Before the first snowflakes of winter, homeowners should think about spring savings. Steps taken today could reduce the tax hit on April 15. Most homeowners who itemize their taxes can deduct the interest paid on their first and second mortgages of up to $1.1 million in debt. That total reflects up to $1 million for home loans and another $100,000 for home-equity loans. The deductions add up for homeowners with jumbo mortgages – those above $417,000 in most places and $625,500 in high-price areas. Documenting other home-related expenses can help further reduce tax bills. For example, self-employed taxpayers and business owners can write off some expenses if part of their home qualifies as a home office, says Robert Winton, a partner at White Plains, N.Y.-based Citrin Cooperman & Co. [Read this article]
It doesn’t have to be Halloween for real-estate agents to stumble into some truly creepy houses. In some cases, sellers haven’t taken the care to stage their home properly before listing. Foreclosures also often yield some rather odd showings. Here are some of their stories. In Colorado Springs, real-estate agent Willi Ellis, with ERA Shields, showed a pre-foreclosure home where most of the flooring was ripped out, exposing the plywood subflooring. A beat-up refrigerator was in the dining room, and clothes were piled in a bathtub. Her clients bought it anyway, seeing it as a diamond in the rough, but the problems continued – asbestos remediation was required and radon levels were well over the EPA’s limit. [Read this article]
If you have good credit, a healthy income and money in the bank, you’ll be able to secure mortgage preapproval quickly and proceed straight to the homebuying process. But if you have less-than-stellar credit, are self-employed or have little cash to bring to the table, you’ll want to start the process way before you look at houses – maybe more than a year before. “You have to get a copy of your credit report,” says Don Frommeyer, chief executive officer of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals and a mortgage broker in Indianapolis. “You have to know what’s in there.” The free credit report you can get annually, while it helps you identify problems, won’t show you the same credit score your mortgage officer will see. Here are 12 things to know before getting your first mortgage. [Read this article]
I’m sure most of us can relate to simply being too busy to cook dinner. You have those nights where ordering pizza just makes the most sense whether you are eating alone or need to feed your family. The question is what do you do with those leftover slices? Are they going to be as good reheated?
If you’ve ever tried to reheat pizza in the microwave you know that doesn’t turn out so well. Sure, it’s quick but you end up with a soggy piece of pizza. The best thing to do is put it in the oven. Okay, new question. How long do you put it in the oven for? It seems there is a lot to think about just to reheat pizza!
We have a tip for you to take the headache out of reheating pizza! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and put the pizza in immediately. DO NOT wait for the oven to preheat first. As soon as the oven is preheated, your pizza is ready. It’s that simple!
Check out our How To U video to see it in action.
For first-time homebuyers, the whole homebuying process may look a bit daunting. You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence. Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location. While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live. Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. And get your finances in order first. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. [Read this article]
Most people heading into retirement inevitably make some sort of real estate decision – whether they downsize, relocate to a different community or make renovations to an existing home that makes the place more accessible to live in as they get older. So, not surprisingly, there are numerous real estate mistakes people in this group make. “Real estate is usually one of the biggest assets retirees have, but it’s the area with the most emotional attachment – and a place where it’s very easy to mess up,” said Larry Luxenberg, managing partner with Lexington Avenue Capital Management. This article covers some common retiree real estate stumbles, including not downsizing soon enough, not investing the downsizing proceeds, and not researching an area before relocating. [Read this article]
In our busy and hectic world, finding a way to relax is essential. Picking a hobby you enjoy and engaging in it regularly is a great way to wind down from a tough week. But if you’re not careful, there’s a chance your favorite diversion could hurt your credit score. This article covers four popular pastimes that could put your score in jeopardy if you make the wrong moves, including traveling, shopping, reading and gardening/home improvement. Use these tips to keep your credit on the straight and narrow, no matter how you like to spend your free time. [Read this article]
Here are some essential fall maintenance tips to get your home and yard in top shape for winter. Adjust ceiling fans to rotate clockwise in the cold weather. Simply flipping a switch on the fan housing will change the rotational direction and allow the paddles to better circulate heat produced by your HVAC. The result? You’ll feel much warmer for a minimal cost. And be sure to clean your gutters. Remove the fall’s accumulation of dead leaves, pine needles, and twigs by hand (wear sturdy work gloves) or with a trowel. Then scoop out any residue from asphalt roofing shingles. When relatively clear, flush the gutters and the downspouts with water from your garden hose. Also, rake up the remaining fallen leaves to let your lawn breathe and to promote revitalization of cool season grasses like bluegrass or fescue. Dethatch and aerate the lawn. If you haven’t already done so, bring potted plants inside till spring. [Read this article]
The Federal Trade Commission released a study in 2013 that revealed 1 in 4 consumers found errors on their credit reports that could affect their credit scores, but the general public doesn’t seemed concerned. In fact, a year later, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that fewer than 1 in 5 Americans check their credit report in any given year. What most people probably don’t realize is that not checking their credit report and disputing errors regularly could be costing them thousands of dollars in interest. This sample credit report includes descriptions of what to look for and how to spot red flags. [Read this article]
If you’re a college student, you’re probably working hard to keep your grade-point average looking sharp. After all, your GPA could be your ticket to graduate school, a competitive internship or maybe even your dream job. But if you’re hitting the books so hard that you’re ignoring another important number – your credit score – you could be making a huge mistake. It might be hard to believe, but your three-digit credit score is actually more important than your GPA. It’s true that your GPA could determine certain aspects of your future, but your credit score is guaranteed to influence one thing – the cost of the big purchases you’re going to make after graduation. A high GPA might open the door to academic opportunities, but a high credit scorewill keep more cash in your wallet. This is much more important once you’ve left school behind. [Read this article]