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January 2016

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, We can offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. Don’t hesitate to contact us and allow us to help guide you through that process!

Gary and Lisa Schoeffler
#1 Real Estate Team
Gary@GaryandLisa.com   |   805-320-4472
http://www.GaryandLisa.com

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HOMESELLING TIPS

Look for Code Violations
Before You Sell

Code violations can extend the homeselling process—even halt it altogether. It’s a solid investment to hire a home inspector before placing your home on the market.

A quality home inspector knows local codes—from electrical, plumbing, building, structure and more. They can help sellers understand any code violations and the steps and costs necessary to become compliant. When the city records a violation, a fee is assigned to the property. Because violations don’t appear as a lien on a title search, it can be difficult to determine whether a sanction has been assessed that will delay closing.

Violations can include the presence of garbage in a yard, maintenance issues, overgrown lawns, non-sanctioned improvements, safety issues or other dangerous items needing repair.

Here are some of the most common inspection problems:

Bedrooms: All rooms listed as bedrooms must have an operating window with 30 square inches of clearance for fire escape. Bedrooms also must have heat. If a home is listed with three bedrooms, and one does not meet both these requirements, it cannot legally be called a bedroom.

Furnaces and compressors: Rust in the heat exchange is a common problem that shows up on inspections. So is missing insulation where required by code at the time the house was built, or, at the time improvements or replacements were installed.

Electrical: Common violations include junctions not enclosed in a junction box, a lack of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in bathrooms and kitchens, or reverse-polarity on outlets.

Life-saving equipment: Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are required by law in most states. Not having them—or not having the proper kind—is considered a code violation.

Plumbing: Violations can include everything from dripping faucets, to loose toilets, to improper drainage.

Structural damage: Common code violations include rotting wood trim around windows and doors, rotten or delaminating siding and missing flashing on roofs or above windows and doors.

Extra rooms: Some homeowners renovate basements or add sunrooms without permits. Be sure your improvements and additions are backed by the proper permits and resulting inspections.

Don’t hurt your sale because of code violations that can easily be fixed. Get an inspector, make the changes and enjoy the comfort your efforts bring when your closing comes to fruition.

SHOWING YOUR HOME

Making color work in your home.

Don’t be offended if an agent suggests that you paint before placing your home on the market. They understand “color psychology.” Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, it can have a tremendous influence on their daily choices.

You can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly and at a higher price if you use color effectively. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity.

Lighter exterior colors are favored because they can make the property seem larger. For older homes, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well.

For the interior, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as coffee browns, celery greens and scrambled-egg yellows will make the rooms feel more natural. Hallways are a great place to bring in the exterior colors for overall harmony. Master bedrooms in medium shades of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. Shades of blue, green or lavender can form a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom.

When thinking about color, common sense helps. You should match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.

HOME IMPROVEMENT TIPS

Renovation: Is it Worth the Cost?

A stressful part of putting your home on the market is determining what to fix and upgrade to get the very best price. Rely on your real estate agent to recommend which projects to consider and which to avoid. Putting money into renovation doesn’t always mean you will recoup the money in a sale.

You may want to consult Remodeling’s website for their most recent Cost vs. Value Report for a breakdown of typical returns on renovation projects large and small in various regions throughout the country.

The report highlights the following projects as those with modest gains in their cost-value ratio:

  • Midrange roofing replacement
  • Midrange garage door replacement
  • Steel or fiberglass entry door replacement
  • Vinyl siding replacement

While your needs and budget will have a big impact on your choice of home-improvement projects, it helps to know the cost vs. return ratio when making the final decisions.

FINANCIAL TIPS

“Tax Advantage” is not necessarily
an oxymoron!

If you have recently bought or sold a home, there are a few tax advantages that may be available to you. Generally speaking, real estate broker’s commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs and inspection fees are considered selling costs and may reduce taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

However, every year the tax code can change and your situation may be unique. So the following is provided only as a guide. It is highly recommended that you seek a professional tax consultant to be sure.

There are several other key areas where you might benefit:

Mortgage Interest: Within limits, it may be tax-deductible. For example, a married couple filing jointly can deduct interest payments on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home. Buyers may also be able to deduct some of the interest they paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit.

Points: Points or origination fees on a home loan paid during purchase are generally tax-deductible in full, for the year in which they were paid.

Refinanced mortgage points: These may also be deductible, but only over the life of the loan. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new.

Improvements: Improvements made to property prior to the sale (or once one moves in) might qualify for an interest deduction on your home-improvement loan. Qualifying capital improvements are those that increase your home’s value, prolong its life, or adapt it to new uses, such as adding a porch or installing energy-efficient windows.

Real Estate Taxes: During a sale, the seller will send the local tax collector’s office a check for real estate taxes prior to the closing. In many circumstances, however, the buyer will pay a pro-rated portion of the taxes for the year at closing. This tax deduction also gets overlooked.

Business Use: For new buyers who work at home: If a room is used exclusively for business purposes, they may be able to deduct home costs related to that portion, such as a percentage of your insurance and repair costs, and depreciation.

Moving Costs: If you have moved because of a new job, moving costs might be deducted. These can include travel or transportation costs, lodging, and fees for storage of your household goods.

In today’s economy, it’s critical that we take advantage of every possible tax break. A home provides a great opportunity to do just that.

 
 
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