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Saving Money Through Home Improvements

by Tucker Robbins


Home Improvements Can Save You Money

Yes, you just read the title of this article correctly; there are some home improvements that may actually save you money in the long run. Let’s take a look at a few home improvements that may help you save money by helping you to avoid paying taxes. 

  1.  A few small home improvements that will help you to not only avoid paying taxes but will reap you small tax credits are:  HVAC upgrades, new roofing and insulation.  Roofing and insulation will earn you around a 10% tax credit while HVAC upgrades can earn you as much as $300.  Who doesn’t want an extra $300 to do with what they want.    
  2. Energy efficient additions to your home are a great way to help save you some money on taxes.  If you decide to add some 
  3. energy efficient doors, windows and or skylights you can earn as much as a $500 tax credit.  Of course you can also make bigger energy efficient additions to your house such as a solar water heater or heat pump but these are a bit more expensive.   
  4. If you are disabled you can do a few renovations to your home to help you out not only by making it easier to live daily life but also by saving money on your taxes and actually getting a return as well.  You can save money on taxes by installing a wheelchair ramp, making doorways wider and therefore easier to maneuver through, lowering kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and making the ground outside more level so that you can easily move over it with your wheelchair.  Make sure with your doctor that any medial renovations done are deemed medically necessary before you make any of these changes in the hopes of saving on your taxes. 
  5. Purchasing alternative energy equipment is another way to save money and get a return on your taxes.  Energy equipment such as solar water heaters, wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps are just a few ideas for alternative energy equipment for your home. 

These are just a few of the home improvements that you can do to help you save money on your taxes.  I would suggest doing a bit of homework before deciding to do any of these however to make sure that they are in the best interest of you and you household.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Tips for Selling Your Home

by Tucker Robbins

Tips on Selling Your Home

More than likely if your house is on the market you have done your best to get it as clean as you possibly can.  What you may not know is that there are many other tips and tricks that go above and beyond cleaning your home to help you in the selling of your home.  A few of those tips and tricks are listed below. 

  • One of the main things you need to do if you want to sell your home  is to leave when someone is taking a tour of your home.  This may sound like a no brainer but you would be surprised at the number of folks who try to stick around during a home tour.  The prospective owners want to see the house and envision themselves in it. This cannot happen if you are lurking in the background during the tour. 
  • Another tip for selling your home is not to leave your pets behind during a home tour.   Although people love pets, they don’t really want to meet your pet in person while touring your house.  Be sure to clean up after them as well and not leave the pets belongings strewn throughout the house. 
  • Be sure to move your car where the Realtor and the prospective buyer will have a place to park when touring your home.  If you need to park all of your extra cars at a friend’s or neighbor’s house during the tour, do so.    
  • Be careful not to leave your bills and other mail laying around on the kitchen counter-tops when you have someone coming to take a tour of your home.  Not only is clutter a turn off to prospective buyers but it is also not a good idea to leave important documents lying around that can be seen by eyes that don’t need to see them. 
  • Do not call your Realtor five minutes after the home tour has taken place.  Be careful to give him or her time to do their job and get things in order before they come to you with feedback from the tour. 

These tips for selling your home  are very helpful if you are sure to take them to heart.  Most importantly remember to do your part in the preparing for the sale of your home and always be willing to negotiate.  

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.

saving energy

Once spring cleanup is done, you may feel ready to tackle some renovation projects this summer. If so, you're not alone: 62 percent of homeowners plan to undertake a home improvement project this year, according to a Harris poll. Homeowners will renovate to improve their home's appearance, livability and energy efficiency, the survey found.

It's possible to make renovations that are stylish and also reduce your energy bill. With temperatures heating up this summer, take on renovations that not only make your home more beautiful, but make it cool and comfortable as well.

Here are a handful of projects that can accomplish those goals:

Replacement windows

You're probably aware quality new windows can help your home retain heat in the winter, but did you know they can also keep your home cooler in the summer? By tightening your home's envelope and reflecting heat, energy-efficient windows can help maintain more even temperatures inside your home. What's more, because they're energy-efficient, new windows can help your heating-ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems operate more efficiently.

Air conditioning

If you live in an older home, you may not have the space you need to install a traditional central HVAC unit with ductwork. Adding ductwork can be costly and troublesome, yet you probably don't love the look of window air conditioners, either.

Window treatments

Limiting the amount of sunlight that enters and warms a room is an important way to supplement your home's cooling units. Summer decor cries out for light, airy window treatments, but you don't have to give up that bright look to better control sunlight. Window blinds or shades in a slightly darker hue can work well with a lighter looking window treatment while still allowing you to limit sun exposure when you draw them shut. What's more, cellular shades also have an insulating effect to enhance your windows' ability to reflect heat in the summer.

