Home Selling Tips. Things to Keep in Mind.

HOME SELLING TIPS

Safety when selling your home

You have enough to think about without worrying that your home isn’t safe, or that your things may be stolen. Open houses and showings mean strangers will be in your house. A few safeguards can lessen your worry:Remove things that matter: Store jewelry, fine art or collectables with a friend or family member. If that’s not an option, find a place to hide valuables in your home or keep them with you in a suitcase and take it with when you leave. The same applies to personal papers with account numbers and/or social security information. And medicine cabinets are often a target.

Secure your home: Keep doors and windows locked. Prospective buyers will often open windows or doors. Some will even do that to return later to steal things. Others may even visit several times and bring an accomplice to distract the agent. So double-check doors and windows when returning after a showing.

Consider an alarm system: It may seem impractical to install a system when you’ll be moving, but it will not only deter burglars, but may also be a strong selling point.

Make it look like you’re home: If you’re aren’t currently living in the home, think about installing motion sensors or timers to automatically turn on lights.

Reach out to your neighbors: Ask them to keep an eye on your place. Introduce them to your agent so they know things are okay when the agent is on the premises.

By taking these extra precautions, you can feel safe and secure during a home sale.

SHOWING YOUR HOME

Consider staging a vacant home for sale

In today’s market, it’s tough to get the right price for a home, and sellers can’t wait while their homes are on the market. They may have a new job, have already bought their next house or need to move so the kids can start school.Buyers understand that vacant homes can suffer from a wide variety of ills due to neglect and deferred maintenance. They pose unique showcasing challenges because buyers can’t see beyond the empty home. They’re looking for a “home,” not a “house.” Without furniture, wall art, rugs, lighting and décor, there are few emotional connections. A buyer will be on the lookout for imperfections such as floor scratches, nail pops, chipped grout and other imperfections.

The easiest fix for a vacant home is to bring in a home stager. They can give the property a comfortable, lived-in look. Potential buyers can better visualize how they integrate into the home. When a buyer perceives flaws and can’t visualize a home’s potential, there will be fewer offers, greater price reductions, more days on the market, higher carrying costs and less profit.

A vacant home can also hurt your negotiating power. If buyers know that you are already out and most likely paying another mortgage, they figure you are more motivated and will likely present a lower offer.

Staging will allow you to create a proper vision for the property and achieve a quicker, more profitable outcome.

HOME IMPROVEMENT TIPS

Homesellers:

Check your home for storm damage

It’s been another crazy year of weather damaging houses throughout the country. Home sellers should take a close look at their property for storm damage and make appropriate repairs. There are several key areas of concern:The roof: After a powerful storm, check for damage. Ensure there are no missing shingles or cracks around skylights. Inspect the attic for discoloration of decking or plywood surfaces.

Flashing: Also look for light penetrating around plumbing vents or the chimney. Your roof’s flashing may need repair.

Rain gutters: Inspect for damage and clear leaves and debris. Holes, cracks or sags are easily fixed. For holes, clean the area and cut a piece of gutter material slightly larger than the hole. Use gutter-repair compound to affix the patch. Covering the patch with another layer of compound will ensure a good seal. For minor sags, add a new bracket to the sagging area.

Trees and shrubs: Limbs can wreak havoc with your roof, siding and stucco during heavy winds. They can also come crashing down under the weight of snow. Pruning can ensure their health and safeguard your home.

Windows: Inspect windows, fencing and decking. They all can take a beating in storms. Seal and repair any damage. Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and ready for sale.

FINANCIAL TIPS

Tax considerations for buyers and sellers

Buyers and sellers need to be informed about tax considerations before entering a transaction.

If you have purchased or sold a home last year, there are a number of tax deductions for which you may qualify. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Profitability: According to the IRS, if you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income as a single tax filer, or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases.

Interest: Currently, much of the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. A married couple filing jointly can deduct all of their interest on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.

Selling costs: Broker commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs, and inspection fees are all considered selling costs and currently may be used to reduce one’s taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

Refinanced mortgage points: They may be deductible, but not all at once. Homeowners who refinance may be able to immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new points. Interest paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit may also be deducted.

Points/origination fees: On a home loan, if points or origination fees are paid during the purchase of a home, they are currently generally tax-deductible for the year in which they were paid.

Repairs/remodels: Qualifying capital improvements may be able to be deducted, including costs of a new roof, fence, swimming pool, garage, porch, built-in appliances, insulation, heating or cooling systems and landscaping.

Relocation expenses: If you move because of a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs. To qualify for these deductions, you must meet several IRS requirements, including that your new job is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job. Moving-cost deductions can include travel or transportation costs, lodging expenses, and fees for storing your household goods.

Property taxes: Currently deductible from your income. If you have an impound or escrow account, you can’t deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is actually used to pay your property taxes. City or state property tax refund reduces your federal deduction by an equal amount.

First-time buyer credit: For those buyers who took advantage of this credit within the past two years, remember that if within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit.

Another important tip for those moving into a new home is to make sure you update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS.

Tax laws change every year, and certain tax deductions become available while others phase out. Speak with a professional tax consultant about these and other considerations.

It is my hope that you will find these tips helpful. Please consult your tax consultant, or attorney regarding any legal issues, and please consult ME when buying or selling your next home!

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