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The IRS will grant an automatic extension to anyone who asks. But you still have to estimate what you owe and send the money.

For taxpayers who can’t manage the April 15 deadline, the Internal Revenue Service offers an automatic six-month filing extension. This year the due date is Oct. 15, and taxpayers qualify by filing Form 4868.

 

Getting an extension is preferable to filing a return with mistakes, says Melissa Labant, a tax specialist with the American Institute of CPAs. “If you have already filed, then you will need to amend the return, which is often more trouble,” she says.

 

Remember that an extension to file isn’t an extension to pay. Uncle Sam wants 100% of the total tax by the April due date, or interest and perhaps a late-payment penalty will be due.

 

Here are common reasons to seek an extension.

 

Incomplete records, especially for investments or a closely held business. A sore point with many tax preparers is that brokers sometimes issue multiple Form 1099s reporting investment tax information.

Lack of a letter confirming a charitable contribution. The law is clear: Taxpayers must have proper notification from a charity before deducting a donation. “Get that letter before you file,” Labant says.

 

Roth IRA reversal. Taxpayers who converted all or part of a regular IRA to a Roth account have until the October due date the following year to undo the conversion, which is taxable. That might be a good idea if assets in the Roth account have fallen in value since the conversion.

 

Roth IRA owners who file in April can amend their returns before Oct. 15 to undo last year’s conversion, but filing for an extension is often the easier route.

 

You are traveling, or it is your busy season. Harried tax preparers often file extensions for their own returns.

 

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: MSN Money partner

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Solo women are the second-largest group of home purchasers. Their wants and needs are helping to shape the real-estate market.

Kishia S. Ward wasn’t looking for the home of her dreams when she bought her two-bedroom, 2½-bath townhouse. The 25-year-old student and former business analyst wanted a place “not so much to live in forever but as an investment property, something temporary that, later on when I get married and have a family, I can rent out.”

Single female homebuyers such as Ward are a powerhouse group in the real-estate market. In 2011, when Ward bought her home, three of her female friends, also singles in their 20s, also purchased homes. Single women — a group that includes the divorced, never married and widowed — make roughly one in five home purchases annually, according to the National Association of Realtors, second only to married couples, who are about two-thirds of the market.

It wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, “it was very difficult for a single woman to get a credit card, much less a mortgage,” says Walter Molony, spokesman for the NAR.

In 1981, when the NAR started watching, single women and single men each made about 10% of home purchases. Purchases by single men have stayed steady. Single women, however, pulled ahead in the late ’80s, when women grew as a presence in the workforce and social change put pressure on lenders.

Single women’s market share reached 20% in 1985 and hovered there until recession and tight credit pulled it down to 16% in 2012. Unmarried couples make 8% of purchases.

Finally, recognition
Although single women are getting more recognition in the real-estate market, some experts say that many bankers, mortgage brokers, builders and real-estate agents fail to understand their distinct needs and shopping habits.

Jeanie Douthitt, a real-estate agent in Plano, Texas, specializes in helping single women buy and sell homes. Her experiences and her friends’ stories showed her that solo women often weren’t served well in the market. “We all, at the end of the day, had the same experience, and it was not good,” says Douthitt, owner of Smart Women Buy Homes. Her team includes a title agent and mortgage broker, and they all focus on educating clients.

Douthitt tells how one friend, a mother and capable 20-year IBM executive, struggled when she tried buying a home in 2004 after inheriting money. The woman visited a property for sale and encountered the homeowner, who asked, “Honey, do you think you can afford this?”

“He assumed that because I was a single woman I couldn’t afford it,” the friend told Douthitt. “If it was the last house on earth I wouldn’t have bought it.”

Douthitt says many women, accomplished in other realms, feel slightly intimidated by real estate and mortgages. She felt much the same in 1988, when, as a single mother, she bought her first home. She didn’t know how to find out what she could afford to spend. “Do I find the house first?” she wondered. “Or do I have to get a mortgage first?” Now she helps clients get qualified for a mortgage first, so they know what price home they’re qualified to buy.

