Tag Archives: things to know before buying a house

Make Sure Money Isn’t Spilling Out Your Garage!

Make Sure Your Garage Isn’t Tacking Money On Utility Bills…

As ever-increasing home energy bills continue to plague Americans, homeowners are looking for cost-effective ways to reduce their heating and cooling costs. If your house has not been properly insulated, you may be paying more than you should to heat or cool it.

Nearly all modern homes have insulation throughout the living spaces, but garages commonly get overlooked. Because the garage is the last barrier between your home and the outdoors, it’s important to ensure the insulation is adequate. You can do a few simple things to make sure your garage is insulated properly.

First, it’s important to ensure that the door leading from your home to the garage is sealed properly.

Other areas to consider when checking your garage’s energy efficiency are the ceiling and the garage door threshold. If there is a room above your garage, it may be beneficial to bolster the insulation in the garage’s ceiling to help keep the living space above it comfortable. For the threshold, installing a rubber seal-strip on the floor where the garage door closes helps prevent air leaks, and keeps out insects and rodents.

That said, one of the most important areas to examine is the garage door itself. While installing a pre-insulated garage door can cost up to a thousand dollars or more, and requires a skilled contractor, there is a simple and inexpensive DIY solution to insulate your garage — garage door insulation kits.

Homeowners can easily insulate their existing garage doors with these kits, which are readily available in leading home improvement stores or online. These affordable and easy-to-use kits are made to fit standard garage door sizes and can be cut to fit non-standard sizes. With pre-packaged insulation, do-it-yourselfers can insulate their garage door in less than an hour, at a cost of less than $100. Kits use energy-efficient expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation panels — a rigid white foam that trims easily, is durable, offers excellent long-term insulation, and gives your garage a professionally finished look.

During fall and winter, the insulation helps keep heat inside the garage so that the furnace does not work as hard and use as much energy. In the summer, the insulation helps keep the sun’s heat at bay so the garage can stay cool. Insulating your garage also helps reduce interior noise and can earn federal tax credits as an energy-efficient upgrade (check your local energy guides for more information).

Source: The Dallas Morning NewsGetContent.asp

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Great Starter or Investment Property For Sale in Lewisville, Texas


Great Starter Or Investment Property For Sale in Lewisville, Texas!


Overview
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Description
Market Stats

$247,000
Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 2,368 sqft
Lot: 4,008 sqft
Location
1466 Cambridge Drive
Lewisville, TX 75077
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

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Take A Virtual Tour Of This Amazing Allen, Texas Home For Sale!


Gorgeous Allen, Texas Home For Sale!


Overview
Maps
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Description
Neighborhood
Market Stats

$594,000
Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 2,611 sqft
Location
932 Charles River Court
Allen, TX 75013
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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Just Listed Southlake, Texas Home For Sale!


Fabulous home on large lot in Lonesome Dove Estates in Southlake, Texas!


Overview
Maps
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Description
Neighborhood
Market Stats

$529,000
Single Family Home
Main Features
4 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 3,727 sqft
Lot: 0.36 acre(s)
Location
1316 Hat Creek Trail
Southlake, TX 76092
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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Homeowner Tax Breaks On The House

Tax Time

Homeowner Tax Breaks On The House

Tax season can make most of us cringe. But, if you’re a homeowner, make certain you meet with experts to see how you may benefit at tax time by owning a home.

Minimizing your tax liability is always the goal. Start first by getting all your paperwork together. Hopefully you’ve kept good, clean records of everything pertaining to your home. Remodeling projects can often be deducted, so go through your files and search for the paid invoices. However, repairs to restore items to their original state usually aren’t tax deductible.

If you haven’t kept good records, now is the time to start. It’ll pay off in 2015 when it comes time to do your taxes. Here are a few tips to get you ready for tax season this year and beyond.

The largest savings is the mortgage interest deduction. Homeowners love this one because, especially in the early years of a loan, it can save tons of money. The deduction can be claimed on both primary and secondary homes. Two requirements: your home is less than a million dollars and you itemize your tax return.

Find your property tax statement for the end of the year. Your property taxes paid are deductible for as long as you own the home. This is another tax savings that you’ll be able to record on your Federal form. Property taxes are taken as an itemized expense.

