It's that time again. As we move into the colder weather don't forget some very important maintenance items for your home.
1) Keep your thermostat at 57. This is the temp to keep your home from molding during the wet season.
2) Disconnect your exterior water hoses and insulate.
3) If you aren't here for the winter, turn off the water on your washing machine and disconnect the hose.
4) Run your ceiling fans in reverse to push the heat back down from the ceiling.
5) Change your furnace filters.
6) Turn down the temp on your water heater.
Here are extra tips:
These will save you money and protect your home.
Come join me at the "best" Oyster & Fish Dinner in Cannon Beach…..Saturday November 7th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm…Dinner cost $15.00 which includes salad bar, baked potato, hot rolls, coffee….Takeout Available ~ Salad Plate with Roll $8.00 ~ See You There!!!! Tina Chapman
Location: 1216 S Hemlock in Cannon Beach at the American Legion Hall
Is Title Insurance Optional?
As part of the new CFPB rules, creditors are required to disclose the cost of a Title Insurance policy if it’s the borrower’s responsibility to pay for it. However, the charge must be listed as “optional” on both the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, which might discourage homeowners from buying this protection.
So let’s talk about this word, “optional.” Yes, it’s technically optional, but for most people, owning a home is the biggest investment of their life! Don’t you think they should protect it? And by the way, creditors require their own title insurance policy. That’s how important they think it is to protect their investment.
Protection & Peace of Mind
Here’s something to consider: Title problems are discovered in more than a third of residential real estate transactions. Over the years, things like liens, easements, and subdivisions cause confusion over who has rights to the property, and the last thing the homeowner wants is drama that puts their investment in jeopardy. But when a consumer has an owner’s Title Insurance policy, these issues are known or resolved before signing on the dotted line, even things that are done illegally or without proper documentation giving borrowers peace of mind that their investment is protected for as long as they own the property.
So there’s our two cents about the value of an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy and listing it as an “optional” expense. The one-time cost for an owner’s title policy is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you gain.
Whether you are selling or staying put, here are a few ways to give the outside of your home a facelift.
Spruce up the exterior. The quickest and most efficient way to give your home curb appeal is to pressure wash it. A pro will charge between $1000 and $2000 to pressure wash 2,500 square feet, according to www.homewyse.com. But why not do it yourself? For less than $80 per day, you could rent a pressure washer from Home Depot or Lowe's. Before you do it yourself, watch how-to videos on YouTube. Pressure washing is also good preparation for a paint job, which may be needed if the old pain is peeling, fading or chalky.
Tame the Landscaping. Few things detract from an otherwise beautiful home than overgrown grass and weeds. Rake the rubble last fall left behind out flower beds and re-edge them. Add mulch, which will not only look good, but will help control weeds and retain moisture. Trim shrubs and remove any dead wood. Reseed or resod thin or bare spots in the lawn and keep it mowed. If you're not up for the job, you could hire a professional landscaper for a seasonal cleanup. Depending on the size of your yard, that could cost several hundred dollars. To save some money, consider hiring a neighbor kid.
Add color. You want the entrance to your home to be as inviting as possible. Weathered trim ages the look of your house, as does a paint peeling door. Start by painting your front door and trim in an accent color that complements your home's overall look. Try out colors using online tools, such as Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer, that let you upload and "paint" a photo of your home. If you have a porch, add patio furniture to help homebuyers visualize enjoying the front space. Plant annual flowers in the landscape beds, window boxes or containers on the porch. Add a seasonal wreath to liven up the front door. And don't forget the welcome mat for a finishing touch!
The Payoff – your home will turn heads – whether or not you are selling it.
Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report. The numbers shocked many analysts as they revealed a 10.4% increase over the same month last year.
This is the highest number of sales since September 2013. Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and the 10.4% increase is the highest annual increase since August 2013. March's sales increase was the largest monthly increase since December 2010.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, explained:
"After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March. The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."
Here is a graph showing home sales so far this year:
An increase in sales occurred in every region of the country even the Northeast that experienced one of their roughest winters in years:
Houses are flying off the shelves. This may be the perfect time to sell yours. Call me for a free market analysis of your home today!
What you can do to help your real estate agent show your home
Showing your home is very important to its sale, and there are many ways you can help your real estate professional do his or her job successfully. Here are some last-minute details that will maximize your home’s selling potential:
- The television is turned off or low enough to allow the salesperson and buyer(s) to talk, free of disturbances.
- Have soft background music playing.
- Bad odors are eliminated. Set out potpourri.
- The house has adequate lighting (during daytime, drapes are open; at night plenty of lights are on, including the porch light).
- Wood is stored next to the fireplace. In winter, a fire is lit.
- The kitchen sink is free of dishes.
- Magazines and children’s toys are in order.
