• Tax Breaks for Homeowners

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    By Vera Gibbons

    With tax season rapidly approaching, it’s time to get your paperwork in order and consider all the ways to minimize your tax liability. Whether you’ve got a single-family home, a town house, condo, or even a floating home, there are various home-related expenses that you should be sure to deduct. We suggest starting with these:

    Mortgage interest: The mortgage interest deduction has long been the most-beloved tax benefit of homeowners since it’s such a big money saver (especially in the early years of a home loan). In fact, Americans save around $100 million every year by claiming this deduction, which you can take on both your primary and secondary homes, providing your loan is less than a million dollars, and providing you itemize your return.

    Mortgage points: The IRS sees points — percentage-based fees which a lender charges to originate a loan — as form of mortgage interest paid in advance. Assuming you meet certain requirements, you can therefore deduct these points, in full, in the year that they were paid. So, for example, if you paid two …read more  

  • When to 'Break Up' With a Real Estate Agent

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    By Brendon DeSimone

    The relationship with your real estate agent — whether buying or selling a home — is more complicated than most business relationships. For starters, it’s rare that one of your employees, your boss or a business associate would come into your kitchen to talk shop. Also, a real estate agent comes in and out of your life at an emotional and vulnerable time — one of transition and change. It’s a very different relationship on many levels.

    But sometimes the relationship just doesn’t seem to be working out as you expected. Maybe the agent is too slow, not available as you much as you’d like, or is too pushy. It could be that you and your agent just aren’t a good match. For whatever reason, there may come a time to call it quits. Can you “break up” with your agent? And if so, how?

    Buyers: Take the high road. Real estate agents rarely require buyers to sign a written agreement. Usually, you, as the buyer, simply work in “good faith.” This …read more  

  • Closet Space: Crafty Ways to Add It Where There Ain't

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    Source: Chic on the Cheap

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    Ben Herzog Architect, PC

    By Joe Provey for BobVila.com

    It’s not difficult to add a closet but doing so will probably be more costly than reorganizing an existing one. So, exhaust all other storage options before you take the plunge.

    There are several ways to add a closet to your home: purchase a freestanding wardrobe, build in a wardrobe, opt for an open closet, frame out a new closet or create one from “found” space. The path you take to adding a closet depends upon the amount of space you can afford, the amount of money you wish to spend, and whether or not you need a permanent or temporary solution.

    FREESTANDING WARDROBE

    Source: Chic on the Cheap

    A freestanding wardrobe is a quick and easy way to add a closet; like cabinets, freestanding wardrobes come with the sawing and finishing already done. Small units are only a few feet wide, while multiple units may be used side by side to achieve greater width. Heights range from 6 to 8 feet, but <a target=_blank href="http://www.bobvila.com/blogs/bob-vila-radio-custom-closet/" target="_blank" …read more