Planning ahead: how tax reform will impact your home deductions next year

2018 Tax Changes for Home Owners


While you may still be busy filing your 2017 taxes, it’s important to look ahead and be aware of how the new 2018 tax reform laws will affect next year’s return–especially if you’re a homeowner. Those who itemize will need to note some big changes in what they can and cannot deduct. Many will instead choose to use the new higher standard deduction ($12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns) rather than itemizing their deductions.

What can you do now? Check in with your accountant for advice specific to your situation and filing status. Also, you’ll probably want to update your withholding amount to reflect the new deduction amounts. In the meantime, here is the skinny on 5 changes that may affect you if you own a home…


1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

The deduction that allows homeowners to reduce their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay has been scaled back.

  • For loans taken out after 12/14/17, you can now only deduct mortgage interest paid on the first $750,000 of combined debt for primary and secondary residences (or $375,000 if married filing separately).
  • Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap if they were taken out before 12/15/17 (or if you entered into your purchase contract prior to 12/15/17 and the sale closed by 1/1/18).
  • You can continue to deduct the interest on grandfathered loans even if you refinance.


2. Home Equity Loan Deduction

Under the former tax law, you were able to deduct the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt even if the proceeds were used for something other than buying or improving the home (for example, an equity line of credit used to pay college tuition). This is now no longer the case.

  • New 2018 law eliminates the deduction for interest on home equity debt unless it’s used to buy, build, or substantially improve the home that secures the loan.
  • Loans to buy second homes do not qualify for the interest deduction if they’re taken out against the equity of your primary home.


3. Deduction for Property & Sales Taxes

Tax relief for homeowners who pay property taxes has also been limited.

  • Itemized deductions for property taxes, sales taxes, state income taxes, and any other local taxes will now be limited to a combined total of $10,000.
  • The combined limit drops to $5,000 if married filing separately.


4. Deduction for Moving Expenses

While you used to be able to deduct some moving expenses when you moved for a new job, this deduction has been repealed for everyone except active-duty members of the armed forces.


5. Deduction for Casualty Losses

Under former law, substantial losses to your home and personal property through things like fires and robberies could be deducted from your taxable income. Under the new law, this deduction is eliminated for everything except presidential-declared natural disasters.


Want to know more?


The above article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional tax advice from your accountant.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals,” by the National Association of Realtors
“5 Homeownership Changes Coming Under New Tax Law” by NerdWallet
“Tax Reform” by the Internal Revenue Service


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©2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

Posted on March 13, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Windermere Mercer Island | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing? by Lisa Lewis

Originally published on Windermere Blog by author Matthew Gardner, chief economist of Windermere Real Estate.

The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.

The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?

First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.American Flag

On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.

It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.

As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.

Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.

Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.

Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.

We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Photo Credit: Aktim Ι Pixabay

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 10:20 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kicks for Kids

I have a passion in supporting others, If you can help me with any of the programs that I support, i trully appreciate it.  For every successful closing I donate $100 to the charity of your choice. If you have any questions, please reach out to me.  Thank you for supporting local charities.


Can you help kids get a pair of shoes?  Please help!

Can you help kids get a pair of shoes? Please help!

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 10:35 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Don’t let Home-buying be a Challenge in Today’s Market

Pacific NW Homebuyers are challenged by the fast paced real estate market, this includes Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Eastside.  Homebuyers are bidding on homes, many are bidding on 6 or more times and not being successful.  It’s sad to say, without a great REALTOR, I’m not inflating anyone’s ego; there must be a plan to win in this market. Otherwise, many of them are wasting their time and energy, by bidding on these properties and spending money on inspections.

If a home looks good and is priced reasonably it will have multiple offers, it can go from list price to over $100k over list in a heartbeat. The key is to position yourself so you are patient and looking in the area that makes sense for your lifestyle and your budget.  My clients have been fortunate to be successful in wining on the bidding process with the great attitude and plan.  Don’t get me wrong we are not just walking in a property and winning, it takes a wining combination and if my clients are willing to participate then we have a great chance at getting them the home of their dreams in this market.

To discuss how Tom Fine can help get you into your home or sell your home to get you where you want to be, contact Tom Fine at , call or text, whichever is your preference at 206-434-6561.

