American Eagle Realty's Blog
Whether you live in a huge mansion or a modest cottage, your home is your castle, and you're entitled to be safe and secure at all times!
Unfortunately, there is a criminal element in society which can pose a potential threat to homeowners (and renters) who fail to take precautions.
While each individual has to decide for themselves what security measures are necessary for their own safety and that of their family, everyone can benefit from developing a sense of heightened awareness. This is not a difficult thing to do; it simply requires you to focus extra attention on the need to keep your home and family secure. As an old song lyric by Kenny Rogers reminds us, "Trust in God, but lock your door."
By nature, we are all "creatures of habit." It's easy to lose sight of the big picture and allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of false security. No matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, you're inviting trouble if you habitually leave your doors unlocked. In the same way you may be conscientious about turning off the stove when you're finished using it, getting in the habit of locking your doors (and windows) before you leave the house or go to bed is also a good safety practice. Just that simple thing done on a consistent basis can drastically reduce your chances of becoming a crime statistic.
Shedding light on the subject
Another easy and inexpensive way to fortify home security is with lighting. Your house and property should never be pitch black at night because it makes your home look more vulnerable and unprotected. Creating the impression that someone is home -- whether they are or not -- can be as simple as turning on a couple lights before you leave the house, connecting your lights to a timer that will automatically turn on and off at designated times, or installing a system that enables you to control your home's security remotely. Motion-activated outdoor spotlights can also be an effective deterrent.
One of the many advantages of having a high-tech home control system is that you never have to worry about forgetting to lock your doors, turn on the lights, or adjust your thermostat; you can do it from virtually any location. If you're not technically inclined, you can have a system installed and monitored by a home security company (Make sure to compare prices, services offered, and customer reviews first, though.)
Some homeowners even opt for a video surveillance system, which is one of the most effective ways to keep tabs on your property. Implementing that sort of security system doesn't fit everyone's comfort zone or household budget, but home automation, in general, is an option worth considering and learning more about.
Whether you decide to stick with old-fashioned techniques or try the latest high-tech methods of keeping your home secure, your most important resources are awareness, alertness, and a good set of locks on your doors and windows.
If you have been looking to give your home a bit of pizzaz, you may be worried about the cost or the time investment. The good news is that you don’t need to put in a huge amount of work or money in order to make a big difference in your home. Below, you’ll find some of the easiest projects that you can complete in a hurry. You’ll be enjoying a new view of your home in no time!
Change Up The Mantel
We often grow comfortable with the decor in our homes. It’s a good idea to change those pictures and displays that you have along the top of your fireplace from time to time. For a more dramatic change, you can replace the entire mantel.
Bring Out The Front Entryway
The entry to your home is all a part of the curb appeal. You can easily paint the front door or part of the entryway to enhance the look of the front of your home. If you want to go even bolder, try and replace the door with something a bit different than what you already have.
Refresh The Paint
Whether you look at the inside or the outside of your home, you can easily bring about change to the look of your home. Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Take a tired looking room and change the paint color of the space. Taking things room by room can be less time consuming than trying to take on the entire house at once. If the exterior of your home needs some fresh color, this project can be expensive, yet rewarding as the amount of curb appeal that you have will increase dramatically.
Try Some New Lighting
It’s easy to get some new lighting fixtures. It could be as simple as switching a lamp or installing a few new light fixtures. For an even more dramatic change, add some dimmer switches or energy efficient lightbulbs. Checking in on the lighting in your home can be beneficial for both your home decor and the practical use of lights.
Don’t forget the outdoors as well. It can be very refreshing for your landscape to have some outdoor lighting that highlights the more dramatic pieces of the outdoor space.
Plant Something New
If you take the time to plant something new, you can bring a whole new look to the exterior of your home. Whether you take the time to plant one simple bush or are able to place down a whole new flower bed, small changes make a big impact.
However small your home improvement projects are, they are a part of working towards making your home a better place to live.
Buying a home is one of the biggest and most useful investments that you’ll make in your lifetime. One thing you should understand when you're making big improvements to a home or doing any kind of high return renovations is that of the Capital Gains Tax. This tax can take away from the return on your investment, especially under the right circumstances. Even with minimal improvements to a home, if an area has seen an upswing in popularity, you could end up paying the price when you go to sell.
Taxpayer Relief Act
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 can help many people to hang on to the returns they see from the sale of their home.
Previously, homeowners could qualify for a one-time tax exemption of up to $125,000 on the sale of a home. They also could combine the earnings in on the purchase of another home. Currently, there are a few ways that you can save on the Capital Gains Tax thanks to the TRA.
House Flippers And Homeowners Aren’t Equal
Not all home sales receive an equal tax treatment. If you are flipping houses, you’re out of luck when it comes to receiving profit-friendly tax breaks. You need to have lived in a home as your primary residence for two out of five years of owning a home in order to qualify for tax breaks. If this isn’t the case, you’ll end up paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. If you’re a professional house flipper, your homes are considered inventory and taxed as income. The tax on this can vary from 15% to 20%, depending upon the tax bracket you fall into.
