Monthly Archives: April 2011

Rebates – Up To $4000 for making your home more energy efficient

Ever stepped back and looked at your SDGE bill, wishing that you could do something to lower your monthly bill, or wanted to take steps to make your home more energy efficient? SDG&E has a program that will work with you to do just this. Take advantage of their programs, and receive up to $4,000 in rebates just for making your home more energy efficient! While most of these programs are from SDG&E, I should mention that there are rebates from many of the water suppliers in San Diego as well.

Upgrading an existing home is an ideal way to save energy, money and conserve natural resources. And now, through Energy Upgrade California, SDG&E® customers can receive incentives along the smart energy journey.

Property owners of single-family homes are eligible for incentives of up to $4,000 for installing energy-efficient measures in their homes. Property owners can choose between two paths for participation.

– Energy Upgrade California Website

However, this program is not just for homeowners, renters can take advantage of many of this programs savings as well!

Their two largest rebate programs consist of a package of measures to decrease your energy consumption by 10-40% with measures that includes air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, insulation of hot water pipes, thermostatic shower-start devices, carbon monoxide detectors and combustion safety testing.

While I could easily spend the next 10,000 words describing some of their rebate programs, it may be easier to just take a look here for more information about rebate programs here in San Diego County by clicking here.

 

If you have used any of these programs before, please comment below to help out others who are looking into these programs! Please share your experience.


 

How Do We Love Real Estate Benefits?

Let us count the ways…

By Mike CotterEmail the author | April 8, 2011

 

Owning real estate has benefits unlike any other investment.  Sure, there is no guarantee that real property will automatically begin to appreciate the minute we close escrow, but no investment has such guarantee. Even so called risk-less U.S. Treasury obligations are subject to market value fluctuations before maturity and are usually subject to risks of inflation. So we invest our money as we choose.

But the advantages of a real estate investment are unique and sizable.

First of all, we all have to live somewhere, and shelter is not cheap.  Investing in a home allows us to live in our investment.  Over a long period of time, this usually results not only in a positive return on our capital, but also is “free rent” while we live there.  That’s huge.

Of course, if we have to borrow money to buy a home, the monthly interest payments on the debt can be substantial.  But we get an incredibly low interest rate compared to other sources of credit. Where else can we borrow money for 30 years at an annual fixed rate of less than 5 percent?

Also, taxpayers can deduct from their income home mortgage interest up to $1 million annually.  This benefit alone often makes the monthly cost of owning a home with a mortgage less expensive than the nondeductible monthly rent of a similar home.

As for annual California property taxes, they can be substantial for new homeowners—at about 1 percent of the market price paid for the property.  But over time,  Proposition 13 allows the tax bill to grow at no more than 2 percent per year.  So, as property values rise and inflation erodes the dollar, the property tax bill becomes a relatively minor consideration.

Owners of historic properties can apply for a Mills Act agreement with their city that can cut their property tax by 60 percent in some cases—if they agree to preserve the properties.  San Clemente has such a program with 65 of the city’s 206 historic properties participating.

Adding frosting to the cake:  If we sell a home and trade down to a less expensive home after reaching age 55, Propositions 60 and 90 often allow us a one-time opportunity to transfer our relatively low existing tax bill to our new home.  That’s huge.

When we sell most investments at a gain, we usually have to pay capital gains tax.  Not so with real estate used as our primary residence.  A federal law passed a few years ago allows up to $250,000 in capital gains tax forgiveness for each property owner. So a married couple can get a $500,000 capital gain on their home without paying any capital gains tax. That’s huge.

But, let’s say our property investment doesn’t turn out very well.  For one reason or another we end up defaulting on the loan we obtained to purchase our home.  Unlike with other investments, lenders generally have no recourse other than repossessing the real estate in collecting the bad debt.  California home lenders usually have to forgive any deficiency they suffer in collecting the original “purchase money” loan.  That’s huge.

Further, while a forgiven loan has always been considered taxable income in the past by the IRS, current law in most cases prevents federal and state taxation of a forgiven home loan, at least through 2012.  That’s really huge.

Disclaimer:  I’m not an attorney.  This is a very general and incomplete review of some of the benefits of owning real estate.  Always consult with your tax attorney and CPA when making decisions with respect to real estate.

For more of the latest market news and statistics on San Clemente real estate, visit my blog atSanClementeRealEstateBlog.com or MCotter.com.

Original article at http://sanclemente.patch.com/articles/how-do-we-love-real-estate-benefits