Fiesta San Antonio 2014

It's Fiesta time again! Here's a breakdown of the daily event highlights. For a complete list and more details of Fiesta Events, please visit http://www.fiesta-sa.org/events.aspx

Thursday, April 10th

  • Fiesta Fiesta Alamo Plaza – 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, April 11th

      • A Taste of New Orleans Sunken Garden Theater – 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
      • Fiesta Oyster Bake St. Mary’s University Campus – 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Saturday, April 12th

      • A Taste of New Orleans Sunken Garden Theater – 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
      • Fiesta Oyster Bake St. Mary’s University Campus – 11:00 am-11:00 pm
      • Fiesta Arts Fair SW School of Art – 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday, April 19th

      • Fiesta Arts Fair SW School of Art – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
      • Investiture of King Antonio XCII Alamo Plaza – 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Sunday, April 20th

      • Fiesta Arts Fair SW School of Art – 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday, April 21st

      • Texas Cavaliers River Parade River Walk – 7:00-9:30pm

Tuesday, April 22nd

      • A Night in Old San Antonio La Villita – 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Wednesday, April 23rd

      • A Night in Old San Antonio La Villita – 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
      • Coronation of the Queen Majestic Theatre – 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Thursday, April 24th

      • A Night in Old San Antonio La Villita – 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
      • Battle of Flowers Band Festival Comalander Stadium – 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
      • Ford Mariachi Festival River Walk – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Friday, April 25th

      • Battle of Flowers Parade Parade Route – 11:30 am – 4:00 pm
      • Ford Mariachi Festival River Walk – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Saturday, April 26th

      • Fiesta Pooch Parade Alamo Heights Swimming Pool – 8:00 am – 11:00 am
      • King William Fair & Parade King William Historic District – 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
      • Fiesta Flambeau Parade Parade Route – 7:15 pm – 11:00 pm
      • Fiesta San Fernando San Fernando Cathedral – Noon – 1:00 am

Sunday, April 27th

    • A Day in Old Mexico & Charreada 6126 Padre Drive – 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Luxury Living in South Texas - This Week's Featured Listing From our Office

WATERFRONT PROPERTY!
300+foot frontage on Spring Creek. Custom home with open views on over 3 acres. Gated and fenced. Interior living space of 3400 sq.ft. Gourmet kitchen, 3 fireplaces, open floor plan and views galore! You can call it home for $745,000

Home Heating & Cooling: What Type of Energy Audit is Right for You?

Fill out a questionnaire, conduct a DIY energy audit, hire a professional energy auditor, or use a combination of all three to find out how much energy your home is wasting.

An energy audit will tell you where your home is wasting energy and what improvements you need to make to lower your energy bills by 5% to 30% annually. Luckily there are different types of energy audits that range from free to a few hundred dollars.
Use an online energy audit questionnaire
You can find them at the website for your local utility or municipality, or at government-supported websites such as Home Energy Saver or Energy Star.
 
Online questionnaires immediately calculate areas where you can achieve savings. Be prepared to answer specific questions about your home energy usage and costs, such as:
  • Energy costs and usage for the last year.
  • The energy sources for your home (gas, propane, electric).
  • The square footage of your home.
  • The number of gallons of water your toilet tank holds (often stamped on the inside of the tank).
  • The R-value of insulation in your attic (sometimes printed on the paper bats), but you won’t have to climb into your attic or poke around behind the water heater.
Cost: Free.

Conduct a DIY energy audit
Got a flashlight, ladder, measuring stick, safety glasses, dust mask, screwdriver, and a stick of incense? If so, you’re equipped to inspect your home. You’ll also need to dig out utility bills and do a little research about optimal insulation requirements for your area. Expect to spend 2 to 4 hours.

Cost: $50 if you have to buy the tools; otherwise: no cost.

Hire a professional energy auditor

Even if you conduct a DIY energy audit, it’s a good idea to double-check your diagnosis with a professional energy auditor, especially if your audit reveals you have problems. An auditor knows homes well enough to advise you on how to get to the source of a problem, saving you a lot of trial, error, and perhaps unnecessary expense.

