Watch out for a silent danger during the coming storm!
Carbon Monoxide poisoning takes the lives of over 400 American’s each year and sends more than 20,000 to emergency rooms! Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest when the weather is very cold – likely because people use gas-powered furnaces or other sources of heat that use gas.
As the next winter storm moves to North Carolina with significant snowfall anticipated, there is the potential for almost anything to happen.
Be prepared and aware!
Follow all manufacturers’ safety guidelines.
Make sure your carbon monoxide alarms are in central locations and working properly.
If an alarm sounds, move quickly! Open a door or window to let in fresh air.
Call for emergency help from a “clear air” location – not from inside the house.
NC Homeowners Alliance hopes all North Carolinians are safe and secure during the upcoming winter weather event.
Are you preparing to do your taxes? Are you a homeowner? Here are a list of documents (and some expenses) that may be helpful to you as you prepare your taxes. These and other documents will help you, or your tax advisor, ensure your return is as favorable as possible for your family.
1098 (year-end statement) showing mortgage interest paid.
This document is important for your first AND any second home. This form should include amount paid for points, principle mortgage interest, interest and insurance paid for the year.
Real estate tax paid during the year
Health care expenses
Premiums and all expenses paid after insurance reimbursement for doctor, dentist, hospital, lab, eye care, and pharmacy.
Miles driven for medical purposes
This is the total round-trip miles driven to all medical appointment, eye exams, dentist, and drug store for medicine.
Motor vehicle registration for all your vehicles
Sales receipt that shows the purchase price and sales tax paid on a new vehicle
Amount paid for materials needed for a major home renovation
Job-related expenses that were not reimbursed by your employer
Value of property loss due to casualty (i.e. fire, flood, or theft)
Gambling losses up to the amount of gambling winnings
HUD Statement (received at closing) if you purchased your home during the year
Cash contributions to a non-profit organization
Value of goods or household items donated to a non-profit organization
Miles driven to and from an event where you donated your time to a non-profit organization
Other expenses including tax preparation, safe deposit box, investment expense, and legal fees (not divorce-related)
This information is not designed to be a substitute for the advice of your personal tax advisor.
Your insurer is demanding consent for a higher premium – what are your options?
An increasing number of North Carolinians are receiving “consent to rate” letters from their homeowners insurance companies. These letters inform consumers that unless they consent to pay premiums higher than the state maximum set by the Insurance Commissioner, the insurance company may drop the consumers from their coverage plan.
If you receive one of these letters, don’t panic, but don’t ignore the letter. Instead, take a few simple steps to ensure you receive fair and affordable coverage for yourself and your family.
Three simple steps to take if you get a “consent to rate” letter:
Step One: Review your current policy. Do you have the right amount of coverage? Is your deductible too low? Are there other changes you can make to your policy that will reduce your monthly costs?
Step Two: Call your existing insurance company or insurance agent. Some consumers have lowered their premiums by adjusting their coverage. Your insurer may be able to quote you a range of options that don’t require signing an open-ended consent to rate form.
Step Three: No one likes the hassle of changing coverage, but take this opportunity to shop around. Check with other insurance companies for quotes of the coverage you need – you may find a better deal elsewhere.
Remember to review your coverage every year when your policy renews to ensure you and your loved ones have a fair and affordable plan. While we can’t guarantee that you will find a lower premium or keep your previous rate, the Homeowners Alliance strongly encourages consumers to examine their options before consenting to an insurance company’s higher premium.
If you'd like to report your homeowner insurance company for sending you a Consent to Rate letter, or if you'd like to receive more information about the letters themselves, please contact the NC Department of Insurance. Their website can be found here, and their toll free number is 855-408-1212.
As January comes to a close, homeowners turn their attention to gathering tax documents. The Internal Revenue Service offers a variety of helpful tips regardless of your income level. Before you begin, take a few minutes to review these tax preparation tips to see how you can ensure the most favorable tax return for your family.
Ten IRS Tips about Free Tax Preparation
Tax Tip 2015-06, January 27, 2015
Top 10 Tax Facts about Exemptions and Dependents
Tax Tip 2015-05, January 26, 2015
Use the Tax Form That’s Right for You
Tax Tip 2015-04, January 23, 2015
Six Tips on Who Should File a 2014 Tax Return
Tax Tip 2015-03, January 22, 2015
Do Your Taxes for Free; Use IRS Free File
Tax Tip 2015-02, January 21, 2015
Top Five Reasons to E-file
Tax Tip 2015-01, January 20, 2015
The NC Homeowners Alliance supports keeping insurance rates fair and affordable. Insurance companies want to increase premiums by as much as 35 percent. We will keep you informed on this discussion. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
North Carolina’s economy is coming back from the recession and it is going strong – driven by an upsurge in real estate home sales and commercial development. The Wells Fargo NC Economic Report published in April, 2014, showed there was a 2.5% growth in the home construction market with significant increases seen in the urban/metro regions across the state.
"North Carolina's housing market continues to gain momentum, as improving job and income prospects boost household formation and encourage increased in-migration. Sales of existing homes increased 20.4 percent in 2013," stated the economic report.
“While builders have been cautious about getting ahead of demand, a larger problem has been the lack of available lots and a dearth of new land development. Inventories of new homes remain relatively tight, particularly in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas, where job growth and population gains have been the strongest. Building activity should ramp up in 2014,” stated the Wells Fargo Economic Report.
Over the past year, the real estate economy has strengthened significantly and spring and summer home sales figures in all regions of the state have been robust – driving new job growth and new investments in our local economies.
Real estate and the construction industry continue to have a profound impact on our state’s economy. The real estate sector provides nearly 400,000 jobs in North Carolina or nearly 10% of the state’s total non-farm workforce, according to the NC Department of Commerce Labor & Economic Division, Labor Market Report published in April, 2014.
Affordable housing, private property rights and protecting the tax advantages for homeownership are paramount concerns for the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance. That’s why it’s important to lend your voice and support to an organization dedicated to advancing your interest in the State Legislature.
"North Carolina’s 32,000 Realtors are proud to be working with the NC Homeowners Alliance promoting homeownership and the important role that real estate plays in our state’s economy,” said Tomp Litchfield, president of the NC Association of Realtors. “Your participation and support is critical to keeping the lawmakers in Raleigh informed about the key role homeownership plays across North Carolina.”
N.C. Homeowners Alliance: Engaging YOU, One Town at a Time
The North Carolina Homeowners Alliance has been taking its message around the state. We have been out at a few community events, and met a lot of great North Carolinians in Lenoir, Saluda and Washington, NC. Keep an eye out for us as we continue to travel to festivals and fairs across the state.
We’ve heard a few important notes from homeowners and voters. They want to make sure that their biggest investment is protected when it comes to tax policies at the legislature. They’ve told us to help support policies that protect home values. That’s what we’re fighting for: Pocketbook issues for hard working North Carolinians.
We know that the legislature will be considering many budgetary measures that may affect the price of homes and the rights of homeowners next year. If we are going to be at an event in your area, come out and tell us why protecting home ownership matters to you.
The North Carolina Homeowners Alliance has always supported legislators and legislative candidates who are committed to protecting home values. It’s a vital mission for the millions of people in the state who want to protect their biggest investments.
Now, we have seen a need to expand our efforts.
Over the next few years, the North Carolina General Assembly is likely to debate tax laws, property rights issues and other policies that directly affect the value of your home. Once those bills are moving through the legislature, it could be too late to act!
That’s why we are asking homeowners to join our efforts now. We have a new, expanded mission to keep you up-to-date on the legislature. We’ll ask you to contact your legislators when necessary, and we will tell you about opportunities to share the mission of the Alliance with others.
Throughout the summer and fall, we will be at community events around the state, asking homeowners to join with us.
We hope you like our new look and our expanded effort. We are still here to support legislators who support strong home ownership. We want them to hear from all of you.