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Malena Perdomo: Award Winning Author & Community Advocate

The mission to build strong healthy homes and communities is the mission and vision of EHHAF and its non-profit affiliate VSA (Virtual Sports Academy) — a huge advocate for the fight against childhood obesity.

In support of the vision behind the mission of EHHAF to promote and help build strong healthy homes and families we recently talked to award winning cook book author Malena Perdomo. We love to highlight members of our community who are doing inspiring work every day–people who give back to the community and are examples of exceptional character. Malena Perdomo, along with Maya Leon-Meis, and Martin Limas-Villers is one of the authors of the award winning cookbook, “Maya’s Secrets: 100 Delightful Latin Dishes for a Healthier You”

Maya's Secrets

The book evolved out of a local spanish language TV show that the three authors hosted to showcase Latin American recipes and make them healthier. Each brought a unique perspective on Latin American food. Maya, the host, is Peruvian, Martin, the chef, is Mexican, and Malena, the nutritionist is Panamanian.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700"]Malena Perdomo Malena Perdomo[/caption]

Malena, who moved to the United States when she was 20 to pursue a degree in nutrition, was inspired to become a nutritionist by her love for food. Here in Denver, she is passionate about educating the Latin American community about healthy living. As a nutritionist, she takes a holistic approach noting that a healthy lifestyle involves exercising, cooking more, and eating more vegetables. She views one of the biggest challenges in educating Latin Americans in Denver about food quality is the information language barrier. She noted that, “there is a lot of misinformation out there.”

Her approach to nutrition is to “eat better simply.” In this regard, part of what Malena does is recipe development – making traditional Latin American foods healthier by reducing the proportion of meat or adding more vegetables. Furthermore she adapts the recipes to ingredients that are available in the United States to make the recipes accessible.

More About Malena Perdomo

Malena is a very active member of our community and has an impressive resume. She is a part time professor at Metro State, a contributor to several spanish language publications like AARP in spanish, Viva Colorado, and Live Well Colorado. Additionally, she has made numerous radio and TV appearances. For six years she was spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes. She has her own website and is active on facebook and twitter where she posts recipes in both Spanish and English. Her cook book,  “Maya’s Secrets: 100 Delightful Latin Dishes for a Healthier You” is the winner of both the International Cookbooks 2013 USA Best Books Award and the Living Now Book Award – 2013 Gold Medal Winner.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and hiking.

Please join EHHAF in thanking Malena for her service by sharing this Highlight on Facebook, Twitter, and/or via email. Thank you for you community involvement, Malena! You are an everyday hero.

Property Tax By State

Buying a home? Property taxes are important to consider when buying a new home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Despite living in an age of information, information about property tax by state can be hard to find. We’ve made it simple. Below is a list of property tax by state, based on Household Value (HV). This information is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, and should be considered when you buy a home.

Testimonial: Thank You For Everything!

Here is another raw and detailed Testimonial from one of our happy Everyday Heroes! Read on, below:

“I just wanted to express how pleased with the everyday heroes program…Especially since I came from a very negative situation involving a Fannie Mae property. They [Fannie Mae] were so unprofessional and I ended up not getting the property. This left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole house buying process… Then my wife found the everyday heroes… It sounded good… But the professionalism and responsiveness far exceeded what I expected from the first contact with the EHHAF agent to the constant punctual contact from realtor Denise just made me very happy. A complete 360 from what I experienced. I had one minor hiccup with the appraisal bit that wasn’t their fault, it was the appraiser, but other than that the process went smoothly and quickly…. I would like to say on behalf of my family and myself thank you so much!” -Allen M

What Are Closing Costs? (ANSWER)

If you’re new to home buying and the mortgage process, you probably aren’t familiar with closing costs. Closing on your first home should be exciting, but without the right knowledge set, it can be scary. We’re here to help, and explain what closing costs are. By the end of this article, we hope you are not asking “What Are Closing Costs?” because you will already have the answers.