What women want
While researching her book, “Own It! The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone,” Jennifer Musselman met many single female homebuyers and owners who confessed that they felt overwhelmed by shopping alone for a home and mortgage. “Women, generally speaking, always thought that home purchasing would be something we would do with someone else, as part of a relationship,” Musselman says.

This emphasis on relationships shapes many women’s approach to homebuying, Douthitt says. Often, for example, they need to develop a relationship with an agent before they feel comfortable asking questions.

“Women want a relationship,” Douthitt says. “They want that trust and respect on both sides. Men are more transactional. They just want to go get it.”

Her female buyers often need more time than men do to make a decision. They do lots of research. Agents who don’t understand this get frustrated and mistake women’s penchant for collaboration for indecisiveness, she says.

Before Ward engaged a real-estate agent, she did lots of research online to learn which neighborhoods fit her requirements, but her agent wouldn’t listen. She didn’t seem to take her seriously. “I don’t know if it was because I was a woman or because I was young,” she says. She moved on to another agent who was more attentive.

Single buyers — women in particular — like to recruit friends and family to help them decide. “Single women don’t have a spouse to bounce the decision around with,” Douthitt points out. One buyer wanted Douthitt to meet her mom, her dad, her pastor and her brother from California before she could commit to a purchase.

 

 

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate

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Back to school means early mornings and quick breakfasts. Use some of these tips to boost your kid’s brain power and to make the most of his or her school day!

 

Check out the video here.

http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/kitchen-savings?v=1f5bdd40-b914-49b7-91ce-9d49b722e75f&from=en-us_msnhp

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I know I am in the right business when I get to drive folks around Austin, looking at incredible homes, on a 75 degree day in February.  Wow.

I showed 5 houses to a dear friend from California this morning.   She, like many others, is choosing to make Austin home after retiring in California.  The cost of living, weather (hey- not as great but she is in Northern California) and people are driving her to Austin.  We looked at homes in Pemberton Heights, Tarrytown and the Westlake area ranging in price from $1,000,000- $1,500,000.  We saw an awesome array of houses- 2 on Lake Austin!!

As I always tell Buyers, it only benefits you to see as many houses as possible, so that when you walk into the right one, you just know.  She was thrilled with what we saw.  When her houses sell in California, she’ll be back, checkbook in hand.  Again, not a bad gig.

Hope you are enjoying Super Bowl Week! Who are you rooting for? Are you, or anyone you know, moving to or around Austin? Call me! xoxo

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I have the privilege of bringing 2513 McCallum Drive to the market.  This custom home has had one owner- and the detail and materials are like nothing Austin has seen before. Located in Central Austin, specifically Pemberton Heights.

Take a moment to click on the website below for more details.  Call to set up your private showing

http://marthasmallhomes.austinkw.com/listing/mlsid/13/propertyid/9846323/

 

Who knew:  Seal and Heidi Klum?

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Late December back in ’63…I spent the past weekend with fabulous girlfriends in the City of New Orleans- checking out the fantastic real estate along St. Charles Avenue.  What a gorgeous city.  The last, and first time, I was in NoLa was February after Katrina. Wow- has that City come back.  I hardly saw a “For Sale” sign and the people were so appreciative of all who were visiting. Ran into a great family at Galatoire’s on Friday, the locals lunch, celebrating their daughter’s 30th birthday.  The wife is the head of Keller Williams Commercial in Covington- we had the best time catching up.

Looking forward to putting the most incredible home in Pemberton Heights on the market tomorrow.  Check my website for photos and details…$2.5M- a small price for a little slice of heaven.  The week will be charged with family, work and relaxation.  I am also helping Clint Small Custom homes with their first project…stay tuned for those details.

 

xoxo

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