Boosting Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What would buyers see if they drove up to your home? Go ahead, take a look. Stand outside your home and try to look at it through a buyer’s eyes. First impressions are lasting impressions. If buyers see paint peeling, a crack in a window or an unkempt yard, they are apt to speculate that there are other, more substantial things wrong with the home.

That first impression, or curb appeal, can make the difference in the amount of money a buyers is willing to offer on a home listed for sale.

Here are some suggestions to enhance the curb appeal of your home to get ready for sale or even just to spruce things up a bit this summer: 

  • Mow the lawn, clean up and yard and prune shrubs and trees 
  • Scrub or paint the front porch and door. Sometimes an interesting pop of color on the door can really modernize the look of an older homea-little-front-door-love-curb-appeal-doors-painting.jpg
  • Check the porch or deck and hand railings to ensure they are secure 
  • Wash the windows, make them sparkle!! 
  • If you have time time and money, paint the exterior of the home. Try to stick to more neutral palates as some bright colors can be an immediate turn off for some buyers. Add color by painting the door a different color, instead. Exterior-before-after.jpg
  • Pick up and put away toys and bikes, outdoor bins are also great for storing these items 
  • Check that the lawn furniture is in good shape or, if not, store it away 
  • Add charm to the front and backyard by adding flower pots and planting fresh plants 

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  • Repair and paint the fence, if needed 
  • Repair the roof, gutters, and downspouts if needed 

These improvements are essential before a home sale and could mean an increase in sales price.  Feel free to call or email and let me know if I can answer any questions for you or make suggestions on how to improve your homes curb appeal!

 

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Advantages to Home Ownership

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If you’re thinking about buying a new home there are many things to consider, including the tax benefits of owning a home. 

Sure, filing taxes may become a little more complicated, but you may be able to deduct home-related expenses and the savings on can add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Because the tax rules for homeowners can be tricky, I recommend you consult with a tax professional before deciding what you can and cannot deduct. But in general, you can figure on a number of significant tax breaks associated with homeownership, including:

Mortgage interest. The biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. In most cases, the interest homeowners pay is deductible. This may mean a reduced tax bill overall and a bigger refund.

Property taxes. As a homeowner, you are entitled to deduct payments of real estate tax on your property if you claimed itemized deductions on your tax return. The IRS allows you to deduct real estate taxes on your primary residence and any other homes you own. There are no limits on the dollar amount of real estate taxes you can deduct.

Loan deductions. When homeowners borrow against the equity of their home to finance other investments, the interest they pay on the new loan is also tax deductible, within IRS guidelines. Generally, equity debts of $100,000 or less are fully deductible.

Improvements on your residence: While you generally cannot deduct improvements to your home on your taxes, such items can lower your tax bite down the road. Improvements such as a family room addition, a kitchen makeover, or a pool increase the “basis” of your home – i.e., the purchase price plus improvements. When you go to sell, the higher your basis is, the less you will have to pay in capital gains taxes if you pay at all.

Tax-free profits. The government allows homeowners to keep tax-free profits from the sale of a home that has been their primary residence for at least two years. Single taxpayers don’t owe taxes on the first $250,000 of profit from the sale of a principal residence, while married homeowners get $500,000 when filing jointly.

These tax savings can add up quickly. On a $500,000, 30-year mortgage loan at five percent, for example, a homeowner would end up paying nearly $25,000 in the first year in interest alone. At a 33 percent federal and state income tax rate, the mortgage interest deduction alone would save more than $8,200 in that tax year! But again, tax laws are complicated and everyone’s tax situation is different. Consult your tax professional to see how the rules apply to your situation. In the meantime, if you have any questions about purchasing a home and how much you can afford, feel free to give me a call! 

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas on a Budget (from $1,000 – $10,000)

If you are looking for ways to refresh your kitchen this spring, here are some helpful tips that you can use if you are on a budget. When should you tackle certain items yourself; or are they best left the professionals? You might not need to replace everything. Consider refinishing or re-staining cabinets and flooring to save some money…Find more tips here: Kitchen Remodeling Ideas on a Budget (from $1,000 – $10,000)

Top 10 Turkey Tips

Roast Turkey and StuffingWhether you’re tackling a Thanksgiving turkey for the first or hundredth time, these top 10 tips will ensure your big bird is the best it can be this holiday!

1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience and the safest method is to thaw it in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead — it takes approximately three days for a 20 pound turkey to fully defrost.

2. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven for a defrosted turkey, and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for a fresh turkey.

4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables (carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely) or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.

5. For even roasting, truss your turkey.

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (it will be removed in step 7).

7. Don’t be a peeping tom (no pun intended)! Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you’re only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.

8. Remove the turkey from the oven when the deepest spot between the leg and the breast reads 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well – it should be at least 165 degrees.

9. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. If you need more time to make gravy, heat up side dishes, etc. You can let the turkey set for up to an hour without losing too much heat.

10. Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife.

25 Fun Holiday Card Photography Ideas

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Can you believe the holidays are already upon us?? It’s time to start thinking about sending out family holiday cards already. If you are looking for some fun photography ideas for your family’s holiday card, check out this post which features some unique and funny ways to showcase your wonderful family this holiday season! http://mylifeandkids.com/fun-christmas-card-photo-ideas/

Remember to Fall Back & Fun Bay Area November Events

It’s time to fall back!! Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 2 a.m. Make sure to set your clocks. I’ve also attached some fun events for the month of November ( November Events Calendar). Hope you have a safe and fun Halloween!

Nicole Emanuel (Culbertson)

(408) 355-1512

(408) 410-2060

CA DRE# 01899594

Nicole.Emanuel@cbnorcal.com

I hope you and your family continue to enjoy the season.

By the way, if you are thinking about buying or selling your home or know someone who is, now may be the time. Please contact me today so we can discuss your real estate needs.

Wishing you all the best,
Nicole

©2014 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage or NRT LLC. CalBRE License #01908304.

Bay Area Events Calendar – October

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The holidays are fast approaching and that means a load of fun Bay Area events are upon us! I’ve attached a schedule of great events for the month of October.  CLICK HERE – October Events Calendar

As always, if I can assist you or your friends or family with any real estate related needs over the holidays, let me know!

 

Nicole