Tag: home

October 23, 2015

How to Renovate Your Home without Exceeding Neighborhood Value

by Courtney Soinski

Before you decide to renovate your home, it’s important to understand that not all renovations will increase the value. It is certainly possible to over-remodel, and you don’t want it to exceed the value of your neighbors’ homes. Here are some ways to get the highest return on investment (ROI) possible when the time comes to sell your home.

Projects always worth your while

shutterstock_138891047There are specific renovation projects that can deliver the greatest effect on your ROI, regardless of the real estate market’s current state or the value of surrounding homes. According to real estate expert Robert Stammers in a recent article in Investopedia, these can be projects such as an addition of a wood deck, kitchen and bathroom upgrades as well as window replacements.

shutterstock_117312145Factor in location

A common mistake that homeowner tend to make is renovating their homes to the point where it exceeds the value of surrounding homes. The fact of the matter is that people look in a specific neighborhood because of its proximity to nearby businesses or recreation and it’s in their price range. If improvements done to your home are much higher than homes around you, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to pay more for those improvements, even if they’re interested.

Make improvements that will add value over time

Some home improvements, like upgrading the technological features of a home, will not have a lasting impact, and may even bring down the home value. These types of renovations are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete and outdated as years pass. Technology and styles change all the time, so focus on improvements that are less likely to be impacted by time and are worth your investment.

Renovations that will pay you back

shutterstock_118031236

Regardless of whether a homeowner is planning to sell or not, the ultimate objective of taking on a renovation is to revel in the enjoyment you get from living in an updated home while gaining considerable profit from that investment. There are many tools out there that show the kind of profit you can expect from specific home remodels. A perfect example of this is Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” annual report.

Here are some of the findings from the 2015 Remodeling Cost Vs. Value report:

Projects that deliver the highest percentage of return on investment

  • Entry door replacement (steel): 101.8%
  • Garage door replacement: 88.4%
  • Siding replacement (fiber-cement): 84.3%
  • Siding replacement (vinyl): 80.7%
  • Deck addition (wood): 80.5%

Renovation projects that deliver the lowest percentage of return on investment 

  • Sunroom addition: 48.5%
  • Home office remodel: 48.7%
  • Master suite addition: 53.7%
  • Garage addition: 54.7%
  • Bathroom addition: 57.8%

SOURCE: http://blog.realestatebook.com/2015/10/08/how-to-renovate-your-home-without-exceeding-neighborhoods-value/

June 24, 2015

Decor Layering Tips from Top Designers

One of the hottest new home design trends among interior designers is layering unique patterns and textures throughout various rooms in your home. This layering technique creates heightened visual interest and will catch the eyes of your guests as well as potential home buyers the moment they step foot through the front door. Get inspired to layer elements in your home with these new and innovative ideas!

makelyhome.com

makelyhome.com

Fancy Frames

An empty wall holds endless potential. If the room is small, expand your space with a mirror collage featuring a variety of shapes and varnishes. Is your heart set on colorful patterned wallpaper? Showcase your favorite print in a large frame for a beautiful living room backdrop to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Art fans should collect a variety of frames in different finishes and styles to create a living room gallery.

huntedinterior.com

huntedinterior.com

Pillow Patterns

While it’s fun to mix and match pillows, certain textures complement each other better than others. For example, linens and wool tend to look better with woven fabrics, while shiny and matte fabrics are best kept separate. Mixing contrasting textures such as silk and corduroy calls for a strong sense of design confidence, but it can be done.

camillestyles.com

camillestyles.com

Rugs Galore

Start with a flat, neutral rug as your foundation and add a smaller, accent rug on top. Investing in a large rug with a subdued color is wise, but have fun with the accent rug. Whether cowhide or a geometric print, choose a similar color scheme and play with the positioning by placing the top rug at a purposeful angle.

diyshowoff.com

diyshowoff.com

Drab Turned Fab

When thinking about your space, it’s important to remember that design inspiration can be found anywhere. Look for antique candle holders or paperweights. Check out antique shops or thrift stores for hidden treasures. When traveling, visit flea markets and local art fairs. Transform an old object like a rustic slab of wood into a glossy countertop for your kitchen island. No matter where you travel, keep an eye out for timeworn treasures for your home.

Layering textures and patterns, combining modern with rustic – blending home design can result in a truly transformative space that captures your individual style.

Source: Brizio

Source: http://blog.realestatebook.com/tag/interior-design/

April 5, 2013

Buying a House at Foreclosure Auction is Risky Business

You can buy a home at a significant discount at a foreclosure auction, but you’ll face a host of challenges. Don’t get burned; be solutions-ready.

Before attending a foreclosure auction, learn the rules for your area. Several processes are set by individual state and local governments.

 If you want to get a good deal at a foreclosure auction, know what you’re buying and how you’ll be expected to pay for it.

Start by understanding the foreclosure auction rules for your area. State and local governments set their own rules for such factors as:

  • Bidding process
  • Amount of deposit
  • Where the auction is held
  • Whether the home owners can get their properties back after the sale

You can learn about the process in your area by talking to officials at your county tax department or to a REALTOR®.

Although foreclosure auctions follow local rules, there are some universal challenges you’ll face no matter where you shop for foreclosed properties. Here’s how to solve them.

Solutions to 6 common foreclosure auction challenges

1. Challenge: Getting reliable information about foreclosure sales. Many companies charge fees to send you lists of foreclosures that may not be current, or sell expensive foreclosure-buying “systems” that promise to teach you how to make millions in real estate.

Solution: Most foreclosure sales are still announced in local newspapers. And you can get accurate information about buying foreclosures from reliable book publishers:

Foreclosure Investing For Dummies (For Dummies, 2007)

Keys To Buying Foreclosed and Bargain Homes (Barron’s Educational Series, 2008)

2. Challenge: You can’t get inside the property before the auction to inspect it for structural problems and repairs. Many foreclosure auction properties are in bad shape because the owners couldn’t afford the upkeep. And sometimes angry home owners purposely damage the property to punish the foreclosing lender.

Solution: Walk around the home to check its exterior condition. If it’s vacant, look through the windows. Ask the neighbors what they know about the property. If it was a rental, check the inspection records on file with the local government.

You can safely assume there’s something wrong with any house sold at a foreclosure auction, so cover yourself by bidding no more than 70% of the home’s market value.

3. Challenge: You need to figure out the market value of the house to prepare your bid. Some foreclosure auction announcements include information about the size of the original mortgage. That’s not how much the house is worth or even what the owners owe now. If the current owners bought at the top of the market, their mortgage may be more than the home is worth in today’s market and they could owe even more if there’s a second mortgage on the house.

Solution: Commission your real estate agent to do a broker’s price opinion (BPO) on the home you want to bid on. The BPO will show you comparable sales, telling you what similar, nearby homes that weren’t foreclosure sales have recently sold for.

Bid well below those comparable sales to leave yourself room to pay for repairs and unexpected problems. Ask the agency that runs the auction how to find winning bid amounts from recent auctions. Use that information to guide your current bid, too. A look at local tax and assessment records will tell you more about previous and current auction properties, like square footage and lot size.

4. Challenge: You don’t know if there are liens on the home. Some auctions don’t give you clean title to the property, meaning liens from the federal government or other entities may not be removed during the foreclosure auction process. You’d have to pay off those liens if you won the property.

Solution: Focus your efforts on two or three homes in desirable locations. To find out about any liens, pay a real estate attorney to run a title search on each property and issue a commitment to insure the title after purchase. Ask how the policy treats liens filed between the time of the search and the time you close.

A less-expensive option: Hire an independent title search professional called an abstracter or an online company. Both search options should be under $200, title insurance costs vary by state.

5. Challenge: You have to pay cash and pay it quickly. Most auctions require bidders to come up with the full purchase price in cash within 30 days.

Solution: Don’t count on getting a mortgage that fast. Look for other sources of cash that make financial sense for you.

  • Tap retirement accounts, provided it makes sense for you from a tax perspective.
  • Work with other investors to fund a partnership to invest in foreclosed homes.

6. Challenge: You’re in love with a house that you’re aware is headed to foreclosure, but you’re afraid to bid on it at the foreclosure auction because you know nothing about the process.

Solution #1: Contact the owners and offer to purchase the home as a short sale. That’s where the bank agrees to let the owners sell for less than what they owe on the mortgage.

Solution #2: You may be able to buy the house after the foreclosure sale. Foreclosure sales are run by a government agency (often the sheriff), which collects the money from the highest bidder and gives it to the bank to pay off the mortgage.

Banks will often bid at the sale to make sure someone doesn’t pay less than the house is worth (translation: not giving the bank enough money to satisfy the mortgage).

If the bank is the high bidder, it’ll take title to the house and put it up for sale. Then, buying the home is just like buying any other house. You can buy an owner’s title insurance policy so you know the house is free of liens; you can get a home inspection to check for needed repairs; and you’ll have plenty of time to line up your financing.

A real estate agent can alert you the day the bank puts the home on the market, so you can submit your purchase offer.

Since the bank pays the real estate agent’s fees, you likely won’t pay more than you’d have bid at the foreclosure auction to outbid the bank, and you’ll avoid most of the risks and unknowns of buying at the auction.

Read more: http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/buying-house-foreclosure-auction-risky-business/#ixzz2PKo0xkqd

February 27, 2013

5 Good Reasons to Amend Your Tax Return — and How

Your home is a great source of tax savings if you know what qualifies and don’t forget to claim deductions and credits. If you missed any of these five, you can go back in time — roughly two to three years — by amending your tax return. (Read more nitpicky details in How to Amend Your Tax Return.)

1. Home office deduction

If your home is your principal place of business, you can deduct a percentage of eligible home expenses like:

  • Utilities
  • Mortgage interest for the proportion of the house used as your office
  • Home repairs and maintenance

Forms you’ll need to file an amendment:

  • Form 8829 and Schedule A (if you’re employed by someone else) for the year you’re amending
  • Schedule C (if you’re self-employed) for the year you’re amending

2. Energy tax credit

If you installed energy-efficiency improvements (like HVAC systems, insulation, a roof, windows) in 2009 and 2010 and didn’t take a tax credit for those upgrades, you may have missed out on up to $1,500 (or up to 30% of what you spent).

My husband and I didn’t claim the energy tax credit for insulation we installed in 2009 because we thought we’d get a better deal if we claimed the credit in 2010 when we planned to replace windows. But we never got around to replacing the windows. So we amended our 2009 return to claim the tax credit for the insulation. The $500 we’ll get back for the insulation is less than the $1,500 we would have received if we replaced windows, but it’s $500 we won’t get if we don’t amend.

If you want to amend your 2009 return that you filed in 2010, you have until April 15, 2013; for your 2010 return, you have until 2014.

Forms you need:

  • 1040X

Note: Congress extended the $500 lifetime energy tax credit for 2012 and 2013.

3. Home improvement sales tax deduction

If your state and local town doesn’t tax income, you can amend Schedule A to deduct state and local sales tax you paid. Say you added new siding for $10,000 and your state charged 6% in sales tax. That’s potentially a $600 deduction.

Use the IRS’s online sales tax calculator to figure out the total sales tax you can deduct. Have the receipts to prove you paid the sales taxes.

Forms you need:

  • 1040x
  • Schedule A for the year you’re amending

4. Property tax deduction

Get a copy of your tax bill payment from the local tax office that collects the bill. Make sure you deduct the property tax expense on your amended return for the year you paid it, which could be different than the year it was due.

Forms you need:

  • 1040x
  • Schedule A for the year you’re amending

5. Home repair deduction

Red alert: You can’t claim deductions for any old home repair. There are only two narrow, possible ways to claim home repairs, and it’s always best to check with a tax pro for your particular situation:

1. If part of your home is used for business. You can only claim repairs made to your home office or claim a percentage of the repairs you make to the house as a whole, like repainting or patching a roof leak. If 10% of your home is office, you can deduct 10% of the repainting or patching. If the repair is to the office itself only, then the percentage generally does not apply.

Forms you need:

  • 1040X
  • Form 8829 and Schedule A (if you’re employed by someone else) for the year you’re amending
  • Schedule C (if you’re self-employed) for the year you’re amending

2. For casualty losses. Calculating and deducting casualty losses (disaster, damages, robbery) is complex. Everything from your income level to how you value your property can affect overlooked deductions. Besides placing a value on your personal property, you have to subtract a number of things from that, including insurance reimbursement and a percentage of your adjusted gross income. Read IRS Publication 547 and consult a tax adviser. Note that you can claim losses from federally declared disasters either in the year they occur or, if it’s more favorable, on the preceding year’s taxes.

Forms you need:

  • 1040X
  • Form 4684 for casualty and theft for the year you’re amending
  • Schedule A for the year you’re amending

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-deductions/amend-your-tax-return/#ixzz2M4EZxjOf

January 25, 2013

Unify Your Home in 8 Simple Design Areas

We tend to pay a lot of attention to the things that make our rooms unique, layered and interesting — and rightly so. But a home with nothing tying its spaces together can feel haphazard or even uncomfortable to be in. By making a few key choices about materials and finishes and applying them throughout your home, you can bring unity to your space.

Here are eight features to create continuity with, from the big areas (flooring and paint) to the tiniest details.

1. Hard flooring. If you are redoing floors or choosing flooring for a new home, a great choice to make early on in the design process is to go with the same treatment throughout the space. You can maintain a sense of continuity even with several different flooring materials as long as they make sense together. For instance, try using stone or tile floors in the entry and mudroom, and wood floors in the rest of the space.
2. Trim color. Sticking with a single color for trim, window frames, doors or all of the above is an easy way to unify your space. Painting just the inner frames of your windows black, as shown here, gives any room a very finished look, and repeating the treatment throughout the house is a subtle way to offer a sense of rhythm.
3. Hardware. Even something as small as a switch plate or drawer handle is worth your attention. Rather than picking out hardware at random as needed, make a conscious choice from the get-go and be consistent.
4. Window treatments. Choosing a single window treatment style for your home is one simple way to connect the rooms. Roman shades are a classic choice — they look good with any style decor, and they can be layered with curtains if you want to change things up.
5. Lighting. While statement pendants and colorful lampshades are fun and definitely have their place, you might want to keep some of your lighting constant. Try wall-mounted swing-arm lights over a seating area in the living room, flanking a bookcase and in the bedroom.
 6. A signature hue. Paint color can be a great unifier — or an interruption to flow. Encourage the eye to travel through rooms and give the entire space cohesion by picking paint colors in shades of the same hue or analogous hues.
7. Rugs. Natural-fiber rugs are a no-brainer for nearly any space, making them a great choice for providing consistency in the home. Use coir or sisal carpeting to cover a staircase and in the living room, halls and bedroom. Natural-colored carpeting, as shown here, is the classic choice, but black or espresso would be quite sophisticated.
8. A clean backdrop. This cottage feels spacious and serene, thanks in great part to fresh white wall paneling throughout. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but an all-white space really can work wonders.
January 16, 2013

Coolest Kitchen Sinks on the Planet

Check out this photo-log of some of the coolest sinks.

http://www.houselogic.com/photos/kitchens/kitchen-sink-pictures/slide/the-transformer-of-sinks/

January 9, 2013

Top-10 List of New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

This time, it’s going to be different. A brand new year, brimming with possibilities, and you’ve resolved to move through your house like a whirling tornado of can-do, fixing, painting, and organizing. This year, nothing will stop you.

Welcome to your home improvement New Year’s Resolutions.

Based on the most-common top-ten resolutions gathered by Time magazine, USA.gov, and other sources, we’ve put together an inspiring list of home management goals.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/maintenance-repair/houselogic-new-years-resolutions-home/#ixzz2H4WcFsCa