Real Estate Housing Feed

Americans have again dived into the deep end of the personal debt pool "Americans have now borrowed more money than they had at the height of the credit bubble in 2008, just as the global financial system began to collapse," write Michael Corkery and Stacy Cowley in today's New York Times' DealB%k column. The $12.73 trillion in debt reported in the first quarter of 2017 is comprised mainly of housing-related borrowing. But there is a bit of good news here. Here's hoping that the new residents find being homeowners as sweet as these house warming cupcakes. (Photo by Danl Lurle... Read more →


If you're like me, you're probably spending your Sunday perusing the possibilities for tax code change under the Trump Administration's recently announced plan. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, left, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announce the new administration's tax plan on April 26. Click image for full CNN video report. The document — officially titled "2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs" and officially subtitled "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut in American History" — really is more of an outline. Deleting deductions: Under the proposal's simplification bullet point, the first item is eliminate targeted tax... Read more →


The federal deduction for local property tax payments could be eliminated as part of the Trump Administration's tax reform proposal. I'm trying not to get too worked up about the Trump Administration's recently released tax cut plan. In a past career I worked on Capitol Hill and watched first-hand how tax proposals morphed from concept to actual law. But I still get a little knot in my stomach when I think about losing my state and local tax write-offs when I fill out my federal Form 1040. Wait, you say. You're in Texas. There's no state or local income tax... Read more →


More Americans believe the Trump Administration will hike their taxes rather than cut them, according to a new poll. The CBS News survey found 38 percent believe the president will raise their taxes, 25 percent believe he will lower them and 33 percent think their tax bills won't change. The tax increase belief was strongest among poll participants who made less than $100,000. The telephone poll, conducted between April 21-24 by SSRS of Media, Pennsylvania, was released by CBS News on Wednesday, April 26, the same day that the White House revealed its latest tax reform plan. That tax plan,... Read more →


Happy Earth Day 2017! Maybe you're spending this Saturday simply out enjoying the beauty of Mother Earth. Or perhaps you're participating in the March for Science (the main event in D.C. or satellite marches across the country) to support scientific efforts, including the study of climatology and climate change. Regardless of how you acknowledge Earth Day, thank you for thinking of our planet. In recognition of your commitment to protect and preserve the only place we humans and other creatures have (so far) to live, here are 7 tax saving options that reward energy and environmentally friendly efforts. Let's start... Read more →


Bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, are among the wildflowers that emerged early this year thanks to warmer than normal temperatures. (Photo of a Hill Country patch on March 18, 2017, by Kay Bell) Hello, Spring! You used to be my favorite season, but for the last few years — OK, the last dozen that we've been back in Texas — you've arrived in late February or early March and only lasted about three days. By the time you're official, which was when you clocked in at 6:29 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (5:29 a.m. CDT; I was asleep) today, it... Read more →


Is this how you're feeling today after losing an hour of sleep to the shift to Daylight Saving Time? I'm right there with you. GIF via PR's Tumblrdome Daylight Saving Time (DST), which most of us in the United States switched to overnight by moving our clocks one hour forward, ostensibly was created to make better use of daylight. Basically, for the next seven and half months we'll get more daylight in the evening when we are home from work and/or school. But the annual adjustment of an hour's loss of sleep is difficult for a lot a folks. Every... Read more →


You might have seen the suggestion that you move to lower your tax bill. I love old ads like this one for Dodge commercial trucks courtesy Alden Jewell via Flickr. Folks making this vintage move look much happier than they ever do when relocating in real life. That usually tongue-in-cheek recommendation didn't make my 12 year-end tax moves list, but all y'all are welcome to join me here in no-income-tax Texas. I must warn you, however, that if you buy a home, property taxes could eat up a chunk of what you're saving by not paying state tax on your... Read more →


With Republicans soon to be in control of Congress and the White House, the tax focus has shifted to a major rewrite of the Internal Revenue Code. But this legislative approach means that more than 30 temporary tax provisions will disappear from the tax code on Jan. 1, 2017. Whether they are resurrected in any new tax overhaul depends on how persuasive the various laws' lobbyists are, how committed Senators and Representatives are to streamlining the tax code and how much tax revenue is gained or lost by their continued absence or revival. Extenders usually long lives: These tax laws,... Read more →


Today is officially winter. You know what that means. Taxes. For folks in Michigan, at least. Much of the United States has been in the grips of the Weather Channel named winter storm Decima this month. The Arctic air even dropped down to the Austin area earlier this week, producing a bit of a freeze in our back yard waterfall/stream. (Click image to watch my YouTube video.) OK. Tax collection in the Great Lakes State isn't limited to the coldest months, which are pretty plentiful there. And it's not even limited to one state. Property tax bills, which actually are... Read more →