Improving your home can also be a tax write-off. Maybe you added a room addition, installed a new roof, or made general improvements to increase the value of your home, all of these things can help to reduce your tax liability and they can also increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

If you’ve installed energy-efficiency appliances or upgrades, you can offset your tax bill to the IRS, dollar-for-dollar for up to 10 percent of the amount that you spent on specific home energy-efficiency upgrades. That means items such as energy-efficient water heaters or insulation can help you at tax time. However, the cap on this deduction is a mere $500 (there are cases when it’s less. Check with your tax accountant for details).

With so many people working from home, the home (business) office is not only convenient but also a tax write-off. A new 2013 tax deduction allows homeowners who have an office in their house to claim $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet (a simpler formula than previous tax years). So a room that’s 8×10 can save you $400.

Keep in mind that tax deductions are always on the government’s chopping block and some, like the energy tax credit, are gone after the 2013 tax year and not expected to return for future tax years.

There are many fees and expenses associated with owning a home. Don’t try to guess which things will help lower your tax bill. Instead, compile all of your home’s documents and receipts from the previous year and bring them into your tax accountant for advice. Often there are areas where you can save a little more, but you won’t know until you try.

Note:

Recently, the IRS announced that it has significantly updated “Your Federal Income Tax” forms. According to the IRS, Publication 17 includes important changes to help taxpayers “get the most out of various tax benefits and get a jump on preparing their 2013 federal income tax returns.” This 292-page guide contains thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly get answers to their questions.
Other publications which may assist you include: No. 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer;” No. 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses;” No. 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals;” No. 523, “Selling Your Home;” and No. 530, “Tax Information for First Time Homebuyers.”

A complete list can be found at http://www.irs.gov, click on Forms and Publications.

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Preparing to Sell Your Home: 6 Tips To Help Your Home Look its Best With These 6 Tips!

Real Estate Connection ~ Jim Striegel Team

Real Estate Connection ~ Jim Striegel Team

Selling your home can be a stressful process and preparing your house for sale can be just as stressful. Critical buyers, less than optimal photographs and competing homes can sink a sale before the offer is even brought to the table. If you want to make your home stand out from the crowd, try these six tips to help your home look its best when you’re preparing it for sale.

1. Put away the clutter

Your Aunt Agnes’s collection of Hummel figurines may be precious family heirlooms, but they also can turn off potential buyers. Prospective buyers need to be able to picture their furniture and mementos in the home. Consider putting your personal belongings, things like family photos, heirlooms and potentially controversial books, into storage. While having furnishings help your home feel comfortable, an overly personalized home can be difficult to sell since prospective buyers will not be able to envision themselves there, according to Extra Space Storage.

2. Put extra furniture in storage

Your comfortable reclining sectional may be great for watching football, but it won’t help you sell your home. Large pieces of furniture make rooms seem much smaller than they are. Remove large dressers, sofas and other oversized items. Replacing a sofa with a loveseat can make your living room look larger.

3. Remove evidence of pets

You may love Fido and Fluffy, but your buyers may not. Before open houses and showings, pack away the pet beds and bowls. Use a baking-soda-based carpet freshener to remove pet smells, but avoid going overboard. Bombarding the buyer with a myriad of scents can signal that you have something to hide.

4. Repaint bright walls and remove wallpaper

If you love lime green, then it may be time to break out the paint brush. Colors that fit your taste may not suit your buyer. Patterned wallpaper and brightly painted walls can drive away buyers who are looking for a move-in ready house.

5. Add incentives

You may not have the time or money to correct your home’s design flaws, so be prepared to offer incentives. If your living room has bright red carpet, then you may want to offer a carpet allowance, so that a potential buyer can replace it with something neutral. This is something you might want to talk to your real estate agent about as they can provide you with some of their insights and suggestions on what might be helpful.

6. Fix landscaping flaws

If you are a little lax with landscaping, now is the time to fix up your yard. Trim bushes, lay down fresh mulch, and plant new flowers. Hanging baskets add a pop of color to your front porch and add curb appeal. Remove weeds and cut back nuisance plants. If you are listing your home in the winter, add plants that thrive in winter, such as holly, burning bush or juniper.

Selling your home isn’t easy.  But, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, these six tips for preparing your house for sale can really help make your home more appealing to prospective buyers.

Article and insights provided by Kandace Heller.

 

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