prepared to keep meticulous records that will demonstrate your devotion to your new state.
Prove it. First, you’ll need to show that you spend more than half the year – 183 days – in the state you claim as your domicile (that is, the place you consider your permanent home). That’s the basis for most state definitions of residency for tax purposes. But don’t expect state tax auditors to take your word for it. Keep a diary or log showing the number of days you spend in each state during the year, says Tim Steffen, director of financial planning for Robert W. Baird.
In the past, snowbirds could use plane tickets to show they were gone more than six months, but that may no longer suffice, says Terry LaBant, senior wealth strategist for Calamos Wealth Management in Naperville, Ill. State tax auditors may claim that such tickets only show where you were the day you left New York for Florida and the day you returned, but not all of the days in between, he says.
Next, take steps to show that you’re committed to your new state. Register to vote and, if you receive a jury summons, perform your civic duty. Apply for a library card, and change your driver’s license and car registration. You’ll strengthen your case if you hook up with health care providers in your new location.
Open an account at a local bank, and keep receipts of ATM withdrawals, LaBant says. Shopping locally is also a good idea: State tax auditors sometimes review credit card records to determine where you were during the year. One of LaBant’s clients, who had homes in New Jersey and Florida, was questioned by New Jersey tax auditors about purchases his wife made from a retailer in New Jersey. Fortunately, the client was able to produce records that showed the items had been ordered and shipped to the couple’s Florida home.
In some cases, your adopted state will help you prove residency. You can show your intent to live in Florida, for example, by filing a Declaration of Domicile with your local county court.
As you take steps to establish residency in a new state, you should also start to cut ties with the old one. Avoid taking advantage of benefits that are limited to state residents. For example, if you claim a homestead exemption for property taxes on your first home, state tax officials could use that to show that you’re still a resident and thus owe state taxes. Even checking the “resident” box on a state fishing license could be used as proof that you didn’t really intend to leave your northern home for good.
Copyright © 2017, Sandra Block, senior associate editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The Kiplinger Washington Editors.
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New Homes – Buyers: Act Now As Prices Could Go Up.

New construction, new communities are booming in the Naples area. Many new communities are under development or are going to be released soon in  Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero.

Some builders are offering nice incentives for buyers, but this trend may end soon, as the prices for new construction could start to go higher soon. If prices are going up soon, it can be also a good way for buyers to consider resale properties too.

View Article: New-home buyers: Act now before prices go up

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