Sumathi Narayanan Realty's Blog
When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.
Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.
Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.
Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You'll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you'll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.
Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.
Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.
Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.
If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.
Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They'll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.
One of the biggest benefits to buying a home is that of the tax savings for you. You own a home now, so there’s no more monthly rental payments going out the window. All of your mortgage payments are going towards your financial future. There’s many different types of tax breaks that you can get from owning your home. Many home improvement projects that allow you an extra tax break are hiding right in the fine print! Tax breaks are known as “incentives.” These incentives are essentially what help people to get important things in their homes done without having a order placed on them. There are some hidden things that you may not have known could be used as tax write-offs.
From putting solar panels on your home to replacing appliances, there are certain tax breaks that you can get for making your home more energy efficient. There are lifetime caps on these deductions, but on a certain year, you’ll be able to save some extra money on your taxes. Some of the deductions that you might be able to claim include:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Biomass stoves
- Central AC units
- Water heaters
- Certain energy-generation systems which include an array of things like water heaters, solar panels, fuel cell systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps.
You can deduct somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of the cost of these improvements to your home. It doesn’t hurt to check on the updated standards that are introduced each year by the government. Your accountant can help you to understand your own deductions a bit more in-depth.
Modifying Your Home For Medical Needs
If you need to modify your home in order to accommodate medical needs, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The modifications must not increase the value of your home and be medically necessary. If the doctor tells you to lose weight and you put in a home gym, you can’t deduct that. If you need a ramp put in your home for wheelchair accessibility, then that can be deducted. The cost of the modifications generally has to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, or 7.5% if you’re over the age of 65.
What’s Not Deductible
If you have done some major remodeling around your home, it’s sad to say that these improvements probably aren’t tax deductible. On the positive side, you will get a bigger return on your home when you do decide to sell it. This could help you to reduce any capital gains tax that you may have to pay on the sale of the home.
Remember that when you make improvements to your home, you’re doing it first for your own needs. Any tax write-offs that you may get are merely a bonus.
What do you think is the best paint color to sell your house? It often seems that the best color is white since it evokes a clean canvas for the buyer. While white is an excellent color to start with, you may find that if you warm up the interior of the house just a bit, it may assist prospective buyers in feeling more at home when they walk in than stark white. Here are some excellent fresh but neutral colors to paint your house to prepare it for the market.
Colors for the Kitchen
White kitchens have been everywhere recently, but a completely white kitchen doesn't give most buyers that homey feeling that draws them in. Neutral warm or cool grays offset those beautiful white cabinets while exposing any particular architectural details. Some reports show sales increases prices with appropriately colored walls. Your agent will know which colors are most popular in your area but some to look at are Hazelnut or Lilac Gray.
In bathrooms, blue seems to be the color of choice. A freshly painted pale blue master bath can give the buyer a sense of a spa-like retreat while deeper hues provide a room the ever-popular nautical theme.
Home seller reports show that rooms painted a matte soft cerulean blue made a higher net profit than expected. For added appeal, try to pair the blue with white baseboards and stage the room with natural woods. Buyers want to step into a space that feels restful.
Living Room Colors
For your living room, look for lighter beiges and warmer gray-browns. This color combination will help the room feel more cozy and welcoming. Boldly accent the beige with a white fireplace mantle and baseboards for a clean and comfortable feel. You can use some natural woods and cozy textures when staging the room.
Dining Room Colors
For the dining room, cool bluish-grays give the room a more formal appeal and instantly updates the space. Statistics showed that dining rooms painted with a bluish gray sold for higher pricing than homes with white dining rooms.
Best practices for a smaller home are to paint most rooms the same neutral color as it gives the house a more substantial feel. But, if you have a larger home, paint in such a way to highlight the architectural detail of each room while remaining neutral. If you want to have one very bright paint, make it the front door. Studies show that a brightly painted front door adds curb appeal to any home.
As always, discuss any color changes with your professional real estate agent for the best ROI and quickest sale.
