• First Impressions That Get Homes Sold the Fastest

    First Impressions Sell Homes

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    Say you’re going on a first date or a job interview. There’s one piece of advice you can expect to get from just about everyone: Make a good first impression. Well, if you’re hoping to court a buyer for the home you’re selling, that rule still applies. You wouldn’t let a prospective boss (or the man or woman you’re trying to impress) see you for the first time with an untucked shirt and bed head. So don’t let potential buyers see your home at anything less than its best. Dress your home to impress.

    ” ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is as true in real estate as it is in life,” said HGTV’s Tom Pastillo. But this goes beyond the obvious decluttering (which we hope you do know you should do). It’s about neutralizing your home so any potential buyers who come through have the best chance of visualizing themselves living there.

    Put away all your family photos, children’s toys, trinkets and anything personal that buyers could be turned …read more  

  • Disaster Tax Relief: How to Optimize Your Refund If Your Home Has Been Damaged


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    Wildfires in the West, flooding and landslides in Alaska and hard-hitting Superstorm Sandy were just a few of the major natural disasters that hit the United States last year. In all, 112 federal disaster declarations were issued in 2012. For those living in an area where a federal disaster has been proclaimed, tax relief may be available.

    Claiming losses: If you have been affected by a federally declared disaster, you have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on your federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get you an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in greater tax savings, depending on other income factors. You may deduct disaster-related personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements; typically the IRS requires that the first $500 in losses be deducted from any claims. Disaster victims claiming their disaster loss on last year’s return are advised to write the Disaster Designation …read more