What Are Closing Costs?

What Are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are costs in addition to the price of your home. These can include real estate broker commission/fees, prepaids (items that are required by the Lender to be paid in advance), loan fees, escrows/impounds/reserves, title charges, closing charges, government filing fees, recording files fees, and other miscellaneous charges.

Description of Closing Costs

While there are a large amount of closing costs, once you understand what each one is, you’ll be able to thoroughly move forward in you home closing with confidence. Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia, where we highly suggest you read all the descriptions of closing costs:

    • Attorney (Lawyer) Fees, paid by either or both parties, for the preparation and recording of official documents. The principals and/or lender may each be represented by their own attorney. Typically required by institutional/commercial lenders to ensure documents are prepared correctly.
    • Title Service Cost(s), paid by either party according to the contract but by default seller may pay the majority, for title searchtitle insurance, and possibly other title services. In some cases the attorney may do the title search or the title service and attorney fees may be combined. Required by institutional/commercial lenders and often by the real estate contract.
    • Recording Fees, paid by either party, charged by a governmental entity for entering an official record of the change of ownership of the property. Required by the government for recording the deed.
    • Document or Transaction Stamps or Taxes, paid by either or both parties depending on location (area of jurisdiction), charged by a governmental entity as an excise tax upon the transaction. Required by law.
    • Survey Fee for a survey of the lot or land and all structures on it, paid by either party, to confirm lot size and dimensions and check for encroachments. Required by institutional/commercial lenders.
    • READ MORE AT WIKIPEDIA for GREAT INFORMATION

Closing Cost Gift Funds

United States Everyday Housing Hero Assistance Fund provides gift funds that are 100% gifts, no repayment neccesary. So how can you obtain a gift from EHHAF? If you’re a member of one of the Every Day Heroes professions – Teachers, Doctors, Police Officers, Firefighters, and Nurses- who would like to be a homebuyer need only qualify for a mortgage loan. Unlike most gifts, EHHAF is a true gift that never needs to be repaid by you, the builder, or the seller. There is no administrative fee whatsoever charged for using our gift program. You will work with our approved Realtors©and mortgage lenders that are trained to help you in either of our programs. Find out more and apply for gift funds today!

Global Teacher Shortage x Rewarding Teachers

“Quality teachers are the pillars of quality education – A human right,” says The UN Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization. We couldn’t agree more. The infographic (below) takes a look at the global teacher shortage.

So how do you staff up with incredible teachers? How do we get better teachers into the workforce and into our educational system. The answer to this question is not simple and we’d love to know what you think.

We like to think that rewarding teachers is a good start, but only part of the solution. Our Closing Cost Grants for Teachers is a reward that can only begin to express our gratitude for the incredible service of teachers. Sound off in the comment section below and let us know how you think how we can get increasingly better teachers in our education systems! We’d love to know your thoughts and opinions.

Your Questions About Closing Costs Tax Deductible

Mandy asks…

When purchasing a house, are the closing costs tax deductible?

Last year I bought a home. I know the interest and taxes may be deductible. A friend told me that the closing costs were also deductible. Is this true?

admin answers:

Points
Mortgage Interest
Property Taxes
those are the only thing on your closing statement that can be used to Itemize your deductions

Publication 530
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p530/index.html
Publication 936
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/index.html

Mark asks…

Are property taxes paid via escrow closing costs tax deductible on federal tax return?

admin answers:

It is a common misconception that you can write off all real estate taxes you paid when you purchase a house.

If you buy or sell real estate during the year, the deductible real estate tax is divided by the buyer and seller according to the number of days each owned the property during the year.

During settlement, if they handle it correctly, you will reimburse the seller for RE taxes he already paid for days you will own the home. In this case, you can include the RE taxes you pay on the HUD form because they are for days in which you own the home, regardless of the fact that they are being paid directly to the seller and not the tax authority.

