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New Federal Tax Rules Clarify Capital Gains Exclusions After nearly three years of uncertainty, the IRS has now delivered the answers to questions that have bedeviled home sellers, Realtors and professional tax advisers. In year-end regulations, the IRS clarified its rules on capital gains exclusions for profits on home sales. The largest category of people affected are those who sell their homes prior to the standard two-year holding period required for the maximum capital gains exclusions of $250,000 (single filers) and $500,000 (married, joint filers). The standard rules allow sellers to
Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of January 31, 2003:30 yr. fixed: 5.90%15 yr. fixed: 5.28%1 yr. adj: 3.89%30 yr. jumbo: 6.98%-->
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exclude up to those maximum amounts of sale profits provided they have owned and used their property as a principal residence for an aggregate two out of the
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First-Time Homebuyers: Tips For Surviving the Spring Frenzy If you've been waiting to get through the holidays and closer to warmer weather before beginning the search to buy your first home, you're not alone. The traditionally busy spring real estate season is just around the corner, meaning heavy competition looms. But there are things you can do as a potential homebuyer to get a head start. The number of home sales in 2002 shattered records with 5.56 million existing and 979,000 new homes sold throughout the country, according to National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah. Home sales this year are expected to dip slightly, but remain robust. So with that in mind, many indicators point to a strong sellers' market in parts of the country this spring, meaning the competition to buy may be fierce. It's already gaining momentum in some regions. There are some things you can do to improve your chances of landing in a home, including:
Get a copy of your credit report. Potential lenders will view your credit history - how much debt you've accrued,
Moving in The Middle OfThe School Year Going through the arduous process of buying a house may leave you with all the stress you can handle. But don't forget your kids. The thought of a new house usually brings pangs of anxiety as they think about being the "new kid" - especially if you're moving in the middle of the school year. Rest assured, yours isn't the only family to go through this experience. The U.S. Census Bureau says that some 43 million Americans moved during a one-year period tracked from March 1999 to March 2000. While some 56 percent of those families stayed within the same county, that doesn't always spare the kids from having to move to a new school. And with the real estate market continuing to stay steady into the first months of 2003, there are guaranteed to be many more "new kids" roaming the halls of schools across the country in search of their new class assignments. The confusion and disorder associated with moving, packing, home inspections, taking care of all the final paperwork, and closing up your household is likely to produce a range of emotions for you and your kids. A lot of how well your child will adjust, experts say, depends on his or her personality and developmental age. "Some children are naturally outgoing and will be able to make friends immediately while some other children may take months," said Lesia
What's New in Household Gadgets? What household gadgets will we be buying this year? For starters, bathroom scales that record and recall your weight history, a smart slow cooker that features 200 programmed recipes, and a beverage cooler that can chill a bottle of wine in six minutes. Those and hundreds of other new products for the home were showcased at the recent International Housewares Show. Retailers perused the new goods and heard from consumer trend experts as they did their best to gauge what we, the consumers, will buy for our households in 2003. Americans appear to want to have it both ways when it comes to the way we live our lives in 2003, experts said. We want to eat healthy, but crave unhealthy indulgences. Some of us say we love to cook yet we sometimes view cooking as a chore. And casual entertaining remains popular, but formal dining is on the rise.
CONTINUED >>>Local Market Conditions
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