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Showing posts from November, 2012

Dripping Dollars

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Conserving water to be green while lowering your monthly bill to save green is a beneficial combination. Little things can contribute significantly to a large water bill.Leaky faucets can waste over 1,000 gallons a yearLeaky toilets can waste 7,000 gallons a monthA five-minute shower saves more water than a tub bathWater running while you brush your teeth or shaveSprinkler heads need to be adjusted to spray on the yard onlyInstall a rain sensor on sprinkler systemPool equipment can be a hidden source of wasted waterA larger than normal water bill can be your first indication you have a leak. Then, you'll need to track it down. Turn off all the water faucets and appliances; don't forget the ice maker.Open the water meter, usually located near the sidewalk in the front of the house. You may need a water key that can be purchased from a home improvement store or possibly borrowed from a neighbor.Locate the dial indicating water usage. It should not be moving since all of the water…

What's the Point?

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Pre-paid interest, sometimes called "points", is generally tax deductible when a person pays them in connection with buying, building or improving their principal residence. When points are paid on a refinance, they are not a current deduction but have to be taken pro-rata over the life of the mortgage.For instance, if $3,000 in points were paid on refinancing a 30 year mortgage, deduction of $100 per year is allowed. When the loan is paid off or replaced by refinancing again or the home is sold and the mortgage paid off from the proceeds, the balance of any un-deducted points may be taken in that tax year.Your tax professional needs to be made aware of any of these situations so that he can accurately reflect the deduction in your return. Currently, the most common situation is where homeowners may be refinancing their home for the second, third or even fourth time. If there are points that have not been completely deducted, they need to be treated in the year of refinancin…

Changing the Lock is Key

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There are times when you need to change the locks on your home to protect your family and possessions. It should always be considered when you move into a new home; when keys are lost, stolen or unreturned; or a cleaning or other service provider hasn't returned the key.Replacing the lockset would give you a totally new mechanism that should work better and if you go back with the same manufacturer, you'll probably avoid any carpentry. You can order the locks online and have them work with the same key at no extra charge.Another alternative is to have a locksmith rekey them. The locksmith can easily make all of the locks work with the same key. Compare the cost and decide which would be a better expenditure.While you're considering your security, a key safe might be a very convenient addition. Most makers say that it is much easier to break into a home than a key safe. The cost is reasonable and you can attach it to your exterior wall. Generally, they're combination lo…

Water Damage - Covered or Not?

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A number of things can cause water damage to a home and it's important to know whether they're covered by your insurance policy. Some water damage may be covered and other may not be. Generally, you need an incident to invoke coverage rather than something gradual due to lack of maintenance.However, some incidents are specifically exempt from homeowner policies such as floods. A flood can be described as rising water due to overflow of inland or tidal waters or unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface water from any source.Homes in designated high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance.Even if you don't live in a dedicated flood zone, you could be affected by flood damage. Review your policy about water damage and call your insurance agent to get a better understanding. Ask if you need to purchase additional coverage or separate flood insurance along with other questions.Flood insurance ca…