However, you can NOT deduct RE taxes you pay on behalf of the seller for days in which the seller owned the house. Conversely, if the seller pays RE taxes for days in which YOU own the house, regardless whether your reimburse the seller or not, you get to include those on Schedule A.

In summary, all RE paid for days in which you own the house, regardless who pays them, are a deduction on your Schedule A. All RE taxes you pay for days in which you do NOT own the house are not deductible by you on your Schedule A….they are added to the basis of your house, but you can not write them off.

Hope this helps 🙂

Robert asks…

Refinancing closing costs – tax deductible?

I have read both publications 936 and 530 from the IRS on this. I see where closing costs are included in the basis of the home when you buy it but what about when you refinance? Is it deductible then and if so, where does it go on the tax return?

admin answers:

It would be reported on the Schedule A. You must Itemize your deductions rather than taking the Standard Deduction in order to claim the qualified expenses on your Tax return

The only things allowed are Mortgage Interest , Points ( on a refinance it has to be split up for the life of the loan) and Real Estate Taxes , all other costs become part of the basis

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html#d0e1320

William asks…

Are any of a Seller’s Closing costs tax deductible?

My husband and I were married in June. I moved into the home he owns and I owned my own home too. I sold mine and paid $11K in closing costs. I know the property tax part ($2700.00) I paid at closing is deductible, but what about any of the other fees I paid at closing as a seller? I sold the house for exactly what I owed the bank on it so I wasn’t upside down and it wasn’t a short sale or anything like that. But as you probably know there is a laundry list of other fees, the realtor’s commission being the largest part, then the taxes, etc.
Just want to get the most out of our tax return
Thanks for your help.

admin answers:

With out seeing the HUD no one can tell so take it to a tax pro as there may well be some that are deductible. When I say a tax pro I am not saying these pop up locations like Jackson Hewitt or Block get a real professional like a CPA. Well worth the money

Linda asks…

What portion(s) of my closing costs are tax deductible?

For an FHA refinance mortgage loan, what portion(s) of the closing costs can I wrote off??

admin answers:

You can deduct on schedule A, the amounts shown for (1) interest, (2) property tax for the period after you bought the home, (3) points or loan origination fees, (4) mortgage insurance.

All of the other costs would either (1) be added to the cost basis of your home or (2) be non-deductible.

Richard K
Master Tax Advisor
Enrolled Agent

This advice is based upon my understanding of the tax law at the time it was written as it applies to the facts provided by you. See my profile for more information.

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10 Quotes About Sacrifice and America

Teachers, firefighters, medical professionals and other great everyday heroes are celebrating a great man today. Every day, these people are also constantly sacrificing to help out country. With 10 quotes about sacrifice, we want to recognize that we respect and cherish them for it.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Quotes About Sacraficeimage via mlfa.org[/caption]

Different types of people through the past said these quotes about sacrifice, but share the same thought: a good life and a good community takes sacrifice. We honor Dr. Martin Luther King and the every day heroes in our lives with our favorite 10 Quotes About Sacrifice and America. Enjoy!

1. “Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you are willing to sacrifice everything else for it.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

2. “Sacrifice is part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.” – Mitch Alborn, The Five People You Meet In Heaven

3, “Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” – Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

4. “Acts of sacrifice and decency without regard to what’s in it for you create a ripple effect. Ones that lift up families and communities, that spread opportunity.” – Barack Obama

5. “Without pain, without sacrifice we would have nothing. Like the first monkey shot into space.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

6. “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

7. “The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” – Gaylord Nelson

8. “Great achievement is born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.” – Napoleon Hill

9. “Freedom does not come without a price. We may sometimes take for granted the liberties we enjoy in America, but they have all been earned through the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many of the members of our armed forces.” -Charlie Dent

10. “Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it.” – Germaine Greer

10 Incredible Photos of Every Day Heroes: Firefighters

1. Perseverance

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Every day heroesimage via Resonance Pub[/caption]