Tom Fine works with Windermere Real Estate and is a real estate broker and a REALTOR and working in the Mercer Island office, a couple minutes from downtown Seattle, Washington. Serving Seattle and the Eastside market.


Posted on May 13, 2016 at 11:12 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

West Seattle Bungalow in the Roxhill Neighborhood

Wonderful 3-bedroom home with a large lot, green house and shed in the backyard with a vine bearing grapes for producing your own jelly. Enjoy the home with a nicely laid out floor plan, large master bedroom, nice size bathrooms, family room on the lower level and able to walkout to a secluded patio off the lower level.  If you exit out the main floor through French Doors you'll be on a maintenance free deck that overlooks the lovely backyard.  Don't miss out on this cute West Seattle charmer.  


Posted on April 7, 2016 at 4:54 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Economists Forecast the 2016 Housing Market

Trends, forecasts and more from some of the most prominent economic minds in the industry

As we ring in a New Year, Housing News Report asked six prominent economists to forecast what 2016 will bring for the U.S. housing market.

For housing, 2015 was a strong year, with home sales high and home prices continuing to rise.

Overall, the economists surveyed were cautiously optimistic about 2016 when it comes to home prices, home sales, interest rates and the impact of loosening lending standards that have recently been introduced by government agencies. Since 2016 is a Presidential election year, the economists were cagey when it comes to regulatory changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here’s what they are forecasting for 2016:

What will be the most important housing market trend(s) in 2016 and why?

Alex Villacorta, chief economist, Clear Capital: The two most important housing market trends to watch in 2016 will be the continued growth of rental rates and the moderating trend in home prices. The pattern seen in 2015 was largely characterized by a white-hot rental market, and if this continues, more households will likely choose to rent over buy in 2016.

In addition to driving rental prices up and vacancy rates down, this trend disengages an increasing proportion of potential home buyers — evidenced by the lowest homeownership rate in almost 50 years. Adding insult to injury for the purchase market, increasing rental rates continue to make it more difficult for potential buyers to save up for a down payment.

In 2016 we’ll use data from Clear Capital’s Home Data Index to see, at a local level, when the tide turns from rental to purchase demand. Many markets are already hospitable for buyers, but we have yet to see the demand. This implies that consumer confidence and the inability to overcome the barriers to purchase are a real headwind to a fully engaged housing market, especially for first-time home buyers.

As the year evolves we’ll be watching both rent and purchase trends closely, as a waning pattern in rental prices will suggest that momentum is shifting to the broader housing market, which should result in a more robust price growth in 2016.

A waning pattern in rental prices will suggest that momentum is shifting.

A headshot of Jonathan Smoke

Jonathan Smoke

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist, for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.

Two other demographics will also be dominant forces on the buy side but will also be a key part of providing the necessary inventory on the sell side. Gen-X is in prime earning years and thus is also experiencing improvements in their economic circumstances, which include more relocations and seeking better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching — or already in — retirement and seeking to downsize or lock in a lower cost of living. Together, these two generations will provide much of the suburban inventory that millennials desire to start their own families.

Supply will also improve as a result of additional growth in new construction and particularly in more single-family construction. The growth will be in more affordable price points, which will help bring down the average new home prices and average size of new homes, which have grown dramatically so far in the recovery as builders principally focused on the move-up, luxury, and active adult segments.

Mortgage rates should also begin their long-anticipated ascent as the Federal Reserve attempts to “thread the needle” on influencing rates up without negatively impacting economic growth. The increases in mortgage rates will likely be lower than the increases in short-term interest rates created by Fed policy as global weakness and a strong dollar limit more pronounced movement in long bonds. Mortgage rates will also be volatile, moving up and down by day and week, similar to how we’ve seen the market in 2015, but the key difference will be a more pronounced longer trend towards higher rates.

New Home Sales & NAR Existing Home Sales - Jan05-Dec15

The move up in mortgage rates should be a net positive to the market as fence-sitting sellers and buyers begin to understand that rates are moving higher and decide to jump into the market while they remain at such historically low levels.

