Congratulations on your new home! The hard part is over and now you get to enjoy your new space. Now there are a bunch of ways you can benefit from your purchase. Completing these steps after your home purchase will make you a happier, wealthier homeowner.
Property tax break
In many states, you can benefit from a “homestead exemption” aka a break on your property taxes.
Some states allow homeowners to have their principal residence in the state to file for a homestead exemption while others only offer the property tax break to certain groups – such as seniors or veterans. Make sure you check with your real estate agent to find out what you qualify for in your state.
One of the biggest benefits of buying a home is the federal income tax deduction it provides. Familiarize yourself with the tax deductions, such as the mortgage interest you paid, your real estate property taxes and the points you paid on your mortgage.
You can actually benefit financially if you don’t wait until the last minute to pay your property tax bill. If your bill is due in February and you pay in December, you can write off the taxes on your income tax return. At the same time, you may even get a discount for paying early.
If you made your home more energy efficient last year you can earn a federal tax credit. For example, if you added a solar electric system you can claim a credit. You can also earn a credit if you’ve installed energy-efficient doors, windows or skylights. FYI, these tax credits are scheduled to end after 2016.
Any energy efficiency improvements you make cannot only cut your federal income tax but also your utility bills. In many places, you can schedule an appointment to have your utilities inspected. This will tell you what kind of changes you should make to improve your home’s efficiency and lower your HVAC costs. Your utility company or local government may provide incentives to help you with the cost of such improvements.
Upgrade your insurance
Any upgrades may affect the cost of a rebuild. Make sure to check with an insurance professional about how an upgrade would affect your coverage.
Protect your home
Consider adding smart technology to keep your home as well as your family safe. Smart smoke detectors; fire alarms and security systems will alert you of trouble right to your phone. Extra protection may earn you a discount on your homeowner’s policy to make sure you ask your insurance professional about this as well.
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