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It’s a Sellers’ Market: What That Means for You

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Whether you’re buying or selling, being prepared goes a long way toward a successful transaction.

Real estate is growing strong in many parts of the country. First-time and entry-level buyers find little inventory but lots of competition, leading to a frustrating seller’s market.

For sellers, this means quicker and easier sales, if they cross their t’s and dot their i’s. For buyers, this means fighting it out with others for their dream home. Here are tips for both sellers and buyers in competitive markets.

Seller: Prepare, inspect, disclose and plan ahead (more…)

The Home Buyers’ Guide to New Construction

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Any buyer shopping for a home today, in any market and at any price point, is likely to come across new construction homes for sale. The sellers are both large national builders and smaller local developers. Some homes are for sale as a part of a subdivision, while others are one-off homes.

But is a new-construction home the right path for you? Here are five factors you should keep in mind.

New homes may not be listed in your local MLS

Unlike a regular seller who lists their home with a local real estate agent, homebuilders often have their own sales employees working for them on site. They do this to have more control and to cut costs.

What does this mean for buyers? Mostly, it may mean the homebuilder isn’t a member of the local MLS. As a result, the homes may not show up in your agent’s MLS search. (more…)

10 Spring Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Because nobody wants to be stuck inside scrubbing and dusting all spring.

Spring is the perfect time to open up the windows in your house and clean every surface inch. But don’t waste precious hours of spring sunshine while you stay in and clean.

  1. Have a plan.

When it comes to spring cleaning, the best approach is an organized approach. “I recommend having a plan, which includes an outline of the areas you plan to clean, a schedule with time slotted to do that work (for you and any family members), as well as a list of products, tools and even cleaning techniques or tips pertaining to those areas,” says Melissa Maker, blogger and host of the popular YouTube show “Clean My Space.” (more…)

8 Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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You may not qualify for all of them, but don’t you want to know for sure?

Owning a home can be a big expense, but the good news is some of your expenses are actually tax deductible. Read on to see how you can maximize home ownership write-offs on your tax return.

Mortgage interest

You can deduct all of the mortgage interest (not principal) payments you make on your home, up to a $1-million loan for a couple filing jointly. This applies to your home equity line of credit (on a loan up $100,000) and second mortgage as well.

If you own a second home, such as a vacation cottage or mobile home, you can deduct the mortgage interest for it as well, so long as you reside there for the longer of 14 days per year or 10 percent of the time it is rented out. (more…)

How to Tackle Downsizing in 5 Steps

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Don’t let the thought of downsizing strike terror in your heart. All you need is a smart strategy … and we’ve got it!

Moving house, in general, is notorious for being one of the most stressful and demanding experiences in life. Moving to a smaller home presents an even greater set of challenges.

Not only will you have to adapt to a radical change in your lifestyle, but you will also be forced to part with a number of cherished belongings that won’t fit into your new tighter space. However frustrating and upsetting this idea may be, realize that with fewer possessions to weigh you down, your life can be simpler and more enjoyable than ever before.

  1. Make a complete inventory of your belongings

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Winning the War on Pet Hair

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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As the weather warms up, dogs and cats start shedding their winter coats … and allergy sufferers start sneezing. Proper care and thorough spring cleaning can help combat the effects of dust and dander.

March is officially the start of spring. And, in terms of dogs and cats, it’s also the start of the fur-shedding season — nature’s attempt to get rid of thicker winter fur. Fortunately, there are lots of ways for pet parents with allergic reactions to pet hair to keep things under control.

About 30 percent of people with general allergies also have allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. People with pet allergies have supersensitive immune systems that can react to harmless proteins in a pet’s dander (dead skin that is shed), which are called allergens. Pet hair, while not an allergen, collects dander and harbors other allergens like dust and pollen. (more…)

How to Prepare Your Home for an Elderly Relative

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Grandma is moving in! But is your home safe for an elderly relative? Here are tips for transitioning your home to multigenerational living.

But is your home ready to support a senior family member as they age? Before move-in, make sure your home is prepared. Some small changes will reduce the risk of a dangerous fall or accident, and increase senior comfort in your home. You want all the fun of a sitcom without any of the drama.

Doors, stairs and walkways (more…)

Tax Tips for Rental Property Owners

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Whether you bought, sold, or maintained a rental property in 2015, you’ll want this advice

If you own a rental property, your tax strategy is more complex than for the home you live in. Here are some important tax tips for rental property owners.

Here are some points to keep in mind when you file your annual return:

  • Your rental property shows up on Schedule Eof your tax returns, which logs rental income and expenses. The expenses include mortgage interest, property tax, maintenance, repairs, utilities, property management fees, depreciation, and all other costs associated with owning the property.
  • If you pay pointswhen you close your rental property purchase loan, you cannot fully deduct them the year they were paid like on a primary residence purchase. Instead, you must deduct points over the life of your loan.
  • If your rental income exceeds expenses each year, the income is taxable just like any other income.
  • If expenses exceed rental income on Schedule E — which is common because of the depreciationexpense line item — you can deduct rental losses if your non-property income is up to $150,000 per year. If your non-property income is up to $100,000, you may be able to deduct rental property losses up to $25,000 annually. If you earn between $100,000 and $150,000, this potential deduction benefit is cut in half. And if you earn above $150,000, you cannot deduct rental property losses.
  • If you earn too much to deduct rental property losses, the losses can accrue as an offset to capital gains taxes when you sell.
  • Ask your tax adviser whether deductions or accrual of rental losses fits your tax profile.

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Insurance 101: Review Your Insurance Policy at Renewal

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Don’t just assume your existing policy is adequate. Now’s your chance to consider whether you need to add or drop coverage.

Home insurance can be confusing. Policies are customized to fit the needs of each policyholder, so coverage can vary widely. If you’ve never read your policy cover to cover, stop what you’re doing and find the time to do so.

Do you know if you’re covered in the event of a meteor hitting your home? What about if heavy rainfall leads to a flood in your basement? If the former occurs, you’re likely protected, as this seemingly random coverage is typically included in standard policies. You may not be as lucky, as flood insurance often is a completely separate entity.

About 32 million households throughout the country do not have appropriate insurance, according to Trusted Choice, an Independent Insurance Agent company. Some have far too much coverage, while others are rolling the dice with holes in their policies that could lead to financial hardships. (more…)

The Pros and Cons of Merging Finances

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Managing money can be challenging enough on your own. Consider these points before combining finances with your significant other.

Whether you’re a newlywed or have recently moved in with your significant other, you two have a lot to decide about the best way to handle household matters. Figuring out how you’ll divide laundry duties, grocery shopping and other mundane responsibilities is a piece of cake compared to the big question: finances.

If you’re thinking about combining your finances, here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros (more…)

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