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Home Mortgage Interest Deductions - Duped by the Standard Deduction?

To expand on my cautionary tale about homeowners overestimating the value of the interest tax deduction, there is another wrinkle to consider: 2 out of 3 tax returns claim the standard deduction (per CBS MoneyWatch) - making the mortgage interest deduction irrelevant. Total deductions need to exceed $6,100-$12,200 annually, depending on filing status, to realize any benefit. Filing Status 2013 Standard Deduction Single $6,100 Married Filing Jointly $12,200 Married Filing Separately $6,100 Head ofRead More
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DIY Fun with the LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning System

Our tenant reported issues with her clothing not drying completely, suggesting the unit was overdue for a vent cleaning. Before calling a service, we decide to try our hand at do-it-yourself dryer lint removal. Enter the LintEater - a favorably-reviewed (4.7 out of 5 stars) gadget on Amazon. The system includes a brush and 4 bendy poles (technical term) that attach end-to-end. A standard powerRead More
2013 Recap - Adventures in Real Estate Investing

2013 Recap - Adventures in Real Estate Investing

Season's Greetings! As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite rental realities from the past year: Purchasing Our Second Duplex We started January strong by doubling our rental empire. With a little planning and a lot of luck, we were able to buy a HomePath foreclosure at aRead More
Our Investment Property's 2012 Schedule E, Final Profit/Loss

Our Investment Property's 2012 Schedule E, Final Profit/Loss

From the department of things-I-meant-to-do-a-long-time-ago, I wanted to share the income and expenses portion of our 2012 Schedule E, which pertained to our first rental. In anticipation of the upcoming tax season, I'm looking forward to seeing how our numbers will change vs. last year. (photo by 401(K) 2012) This is basically the resultRead More
Home Mortgage Interest Deductions - Spending a Dollar to Save a Quarter?

Home Mortgage Interest Deductions - Spending a Dollar to Save a Quarter?

Once in a blue moon somebody says they don't pay down their mortgage because they'll lose the interest deduction. There are certainly valid reasons to keep a mortgage around (like investing for higher returns), but a tax deduction is not one of them. Sure, you'll pay less in taxes, but you'll pay more overall. I'll break down theRead More
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Lease Renewal Letter with Reasons to Renew

Below is a recent letter we received from our apartment complex (who we rent from), with a heavier emphasis on discouraging move-out compared to our own tenant renewal letter. While the copy could use some fine-tuning, I found it an interesting approach and worth sharing.   Month DD, YYYY ^Rates and Lease terms subject to change. Below rates are good throughRead More