- Plants have been watered and look healthy.
- Fresh flowers are arranged tastefully around the house.
A spotless interior will reinforce a good first impression for your home
- Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents.
- Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas; wallpaper is cleaned and woodwork waxed.
- Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored in a family’s or neighbor’s attic or basement.
- Curtains and drapes are freshly laundered.
- Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed.
- Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and warped drawers are repaired.
- Leaky faucets are fixed. Water discoloration in sink is eliminated.
- Loose stair banisters are tightened and steps are free of objects.
- Light fixtures are in good working order and discolored or cracked switch plates are replaced.
- Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness.
- Clothing is hung neatly; shoes and other objects are neatly arranged.
- Bathrooms are sparkling clean. Tub and shower caulking is repaired.
- Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and curtains are attractive. The kitchen is clean and tidy, including cupboards, stove and oven.
- The basement, attic and garage are clean and well organized.
- Mirrors, picture frames and glass covering pictures are clean.
- Mirrors are strategically placed to create an impression of added space in problem areas.
- Lamp shades are in good condition.
- Electrical connections are plugged in.
- Consider painting walls and replacing carpeting if cleaning doesn’t do the trick.
- Keep lighting in mind when you show your home. Good lighting will make your home seem more cheery and spacious
What you can do while your house is being shown
- Be courteous and don’t force conversation with the potential buyer(s). Ask your real estate broker or agent if your presence is necessary.
- Never apologize for the appearance of your home. Let your real estate broker or agent answer any objections.
- Leave it to your real estate professional to emphasize the features of your home.
- Make sure your agent or broker knows where you are to answer and questions, but don’t tag along.
- Let your real estate professional discuss price, terms, possession and other factors with the potential buyer(s).
- Remember, your real estate broker or agent has the experience and training necessary to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion. And, if you’ve followed the guidelines provided, you’ll know you’ve already done your part in helping your home sell by making sure it creates a good first impression.
Your Home’s Exterior Creates the Prospective Buyer’s First Impression
Since the exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyers sees, a little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates — and pay big dividends when the sale is made. Use this checklist to make sure your home’s exterior looks its best:
- Lawn is well cut and neatly trimmed around the walks and drive.
- Flower garden is weeded.
- Shrubs are trimmed and dead trees and branches are eliminated.
- All debris is disposed of and toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored.
- Fences and gates are repaired and repainted, if necessary.
- The roof, gutters and downspouts are in good repair.
- Cracked windows and torn screens are replaced. Screens, windows and window sills are washed
- Doorknobs are polished.
- Doorbell and front lights are in good working order.
If you would have planned to paint the house within the coming year, consider painting the house before showing it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.
Remember, if your home’s exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that is the impression your house will first convey
Are you in the market to buy a second home? Mortgate interest, property taxes, rental income, and expenses will affect your tax return. Here's how:
If you will be using the second home and will not be renting it out, interest on the mortgage is deductible in the same way you would deduct interest for your primary home. You are able to write off 100% of the interest you pay, up to $1.1 million of debt combined for primary and secondary homes.
If you will be using the second home as a rental property, which a lot of second-home buyers do, very different tax rules may apply depending on the rental use. You do not need to report the rental income if you rent the property out for 14 or less days during the year. The amount of income you receive does not matter just the amount of days rented. However, if you rent the home for more than 14 days during the year, all income must be reported because the home is now being viewed as a business. You can deduct rental expenses factoring in the amount of time the property is used for personal use versus rental use.
Unlimited Use Versus Limited Use
If you use the second home more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the days it is rented then it is considered a personal residence and you are not able to deduct your rental loss. However, because you are not able to count the interest as a rental expense, you will be able to deduct it as a personal expense.
If you limit your personal use of the home to 14 days or 10%, the home will be considered a business and up to $25,000 in losses might be deductible each year. This is why most vacation homeowners, second-home owners, spend lot's of time "maintaining" the property. Days spent fixing up the home do not count as personal use, so you can spend more than 14 days at the property as long as it is for maintenance purposes. Unfortunately, holding down personal use means forfeiting the write-off for the portion of mortgage interest that fails to qualify as either a rental or personal expense.
It is said that such losses might be deductible because real estate losses are considered "passive losses" by the tax law. Passive losses are generally not deductible, but there is an exception that might protect you, if your adjusted gross income is less than $100,000, up to $25,000 of losses can be deducted each year to offset income such as your salary. As your income increases between $100,000 and $150,000, the $25,000 allowance disappears. However, passive losses you aren't able to deduct can be stored up and used to offset taxable profit when you decide to sell your second home.
