Blog :: 03-2016

Moving Day Toolbox

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Every new homeowner should approach moving day with a tool box and a “bit box.” The bit box is for moving out — put every little weird screw, metal hinge and spare wire that you find lying around with no apparent connection to anything inside the bit box. Those “bits” could be important parts of desks, chairs, chests, and beds that you’ll need for reassembly.

The toolbox is for moving in. Your exuberance for the new space may have you hanging your family photos before laying the carpets or making the beds. Indulge the impulse by making sure you have a hammer nearby! Cardboard boxes are easier to open with a razor cutter. There are twenty things that immediately need adjusting, tightening or reassembling. How convenient to have your screwdriver on hand. Duct tape, nails, hammer, wrench, and pliers. Whichever tools are your favorites.

Plan ahead and put a box together. Just make sure to include a slip of paper with your contractor’s telephone number. Just in case a hammer won’t suffice…

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    Energy Efficiency & Saving Money

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    Energy efficiency and saving money are two subjects most of us view as being important. Have you given consideration to changing the light bulbs in your home to LED bulbs? Their initial cost, depending on size and the manufacturer, is substantial but definitely worthwhile.

    Among the many reasons to change over to LEDs, they last far longer and are very energy efficient, reducing cost for electricity and are safer than fragile traditional bulbs. Unlike the traditional bulb, you won’t be burned should you touch the glass of the LED bulb even after it has been on for several hours of use.

    The LEDs can create a softer, warmer glow in your home, creating a pleasant atmosphere and can be used with dimmer switches. LEDs do not contain mercury nor do they contain any other toxic substances. There are many estimates on how long a quality LED bulb lasts but it seems certain between 25,000-50,000 hours is superior to a relatively short-lived traditional bulb. Interesting to note, Sharon has changed to LED lighting along Main Street as a cost-cutting experiment.

     

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      Just Nod

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      I almost drove a poor unsuspecting motorist off West Woods in Sharon one early sleeting winter morning. Big wave “sorry!” and the forgiveness of a two or three finger lift off the steering wheel. Phew.

      There’s something very human about acknowledging a particularly singular shared space – be it on a deserted dirt road or the doorway of the post office. A slight nod or lift of a finger or two of acknowledgement goes a long way. It’s a small town, odds are you’ll probably see each other again, so it can’t hurt. Maybe you’ll need that person’s assistance at some point. Maybe when you find yourself in a ditch on the side of West Woods Road!

      Here is where that nod counts the most: walking on a back road, any public doorway, the deli counter at Labonne’s, in line at the bank, and any of the crosswalks. Maybe passing boats on Lakeville Lake...

      I’m not suggesting you start offering your fellow townspeople full out salutations, but a small gesture to say that you noticed them, say, stopping to allow you to cross the street, is definitely one of the niceties of small town life.

       

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        What Will I Owe the IRS When I Sell My Home?

        If you sold a home in 2015 (or plan to sell in 2016), you should be aware of the tax consequences. Start by calculating your “basis” which is your original cost plus any improvements over the years.

        To determine your taxable profit, you will deduct this basis amount from your sales price. You will also deduct most closing costs such as real estate commissions, legal fees and conveyance taxes. If you are selling a PRIMARY RESIDENCE that you have owned for more than 2 years, you can then deduct $250,000 per individual or $500,000 per couple from the sales price. If you still have a profit after these deductions, that profit will be taxed at the capital gains rate - which, for most Americans is 15%, depending on your income level. I actually know people who move every 2 years to take advantage of this exclusion - but that requires a very liquid market and a lot of energy!

        For most of us, our home is our sanctuary and not just an investment, especially here in our beautiful Salisbury / Sharon area. Still, when the time comes to sell, call your tax consultant and make sure you know the consequences.

         

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          De-Cluttering = Asking For Help

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          One of the most formidable tasks in preparing a property for the market is the de-cluttering/cleaning out process. This is very much on my mind as I watch friends in Lakeville, CT and Ancramdale, NY, currently engaged in this process. Obviously the task can seem physically and emotionally daunting. An important fact to remember is that you don't have to do it alone.

          A bit of a control freak myself, the idea of allowing someone into my process (asking for help), is normally the last thing that I want to do. However, another person can often see the task objectively. Fortunately, there are people to hire who specialize in cleaning out and helping organize for a move. Your real estate agent will normally know of someone reputable whom they can refer. Consider renting a dumpster, small or large. This will expedite the process enormously.

          If your financial resources are limited, or you just can't bear to allow a stranger in, consider asking a friend or family member for help. You will probably be surprised at how glad people are for a chance to help out. It feels good to be asked!

           

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