Taxes are about dollar amounts and dates. April 15 obviously is the biggie. But Dec. 31 is almost as important. The end of a tax year is, for the most part, the last time you can make tax moves that could help lower your coming tax bill. While we all wish we could have Homer Simpson's to-do list, when it comes to taxes, most of us need to take care of some potentially money saving tax tasks by Dec. 31. With the days rapidly dwindling (the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column is tracking them), here... Read more →


Welsh officials are sooooo happy. On Sept. 12, lawmakers in Wales introduced the country's first homegrown tax in 800 years, finally, as a new government fact sheet says, producing "Taxes made in Wales for Wales." Dolwyddelan Castle in Wales, built by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in the early 13th century to watch over one of the valley routes into Gwynedd. It was in the latter part of that century that the Welsh nation last passed a tax law. (Photo by United Kingdom National Archives via Open Government Licensing/Wikipedia) We'll see how long that excitement lasts. I will, however, cut the people... Read more →


Parents want the best schools possible for their kids. Heck, even child-free folks like the hubby and I want good schools. We're counting on the kids roaming our neighborhood getting good educations, then good jobs where they pay into the Social Security that we're planning on collecting in the ever-nearer future. School is back in session, supported in large part by the property taxes that homeowners pay. (Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks via Flickr) But homeowners also hate property taxes. By some measures, it's the most hated tax. So when we get our property tax bills, the largest portion of which tends... Read more →


The next time you think that paying your U.S. taxes stinks, be thankful you're not living in a place where that is literally true. Garbage trucks at Intel Bengaluru, India, offices as dispute over property taxes escalates. (Photo via PublicTV India Twitter feed) Global computer chip maker Intel found out that owing taxes in India can really stink. When workers arrived at Intel's office in Bengaluru, India (some might recognize it as Bangalore) on Monday, Aug. 8, they found loaded garbage trucks parked on the company's campus. The annoyingly aromatic vehicles were directed to the high tech company's facilities in... Read more →


It's been a good couple of years for Philadelphia tourism officials and for folks who rented out their homes to the city's visitors. Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Founding Fathers debated and adopted both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Click image for a montage of other notable Philly sites. (Photo by J. Leon via Wikipedia) Last September, Pope Francis included the City of Brotherly Love in his U.S. visit itinerary. This week, the Democratic National Convention has taken over Philly. Making money-making space: When big events like these are held, many full-time residents decide to literally... Read more →


Short-term residential rentals are seen by most state and local lawmakers as a great tax revenue source, but not in the United States' island paradise. Rather than stay at a resort like Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, some visitors to Hawaii prefer untaxed home share rentals available through Airbnb and other online accommodations brokers. (Photo by Darren Thompson via Flickr CC) Hawaii Gov. David Ige this week vetoed a bill that would have made collection of taxes on Airbnb rentals easier. The veto puts the 50th U.S. state, arguably one of the world's most visited spots, in... Read more →


New York City handed out more than $59 million in residential tax breaks to thousands of deceased individuals and corporations between fiscal years 2011 and 2017. The improper tax benefits were supposed to go as property tax exemptions for senior citizens, according to an audit by the New York City comptroller's office. Around $36 million in tax revenue was lost when the city granted more than 3,000 Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemptions (SCHE) to older property owners who had died, according to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. The same properties, Stringer said during a July 7 press conference announcing the audit findings,... Read more →


Boris Johnson, one of loudest voices calling for Britain's exit from the European Union, or Brexit, is in the spotlight again. The tumult continues across the pond, as Boris Johnson, described by many as the United Kingdom's version of Donald Trump, has now ended, at least temporarily, his political career. Johnson today announced he would not seek the post of Great Britain's Prime Minister. Current PM David Cameron announced his plans to resign that position just hours after the United Kingdom's June 23 vote to leave the European economic confederation was confirmed, essentially telling the pro-Brexit faction, "you broke it,... Read more →


We're still waiting for Donald J. Trump's federal tax returns, but we have received some clarification on his New York condo's property tax bill. This isn't The Donald's Big Apple home, but another apartment for sale with similar views in New York City's Trump Tower. Trump's attorney asked the New York City tax collector to remove a tax break the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had received that typically is awarded only to taxpayers making less than $500,000. The city complied, thereby increasing Trump's tax bill on his Trump Tower condo by $1,046.41, according to The Wall Street Journal. The removed... Read more →


When Crain's New York Business reported in March that self-proclaimed brilliant businessman Donald J. Trump got a tax break available only to folks making $500,000 or less, the ostensible billionaire's people said it was a mistake. If that's true, it's an error that's being repeated. Crain's June 6 online article says that Trump once again received a middle-class tax break on the property tax bill for his luxurious apartment in Trump Tower (pictured at left) on Fifth Avenue. The initial report that Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was poor enough to get a special Big Apple property tax break... Read more →