2. Every Day Heroes Facing The Unknown

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Every day heroes face a fireEvery day heroes face a fire via funhug[/caption]

3. Rebuilding Our Future

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Every Day Heroes Rebuildimage via chicago town news[/caption]

4.Rescuing The Helpless

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="316"]Herald Sun Heroesimage via Herald Sun (AU)[/caption]

5. Rising From The Ashes

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Firefighters Rescueimage via Nat Geo[/caption]

6. Helping Animals in Need

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="460"]every day heroimage via the telegraph[/caption]

7. The Ultimate Brothers’ Keeper

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Every Day Heroesimage via NatGeo[/caption]

8. Sacrificing Their Own Safety For Us

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]The Every Day Hero: Firefighterimage via Casey Jackson on tumblr[/caption]

9. Dog’s Best Friend? The Every Day Hero

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="435"]Every Day Hero & Dogimage via 1000 firestations[/caption]

10. And Yes, Rescuing Cats

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Everyday Hero Rescues Kittyimage via that cute site[/caption]

From the wildfires in Colorado to the catastrophe in Connecticut, firemen keep our country safe and help us recover when we need them most–they are usually the first on the scene and the last to leave. They are every day heroes – both our neighbors and our keepers. We have collected stunning photos from around the web (above) that remind us why we need to remember those every day heroes and thank them when we see them. We will do everything we can at Everyday Hero Housing Assistance Fund to help heroes with their housing purchase and assistance fund needs.

Image Credit: all images (above) of every day heroes have image credits/source in the description below the image and are not owned by EHHAF

Why We Need Every Day Heroes

This post seems like an easy topic to write about. How is it not obvious to some people why we need our everyday heroes? Firefighters, teachers, policemen and women, as well as, many more keep our cities running smoothly. In addition, they keep our cities moving forward. Yet, it seems like we constantly overlook every day heroes, as a nation.

[caption id="attachment_1098" align="alignnone" width="633"]every day heroes image via starman series on flickr[/caption]

USEHHAF is here because we each want to recognize and support the everyday hero in our life. Tired of trying to convince others around you to focus on everyday heroes instead of celebrities in tabloids? We designed a little questionnaire for them to see if they really prefer the hero in the press, or if they appreciate the quiet everyday hero.

  1. Who is your celebrity hero?
  2. What made them your celebrity hero?
  3. What experience would you want them to talk to you about?
  4. Name a teacher, firefighter, or other service man or woman who influenced you.
  5. What did he or she do that influenced you?
  6. How many other people you know that directly know this person?
  7. Did this person help or influence them in anyway?
  8. What experiences has this person had that they could share with you?
  9. Would you listen?
  10. Reflect on what you believe your foundation for a good life is. Which person, the celebrity or everyday hero, exemplifies that?

The last question is the most important. Don’t get us wrong, we like to follow and hear about celebrities, but we want our everyday heroes to come first. That’s why we’re working hard for them.

Did you answer the questionnaire? Send us a story about your everyday hero so that we can share it with others.

RELATED LINKS
The Everyday Heroes Assistance Fund
How You Can Help Everyday Heroes

Official Statement Regarding Today’s Tragic Events in Connecticut

“Today is a sad day. A tragic day that will live with us all as a moment in our nations history that we will never forget. A day that has undoubtedly robbed the survivors of their youth and innocence. A day that saw the end of what were once promising and bright futures, and by this we are saddened.

We are a strong nation and on days like these, we need to do what we do best, pull together as one people indivisible as human beings and show our love and support for the families of today’s victims.

As parents, family members, friends and supporters of our nations heroes, Teachers taking the lead in our effort to educate and prepare our nation’s future leaders, we have all suffered a blow of historic proportions today and it goes without saying that EHHAF is here for you.  Our condolences, prayers and thoughts are with you.”  -Errol Andersen & The USEHHAF Team