How to Claim Home Improvements on a Tax Return

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Did you know that home improvements qualify for deductions on your Federal taxes? Due to current market conditions and the downturn in the real estate markets many homeowners are opting to improve the existing home over upgrading to a new home. These home improvements most likely qualify as deduction on your taxes and can be used to reduce the amount you owe on your annual taxes.

What Home Improvements Qualify for Tax Deductions?

Any home improvement which is done for medical reasons such as elevators, ramps, raised sinks and door widening may qualify for a tax deduction. With proper documentation as to costs involved you can recoup a percentage of your home improvement costs but without the right receipts you will have nothing to make a claim with.

Improvements on your home related to energy savings may be eligible for tax credits and rebates both from Federal, State and local governments. In some states you can get as much as 25% of you total cost reimbursed to you for the installation of energy efficient heating and cooling devices. Home energy improvements are also beneficial for lowering your electric bills and additional savings over time. Improvements related to energy can add significant value to a home and increase the resale value as much as 15% or more in certain areas where power consumption costs more.

What Home Improvements Do Not Qualify for Tax Deductions?

As with anything from the government there are a number of requirements and limitations. One example is the difference between a home repair and a home improvement. Home repairs are generally not able to be used as tax deduction and the definition of repairs over improvement has caught more than one homeowner off guard in the past. An example of a home repair may be something like the replacement of a faulty roof or a broken water heater. An improvement would be something not necessary but which offers value in the long run.

Be Careful And Don’t Get Carried Away

The Internal Revenue Service has very strict requirements and standards on what can or cannot be claimed for tax deductions. Be sure to check with your tax accountant or financial advisor about what you can and cannot claim. We are general contractors in Florida and not tax attorneys but our experience has been that many homeowners will neglect to check what they can or cannot claim on their taxes and they often miss out on an opportunity to maximize their investment.

There are limits on how much you can claim and the cost involved. For example building a wheelchair ramp with a covered path may seem nice but in most cases the tax breaks will be on the ramp alone and not the roof system. It’s not a necessary component to the improvement.

Be aware of the many pitfalls and do your research before you make any decisions related to your finances. Tax deductions for improvements are a great way to reduce your total tax debt as long as they are done correctly.

Sauer and Sons Construction Company in Ocala Florida offers professional home improvement and repair services for clients across Central Florida.

Your home is still your greatest asset and home improvements and repairs are still vital to not only sustaining your investment but in watching it grow as well. Home improvements and home repairs are important not only for maintaining the value but also for increasing the comfort and usability of your home. Get the most from your home and renovate your existing home at a fraction of the cost over other so called local construction firms.

17 Ideas to Improve Your Home and Make It More Marketable

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Published on: November 20, 2013

1) Get rid of drab, white walls, and paint them in warm shades of gold, deep reds, burnt orange, or even crème. White gives the impression of being sterile and appears outdated. Is your home painted in pastels? It’s definitely time for a chance so it doesn’t appear dated.

2) Big bathroom tubs that you don’t use? It can be an issue, especially with tiny bathrooms. People prefer space for their living conditions, especially in the morning when they’re in a hurry and the last thing they need is to be stuck in a jam – literally! Consider changing to a walk-in shower to avoid this inconvenience. It looks a lot better anyway!

3) Replace ceiling fans. If they have gold accents, ala 1980s, replace immediately!

4) Replace the traditional blinds and opt for curtains. They’re far more attractive and allow a nice amount of natural sunlight in your home.

5) Remove carpets (especially shag carpets!) and replace with hardwood floors or tile floors. It’s now more affordable than ever to install hardwood floors, plus engineered floors make it to where anybody can have them, despite the climate you live in. Use stylish rugs to accent your living space and add comfort.

6) Add steel appliances in the kitchen and laundry areas, including dishwashers, washers, dryers, refrigerators. Upgrade toilets and faucets.

7) Upgrade to granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The same goes with bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets.

8) Upgrade your fireplace to make it safer and more attractive

9) Install custom cabinetry in your kitchen. Use of exotic and high quality woods with custom staining can go a long way in terms of molding your home into a beautiful living space.

10) Routinely pressure-wash your patio or pool deck to ensure there is no buildup of dirt and mildew.

11) Upgrade to clay tile roof for a classy finishing touch to your home

12) Change lighting fixtures. This includes adding edgy, modern ceiling lights – a quick, super-easy way to upgrade your home instantly.

