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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for February 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 4.6% in February 2018 when compared to February 2017. 319 homes sold in February with a median sales price of $323,000, a 4.5% increase from February 2016.  The average sales price increased by 2.8%, and homes were on the market 15 days less.

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St. Patrick's Day in America

by Scott Darling

St. Patrick’s Day has become a highly celebrated holiday in the US.  When Irish immigrants came to America, they chose that day to celebrate home and all that was Irish.  It took until the 20th century for people of non-Irish descent to join in the festivities.  Many American cities turn green on March 17, even coloring waterways green, not to mention green food and drink, and shamrocks on every corner.   

 

  • - Boston, Massachusetts hosts the reportedly oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and has grown substantially since the first parade of Irish-Catholic Redcoats marching down the streets with “Fifes and Drums” to honor their home country’s saint.  The South Boston parade route is three miles long and is attended by a million spectators. 
     
     

  • - Green water isn’t a welcome sight for most people, except on St. Patrick’s Day.  Savannah, GA, and St. Louis, MI, celebrate with city fountains flowing green; in Chicago, a portion of the Chicago River is dyed green, and Tampa’s Hillsborough River becomes the River O’ Green.   
     

  • - For 245 years, the streets of Philadelphia have filled with marchers, and the parade has grown to approximately 20,000 participants, including bagpipes, floats honoring the patron saint, and, in 2018, will be led by Grand Marshall Sister Mary Scullion, a member of the Catholic Religious Sisters of Mercy.   
     

  • - O’Neill, Nebraska is home to the world’s largest shamrock, and they celebrate the special day with a parade that centers around the giant concrete leaf and includes a dodgeball tournament. 
     

  • - San Francisco boasts the largest celebration in the western part of the country, and not only has a parade and lots of Irish music, but a huge scavenger hunt.  Party-goers enjoy a unique dish for the holiday--Irish nachos made of fried sliced potatoes, of course, topped with cheese, bacon and jalapeños. 
     

  • - New London, Wisconsin becomes New Dublin on March 17 after residents dressed as leprechauns, with city officials’ approval, change the signs in the town. Their parade isn’t complete without a parody adaption of James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake,” using a green hearse. 
     

  • - Yes, Virginia, there is a Dublin in the US, and it’s located in Ohio!  The city hosts plenty of festivities for everyone, and the local Lions Club holds a pancake breakfast fundraiser with--you guessed it--green syrup! Before the parade begins, onlookers get to enjoy the Inflation Celebration, where the large inflatable parade entries are brought to life, and it’s a sight to see!  

 

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can be as unique as the cities they are held in.  If your local festivities aren’t as different as these, every town and citizen can still be Irish on March 17.  Just be sure to wear your green to avoid a pinch from a leprechaun! 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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Tax Tips for New Homeowners in Chester County, PA

by Scott Darling

It’s tax time, and many dread the prep and thought of paying them.  There are some deductions homeowners can take, so if this is your first time filing as a homeowner, make sure you get the maximum tax benefits out of your new home. 

 

  • - Homeowners can claim their mortgage interest for a tax deduction. On the chance that you’re using tax return software, it will calculate your deduction after you answer questions about your home purchase.  If you’d rather use an accountant or tax prep service to help you, they can answer all your questions.
     

  • - If you moved more than fifty miles because of your job, or starting a new one, your expenses are tax deductible.  There are some time stipulations as well, according to number one in this guide from taxact.com;  make sure you meet the requirements before taking this deduction. 
     

  • - Making your home more energy efficient by installing a solar energy system or solar water heater make you eligible for a thirty percent credit for parts and labor.  Unfortunately, the credit for geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines has expired. https://www.energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit 
     

  • - Are you self-employed and use a room or section of your living area for a home office?  There’s a deduction for that.  The IRS has a couple of requirements, and if you don’t want to go through figuring up the standard deduction, they offer a simplified deduction, but choose which method takes more off your tax responsibility. 
     

  • - Did you pay “points” to the bank to get a better interest rate? If so, that money is tax deductible. Since points are usually 1% of your home loan, if your loan was $250,000, your tax break would be $2,500 for paying down one point. 
     

  • - Any property taxes are tax deductible, beginning the official date that you purchase the home, which is usually on your settlement statement you receive at closing. 
     

  • - Hopefully, this hasn’t happened in your first year in your new home, but if you’ve had something unfortunate happen that insurance didn’t cover, there is a casualty loss deduction for out-of-pocket expenses.  The repair cost must be more than 10% of your gross income. 

 

Don’t let all this information scare you away from doing your own taxes!  No matter how you decide to file, gather everything you would normally use to file taxes, but make sure you have the 1098 mortgage interest form from the lender, property tax receipts, and any paperwork you saved from the casualty loss repairs or alternative energy installments. Home ownership has many benefits for the homeowner, and you should take advantage of every penny you have worked so hard for to put into your new home. 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

YOUR HOME SEARCH STARTS HERE           

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Photo credit: rwthomeremodeling.com

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Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275