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Showing posts from March, 2013

Maintaining Comfort

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Some people refer to the heating and air conditioning systems as the "comfort systems."  If you've ever had to be without one in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort may be an understatement.  Simple maintenance with a HVAC checklist is something that every homeowner can perform.PeriodicallyChange your filter every 90 days; every 30 days if you have shedding pets.Maintain at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.Don't allow leaves, grass clippings, lint or other things to block circulation of coils.Inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into house monthly and replace if missing or damaged.Annual, in spring Confirm that outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps are on level pads.Pour bleach in the air conditioner's condensation drain to clear mold and algae which can cause a clog.Avoid closing more than 20% of a home's registers to keep from overworking the system.Replace the battery …

Your Deduction...Your Choice

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Taxpayers are allowed to decide each year whether to take the standard deduction or to itemize their deduction when filing their personal income tax returns.  Roughly, 75% of households with more than $75,000 income and most homeowners itemize their deductions.The 2012 standard deduction, available to all taxpayers, regardless of whether they own a home, is $11,900 for married filing jointly and $5,950 for single taxpayers.Let's look at an example of a homeowner couple with a $150,000 mortgage at 3.5%.  The standard deduction would give them $2,650 more than the total of their interest paid and property taxes of approximately $9,250.  If they were in the 28% tax bracket, the actual tax savings would be $742.00.When mortgage rates were considerably higher, many people expected the interest and property taxes to easily exceed the standard deduction but with today's low rates, a comparison is certainly justified.There are other things that could come into consideration like chari…

Low Inventories Indicate a Trend

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Low inventory is a relative term depending on how you're comparing it.  Would the comparison be to total number of homes on the market last year, homes in a certain price range or homes in a certain area?  In some situations, it's a combination of all of those things.In any given market, inventories will fluctuate based on area and price range.  The National Association of REALTORS® considers a balanced market to be six months' supply of homes.  If it takes longer than six months to sell, it is thought to be a buyer's market and less than six months, a seller's market.  Most buyers and sellers probably feel inventory equilibrium is more like three month's supply of homes.Inventory has a direct impact on price.  During the housing bubble, demand decreased, supply ballooned to four million houses and prices dropped dramatically.  Increased inventories due to foreclosures, bank' revised lending practices and builder's lack of new housing starts each contri…