13) Replace your front door with either glass or beautifully-sanded, crafted wood.

14) Replace overhead lighting in the dining area. Opt for minimal, modern lighting fixtures and remember “less is always more” in today’s modern design schemes.

15) Consider retiling your front porch or walkway, especially if there is dirt filling in the cracks.

16) Consider retiling your shower, especially if there is mildew or mineral deposits collecting on the tubs.

17) Change shower heads to rust and mineral-resilient steel. Elaborate showerheads have become very popular. You don’t need them in every bathroom, but the master bathroom certainly makes sense.

5 Tips to Find a Real Estate Agent

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Do you want to invest in a property? Do you know the difference between Realtors and real estate agents? In the real estate market, finding the right real estate agent is crucial to make the process as simple as possible. A good real estate agent can make or break your deal. Before you start shopping for a home, you need to get the right aid to help you through the process. Keep on reading to find 5 tips to finding an agent.

  • Realtors – understand the difference-

Often these terms are interchanged; however, there is a difference. Both real estate agents and realtors have a license to sell real estate. The members of National Association of Realtors can display the Realtor logo and are pledged to follow a professional code of ethics. Only realtors are members of this association. This clearly establishes a basis for business practices with higher standards. Only 50% of real estate agents are a part of this association. So, think wisely and act smartly.

  • Ask for a Referral-

It is essential to find an agent that is experienced in this sector. Clients of a real estate agent often are referrals of other satisfied clients. If you know someone who has had a home buying experience in the local market, ask him his experience with a certain agent. Look for a person who is largely concerned with client satisfaction.

  • Internet – Your helping hand for searching Agents -

The internet is flooded with online web pages that will refer real estate agents in the area of your interest. However, this search method does not guarantee a quality agent. Most of these sites are paid directories. You can use your favorite search engine to search top real estate companies in a particular area. You need to check the reliability and history of the agents thoroughly.

  • Be keen about Individual Agent Turnover-

The real estate profession has a high rate of turnover. In other words, lots of untested agents are continuously moving in and out of agencies. Look for experience. If you want to work with a particular broker or realtor, ask how long they have been working in this field. Look for the one having more than two years of experience. This will help you engage an agent with thorough knowledge and experience in this sector.

  • Check Commitment and Interview agents-

Many agents only practice on a part-time basis. Many times, they might not have time. Such agents cannot give you the attention you deserve. Some brokers only represent properties within a certain price range. If you are not looking for that particular price range, they might not give it their all. You have to do some research and find the right agency with committed and dedicated agents having experience.

Experts suggest meeting at least 3 prospective realtors/agents. This will help you get an idea what they can do for you. Be clear and ask them how well they know your neighborhood. Ask for references and check history. You have to assess prospective agents on the basis of their personality. This will help you narrow down your search and finalize one that best suits all your needs and criteria.

With all the above tips to search for a real estate agent, you should be able to find an agent that will help you through the process. Never restrict yourself, explore all possibilities. Keep all the above points in mind and look for more avenues to find the right agent. Do your homework and with the help of these tips, find a real estate agent who will simplify your home buying process and let you turn your dream into reality in an easier, faster and cost effective way.

Claretta T. Pam is the broker and owner of Global Realty & Investment Corp in Boston, Massachusetts and lead instructor at the Boston School of Real Estate. She holds professional licenses as a construction supervisor and home improvement contractor.

Cast Concrete Molds – The Secret to Inexpensive Home Improvement

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Published on: November 20, 2013

In today’s economic climate and depressed real estate market, a lot of people are improving their existing home rather than buying a new home. Likewise, those who do need to sell even in a down-market are spending money making their home as attractive and easy to sell as possible. There are many ways of improving the visual appeal of real estate. Landscaping and improving the exterior look of a structure are certainly among the most effective. This is where manufactured stone and concrete stone molds come in.

What is manufactured stone? It’s man-made stone created in special concrete molds. The process can be used to make floor tile, stone veneer, statuary projects, decorative concrete, steppingstones and many other types of stone easily and inexpensively right at home or in a shop. Learning how to do it isn’t difficult, and it’s something homeowners, do-it-yourselfers and certainly craft persons or landscapers can easily handle. Getting perfect results takes practice, of course, but even beginners quickly get the hang of it.

Why make stone when you can buy it? Because using cement molds to make cultured stone is far less expensive, because manufactured stone weighs less, and because there is a huge selection of craft molds and cement colors for just the type of stone you want.

Stone made at home costs from barely more than a quarter to 60 or 70 cents per square foot, depending on the thickness desired. That’s a fraction of what real stone costs. Yet, after a bit of practice, most people get results that look indistinguishable from the real thing. That’s because the molds are made from real stone and thus have the same texture and patterns as real stone. For natural stone, molds use various sizes and patterns so that there is no repetition. Even for things like brick or tile, good molds will imprint the little differences and imperfections real bricks and tiles have. The result is a natural look virtually indistinguishable from real stone.

Will manufactured stone last? Definitely. The concrete mix used for the process results in stone and tile that can last hundreds of years. That even applies to stone being used in extreme temperatures with frequent freeze-thaw cycles thanks to special concrete mixes that include air-entrainment agents. Cement sealers and paver sealer also help ensure durability.

Why does manufactured stone weigh less? The concrete used for making the stone doesn’t weigh less, but you only need to make manufactured stones and stone veneers as thick as you want them to be. That way, you get the natural stone look, but at far lower weight than using real stone.

How can you get the coloring and surface of real stone when you use just cement and concrete? That is where special concrete color and sealers come in. Depending on the intended use and look, these materials are mixed in, or applied to the surface, resulting in natural colors and looks ranging from rough surfaces all the way to high gloss and sheen.

Using manufactured stone is the secret that can transform an ordinary-looking property into one that stands out, increasing value and functionality all at once.

Why Home Improvement Shows Are So Popular, How It Relates To Buying A House

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Published on: November 20, 2013

There are other shows that are also becoming more popular, with people like Mike Holmes coming into homes and saving people from renovation nightmares, or trying to fix what home inspectors have missed. So how does all of these shows relate to people who are in the market to buy a home? Well, it effects those who are looking to buy a home in many ways. People are getting more educated by watching these shows. Now days, while having a certain criteria on what kind of home they want, they are also looking in other directions. For an example, now if you are looking for the right home, instead of just having an idea of how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, you also want to carefully look for other things as well. Looking for cracks in basement foundations, going up into the attic and inspecting how much insulation, and what kind has been installed. These are just a few.

These shows also give people a better insight on home inspecting as well. It is no longer taken for granted that your home inspector or even a contractor can be trusted to know what they are doing. So many of these shows have depicted home owners that have been victims of scams, shoddy workmanship, and having homes inspected, but still have problems right after they purchased their new home. It makes the process of buying a home take a little longer, because more and more people are starting to know what things to look for in a home, and when to go running into the night.

It doesn’t mean that all contractors or home inspectors are scam artists or simply don’t know what they’re doing, there are many who are legitimate and try to do the best job they can. These home improvement shows have informed the public what to look for in a good home inspector or contractor, and what things to watch out for when in the middle of a remodel. These shows also have listings of really good contractors, because they have a reputation to uphold.

In the end, what these home improvement shows have done for the consumer is made them more aware. They have allowed people to get educated, and when they see that a project is not going well, they know they don’t have to sit back and take it, they have the right to stop the work. It is also helping to change the laws about inspection and contractors, laying out stricter standards for minimum code requirements, as well as changing the laws to make screwing consumers over much harder.

These shows have made first time homebuyers aware that there is more to buying your first home than how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. Now they are just as concerned with how old the roof is, what the electrical wiring and plumbing are like.

Selling Real Estate – How to Increase the Value of Your Property

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Are you planning to put a property you own in the market? You need to be aware that the economy has still not recovered from the beating it has taken over the past few years and this has affected the real estate industry as well. If you are planning to sell your property you need to take steps to ensure that you get the best possible rate for it.

One of the best ways to appreciate the value of your property is to do a few home improvements on it. If the market is highly competitive then this will ensure that buyers even consider looking at your property. Your ads will also have a lot more visibility if your property is newly renovated since prospective buyers tend to look for homes with specific features. This involves a certain amount of expenditure, no doubt, but you will be very glad that you incur the expense since you will get very high returns.

There are quite a few home improvements that you could do on your property. Renovating your bathroom is one of the most popular ones. If you make the bathroom up-to-date with the latest fittings and fixtures then there is a great chance that buyers will be willing to pay for the property. Another popular improvement is putting in an energy efficient and highly effective heating system. You could even consider investing in solar panels that will help reduce the house’s electricity bills.

Another way to increase the value of your property is to conduct repairs on it. If you have a water leakage or a pest infestation problem then you have to address the problem at the earliest else prospective buyers will not want to buy your property. If you do not want to spend too much money on repairs then you should just get a cosmetic job done in time to sell the property.

It is always best to take the help of a really great real estate agency when you are selling your property. A person who is experienced in this field will help you spend your money wisely when it comes to making home improvements. Keep in mind that a realtor has plenty of experience regarding what customers want and will ensure that your house gets the best possible improvements. The other advantage of getting a realtor involved in the sale of your house is that a professional will be able to get your property viewed by a large number of serious buyers.

How to Sell Your Property in Tampa Real Estate Really Quick

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Published on: November 20, 2013

If you want to move in a new home or you just need the money that is why you are selling your home, whatever the case, there are factors to be considered to successfully sell your home in Tampa real estate.

It is a good idea to hire a real estate agent who can help you out in selling your home quickly. The real estate agent will help you handle the schedules and meetings. The agent has the proper expertise and he/she knows the tricks of the business. The agent will help you in completing out the paper work and other technical formalities that you need. You have to work with a real estate agent who specializes in selling homes in order to make sure that the agent can aid you with your quest.

You have to hire the right real estate agent. You have to make sure that you’ll be having the one that has the expertise and experiences that can be a help in selling your home. You can as your family and friends if they have worked with real estate agents before so that you can contact them and schedule them for interview, it is best to contact at least.

In choosing a real estate agent that will work for you, you have to go with the one that you are comfortable working with. Weigh their expertise as well, so to find which is the best.

For sure, your real estate agent will view you home and make sure if it is ready for sale. Definitely, your agent will ask you to do home improvement to make sure that it pleasing enough to gain offers.

Check your home inside and out. Clean every room of your home. Remove clutter. Remove materials, furniture and equipments that are not usable anymore. Make your home a comfortable place to live in. you have to make potential buyers feel that they are the ones living in your home, they have to envision that they are the one living in your home and it is their properties that are placed in your home.

Make sure that the inside and out of your home is appealing and attractive enough. Doing home improvements require a lot of home, so if you cant do all the work, you can hire someone to do the work for you, just allocate the expenses you need in paying the person who cleans up your home.

Working with the right real estate agent and doing home improvements are helpful factors to make you sell your home quickly in Tampa real estate. Take your time doing the process step by step to assure that you will be having great deals.

Home Improvement Ideas by Property Agents

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Before proceeding with the sale of your home, the majority of property agents tend to take a good look at your property pointing out repairs necessary to make it look presentable. Since the first impression is lasting it is important to make certain when buyers come to tour your home, it is immaculate giving an impression of a home they can visualise themselves live in.

As a veteran property agent I am focusing on a few home improvement ideas which could help increase the value of your home, making it desirable to potential buyers.

Indoor Maintenance:

Broken windows, leaky plumbing, faulty air conditioning and heating systems may spell disaster for the sale price of your home. Buyers keep in mind the cash they will have to spend on the renovation of a house and make adjustments in the home value accordingly. The greater the number of repairs the lower will be their final price offer.

Hence spending a few hundred dollars to upgrade the look of your home, and fix the basic necessities will gain you a lot more in the long run. Apart from the plumbing and wiring, it is a good idea to check the roofing and all other appliances in your home ensuring they are in a good working condition. These are small measures which will surprisingly give you amazing results when you set your home up for sale.

Space and Lightning Make a Difference:

Buyers prefer spacious and well aired homes. Doing away with non structural walls which add room to the living area and coming up with mobile kitchen islands can increase the space in your home. A house which is airy with ample lightning using dimmers to create an interesting effect is more sought after by buyers when compared to a cramped, dark home.

Pay Heed to the Flooring:

Flooring makes a world of difference and with a few amendments you can get rid of squeaky or damaged floor boards, broken tiles and if required removing the wall to wall carpeting could add to the look of your house. However, at times the floors are in such a shabby condition that it is better to get a new floor rather than try to renovate what you have.

It is crucial to keep in mind that badly damaged floors can result in a substantial decrease in the value of your home. New flooring will be expensive but you will be able to make up for your expenses with better offers for your property.

Property agents are adept at giving suggestions about creating spaces and renovating homes according to your budget. For further assistance ask your property agents when you interview them for their professional evaluation about the state of your home and make sure to carry out the essential maintenance to enhance the value of your property.

Green Home Remodeling – Best Real Estate Investment Strategy for Commercial Property and Homeowners

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Green Home Remodeling: Best Home Renovations for Consideration

Green home remodeling has experienced a rise in popularity across the region as many homeowners and commercial property investors seek to improve the appearance and durability of their property structures. I’ve come to truly understand why as well. Green renovations such as bamboo flooring or implementation of alternative wind energy usage provide long-lasting and favorable enhancements to properties that are sustainable, trendy and eco-friendly. Additionally, earth-friendly renovation and remodeling costs have begun to drop as more green contractors become available on the market.

Best Green Home Remodeling Projects to Consider

Consider green home remodeling for your property when it’s time to renovate. Eco-friendly renovations that won’t break your budget are not only attainable, but can provide an increased ROI, or return on your investment, with the right strategies. The key to getting a proper return on investment is to consider the types of maintenance and work needed for the house, the best options available and the neighborhood in which your property is located.

Essentially, there are five basic types of home remodeling projects: home maintenance, curb appeal, neighborhood norm, appraisal booster, lifestyle improvement and “green” improvement. For the record, some of these improvements may intersect with others, but overall, the ones that are most important to consider are home maintenance and appraisal booster.

Home maintenance repairs are those that would manage the home’s condition and are pretty routine to the lifecycle of almost every house. Home maintenance renovations would include projects such as roof repairs, flashing roof leak repair, weather-stripping and storm door repairs. If your gutters, plumbing fixtures, and other “everyday” shelter needs required work, these would all fall under the umbrella of normal home maintenance and repair.

Appraisal boost renovations provide a quick turnaround and prepare a home for quick flip investments. Appraisal – focused renovations do not seek to over-improve your home, but simply increase the value of your home through major remodels that upgrade the quality of life in the home to a competitive and comparable level in line with market comps. In other words, you’re remodeling to “meet the Joneses,” not outdo them. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you purchase a 3 bed, 2 bathroom home in Todt Hill, which is a relatively middle-class community in Staten Island, New York. When you purchased the house several years ago, it was relatively normal for all of the homes to have 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. Now, you’re looking to sell the home and move to New Jersey. However, you discover that recent homes that have sold in the Todt Hill area are 3 bedroom 2.5 bathrooms and granite countertops. Guess what? You’ll probably have to consider renovating your house to add another full bathroom and see about getting granite countertops to match the current market demands.

Real Estate – Selling Your Home Quickly

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Published on: November 20, 2013

Sunny Isles real estate market is quite popular nowadays because of the quality homes that they offer. The modern living with a rich economy is a sure promise that you will experience and comfortable and convenient living as you move in this place. If you want to have a good profit by selling your home at a good price in the shortest possible time, then here are some of the tips that you should know.

One of the important factor that you need to consider if you want your Sunny Isles real estate home have a quick sale, then you have to improve its look. Most of the home buyers today are very particular with the look of the property and make sure that it perfectly fits their taste and needs. It is best if you make sure that your home is at its best so that homebuyers will be interested on it.

You can always start with a home improvement project in order to give a new look for your home. You have to start checking every corner of your home makes sure that you do the necessary repairs and fix every defected parts of your home. You have to make sure that everything is in a good working condition. You have to spend in improving your home, but if you do it right you will get it back by giving a higher price to those homebuyers that will not be able to say no.

Keep in mind that when selling a home, it is also important to consider the market. You have to make sure that market is in favor of you. Prices of Sunny Isles real estate home should be at its highest so that you will have a good deal pout of your home. With this you can be sure that you will be able to sell your home successfully with good profit in front of you.

The Sunny Isles real estate market usually has an unstable status. There are times that prices of properties it at their lowest an sometimes they are on their highest depending on the demand of these properties. It will be better if you will patiently wait for the right time to sell your property so that you can be sure to earn good profit out of your property.

Of course no matter how favorable the market it, if you do not know how to advertise your Sunny Isles real estate home properly you will never earn enough profit. It is important to reach those potential homebuyers so that you will be able to get a good deal out of the property. You may distribute flyers from different places to broadcast that your home is for sale. You can also use the internet in marketing your home.

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