Real Estate

Reduce your property taxes

Posted on Feb 14, 2018

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, deductions of state, local and property taxes are not worth as much as they used to be. Beginning in 2018, taxpayers are limited to a total of $10,000 in combined state income, sales and property taxes as an itemized deduction. One way you can try to adapt is by lowering your property tax bill. Believe it or not, there is a way. Why you may need a property tax reassessment Property taxes are the revenue lifeblood of cities, counties, school districts and states, and they fluctuate along with house prices. Because local governments are eager to collect more tax revenue, they are quick to get property values assessed higher when times are good. But they aren’t as quick to get values lowered again when the economy falters. As a result, over time your property value tends to creep up without downward corrections. When added to increased property tax rates, your bill today can be much higher than in the past. What you can do about it If you dread the annual letter informing you that your property tax is going to go up again, one thing you can try is to approach your local assessor and ask for a property revaluation. Here are some ideas to successfully reduce your home’s appraised value: Understand process and due dates. Do some homework to understand the approved process to get your property revalued. It is typically outlined on your property tax statement. Understand the deadlines and adhere to them. Assess your property. Do some homework before you call your assessor. Talk to neighbors and honestly assess the amount of disrepair your property may be in versus other comparable properties in your neighborhood. Call a few real estate professionals. Tell them you would like a market review of your property. Try to choose a professional that will not overstate the value of your home hoping to get a listing, but will show you comparable sales for your area. Check the classification. Look at your property classification in the detailed description of your home. Oftentimes errors in this code can overstate the value of your home. For instance, if you live in a condo that was converted from an apartment, the property value could still be based on a non-owner occupied rental basis. Understand first, then clarify your position. Armed with the information you’ve collected, approach the assessor seeking first to understand the basis of their appraisal. Then position your request for a review based on the facts. Do not fall into the trap of defending your review request without first having all the information on your property. Estimate a reasonable value. Suggest a reasonable valuation to the assessor. Assessors are so used to irrational arguments, that they may readily accept a reasonable approach. Get an appraisal, if necessary. If all else fails and you still believe your home is overvalued, consider spending the money for an independent appraisal. This option could be expensive, but can provide a fairly decent defense of your position. You should be able to recoup the cost of the appraisal with many years of lower property taxes. While going through this process, remember to be aware of the pressure that these local tax authorities are under to raise revenue. This understanding can help temper your position and hopefully put you in a better position to have your case heard. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Don’t say yes to a reverse mortgage until you read this

Posted on Feb 5, 2018

What is a reverse mortgage? As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is the opposite of a traditional mortgage. With a traditional mortgage, you borrow a sum of money to purchase a home and then pay off the debt over time. With a reverse mortgage, you receive loan proceeds (as a lump-sum payout, an annuity, a line of credit or a combination of all three) but make no payments as long as you reside in the property. The loan, with any accrued interest, comes due when you move out or pass away. To qualify for a reverse mortgage you need to be 62 or older, own your residence and generally have significant equity in your home. Unfortunately, reports of abuse regarding aggressive and predatory sales practices are common. Here are a few items to analyze if you’re thinking about a reverse mortgage: Determine if a reverse mortgage is logical for your situation. Evaluate alternatives. Conventional solutions such as a home-equity loan might be a better answer. Consider the financial ramifications. Reverse mortgages can be expensive. Upfront fees are significant. If you stay in your home just a few years, the effective interest rate can be very high. Be wary of bundled sales pitches. Commission-driven salesmen can push life insurance or various annuity products along with a reverse mortgage. You could end up with products you don’t need. If you are considering a reverse mortgage, call us. We can help you determine potential tax issues, plus other alternatives. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Consider installment sales for real estate

Posted on Dec 11, 2017

With an installment sale, you may be able to lower your total tax on the sale of the property by spreading the income over several years. In addition, the buyer will typically pay a rate of interest to you on the remainder of the amount due that is higher than a typical bank loan. There are a few tax hiccups that could affect your sale, however. If you sell property to a related party and the property is then disposed of within two years, in most cases all the remaining tax comes due immediately. Give us a call for help avoiding tax traps during your real estate sale. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Tax benefits that make homeowners happy

Posted on Sep 15, 2017

Owning a home isn’t for everyone, but there are some great tax benefits for people who do. Building equity is a popular reason why renters decide to become homeowners. Paying a mortgage allows you to build up equity in property that you can realize when you sell. And when you do sell, profits you make from the sale are tax-free up to certain limits. Homeowners may also be able to deduct the cost of mortgage interest and property taxes as itemized deductions. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Don’t pay tax on a home sale

Posted on Aug 4, 2017

The law lets you sell your home tax-free if you meet certain requirements. The home must have been owned and used as your principal residence for at least two of the five years prior to the sale. Couples can enjoy up to $500,000 of tax-free profits from a home sale, while singles qualify for up to $250,000 of tax-free gain. To the extent possible, time home sales to meet the requirements in order to enjoy tax-free profits. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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TIPS TO LANDING YOUR DREAM HOME IN A SELLER’S MARKET

Posted on Jun 29, 2017

It’s a tough time to buy a house. With high prices and low supply, homebuyers have to tackle the buying process differently than they would in a flat or down market. Here are some suggestions to landing your dream home in our current real estate market. Be nimble, be flexible. Try to investigate new listings quickly – within hours of their first posting, if possible. If you’re interested in a house but an inspection finds a few flaws, you may have to be flexible about accepting a house with a few quirks or in need of some repairs. Make a strong offer. A seller’s market isn’t a time to lowball your first offer on a house you want. If you’ve prepared and set your expectations below your minimum price range, you should be able to make a strong offer to ensure you are among the most attractive bidders. You shouldn’t wildly overpay, but making a strategic offer above the listing price may sweeten the deal enough to close quickly. Earnest money. You may consider offering a meaningful earnest money component to your offer to show you are serious. Just understand that this money is put at risk if you later change your mind. Few strings. Try to make your offer as simple as possible. The more contingencies, the more room for someone else to sneak in and snap up your target home. Flexible move-in dates may make your offer more attractive to the seller. Having to sell your home before buying theirs may create a snag versus another offer. Good luck on your search. There are many resources available to you to navigate the home-buying waters. Spend some time finding the resources that work best for you and your situation. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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