Top 5 Tax Breaks for Florida Homeowners

April 15th is coming up fast, and if you haven’t finished, or even started your tax returns, you need to get up and get on it! Nobody likes doing taxes, really. It can be a complicated and stressful chore, if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve been putting off doing your taxes, or didn’t get the returns you hoped for, here are five deductions you might have missed or may want to get started on for next year. These are for homeowners only!

  1. Mortgage interest. This is the biggie, and there is absolutely no excuse for missing this one. In the early years of your mortgage you end up paying more in interest than you do in principal, so this can pay you back big. The mortgage interest deduction extends to second mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans up to $100,000, and home equity lines of credit up to $100,000. This deduction does not extend to homes that cost in excess of $1 million, and it only partially covers those who raise their mortgage debt above their home’s market value. Home improvement loan interest is also tax deductible.
  2. You can’t deduct your Fort Lauderdale Homeowner’s Insurance unless you are using a portion of it for business or as a rental. You can, however, qualify to deduct your private mortgage insurance, FHA, or other mortgage insurance premiums subject to some criteria.
  3. You can deduct your property taxes, including those you pay up front with the purchase of your home. If you have an escrow account, which means the lender pays your taxes from the money put into the account, your lender should send you a 1099 to show how much […]
By |2016-03-02T21:22:22-05:00March 23rd, 2016|Insurance|0 Comments

Assignment of Benefits Abuse and Your Wallet

One topic that’s been in the news, but lost under all the political noise, is something called “Assignment of Benefits”. This allows the insurer to directly pay a third party such as a contractor for work done to repair a home. A recent bill is ready to hit the Senate floor up in Tallahassee soon, and it’s already being assailed from both sides for not doing enough or for doing too much. Florida insurance companies, consumer advocates, and regulators wanted a bill that capped referral fees at $25 and limited emergency repairs to $2,500 prior to inspection by an insurance company. Lobbyists for roofers, contractors, and other restoration workers very notably did not.

The problem with AOB is not assigning benefits to a third party; the problem is the growing rackets and scams that are preying on Florida citizens and driving up insurance rates. The problem was specifically called out by Citizen’s CEO Barry Gilway who singled out water damage claims as the reason for the company’s recent rate hikes. Water damage claims are skyrocketing, and so are “free roof” scams that offer to replace your “damaged” roof on your insurance company’s dime.

Many homeowners do not understand what they’re signing off on, or just don’t have cash on hand to make repairs up front. Sometimes a house is genuinely damaged enough to be uninhabitable, and the owners don’t have coverage for loss of use. It’s understandable; they just want their house fixed, the roof fixed, or the water extracted and dried out before mold and further damage can set in. The problem is that it’s actually not that simple.

When you sign an AOB, the contractor […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:46-04:00March 15th, 2016|Insurance|0 Comments

There and Back Again: Bundling Your Insurance Policies

Working with an independent insurance agent has a lot more benefits than you might think. Agents who work for just one company – called captive agents – may be able to offer you bundles from their carrier’s limited line, but independent agents represent a much more diverse base of carriers and are able to bring more to the table. Captive agents are only able to fit the person to the policies, not tailor coverage from a variety of sources to the person. With an independent agent, we can give you a custom fit, cut deals, and even offer discounts when you bundle policies like your auto insurance with your homeowners.

Two of the biggest opportunities to bundle are auto and homeowners because those are the two biggest policies out there. Other possibilities include adding in whole life, or even insurance for your watercraft, RV, or ATV. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Having an agent who can get out there and work on your behalf can save you more money than going with a one-size-fits-all policy from a captive agent. Independent agents work with you to help rack up discounts, and can tell you ways to save on your premiums that a captive agent might not address.

This should be a part of your annual review, but we understand the whole going with the flow and “if it ain’t broke” frame of mind. Some people never change from the insurance company they had when they were on their parent’s insurance back when they first got their provisional license. However, if you don’t review your insurance, or keep going with the same policies when your financial picture is changing, you […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:46-04:00March 9th, 2016|Insurance|0 Comments

Tri-Rail Needs to Serve Everyone

The NIMBYs have an opinion about Tri-Rail, and it’s the same NIMBY opinion. Not in their back yard. It’s understandable, but the list of things that people don’t want in their back yard tends to be a list of things that would benefit people who are not them. Just saying. We also have a tendency to stop talking about the benefits of a solid public transportation network as soon as gas is under $2.00 a gallon again, when if anything we need to discuss this even more.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that having a Tri-Rail station in Wilton Manors would be a boon for the businesses in the area and bring more people to Wilton Manors as business patrons and residents. South Florida is choking on its own traffic even with local and county transportation systems. Bringing people to different neighborhoods with reliable transit is a good way to revitalize neighborhoods, bringing in new residents and new businesses and jobs that come with them. This leads to a term called “value capture” and a report by Reconnecting America shows that transit can increase property values and result in development opportunities. Even Boca Raton has seized the opportunity to put itself in the middle of the rail boom, and is home to the busiest Tri-Rail station on the line.

There are multiple surveys that show the impact of transit in revitalizing downtowns, opening up suburbs to people who had not previously considered moving because of the transportation factor, and increasing property values by implementing multiple modes of public transportation. South Florida faces the challenge of all […]

By |2016-02-29T22:24:39-05:00March 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments