Anna Teyssonniere de Gramont's Blog
As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.
The Candles Are Burning Bright
You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.
Be Your Own Inspector
As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.
The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For
Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.
Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.
Finding a new home that will meet your family's current and future needs requires a clear mental picture of what you want and your desired lifestyle.
While you may not be able to get every item on your new-house wish list, knowing your priorities is the first step to realizing your goals.
For many growing families, having a spacious eat-in kitchen is a high-priority. Here are a few reasons a large kitchen can enhance the enjoyment of your new home.
Entertaining guests: If you like to host holiday gatherings, birthday parties, and other celebrations at your home, a spacious kitchen lends itself to everything from food preparation and buffet setup to mingling with your party guests. Kitchens are a focal point of social gatherings, and can play a major role in the success or failure of your parties, dinners, and other events.
Increased efficiency: Without enough counter space and room to comfortably move around, meal preparation can turn into more of a chore than a pleasure. Ideally, there should be unobstructed paths between key work stations, including the stove and kitchen sink (You'll want to have a clear path when you're ready to drain cooked pasta or carry pots of water to the stove.) Generally, the more people you're serving, the more crucial it is to have plenty of space for working, staying organized, and keeping track of cooking times. Since food preparation is both an art and a science, it requires planning, proper execution, and the freedom to express your creativity.
Family harmony: There are at least two ways that ample kitchen space can contribute to harmonious family relationships. First of all, gathering in the kitchen at mealtime, every day, helps foster good communication between members of your family. When you're facing each other and sharing stories, plans, and concerns at the kitchen table, it's easier to know what's going on in the lives of your spouse and children. A roomy kitchen also helps keep the peace in your family. For example, when more than one person is getting a snack, making a meal, or cleaning up, having a little extra space can help keep family members from bumping into each other and feeling cramped. Conflicts sometimes arise, especially among siblings, when there's a shortage of personal space. On busy days when everyone is rushing in opposite directions, often at a hectic pace, having enough counter and floor space in the kitchen can help minimize drama and keep family traffic flowing smoothly.
Whether you're entertaining dinner guests or baking cookies for a school bake sale, the process is sure to go more smoothly when you have sufficient counter space and a work flow area that helps gets things done in the shortest period of time.
Adding your house to the real estate market today may prove to be a great decision. In fact, there are many terrific reasons to list your home today, including:
1. You may be able to generate a profit on your house.
If you maintained your home over the years, the residence may have increased in value. Thus, you may be better equipped than other home sellers to generate a profit on your residence.
Furthermore, if you're preparing to enter a seller's market, you may be able to earn a significant profit in no time at all.
A seller's market frequently includes an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of home sellers. As such, if you add a high-quality house to a seller's market, it may be only a matter of time before you receive multiple offers at or above your initial asking price.
2. You can downsize your home or upgrade to a larger residence.
Although your current residence may have served you well for an extended period of time, now may prove to be a great time for a change. Fortunately, if you add your house to the real estate market, you can take the next step to downsize your residence or upgrade to a larger residence.
For those who want to downgrade, it may be simple to sell a house and get rid of excess items at the same time. Then, you can relocate to a smaller residence that better suits your budget and personal needs.
On the other hand, those who want to move into a bigger and better residence can explore a vast array of residences any time they choose. After a home seller finds a buyer for his or her residence, this individual will have plenty of funds to pursue a superior residence as well.
3. You can embark on a new adventure.
Selling a home opens new doors for any individual, at any time.
For example, you can use the funds from your home sale to go on a cross-country journey. Or, you may choose to move closer to family members and friends in another area of the country. Regardless of which option you choose, you won't have to worry about being saddled to a home mortgage after you sell your residence.
Consider the short- and long-term ramifications of selling your house, along with what you'll do immediately following a home sale. By doing so, you can map out the next stage of your life.
Of course, if you ever have concerns or questions about selling a house, it is always best to consult with a real estate agent. With a housing market professional at your side, you can receive expert insights throughout the home selling journey.
A real estate agent will keep you up to date about offers on your house and offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. In addition, he or she is ready to respond to your home selling queries at any time.
Get ready to sell your home – meet with a real estate agent, and you can take the next step to add your residence to the real estate market.
One of the biggest benefits to buying a home is that of the tax savings for you. You own a home now, so there’s no more monthly rental payments going out the window. All of your mortgage payments are going towards your financial future. There’s many different types of tax breaks that you can get from owning your home. Many home improvement projects that allow you an extra tax break are hiding right in the fine print! Tax breaks are known as “incentives.” These incentives are essentially what help people to get important things in their homes done without having a order placed on them. There are some hidden things that you may not have known could be used as tax write-offs.
From putting solar panels on your home to replacing appliances, there are certain tax breaks that you can get for making your home more energy efficient. There are lifetime caps on these deductions, but on a certain year, you’ll be able to save some extra money on your taxes. Some of the deductions that you might be able to claim include:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Biomass stoves
- Central AC units
- Water heaters
- Certain energy-generation systems which include an array of things like water heaters, solar panels, fuel cell systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps.
You can deduct somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of the cost of these improvements to your home. It doesn’t hurt to check on the updated standards that are introduced each year by the government. Your accountant can help you to understand your own deductions a bit more in-depth.
Modifying Your Home For Medical Needs
If you need to modify your home in order to accommodate medical needs, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The modifications must not increase the value of your home and be medically necessary. If the doctor tells you to lose weight and you put in a home gym, you can’t deduct that. If you need a ramp put in your home for wheelchair accessibility, then that can be deducted. The cost of the modifications generally has to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, or 7.5% if you’re over the age of 65.
What’s Not Deductible
If you have done some major remodeling around your home, it’s sad to say that these improvements probably aren’t tax deductible. On the positive side, you will get a bigger return on your home when you do decide to sell it. This could help you to reduce any capital gains tax that you may have to pay on the sale of the home.
Remember that when you make improvements to your home, you’re doing it first for your own needs. Any tax write-offs that you may get are merely a bonus.