Katie McBride's Blog
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Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future.
One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?
The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.
What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?
There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.
Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.
9 Hazel Road, Hopkinton, MA 01748
If you work from home either full or part-time, you may want to give the home office deduction a go on your taxes. The problem with this deduction is that it can be tricky.
Are You Eligible?
Your workspace needs to meet the criteria for business use. You need to use your work space regularly and as your principal place of business. If you don’t work from home as a self-employed individual, your employer must require you to work from home due to a lack of office space or other circumstances. The keywords in this part of the clause are “exclusively, regularly, and must.”
First, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of your home that’s used for business. This means that if your office is 100 square feet and your home is 1,000 square feet, you use 10% of your home for business. If you own the space you’re living in, you can deduct 10% of the mortgage interest that you pay each month. Keep in mind that you can’t double dip either. This means the amount of mortgage interest that you deduct on other parts of your taxes is reduced. If you rent your home, you’d deduct the percentage off of your monthly rental payments.
Home Office Maintenance
If you own your home, you are able to deduct a portion of your property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses that are associated with your home office space. These expenses vary because some are direct such as the expense of you painting your office. Others are indirect. Home insurance applies to your entire home, so you would only apply a portion of that to a deduction. For the direct expenses, you are able to deduct the entire cost.
For the indirect expenses, you’ll go back to applying the percentage of your home that is used for work. This means if we’re working with a 10% figure, you are able to deduct 10% of your utilities, 10% of your home insurance premiums, and so on.
If you rent, you can still deduct many of the same things that homeowners can from your taxes for a home office expenditure. The only thing that you’ll lack as a renter is the ability to write off things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. Know that you’ll be able to write off a portion of your renter’s insurance.
The Complicated Stuff: Depreciation
You are able to depreciate the value of a home office as your home ages. It’s not always necessary to do this, so you should consult your tax professional before you decide to make this type of deduction. Equipment in your office, such as your computer, can be claimed as a depreciation over time as well.
The important thing when it comes to your home office tax deduction is to do your homework. You don’t want to miss out on important savings!