Tax Deduction and Home Renovation

One of the great benefits of home ownership is the ability to take tax deductions unavailable to those who are renting. And that’s not just limited to your interest payment — you can often get great tax benefits from home improvements. But in order to do so, you need to understand the difference between what the IRS counts as home repairs and home improvements. Generally speaking, repairs, maintenance and upkeep, and even renovations don’t help much. But home improvements might. Don’t Mess With Taxes wrote a pretty good article covering the basics. Of course, as always, you’ll want to consult with your tax advisor before making any specific plans.

Your Best Investment May Be Paying Off Your Primary Mortgage Insurance

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a payment with which most new homeowners must contend. Generally, you have to pay PMI if your equity (i.e., your down-payment on a new purchase) is below a certain threshold. For many people, that can be worth it, because in exchange for a nominal increase in monthly payment (the PMI), you may be able to purchase much more home than you could if you were required to put 20% down. But just because it can be a good idea up front doesn’t mean you should keep paying it for ever. The Iowa Gazette provides a quick little case-study that contrasts paying enough more towards your mortgage to remove PMI vs. putting more into your 401k. It’s well worth the read.

Future Homes Past

One of the great things that humans can do is make predictions. The quality of those predictions is an entirely different matter. Nevertheless, it’s fun to think about where we’ll be in 10, 20, or 100 years — and for the shorter periods, it can be fun to see which predictions come true and which don’t. Popular Science has been making predictions about The Home of The Future since 1956. Take a look at that, as well as more details on a futuristic home from 1990, and see how well predictions held up — and which didn’t. Now it’s your turn. Take a few minutes and imagine what your home of the future might look like.