The final key trend is that rents will rise more rapidly than prices, adding to the already burdensome level of rents that exist in more than 85 percent of the markets in the country. In the near term, this reinforces the consumer’s decision to buy, but higher rents also start to negatively impact the pipeline for future purchases by keeping renting households from saving towards a down payment.

Where is the housing market headed in 2016?

Douglas Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae: Lots of discussion of the need for subsidy but the real problem is lack of income growth for low and moderate income households. There will be a discussion of the regulatory cost of land development which is an inhibitor to production of low to moderate income affordable housing. Rents will remain strong as a result.

A headshot of Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner, chief economist, Windermere: I expect that we will see more homes for sale. Homeowner equity started to recover in 2013 and has been steadily improving since that time.  As such, I expect that it will increase their likelihood of selling. At last — more inventory!  But I fear that it will still fall short of the supply needed to match demand.

Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics: The most important housing market trend in 2016 will be the developing housing shortage. New housing construction has picked up in recent years, but it remains well below that needed to meet demand from newly formed households, second home buyers, and obsolescence of the existing stock of homes. Rental and homeowner vacancy rates, which are already very low, will continue to decline. This will continue to push house prices and rents up quickly. The housing shortage will be most acute for lower prices and affordable housing.

Peter Muoio, chief economist, Ten-X: Wage growth will be the key new ingredient for the housing recovery. We have been watching signs of accelerating wage growth percolate through different data sources, but 2016 will see clear and convincing evidence of rising wages. This will help with housing affordability and be the final ingredient for higher household formations and housing demand.

Wage growth will be the key new ingredient for the housing recovery.

The other key 2016 trend will be the pace of interest rate increases. We know the Fed will pull the trigger, but the key question is how fast and strongly they continue to tighten in 2016, as that will affect mortgage rates.

This article was written by 

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Choosing a Broker

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Posted on February 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seattle and Eastside Real Estate Sales Report for Week of October 23rd vs. 16 Week Averages


My Team has compiled a weekly Real Estate Sales Report for the Neighborhoods in and around SeattleEastside and Waterfront, click on the drop-down menu on the top right of each page for more information. Additional information is available for local schools.

This report provides a snapshot of This Week  vs. 16 Week Average

1.     Active Listings

2.     Pending Listings

3.     Months of Inventory

Click on the area below to see the numbers:


West Seattle – under $400,000; 500's; 1-1.5 million
South Seattle – $250,000-400,000; 600,000-800,000
Central Seattle – $600's; 800,000-1 million
Queen Anne – $500,000-900,000
Ballard/Greenlake – $250,000-500,000; 600,000-1.25 million
North Seattle – $250,000-700,000


South Bellevue – $400,000-600,000
Mercer Island – $1-1.5 million
West Bellevue – $1.5-2 million
East Bellevue – $250,000-600,000; 1.25-2 million
East Lk Sammamish – under $600,000
Redmond – $250,000-700,000
Kirkland – $250,000-600,000; 700,000-1 million
Woodinville – $400's; 600's
Renton Highlands – $250,000-600,000


Posted on October 24, 2015 at 10:09 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not your Average Open House, But one to go through

This is not what I do for Open Houses, It doesn't help sell it, unless it fits the right family.

Follow me to this Open House, Click Here


To see a Real Open House This Sunday on Queen Anne, Beatiful Brick Tudor inside and out,  1-4 This Sunday 10-25-15

I look forward seeing you.

Open House Sunday 1–4 Come and See Tom Fine[/caption]


Posted on October 23, 2015 at 10:40 am
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Market Reports, What’s Happening in and Around Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside

Are you looking for statistics, we have them!, the Windermere Mercer Island office produces 8 market reports for anyone that loves statistics. Here is a list of all the reports to review, just click on the report that you're interested in.  If you are looking for additional information contact my team to get you what you are looking for.  If you are looking for update information click here

Market Reports

Residential Q3 2015 Reports:

Click to view quarterly market reports for Mercer Island, Seattle and The EastsidePublished October 2015

Waterfront Q3 2015 Reports:

Click to view quarterly market reports for Mercer Island, The EastsideLake Sammamish and SeattlePublished October 2015

Posted on October 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Tom Fine | Posted in Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,