Cooler lighting and appliances

Electrical appliances and incandescent light bulbs all contribute to the amount of ambient heat in your home. As you're renovating, replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient options that give off far less heat, such as LEDs or CFLs. Most light fixtures are now able to use these cooler bulbs, so replacing them is easy - and can also help reduce your electricity bill since they use about 80 percent less energy than incandescents, according to the Energy Star program. You can also reduce heat output from appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and dryers by upgrading to more energy-efficient models.

Outdoor improvements

You can also make outdoor renovation choices that will enhance your home's beauty and help keep the interior cooler. Strategically plant shade trees to shield windows from the hot sun in summer time. Or, consider adding awnings that will shade windows and doors. For patios and decks, choose materials that reflect heat away from your home and outdoor spaces. Finally, paint siding in a lighter color to help minimize heat absorption.

Summer home renovation projects can be exciting, beautiful and energy efficient when you keep a cool head about your design choices. (BPT)

Top 2016 Trends In Outdoor Living

by Tucker Robbins

outdoor living

Take a deep breath of fresh air. Feel the warm sunshine on your skin. Kick back and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature. There's a reason people are investing in spaces that allow them to spend more time relaxing, dining and entertaining outside.

In addition to expanding livable space, outdoor enhancements also offer a strong return on investment at the time of sale. Convinced this is the year you're going to jump on the outdoor living bandwagon? To refresh your space and start enjoying the outdoors from the comforts of home, consider the top outdoor living trends of 2016.

Eclectic design

Homeowners are embracing the same eclectic trends that they love indoors and bringing this same design approach to their outdoor spaces. Mixing materials is at the heart of this trend. From all-weather wicker and teak to concrete and aluminum, using different materials means creating durable spaces with one-of-a-kind looks. Beyond the hardscape, using a variety of patterns, textures and shapes adds visual appeal.

Upholstered soft seating

This year, homeowners are revamping patios and decks by bringing the comforts of indoors outside. The perfect example of this movement is the use of upholstered furniture for the outdoors.

Outdoor cooking
 
Summer entertaining is enhanced when meals are cooked outdoors. Home chefs are thinking beyond the grill to incorporate other useful mediums for al fresco cooking. For example, hearths and stone ovens offer undeniable outdoor ambiance while providing a unique way to cook pizzas, bread and other baked goods. The finishing touch: add an herb garden for quick access to the fresh flavors of the season.

Customization

Customizing helps create outdoor spaces that are a reflection of the homeowners' personalities. More than just personalized decor, the customization trend is evident in outdoor furniture.

Evening entertaining

Outdoor entertainment shouldn't be restricted by daylight, so homeowners are making thoughtful additions to ensure when dusk arrives the party can go on. Strategic deck lighting on posts and stairways illuminates gathering spaces. Torches, pathway lighting and string lights are great for landscaped areas. Finally, propane and citronella gel fueled fire pits are the ideal gathering place and bugs will stay far away.

Reconstructed stone

Re-constructed stone is in demand for tabletops on dining, coffee and accent tables. When researching options, it's important to remember not all reconstructed stone is created equal. (BPT)

Home Buying After Foreclosure

by Tucker Robbins

You Can Buy a Home After Foreclosure

If you think that once your home goes into foreclosure that you will never be able to own a home again you are wrong.  There are guidelines and wait periods however and those are listed below.  If you do have to go through a foreclosure realize that it is not the end of the world and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It may be easy for you to give up and settle for renting the rest of your life but you do not have to.  Become a home owner again with just a few steps that need to be taken.

  • All mortgage loan types require a waiting period once you have gone through foreclosure but those waiting periods vary.   If you have a conventional loan backed by Freddie-Mac or Fannie Mae you are going to have to wait the longest period of time before getting another loan as these loans require that you wait 7 years from completion.  Most conventional loans will also require a good debt to income ratio before you can apply for a new loan.
  • VA loans, which are the Department of Veterans Affairs backed loans, only require that you wait a period of two years before applying for a new home loan.  Only folks who have served or are serving in the military can apply for these types of loans however.
  • FHA loans, Federal Housing Authority, will allow you to have another home loan as quickly as just a year after your foreclosure if you can prove that the situation that caused your foreclosure was out of your control such as a job loss or a medical issue.  If you are unable to provide the needed proof of these types of circumstances you will have to wait three years to get another FHA loan. 

The best advice that you can take if you have gone through a foreclosure is to take the needed time to improve your credit.  Be sure to pay all of your bills on time, or better yet pay them early.  Get your debt to income ratio in good shape and perhaps find a position in a company that pays you well enough to be able to afford to pay a good down payment.  Keep in mind as mentioned before that once you have gone through a foreclosure it doesn’t mean that you can never own a home again.  Don’t give up and keep pressing forward and you may find that you own your own home again sooner than you may have thought possible.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)