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Agent Toolbox

5 tax-time conversation starters


Talking taxes with your clients can be tricky—after all, federal and state tax laws can change at any time—but that doesn’t mean you should stay mum on one of homeownership’s great financial advantages. Here are just five tax-related topics that could interest your clients:

  1. Some costs associated with buying a home may be tax deductible, such as points paid to lower a mortgage interest rate, upfront private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums, loan-origination fees, VA funding fees and USDA guarantee fees.
  2. Federal and state tax deductions or credits for homeowners may include monthly PMI, mortgage interest payments, property taxes and energy-efficiency upgrades. If your clients have (or want to buy) a vacation home, they may enjoy additional deductions.
  3. Homeowners who work from home may be able to claim qualified home-office deductions, such as phone, internet, heating and electrical expenses, as well as part of the home’s insurance, mortgage interest and property taxes.
  4. Nearly 8 in 10 US taxpayers get refunds, and the average tax refund in recent years has topped $2,800. That’s almost a third of the way toward a 3% down payment on a $300,000 home! Especially for a first-time homebuyer, a tax refund could be a much-needed head start on a nest egg, or it could help them over the finish line.
  5. Many buyers may know that homeownership offers potential tax advantages, but how do they really affect their bottom line? Tools like this Tax Savings Calculator and Rent vs. Own Calculator may help your clients get a workable estimate of the savings they could enjoy if they decide to buy this year.

Of course, your clients should consult an accountant, attorney, tax professional or other advisor to discuss their particular circumstances prior to making a home purchase or financing decision.