Sellers Quickly Transform Property with Paint

The best way to update a property is to paint it. It’s a job that many sellers can do themselves.

Here are six suggestions for making the work go quickly.

1. Move the furniture. Get as much furniture as possible out of the way, and then cover what’s left with plastic drop cloths held in place with masking tape.
2. Buy good paint. Top-quality latex interior paint will hide what’s underneath and make the job go faster.
3. Tape the edges. Taping the edges with painters tape will speed up the job and make the results more professional.
4. Work top down. Paint the ceiling first, then the walls, then the windows and trim and finally the baseboards. This will cut down on time spent repairing drips and splatter marks.
5. Cut in the corners. Applying a three-inch band of paint around the edges will allow you to fill in the middle with a paint roller.
6. Apply paint generously. Trying to stretch the paint won’t save sellers any money if they have to repaint.

Source: Paint Quality Institute (09/21/2010)

Tax Benefits of Homeownership

The tax deductions you’re eligible to take for mortgage interest and property taxes greatly increase the financial benefits of homeownership. Here’s how it works.

Assume:

$9,877 = Mortgage interest paid (a loan of $150,000 for 30 years, at 7 percent, using year-five interest)
$2,700 = Property taxes (at 1.5 percent on $180,000 assessed value)
______

$12,577 = Total deduction

Then, multiply your total deduction by your tax rate.

For example, at a 28 percent tax rate: 12,577 x 0.28 = $3,521.56

$3,521.56 = Amount you have lowered your federal income tax (at 28 percent tax rate)

Note: Mortgage interest may not be deductible on loans over $1.1 million. In addition, deductions are decreased when total income reaches a certain level.

Info from: REALTOR.org

Why Are Property Taxes Still Rising?

Property taxes continue to rise across the country, despite steep declines in home values.

Property tax collections across the United States rose 3.1 percent this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). That means state and local governments will collect more than $400 billion in property taxes this year—a record amount.

Most states have caps that prevent taxes from rising rapidly in boom times. The same laws keep taxes from plummeting when home values decline.

“Property taxes aren’t always popular, but they are a very stable tax, even in tough times,” says Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Source: USA Today, Dennis Cauchon (12/04/08)