There are two types of professional energy audits:
  • Visual inspection. Along the lines of DIY energy audit, this evaluation will give you the benefit of the energy auditor’s keen eye and experience. You’ll come away with plenty of ideas for improving your home’s carbon footprint. Cost: $150.
  • Diagnostic inspection. Using hi-tech equipment like thermal scanners and duct blasters, a professional energy auditor will shake down your house for air leaks, noxious fumes, and spotty insulation. Cost $400 to $600.
Source:HouseLogic.com. What Type of Energy Audit is Right for You? By: Jane Hodges
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/HouseLogicEnergyAudit



Luxury Living in South Texas - This Week's Featured Listing

 
THE LIVING IS EASY AS YOU RELAX BY THE POOL AND GAZE AT YOUR WIDE OPEN SPACES OF ALMOST 5 ACRES. THIS BEAUTIFUL HOME FEATURES WRAP AROUND COVERED PATIOS. ARCH ENTRYWAYS, ITALIAN TILE, BASE AND CROWN MOLDING, HIGH CEILINGS AND ITALIAN MARBLE LOW BEARING BEAMS. MASTER BEDROOM & HOME OFFICE ENJOY PRIVATE ACCESS. HOME FEATURES HUSH-HUSH RMS AND BUILT-IN SAFE.  4 CAR GARAGE HAS FOUR HYDRAULIC LIFTS. EASY ACCESS R/V AND BOAT SHEDS. TO RIDE YOUR PERSONAL RANGE THERE ARE 6 STALL ACCOMMODATIONS IN LARGE BARN FOR YOUR HORSES. YOU CAN CALL IT HOME FOR $675,000

Prepping for Taxes: Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks (Part 3)

Vacation Home Tax Deductions
The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.
  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Those expenses get deducted using Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than 14 days and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and divide them proportionate to how often you used and how often you rented the house
Homebuyer tax credit
(There were federal first-time homebuyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010)
 
If you claimed the homebuyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest.

The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe each year until it’s paid off. Or if the home stops being your main home, you may need to add the remaining unpaid credit amount to your income tax on your next tax return.

Generally, you don’t have to pay back the credit if your bought your home in 2009, 2010, or early 2011. The exception: You have to repay the full credit amount if you sell your house or stop using it as primary residence within 36 months of the purchase date. Then you must repay it with your tax return for the year the home stopped being your principal residence.

That repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who get sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence.

Members of the armed forces who served overseas got an extra year to use the first-time homebuyer tax credit. If you were abroad for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, and you bought your home by April 30, 2011, and closed the deal by June 30, 2011, you can claim your first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Property tax deduction
 
You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.

If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 Settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.

Source: HouseLogic.com - Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks by Dona DeZube
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/houselogictaxes
This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.
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Luxury Living in South Texas - This Week's Featured Listing


5 Bedrooms, Over 6000 sq.ft. Stunning hilltop dream with panoramic views and elegant yet functional living, European flavor, extensive interior rockwork, soaring ceilings, unique winding staircase. Master and guest suite down offer pampered luxury. Beach entry heated pool/spa with waterfalls adjoin the outdoor kitchen. Enormous upstairs bedrooms, game room with balcony offering expansive views. The open island gourmet chef kitchen is unique and inviting. 5bed, 5bath 2half bath, 3car garage. Minutes from I 10, LaCantera, The Rim. Sits on a little over 3 acres.  You can call it home for $1,144,800

Prepping for Taxes: Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks (Part 2)

Prepaid Interest  deduction
 
Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is 100% deductible in the year you paid them along with other mortgage interest. If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year.

But if you refinance to get a better rate and term or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the term of the loan. Say you refi for a 10-year term and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.

So what happens if you refi again down the road?

Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts again; you can deduct the points over the term of the loan.

Home mortgage interest and points are reported on IRS Form 1098. You enter the combined amount on line 10 of Schedule A. If your 1098 form doesn’t indicate the points you paid, you should be able to confirm the amount by consulting your HUD-1 settement sheet. Then you record that amount on line 12 of Schedule A.
 
Energy tax credits
If you upgraded one of the following systems last year, the energy tax credit is an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.
Congress renews it retroactively, which may happen, but is uncertain. By the way, the 2013 tax season is the last for which you can claim this deduction unless Congress renews it retroactively, which may happen, but is uncertain.

Biomass stoves
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
Insulation
Roofs (metal and asphalt)
Water heaters (non-solar)
Windows, doors, and skylights

Varying maximums
Some of the eligible products and systems are capped even lower than $500. New windows are capped at $200 — and not per window, but overall. Read about the fine print in order to claim your energy tax credit.

Determine if the system is eligible. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered. And talk to your vendor.

The product or system must have been installed, not just contracted for, in the tax year you’ll be claiming it.

Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof.

File IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms.

Source: HouseLogic.com - Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks by Dona DeZube
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/houselogictaxes
This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.

Prepping for April 15: Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks (Part 1)

From the mortgage interest deduction to energy tax credits, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns.

One of the neatest deductions itemizing home owners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can even be a house trailer or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet.

Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home. If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit.

If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.

You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest on Schedule A — meaning you must itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later.
By the way, the 2013 tax season is the last for which you can claim this deduction unless Congress renews it retroactively, which may happen, but is uncertain.

What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).

If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you lose 100% of this deduction (10% x 10 = 100%).

Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.

Source: HouseLogic.com - Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks by  Dona DeZube
Read more:  http://tinyurl.com/houselogictaxes
This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.