The Type Of Property Matters When It Comes To Taxes
Whether the property is a primary place of residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, the gains are all taxed differently. If you own a second home that you’re interested in selling, it’s not treated the same as a primary residence for tax purposes. You’ll be taxed based on the amount of time that you owned the property, or the amount of time that the property was used as a second home. The taxes are based on a prorated amount of time.
The Price Of The Home Doesn’t Matter
You may think that higher priced homes are taxed more heavily than less expensive homes. This would be the case when it comes to property taxes, but it isn’t so when we’re talking about Capital Gains Taxes. These taxes are based on how much profit is made from the sale of the home. If a loss was taken, or the homeowner “broke even,” they may not owe as many taxes. A smaller home that had significant improvements made could be taxed a bit more than a home that was sold at a higher price with fewer upgrades.
A nightmare home selling experience is something that every home seller wants to avoid. Fortunately, we're here to teach you the ins and outs of selling a house so that you can minimize the risk of problems that could lead to a nightmare home selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a nightmare home selling experience.
1. Study the Real Estate Market Closely
You don't need to be a real estate market expert to find ways to maximize the profits from your home sale. Instead, you can study the real estate market closely and gain the insights that you need to price your house competitively.
Remember, a home seller's goal is to optimize the value of his or her house. To accomplish this goal, it is paramount to establish the right home price from day one. Otherwise, a home seller risks alienating buyers with a price that is too high, or missing out on profits due to a price that is too low.
Take a look at the prices of available houses in your area that are similar to your own. This housing market data will enable you to see how your residence stacks up against the competition so that you can price your house accordingly.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection
A home inspection usually is completed after a home seller accepts a buyer's offer. However, a home seller who conducts an inspection before listing his or her residence can increase the likelihood of a profitable home sale. Perhaps best of all, this home seller can avoid the danger of a buyer requesting home repairs or a price reduction later in the home selling cycle.
During a home inspection, a property expert will evaluate your residence both inside and out. This property expert then will provide a comprehensive report that details his or her findings.
Examine a home inspection report. That way, you can find out about your house's strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps to transform various weaknesses into strengths.
3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. As such, this real estate agent can serve as a guide throughout the home selling journey and help you immediately identify and resolve any potential home selling hurdles.
For example, an experienced real estate agent can provide you with a wealth of housing market data before you list your residence. This housing market professional will help you make sense of assorted real estate data and ensure that you can establish a competitive price for your house. He or she also will promote your house to the right groups of buyers and help you enjoy a quick, seamless home sale.
When it comes to selling your home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can avoid a nightmare home selling experience.
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!" That saying (and old song) has been around for generations, but it's as true today as it was a century ago. Almost everyone would agree that your home should be a refuge from the calamity and dangers of the outside world.
A related saying which has been repeated for even longer is "A man's home is his castle." That age-old concept not only emphasizes that fact that we all deserve to be safe and secure in our own homes, but it's also the basis for certain legal principles. Unfortunately, the mere existence of our rights as homeowners does not prevent burglaries, break-ins, and criminal intrusions from happening, so it's necessary to take steps to help protect your home and family from crime.
The good news is that there are literally dozens of things you can do to make your home a safer, more secure place. While it can be costly (but often worth it) to implement an elaborate, high-tech home security system, there are plenty of inexpensive measures you can take to discourage burglars. Here are a few crime-prevention tactics which can greatly reduce the chances of a break-in or intrusion taking place at your home.
Be security minded: If you live in a low-crime area, it's easy to let your guard down and become complacent. When it comes to keeping your property, family, and possessions secure, though, it's much better to "err on the side of caution." One regrettable mistake many people make is to leave their doors unlocked when they go out to "run a few quick errands." Not only can errands take longer than originally planned, but experienced burglars can be in and out of your home in minutes. By being consistent with locking doors and securing your home before you leave, you'll significantly reduce the chances of becoming a crime statistic. Instilling that awareness and those habits in your children is also an important element of any effective home security strategy.
Simple security solutions: Although glass panels alongside a front door can be an attractive design touch, it can provide potential intruders with a glimpse of the inside of your home -- including its layout, a view of valuables left out in the open, and whether your security system is activated. There are several ways you can obscure the view people have of your home's interior, including frosting the glass using a special spray, temporarily attaching a decorative window film, or installing etched glass. Customized window blinds may also do the trick.
Innovative ideas: Burglars generally tend to target homes that appear vacant or unsecured. Half the battle is creating the impression that someone is home, even if you're not. While you've undoubtedly heard about the technique of hooking up timers to your lights to make them go on and off at designated times, here's an interesting variation on the theme: You can purchase a device for $20 or $30 that simulates the flickering light that a TV gives off when it's being watched. While this is not a standalone or foolproof technique, it can be a low-cost part of an overall home security strategy.