A confident home seller is a unique individual, and perhaps it is easy to understand why. In fact, this individual likely possesses many traits that are sure to help him or her enjoy a successful home selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three key attributes of a confident home seller to better understand this individual's approach to the housing market.
A confident home seller may be more likely than others to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the best-possible results. As such, he or she will do what it takes to list a home and promote it to the right groups of buyers, which may result in a fast, seamless home selling journey.
With a proactive approach, any home seller can boost his or her confidence. Taking a proactive approach may even help a home seller maximize his or her home sale earnings too.
Typically, a proactive home seller will allocate time and resources to improve his or her house's interior and exterior. Because if a home stands out from the competition, the probability of a quick and profitable home sale will increase.
A proactive home seller also won't settle for subpar results. Instead, this seller will constantly search for ways to improve his or her home, as well as explore new opportunities to promote his or her house to buyers.
A confident home seller is willing to learn new things. Thus, he or she may be willing to learn about the housing market to discover innovative ways to speed up the home selling process.
To learn about the housing market, it generally helps to meet with a real estate agent. This housing market expert can teach a home seller about different aspects of the real estate market. And if a home seller has housing market questions, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to help a home seller build his or her confidence. This housing market professional can offer tips and recommendations throughout the home selling journey, ensuring a home seller can make informed decisions as this journey progresses.
A confident home seller understands that no home selling experience is perfect, and various home selling hurdles may arise along the way. Fortunately, this seller also knows how to stay calm, cool and collected under pressure.
As a confident home seller, an individual will stay patient, even when the worst-case home selling scenarios occur. This individual will be able to look at the big picture throughout the home selling journey. Perhaps most important, a confident home seller won't let small problems escalate; conversely, he or she will try to quickly resolve problems and take the necessary steps to prevent them from happening once again.
Becoming a confident home seller is no small feat. But if you understand the key attributes of a confident home seller, you can build your real estate expertise and work toward achieving the optimal results during the home selling journey.
Most people enjoy surrounding themselves with bright colors. Blues, purples, reds, and greens add personality to your home and bring you joy. They may set off your furniture or your favorite art. When you decorate your own home, you tend towards colors and styles that make you happy. However, as you've probably noticed even in your own family, different colors have different means for each person. While you might love that salmon pink wall, your potential buyer might not be able to get past the cat-food reference.
In addition to simple preference, an estimated ten percent or more of the population suffers from some form of color blindness, and most of them don't even realize it. Two main kinds of color blindness exist: you've probably heard of the more common red/green color blindness, but a blue/yellow color blindness exists as well that confuses blue and yellow with violet. That means the gorgeous pale yellow you chose might look like a bright violet to them. If a buyer knows about their color blindness, they plan for it, but most sufferers have no idea, they've just always seen colors this way.
You don’t want to turn off a promising buyer because you chose colors that were too bright, or didn’t account for variations in color blindness. A lot of buyers may not actually be color blind, but instead, become blinded by your palette. If buyers can't visualize the room with their belongings and their family, they won't want to purchase the home.
The Solution: Go Neutral
In the past, real estate and staging professionals used to solve this problem by asking clients to paint their entire home white. While white will still work, you can also benefit from using one of the other modern neutral tones. These off-white and gray sophisticated palettes can compliment your existing furniture and architectural features. Paint manufacturers and interior designers are always trying new neutral tones by adding warm or cool undertones to whites and grays. Check out the latest palettes for your season and use them to keep some color, dimension, and depth to your walls without overpowering your potential buyers' ability to picture the home the way they want it.
One long-lasting trend is to use some darker neutral on the walls balanced by bright white trim. This combination has a brightening effect around window and doors and evokes a warm response in many buyers. Make sure to check the trends in your area, since some regions will prefer one set of neutrals over another. In some areas, soft blues and greens work well for neutral tones.
Talk to your local real estate professional about the best painting choices for your property before investing in ten gallons of white.