Owning a home can be expensive, though the benefits of homeownership typically outweigh the cost. Occasionally, changes to the law at either the state or national level can affect how these benefits and costs affect you. It’s especially true if you’re still considering whether or not to buy a house, since knowing how the law stands can have a significant impact on your final decision.
Some legislation affecting homeowners is enacted at the federal level, while other portions of law come from the state. Because of the significant differences in the reach of these different types of legislation, it can be hard to cover all of the changes in the law that affect homeowners from year to year. To help keep you informed, though, here are some fairly recent legislation trends that may be worth looking into.
Tax Break Changes
One big change that’s hitting many homeowners hard is the elimination of some tax breaks that were formerly offered for homeownership. While this doesn’t directly affect the cost of owning a home, it can have a significant impact on your tax return if you were expecting to qualify for one of these expired breaks. Tax law is complex and can change from one year to the next, so it’s possible that these breaks (or others like them) will see a return in future years. However, it’s essential to check each year before filing your taxes to make sure that you haven’t gotten mixed up by tax break changes or missed a break that you could have qualified for.
Roof Replacement Costs
In some areas, the law allowed homeowners to replace their roof without all of the costs generally associated with such a big job. This was due to contractors being allowed to waive a portion of their fees equal to the deductible on the customer’s homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, changes in the law are starting to shut this down. States like Texas are changing the law so that contractors caught waiving the deductible could face fines or even jail time. Homeowners tend not to be big fans of such changes since they result in more out-of-pocket expenses when having to use their homeowner’s insurance.
Solar and Alt Energy Incentives
There were several solar and alternative energy incentives available to homeowners at both the state and federal levels, but some of these have been altered, were negated, or expired without renewal in the last year or two. In some cases, federal programs have been replaced by state programs that provide similar incentives. In other cases, the incentives have been revamped and renewed later. Not all tax breaks and other incentives have been renewed, though, so it’s crucial for homeowners to confirm that specific programs still exist before depending upon them to add alternative energy solutions to their homes.
Home Loan Changes
It seems like there are significant changes to home loans every few years – and recent years have been no exception. Fortunately for those wanting to buy a new home or refinance an existing loan, some current pieces of legislation have expanded on borrowing limits for certain types of loans without adding new restrictions. Unfortunately, many of these laws affect lending through state-level programs instead of making adjustments to loans at the federal level. Some also only affect certain types of homes or houses that are built for specific uses. If you’re waiting for changes to federal loan programs, you may have to wait a bit longer before those programs see major updates.
Consult the Experts
It’s hard to stay on top of the changes in laws from one year to the next. Having a real estate expert to help you sort through all of it can be a great way to keep from being caught unprepared by these new laws. Fortunately, Cesi Pagano & Associates are here to help you anytime you are in need. Just give us a call, 949.370.0819, or email us any time and we’ll be there to answer any of your questions or give you a personal referral for the assistance you need.