Tax laws allow you to take up to $500,000 profit ($250,000 if you are unmarried) tax free on the sale of your primary residence. This primary-home sale exclusion does not apply if you sell your second home: If you sell a house that is not your primary residence, you may have to pay the usual capital gains tax. However, if you make the second home your primary residence for at least two years before you sell it, you may be able to reap some tax benefits. This actually isn't as far-fetced as you may think, however, it is not as lucrative as it used to be either. Some retirees, are selling the big family home and moving full time into what had been their vacation home.
Once you live in that home for two years, up to $500,000 of profit could be tax free, including appreciation in value during the years it was your second home. Any profit attributable to depreciation while you rented the place, though, would be taxable. Depreciation reduces your tax basis in the property and, therefore, increases profit dollar for dollar. Congress recently cracked down on this break, though, stating if you use the property after 2008 for purposes other than your principal residence, part of the eventual gain on the sale won't be eligible for the $500,000/$250,000 exclusion. Regardless of whether the seller meets the two-year ownership and use tests. The portion of the profit that is subject to tax is based on the ratio of time after 2008 when the house was a second home or a rental unit to the total time you owned it.
Have you ever wondered why some homes sell for a premium? Of course timing has much to do with it, but did you know that your own words have a huge impact on the value others place on your home? According to “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate”an analysis was done of 24,000 home sales and the following are some key words to get the most for your home.
Lower-priced homes with the word “luxurious” sold for 8.2 percent more on average than expected. “Luxurious” signals that a home’s finishes and amenities are high-end. This is a huge selling point, particularly in a lower price range.
Top-tier listings described as “captivating” sold for 6.5 percent more on average than expected. Unlike the word “nice,” “captivating” provides a richer, more enticing description for buyers. Plus, it’s less open to interpretation. Anything can be seen as “nice,” but “captivating” sets a high bar.
On average, homes in the bottom tier with the word “impeccable” sold for 5.9 percent more than expected. "Impeccable" implies something about the quality of a home: The features are desirable and the home is move-in ready.
Stainless” is typically used to describe kitchens with “stainless steel appliances.” It’s in your favor to talk up these features in your home — especially if your home is in the bottom price tier. In Zillow's analysis, lower-priced homes with the word “stainless” sold for 5 percent more on average than expected.
Lower-priced homes with the word “basketball” sold for 4.5 percent more than expected, on average. This may seem like an odd word to include in this list, but when you consider the context it makes sense. Among lower-priced homes, a basketball court — or even better, an indoor basketball court — is a huge selling point. While it may not stand out as much among higher-priced homes, it’s definitely worth mentioning in this price range.
It’s just as valuable to describe your yard as your house. In all price tiers, homes with the word “landscaped” sold for more than expected on average. The biggest premium was seen among lower-priced homes, which on average sold for 4.2 percent more than expected.
In the same vein as “stainless,” “granite” is typically used to describe countertops or another high-end home feature. Homes with the word “granite” sold, on average, for 1 to 4 percent more than expected across all price tiers.
Not only should you include high-end home features in your listing description, you should also mention features not found in every home. They’ll help your home stand out, especially if buyers are searching for homes online by keyword. Mid-priced homes with the word “pergola” sold for 4 percent more on average than expected.
Was your home recently remodeled? It may be worth mentioning. On average, bottom-tier homes with the word “remodel” sold for 2.9 percent more, middle-tier homes for 1.8 percent more and top-tier homes for 1.7 percent more than expected.
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a beautiful feature like a view may be worth noting. Lower-priced homes with the word “beautiful” sold for 2.3 percent more on average than expected.
“Gentle” may seem like a weird adjective to have in a listing description. It’s typically used to describe “gentle rolling hills” or something about a home’s location. Top-tier homes with the word “gentle” sold for 2.3 percent more, on average, than expected.
You may think all homes are spotless when a buyer moves in, so it’s not worth mentioning in a listing. But when it comes to lower-priced homes, cleanliness isn’t always a given. In this price range, listings described as “spotless” sold for 2 percent more on average than expected.
Much like “stainless” and “granite,” “tile” is a great word when it comes to describing the features of your home. A newly tiled backsplash or updated bathroom tile not only indicates a home’s aesthetic value but also sends a message to buyers that the home’s been well cared for by the current owners. Bottom-tier homes with the word “tile” in the listing sold for 2 percent more on average than expected.
On average, lower-priced listings with the word “upgraded” sold for 1.8 percent more than expected. Upgrades indicate a home not only looks nice but also functions well. A good approach is to let buyers know which features have been uped so they have the right expectations when they see your home.
“Updated” sends a similar message to “upgraded.” But in addition to speaking to the quality of a home, it signals that something old has been replaced with something new. Be sure to communicate this to potential buyers.Mid-priced homes with “updated” in the listing sold for 0.8 percent more on average than expected.
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