Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tax Tips For Your Vacation Home in Harbor Country

A few weeks ago, we talked about what it takes to nail down your financial strategy for buying a home on the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  To be successful in the home buying process, there are a lot of factors, other than the cost of the home, that come into play and it’s important to be as prepared as possible.

Oftentimes, as Harbor Country Real Estate agents and advisors here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we get the question from potential buyers about the options for renting out their Harbor Country home when they’re away.  Of course we think this is a great idea for those who use their home only part of the year as their vacation destination as it helps to help offset their costs and keep the home from sitting empty! 

However, there are a few things that buyers will want to know prior to taking on the role of a landlord.  There are the aspects of marketing the home, hiring a professional cleaner in between guests and scheduling year round vacationers, but oftentimes what buyers don’t take into consideration is the tax portion of using their vacation home in Harbor Country as a rental.

We thought it would be helpful to give you a quick rundown of some of the basic tax points you’ll want to know and discuss with your Harbor Country Real Estate agent.  Take a look!

- If you live in your Harbor Country home for a portion of the year and rent it out the other part of the year; you’ll have to divide your expenses based on the number of days for each use.

- Personal use means any time you, or someone else who does not pay rent, is using the Harbor Country home. In fact, if you rent the property out for less than 15 days a year, you don’t need to report any rental income.  Consequently, while your rental income is tax free, you won’t be able to claim any rental expenses.

- If you use your home more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the days it’s rented out; your home is considered a “vacation home used as a residence.” That means, if you have a net loss (if your expenses exceed your income), you can’t use the excess expense to offset the income from other courses.  You have to carry your loss to the next year to be treated as rental expenses.

- If you’re using your Harbor Country home for less than 15 days, or no more than 10% of the days it’s rented, it’s viewed as a “vacation home used as a rental property.”  You’ll need to report and pay taxes on the income less your rental expenses.  However, losses come under complicated passive and hobby loss rules and you’ll want to consult with a professional.

We hope that this helps shed some light on renting out your vacation home in Harbor Country!  While there are a lot of details that go into renting out your home, our team of experienced Harbor Country Real Estate agents can guide you through the process to ensure your success in being a landlord for your Harbor Country home.

Feel free to contact us today to get started!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Enjoy These Harbor Country Events This Weekend!

One of the great things about living or vacationing in Harbor Country Michigan is the wide variety of things to do!  Not only are there plenty of festivals, events and attractions in each of its eight towns, but there are options to discover nearby towns through their events.  With all that takes place, you’ll find endless things to do all year long!

As we mentioned in the past, here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we enjoy giving people a well rounded view of where they buy a home.  That means the information we provide is not only up to the minute on what’s going on in the Harbor Country Real Estate market, but gives you a good sense of each towns’ lifestyle as well.  Here are just a few of the great events taking place this weekend in and around Harbor Country!

Good Friends and a Glass of Wine

Sawyer Home & Garden Center

5865 Sawyer Rd, Sawyer

Thursday, July 19 from 5-7pm

- Don’t miss the third and final installment of 'Good Friends & A Glass of Wine' at Sawyer Home & Garden Center!  With demos and samples from some great vendors, including Thymes and Burts Bees, gourmet food tasting, and of course great wine samples, it's a great night to grab your friends and enjoy your experience. Join Robin Van Dyke from 98.3 The Coast, and Sawyer Home & Garden Center for a fantastic evening!  More information can be found on the Sawyer Home & Garden Center website.

Vintage Blues Bash
Lemon Creek Winery

533 East Lemon Creek Road, Berrien Springs

Saturday, July 21 from Noon to 8pm

- Fine wine, music and beautiful countryside awaits you at Lemon Creek Winery's 5th Annual Vintage Blue Bash. This summer concert begins at noon, featuring the music of three live bands lasting till' 8pm. Grilled food will be provided by the Outdoor Kitchen for everyone at the Blues Bash. Blues Bash attendees are also encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. (Outside alcohol is prohibited.)  This is a family friendly event which is open to the public and free for those under 21 years of age!  Kids and adults alike can enjoy the hayrides which will run throughout the entire day!  Visit the Lemon Creek Winery website for more information!

Music in the Park

Dewey Cannon Park
Three Oaks, MI

Saturday, July 21 at 6:30pm

- Harbor Arts presents "Music in the Park" a concert series featuring a variety of music every Saturday evening of summer. Don’t miss Young Shakespeare as they perform under the evening sky at Dewey Cannon Park!   Each Saturday throughout the summer, you can enjoy local artists at this family friendly outdoor venue.  Gather family and friends to enjoy live music in one of Harbor Country’s shoreline communities!  View more information on the Harbor Arts website.

We hope you’re able to get out and enjoy Harbor Country this weekend!  If you are new to the area, these events will help to give you a better understanding of the community and give you the opportunity to meet your neighbors!  If you’re not yet a homeowner in Harbor Country, but are interested in learning more about the Harbor Country Real Estate market and the homes currently available in Harbor Country; please don’t hesitate to contact us!

We look forward to putting our experience in the Harbor Country Real Estate market to work for you! 

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Create Your Financial Strategy Before Buying Your New Buffalo Home

 After a great 4th of July celebration last week, residents and vacationers alike are enjoying the fun and relaxing summer on Lake Michigan’s shores in New Buffalo.  This quaint beach front town has always drawn in a wide range of people, from those looking to retire to its’ peaceful setting to families on vacation, and those who desire the community lifestyle that New Buffalo has to offer. 

As New Buffalo Real Estate agents and advisors here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we love to point interested Lake Michigan buyers to this energetic and well rounded city.  In the past few years, the New Buffalo Real Estate market (along with most cities across the nation) has experienced a lean towards buyers with great home prices and historically low interest rates.  And, while we do encourage potential buyers to take advantage of this opportunity, we like to remind buyers that low home prices shouldn’t be the sole determinate for purchasing a home.  Having a solid financial strategy will ensure great success in the New Buffalo Real Estate market now and in the future.

If you’re hoping to buy a New Buffalo home this summer, think through your financial strategy by asking yourself the following questions:

    - How long do I plan to live in this house?
    - Is this a vacation property I want to rent out?
    - Where do I see myself in five or 10 years?
    - Do I have to or want to make home improvements?
    - Do I want to keep cash on hand for other investments?
    - Can I take financial risks?
    - Do I want to be debt-free?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can map out where you want to land financially after the home purchase.  If you’re buying a New Buffalo home as an investment or vacation property; determining these answers are especially helpful. Your financial philosophy will help you navigate through the process of getting a mortgage loan and other various options you’ll need to decide when buying your home.  Here are five tips to consider when searching for the right mortgage loan.

1. Shop for the best rates- Look at local banks as well as national lenders for find the best rates.  You may even want to consider working with a mortgage lender.

2. Decide on points- Decide if you’re willing to pay for point to get a lower interest rate, or if you want to take a higher rate in order to keep closing costs down.

3. Combine different loan features
- This allows you to feel comfortable with the loan as well as giving you flexibility to achieve your financial goals.

4. Don’t forget about additional costs- When applying for a loan you’ll want to factor in additional costs such as property taxes, insurance and possible homeowner’s association fees.

5. Ask about other loan terms- Oftentimes banks won’t advertise loan terms such as 20 years, but asking about it can ensure you find the right fit for your loan.

We hope these tips are helpful as you consider buying one of the beautiful homes on the New Buffalo Real Estate market!  As always, we would love to hear from you so feel free to contact us today!  We can answer your questions, show you some of the homes currently available in New Buffalo, and help you navigate through each step of the home buying process.

We look forward to talking with you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff