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Welcome to the Susquehanna Valley situated on the border of central and northeastern Pennsylvania and this area's most comprehensive real estate web site. Here you will be able to find all sorts of useful information within one easy source so take your time and enjoy!
 
We are a strong, vibrant and global real estate family. We strive every day to deliver unsurpassed market intelligence and insights, and use our strengths to help you successfully buy and sell real estate. We embrace your goals and are committed to achieving them. The award winning company and agents of CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. offer the most complete real estate service to our clientele with a truly visionary approach to high tech marketing and skills. We have served the real estate needs of Columbia, Montour, and lower Luzerne counties and surrounding areas for 34 years and look forward to providing you with the finest quality service unmatched by our competitors. Browsing through this site will allow you to explore our region along with community information, demographics, schools, medical facilities, area attractions plus much, much more. 
  
With our search the MLS, we give you direct access to all the properties available in a five county area, as well as new listings, featured properties, single property websites, and virtual tours. Upon e-mail request, we can also send you all new listings within your search criteria immediately as they become available with e-mail alerts so you won’t miss the "right" property.
 
Also available are valuable articles and information regarding buying, selling, home improvement, free reports, tax planning, as well as up to the minute news and weather from various media sources. In addition, the real estate resource center and blog are updated daily with real estate articles and answers to thousands of consumer’s questions about the buying and selling process.
 
If you are a first time buyer, experienced investor, or anything in between, you will find priceless information on our site about how to choose the right property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed decision in today’s real estate marketplace. 


In addition to all the information we have available for buyers, we also provide up-to-date information for sellers. If you are considering selling your property, this site offers dozens of articles about preparing your home for sale, choosing the right agent, appropriate pricing, effective marketing, the inspection process, and the importance of a market evaluation.
 
Thank you for visiting our online real estate website. We hope you enjoy our site and find everything you are looking for and more. We will look forward to hearing from you, so we can help you with all your real estate needs. Be sure to visit us often!

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CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc.
Bloomsburg: 570-784-2821

Benton: 570-925-0210

Testimonials

Did a fantastic job staying on top of things and keeping me informed. Answered questions day/night. Very easy to work with. Knowledgable of every aspect of purchase. Recommend to anyone. Brandon - Bloomsburg
Kim was very helpful with the process as we had just left for vacation when negotiations ended. Everything was handled through email and went smoothly from start to finish. My husband and I were able to relax and enjoy our vacation. Sylvia R. (Seller)
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Real Estate News

Latest in Housing News and Tips for Home Ownership

On the House: A Crowdfunded Alternative to House-Flip Financing

(TNS)—Back when house-flipping was the major fad of the mid-2000s, Matt and Elizabeth Faircloth were not like most. As tens of thousands of people across the nation were securing mortgages they never should have received to fund flips, the New Jersey couple were tapping into money for projects in any way they could find: personal savings, money from friends and their inner circle.

They were the outliers: Only 30 percent of flippers were paying with cash, the majority instead borrowing from banks and other lenders to get a lot of money fast.

For years, the system worked. Until it didn’t.

At the peak of the flipping boom in second-quarter 2005, when 95,000 people across the country flipped single-family homes or condos, many flippers were holding two, three or four mortgages, experts say—partially driven by investors who lied on their applications, saying the homes would be their primary residences so they could get cheaper interest rates. Lenders who severely loosened their borrowing standards were also part of the problem.

When the housing bubble burst and values plummeted, flippers with multiple mortgages suddenly couldn’t sell their properties and couldn’t pay their loans. The rest is history.

Now, flipping—buying second-rate homes, rehabbing them quickly, and selling them for a profit—is back. In 2016’s second quarter, more than 51,000 U.S. homes were flipped, the most since 2010.

Can we ensure what happened in the mid-2000s doesn’t happen again? Industry experts say there’s something that can help: the internet and the crowd.

Thanks to websites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, we live in an era in which the public can fund almost anything. (Years ago, a man made headlines for receiving more than $55,000 on a project to make potato salad.)

It was only a matter of time before flippers got money the same way. But crowdfunding a flip is a bit more complicated.

The concept in theory is still the same: Potential flippers who can’t get mortgages from banks and lending institutions solicit internet and crowdfunding sources for loans.

At some of these, loans are created using funds from individual investors—some of whom pay as little as $5,000 to get in on the deal. The smaller loans are packaged together. In return, the investors receive 10 percent to 15 percent interest back on the loan they provided. Terms may differ by lender.

Founded in 2012, Fund That Flip, based in New York, is one such company, created to fill what founder Matt Rodak saw as a void in the industry.

“I was doing some house-flipping on the side…and found the (funding) process to be very frustrating, filling out lots of applications and dealing with a sometimes opaque process,” Rodak says.

He touts a more simplistic process: Borrowers have less paperwork and fewer hidden fees. And in most cases, he promised, interest rates are not as high as with loans from hard-money lenders, in which the loans are secured by the properties.

In return, investors make safer bets, Rodak says. Instead of writing large checks for one borrower, Fund That Flip investors can “take that same $200,000 and spread it over 20 or 40 deals and diversify their risk.”

It’s something the Faircloths have explored, and with the right opportunity they would try to team with Fund That Flip, Matt Faircloth says.

“People are getting sick and tired of Wall Street as the only place they can go to invest hard-earned money and to build long-term wealth,” Faircloth says. “Crowdfunding allows you to invest in something that’s down the street from your house.

“I’d like to be a part of that space as it becomes more popular— we need another choice for building wealth.”

©2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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The post On the House: A Crowdfunded Alternative to House-Flip Financing appeared first on RISMedia.

Pets Have Pull for Homebuyers and Renters

Three bathrooms? Check.

Garage? Check.

Doggy door? Check.

Pets are family—and homes have to accommodate family. According to a recently released report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 81 percent of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation—so much so that 89 percent say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction. What’s more: Nineteen percent of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet, while 12 percent have moved for their pet.

Moving is not the only option for pet owners, however. More than half (52 percent) of Americans in the report completed a renovation for their pet, such as adding a dog door, building a fence around the yard or installing laminate flooring.

Pets also have pull when it comes to buying or renting a home, according to the report. One-third of pet owners will not make an offer on a home that does not meet the needs of their pet, while 61 percent have a hard time finding a pet-friendly homeowners association or rental.

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either had a pet or planned to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership,” says NAR President Bill Brown. “REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Pets Have Pull for Homebuyers and Renters appeared first on RISMedia.

Looking for Love? 20 Singled-Out Cities

Love is all around…but if you relocate to one of Trulia’s “Dating Destinations”—cities with scores of educated, employed singles ready to mingle—your chances of finding the one shoot up like a stray Cupid’s arrow.

According to Trulia, the top 10 cities where there are more single men than women are:

  1. Bakersfield, Calif.
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. San Francisco, Calif.
  4. Las Vegas, Nev.
  5. San Jose, Calif.
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. San Diego, Calif.
  8. Seattle, Wash.
  9. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  10. Austin, Texas

The top 10 cities where there are more single women than men are:

  1. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
  2. Birmingham, Ala.
  3. Winston-Salem, N.C.
  4. Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, Md.
  5. Greensboro, N.C.
  6. El Paso, Texas
  7. Dayton, Ohio
  8. Philadelphia, Pa.
  9. New York, N.Y.-N.J.
  10. Baltimore, Md.

It’s clear—after taking the love blinders off—that the highest concentrations of single men are on the West Coast, with most bachelors located in the Bay Area. The highest concentrations of single women, however, are spread out on the East Coast. The takeaway? Compromise is key to any relationship—so if you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day, try meeting in the middle…of the country.

Source: Trulia

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Looking for Love? 20 Singled-Out Cities appeared first on RISMedia.

7 New or Improved Tax Breaks for 2017

(TNS)—Have you done your taxes yet? Your W-2s or 1099s probably have started to trickle in with the mail over the past few weeks. You might also be in the process of gathering the right receipts and pertinent statements.

Before you sign an IRS tax return and send it off, though, make sure you know about these new or improved tax breaks for this year’s tax season. By taking advantage of these tax breaks, you can reduce your total tax debt.

  1. IRA Rollover Self-Certification

Take heart if you missed the 60-day time limit for transferring distributed funds from your IRA or workplace retirement fund to another qualifying fund. Thanks to a new rule, you might qualify for a waiver that will prevent you from having to pay early distribution taxes.

Prior to Aug. 24, 2016, those who missed the deadline had to write a letter to the IRS requesting a waiver. Now, a new IRS self-certification process lets you receive a waiver for 11 specific reasons if you missed the 60-day deadline. Some examples of these 11 reasons are:

  • Serious illness or death in your family
  • Financial institution mistakes
  • A lost and uncashed check
  • Severe damage to your home
  • Postal errors

To make things easy on the taxpayer, the IRS website has a sample letter that you can fill in and print to explain which of the 11 reasons applies to you. Look for Revenue Procedure 2016-47.

  1. Gift Tax Exclusion for ABLE Accounts

An ABLE account—achieving a better life experience—offers tax-advantaged opportunities for disabled people and their families. It helps them save for and pay for expenses related to the disability. Although the legislation was passed in 2014, the specialized accounts only became available on a general basis in 2016.

Anyone—including a family member or friend of a disabled person—can contribute up to $14,000 to an ABLE account without having to pay a gift tax. Earnings and distributions are tax-free when used to pay for qualified disability expenses such as:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Prevention and wellness
  • Employment training and support
  • Assistive technology
  • Personal support services

These accounts offer both state and federal tax advantages. In addition, the first $100,000 in an ABLE account does not count as income or assets when disabled individuals try to qualify for public assistance programs.

Although only nine states currently have ABLE programs, you can open an account—or contribute to one—in a state other than your own.

  1. Higher Tax Thresholds

The positive effect of getting a cost-of-living increase or raise at your job can be a mixed blessing if it lifts you into a higher tax bracket. Fortunately, the IRS raised the tax thresholds for 2016, meaning you’re less likely to have to pay a greater percentage of your wages toward taxes if you earned more last year than you did in 2015.

Married couples filing jointly slid up from a 15 percent tax bracket to 25 percent once they earned more than $74,900 in household income in 2015. In 2016, such filers had to earn more than $75,300 before moving into the 25 percent bracket.

  1. Increase of Standard Deduction for Head of Household

Those filing as head of household in 2016 will enjoy a $50 increase in their standard deduction, from $9,250 in 2015 to $9,300 in 2016.

The standard deduction didn’t increase for other filers. Singles still receive a $6,300 standard deduction and married couples filing jointly receive a $12,600 standard deduction.

You can get a larger standard deduction if you are blind, age 65 or older, or both. Depending on your circumstances, the increase can be as much as $1,550.

Enter your standard deduction on line 40 of Form 1040. Instructions in the left-hand column of your tax return help you figure out how much you can claim.

  1. Increase of Personal Exemption

Line 42 of Form 1040 lets you claim personal exemptions, which are amounts you can deduct from your adjusted gross income for yourself and your dependents. Such exemptions are in addition to your itemized deductions or standard deduction.

In 2016, the per-person exemption rose $50 to $4,050 per person. Note that a person can only be claimed as an exemption on one tax return. So, let any of your working dependents know that they cannot take themselves as an exemption even if they earn enough money to file their own tax return.

The exemption phases out once you reach certain income levels. Your exemptions decrease by 2 percent for each $2,500 above these income levels.

  1. Increased Earned Income Credit

If you have low or moderate income, you might qualify for the federal earned income credit. The income-based credit is for single, head of household, married filing jointly or widowed taxpayers with or without children.

The maximum credit for 2016 is $6,269 for filers with three or more qualifying children. The amount reflects a $27 increase from 2015’s figure of $6,242.

Low-income people without children receive the lowest credit. Single, head of household or widowed taxpayers receive a maximum credit of $506 if they make less than $14,880. Those who are married filing jointly receive the same amount provided their income is less than $20,430. The credit amount reflects a $3 increase from the 2015 credit of $503. Income limits have increased $60 for singles and $100 for those in the married filing jointly category.

Take advantage of the earned income credit by filling out Schedule EIC and attaching it to your tax return if you have a qualifying child and meet the income requirement. Then, enter the amount of your credit on line 66a of Form 1040. If you don’t have a qualifying child but meet the income requirements, simply enter your credit amount on line 66a.

  1. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

If you live and work overseas, you can exclude a portion of your income and foreign housing expenses from gross income on your U.S. tax return. To claim the exclusion to income you earned in a foreign country, you must meet one of the following:

  • You have been physically out of the U.S. for at least 330 full days during any 12-month period.
  • You have been “a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year,” according to the IRS.
  • You have been a U.S. resident alien who is a “citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty in effect,” according to the IRS. In addition, you must meet the second requirement above.

If you qualify for the exclusion, you can exclude up to $101,300 of income earned in a foreign country, $500 more income than 2015’s $100,800 tax exclusion.

To claim the exclusion, you must file a U.S. income tax return even if the money you made was less than the $101,300 exclusion. Fill out Form 2555 or 2555-EZ.

©2017 GOBankingRates.com, a ConsumerTrack web property

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post 7 New or Improved Tax Breaks for 2017 appeared first on RISMedia.

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CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc.   |   570-784-2821   |   570-925-0210

©2016 CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. CENTURY 21® and the CENTURY 21 Logo are registered service marks owned by CENTURY 21 Real Estate LLC.  Equal Housing Opportunity.  Each office is independently owned and operated.