THE REAL DIRTT: Breathe a Little Easier Over Your Next House Purchase … by COLLEEN BENNETT

January 4, 2018
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LA VERNE, California, January 4, 2018 — For the New Year, if I can offer new or move-up buyers two tips, they would be:


1) Steer clear of homes near freeways, no matter how beautiful, convenient or favorably priced, and  


2) Don’t automatically max out your budget by buying the biggest house you can “afford.” 


Clearing the Air About Location


Steer clear of any home within 1,000 feet of a freeway. That’s where traffic pollution is generally highest, along with rates of asthma, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, reduced lung function, pre-term births and a host of other pollution-related health problems.


Also, look for a home closer to your work. If you spend long chunks of time commuting, you could be breathing 80% of the levels of pollution found in traffic if your vehicle’s ventilation system is drawing in outside air.


In addition, avoid buying a home near a major intersection or traffic hot spot. Vehicles spit out a lot of exhaust when drivers accelerate and a lot of copper dust and other toxins when they hit the brakes. This warning should be especially heeded in areas like the Inland Empire, where smog levels are higher than coastal regions.


If you’re considering a home where you detect soot on windows, shelves and patios, that’s another telltale sign that cancer-causing particulates are in the air.


Finding a home away from freeways and other traffic hotspots in Southern California won’t be an easy needle to thread, but it can be done. Put your Realtor to the test. Buying a bargain house near a freeway is no bargain if it puts your health at risk!


Size Still Matters, But Going Big Isn’t Always Best


Buying the biggest house for the money was pretty much a real estate rule of thumb. Lately, however, people are wondering if they should kick that strategy to the curb. Bigger houses cost more money to operate, pure and simple (repairs, taxes). What if nobody ever moves into those extra rooms you’ve been heating and cleaning for all those years? What if the same developer who built your large house turns around and builds even bigger houses. It’s likely your home will be harder to sell?

Instead of relying on the old mindset of buying the most house for your money, seek a smaller home with remodel potential — a smaller house on a bigger lot perhaps — that fits your current budget and lifestyle. Later, when either your income increases or savings grow (from all that money you didn’t squander on a bigger mortgage), that may be the time to add square feet to your home. 

The above suggestions are a couple of small items some new homebuyers overlook, but over time, they could have big consequences for your health and resale value.




There’s been a lot of confusion over the new tax law limiting the deductibility of interest on mortgages at $750,000.


This new limit applies only to new mortgages. So you can breathe a little easier knowing that you can continue to deduct interest on a total of $1 million of debt for a first and second home that you now own.


So, if you currently have a $650,000 mortgage on a first home and a $350,000 mortgage on a second home, you can continue to deduct interest on both.


However, if you have a current mortgage outstanding on your first home for $750,000 and want to obtain a $200,000 mortgage for a second home purchase this year, you couldn’t deduct any of the interest on the second loan.


And there are absolutely no deductions for interest on home equity loans through 2025.


Colleen Bennett is a longtime La Verne Realtor who can help you wisely purchase, sell and invest in real estate. Call Coll with your questions at 626-344-0907

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