In 2017, House Financial Services leadership announced that the flood insurance reform would be a priority. The flood program was going to expire on September 30th, in 2017. However, several controversial reform bills were introduced that stalled in Congress. Once the 2017 hurricane season hit, Congress changed focus which led to multiple short term extensions of the flood program. 2018 saw many extensions which turned into program lapses and more week-long extensions.
Flood Insurance Reform
New Tax Laws Trigger Moves to More Affordable Florida
Who doesn't love living near or on the beach, close to Disney and Universal Studios, or in a nice tropical paradise filled with rivers, beautiful nature, and tons of activities for the family (no matter their taste)? The obvious answer is nobody; Florida is a giant mixing pot for many reasons. People from other states are more frequently deciding that Florida is perfect for them, not just because of the things listed above, but for the fact that it is more affordable; Especially those in high tax states.
Tax Returns for 2018 are a Little Different
Doing your taxes from 2018 could look slightly different than it did last year. There were more than 600 rule changes that took place by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was passed by Congress in late 2017. Those changes also made industry experts concerned because of the government shutdown on December 22nd of 2018. However, this was resolved by President Trump announcing that the Government will partially be up and running on January 25th, making it possible for taxes to be filed as early as the 28th. Tax filers need to understand that it won't be the usual system used in previous years due to the changes.
Wire Fraud is on the Rise
Scammers will do whatever it takes to get their hands on your hard earned money. For a scammer to trick individuals, they must first gain trust. However, why make you believe what they are selling when they can act like someone you know? Recently they have been doing just that, using emails disguised as coming from someone you are doing business with, and then following up with a text message from the same area code or close to yours, claiming to be the same individual. These numbers close to yours might make you want to answer the call or text, but you should always be confident of their identity before giving away any valuable information or making important decisions.
What's Coming in 2019?
The economy will experience ups, downs, and plateaus in 2019. After a well rounded 2018, how will 2019 fare against it? Well, professionals are saying not that great. This year will be slowed, not drastically, but we should expect numbers to go down. You can not expect numbers to stay high forever. This is just economic nature; like a roller coaster, it goes up and down.
Top Florida Real Estate Stories of 2018
SETCO stays on top of real estate stories and wants our clients to stay in the know as well. Florida Realtors website chose to cover some of the top stories of 2018. Being about anything from Hurricane Michael to cuts in business rent tax, these stories are ones to read.
Mortgage Rates Had A Record Drop As of November
Long-term mortgage rates in the U.S. had the biggest recorded drop in nearly four years in the month of November. Although they have hit a record drop, they still remain much higher than they were a year ago. Either way, SETCO is ready to help our clients with their closings whether they mortgage rates be high or low.
Who Needs Black Friday When You Have December 26th?
Everyone knows about Black Friday, but not everyone knows about December 26th. If you are like us and do not want to battle the crowds and craziness that comes with Black Friday, then December 26th is the day for you. According to researchers, home buyers who are looking for a great deal should wait until the day after Christmas.
SETCO Helps Clients Prepare to Buy Their Homes
Here at SETCO we are prepared to help our clients buy their dream home whether it be for the experienced or beginner homebuyer. A great way to prepare yourself to buy a house is lowering your 2018 tax bill. The tax overhaul law, which was signed into law late last year, created $1.5 trillion in tax cuts but did not help with making the filing process simpler.
Checking your withholding and updating your W-4 can be used to help avoid large balances. Knowing whether you have the right amount of tax held back from your paycheck can be beneficial when knowing whether you have enough money to buy a house. It is also said that taxpayers should focus on the “use-it-or-lose-it” type planning opportunities. Taxpayers should aim to maximize contributions to their available retirement plans. Additional contributions to your retirement plan can be made if you are of age 50 or older. Retirement plans can include buying a house or condo, which is why it is crucial never to pass over an opportunity to maximize your revenue to that. Any funds that are not used by the end of the year will be lost, so it is essential to make sure that you are taking advantage of these leftover funds.
The new tax law also doubled the standard deduction to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for those who are married and file jointly. This means that starting in 2019, more than 90 percent of taxpayers will claim the standard deduction. These deductions are crucial to take into account when deciding whether you want to buy a home or not, even if it is not your first time around.
If you are looking to reduce your estate tax exposure, you can give up to $15,000 to an unlimited number of beneficiaries a year without decreasing their lifetime estate tax exclusion amount or paying a gift tax. If your tax rate is high, consider boosting your and your spouse's 401(k) contributions and/or IRA contributions. On the other hand, if you are in a loss position, consider converting IRA or 401(k) assets to a Roth IRA.
Each of these things is valuable to take into consideration when buying a new home. With the end of the year coming up and taxes being filed, these things are heavy on everyone’s mind. SETCO helps our clients with these things while also helping them with their closing on a new home.