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Home Equity: How Much Do You Have in Your Home?


"Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans. The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout the year." CoreLogic's latest Equity Report, February 2016

This is great news for homeowners! But, how many truly know what their equity position is?

A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that their home has increased in value. The study revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have "significant equity' (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do! SignificantEquityChart.jpg

This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage don't realize the opportunity that they have. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don't let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Contact one of our REALTORS today and let us help you evaluate your situation and what the possibilities might be to make a move.
 
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9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

  • #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes.
    Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Many homeowners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.
  • #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid.
    If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don't just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill.
    Deduct only the amount of property taxes noted on the Form 1098 that your lender sends. If you don't receive Form 1098, contact the agency that collects property tax to find out how much you paid.
  • #3: Deducting points paid to refinance.
    Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan.
  • #4: Misjudging the home office tax deduction.
    There's a new simplified home office deduction option if you don't want to claim actual costs. If you're eligible, you can deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 feet of office space, or up to $1,500 per year.
  • #5: Failing to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit
    If you used the original homebuyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years.
    If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then within 36 months you sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, you also have to pay back the credit.
  • #6: Failing to track home-related expenses.
    If the IRS comes a-knockin', don't be scrambling to compile your records. File or scan and store home office and home improvement expense receipts and other home-related documents as you go.
  • #7: Forgetting to keep track of capital gains.
    If you sold your main home last year, don't forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you're single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains.
  • #8: Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits.
    If you made any eligible improvements in 2015 and 2016, such as installing energy-efficient heating and cooling system, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit, up to of $500. With some systems your cap is lower than $500. See form 5695.
  • #9: Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction.
    Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.
Check out helpful advice from HouseLogic.
 
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Hunziker Community Shred Day


Continue your spring cleaning by clearing out all of those old tax documents, confidential papers and any other paperwork that should not be placed in the trash. Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS® invite all of our customers, friends, and community members to participate by bringing up to 5 boxes of items to be shredded. We will have a shredding truck from Secure Shred Solutions at our office in Ames at 105 South 16th St. from 9am - 11am on Sat., April 30.

With so much emphasis being put on security both in terms of our identity and our finances, it is important to ensure that every effort is made to make the identity thief's job as difficult as possible. One way of doing this is to shred all documents that may contain information about you or members of your family, which may allow the identity thief to build up a picture of either you as an individual or any other member of your family.
 
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Scenic Valley Model Home NOW OPEN!

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4115 Aldrin Ave.

Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS is holding the HCS Builders model home open every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-3pm. Stop by to learn about the variety of lots available in Scenic Valley and how HCS can make building a home work for you.
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Our agents have information on over 20 new homes currently under construction and also on Haydens Crossing, the newest subdivision over looking Ada Hayden.

Click here to view the HCS homes currently listed
and visit Hunziker Land Development for lot availability.
 

March Area Events


Home-and-Remodeling-Show_Logo.png Des Moines Home & Remodeling Show
Mar. 11-13
Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

Des Moines Home Outdoor Living Show
Mar. 11-13
Iowa Events Center, Des Moines

Spring Break at the Science Center of Iowa
Mar. 11-21
Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines

Pancake Breakfast and Children's Craft
Mar. 12 from 9am -12pm
Iowa Arboretum, Madrid

Reptiles
Mar. 16 from 10:30am-11:30am
McFarland Park, Ames

NCAAMensBasketballChampionship.jpg 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First/Second Rounds
Mar. 17-19
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

The Iowa Flower, Lawn & Garden Show
Mar. 18-20
Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Parade
Mar. 18 at Noon
Downtown, Des Moines

JurassicQuest.png Jurassic Quest
Mar. 18-20
Hy-Vee Hall, Des Moines

Vintage in the City
Mar. 22 from 10am-5pm
Valley Junction, Downtown DSM, East Village, Des Moines

MoonPhaseFriday.png Moon Phase Fridays
Mar. 25 from 6pm-9pm
Prairie Moon Winery, Ames

Reiman Gardens Spring Egg Hunt
Mar. 26 form 9am-11am
Reiman Gardens, ISU, Ames

Cold Run for Warm Meals
Mar. 26 at 9am
Gray's Lake, Des Moines

Geocache Egg Hunt
Mar. 26 9:30am-11:30am
McFarland Park, Ames

WaitUntilDark.png Wait Until Dark
Apr. 1-2 & 8-9 at 7:30
Apr. 10 at 2pm
Actors Theater, Ames

Ankeny Chamber Chill 5K Run/Walk
Apr. 2 from 9am-2pm
Prairie Trail, Ankeny

The Cat in the Hat
Apr. 2 at 1pm
Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines

The 2016 Share the Power of a Wish Gala
Apr. 2 at 6pm
Prairie Meadows Event Center, Altoona

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Apr. 5 at 7:30pm
Stephens Auditorium, ISU, Ames

 
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Interpreting the Numbers


A nearly perfect storm has been created for many possible home sellers. In our local real estate market, property home values have appreciated rather briskly over the past three and half years, and a great majority of home owners have significantly more home owner's equity than they had only a few years ago. It is a perfect storm in that, unlike other periods of time in of rapid price appreciation, interest rates remain at or near their historic lows. For home owners who seek to "right size" their home, either larger or smaller, the increase in equity combined with low interest rates afford the home owner an excellent opportunity to consider the sale of their home, and purchase a home that better matches their current needs, wants and desires.

Are you unsure of the amount of equity you have in your home? If yes, please contact your Hunziker & Associates Realtor® today to assist you in your evaluation.
 

Market Numbers

Ames 2016 2015
3/1/2016 Active listings 81 97
Homes SOLD 67 61
Average Sale Price $218,333 $201,761
Average Days on Market 62 67
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 95.3% 95.6%
Story County 2016 2015
3/1/2016 Active listings 74 90
Homes SOLD 29 31
Average Sale Price $168,277 $174,410
Average Days on Market 99 74
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 93.4% 94.5%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 3/1/2016
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames Residential and Ames Rural Subdivisions