In the season of giving, many local organizations and businesses often accept donations of clothing, household goods, and other gently used items to help those in need.
Homeowners looking to downsize or preparing for a move (or just clearing up some space at home) can not only pay it forward by donating to a local charity, they can also take advantage of tax deductions. We’ve created this handy guide to tax-deductible donations in your home.
Belongings and Household Items That You Can Donate
Most organizations have guidelines about the specific items that they accept, but in general, you can donate these kinds of items to local charities:
- furniture, such as beds, desks, tables, and chairs
- clothing, such as shirts, shoes, and new underwear
- appliances, such as heaters, working TVs, and A/C units
- vehicles, such as cars or boats
- building materials, such as doors, windows, and wood flooring
5 Frightening Home Staging Mistakes
Halloween is just around the corner. For many homeowners, that means carving pumpkins, hanging up Halloween decorations, and stocking up on fun-sized candy. But if you’re a homeowner who is thinking about selling this fall season, you might be preparing your home for buyers instead of trick-or-treaters.
Home staging is a crucial part of home selling preparation. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Profile of Home Staging, 33% of buyers’ agents and 29% of sellers’ agents believe that a staged home increases the amount buyers are willing to pay up to 5%. On a $200,000 property, that’s $10,000!
But is your home effectively staged to sell? If you are preparing your home yourself, beware of these staging mistakes that scare away home buyers — and potentially thousands of dollars.
1. A Dark and Spooky Entryway
Your front entry is one of the first things buyers notice about your home. Peeling paint, deep shadows, and uninviting colors don’t create the best first impression. Turn your front entryway into a focal point by painting your door a bright color that complements your home.
2. Cobwebs in the Corners
At a showing, buyers are going to inspect virtually everything: light fixtures, closets, ceilings, you name it. Thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom (or hire a professional) to make it look like new. You can always ask a friend or neighbor to take an objective look at your home. Continue reading
Email scams are as old as, well, email, but as the years go by, these scams have become more and more sophisticated. Recently, several home buyers have fallen victim to specially targeted email scams that attempt to rob them of their closing costs — sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
These types of scams are devastating both financially and emotionally, especially when your home is involved. But to help protect you from email scams targeting the real estate industry, we have outlined a few tips about what these scams are and how to avoid them.
What Email Scams Are Common?
Though the method through which hackers collect personal or financial information is always changing, there are a few basic types of scams that buyers and sellers should be aware of.
This type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information (such as passwords or credit card numbers). Many emails used in recent phishing schemes look legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, but the email address is slightly different than the company’s or individual’s verified address.
These types of email messages may also ask you to verify information or click on a link, which could install harmful software on your computer. Continue reading
Let’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.
Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.
What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association
Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.
But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know. Here are the essential questions you should ask. Continue reading
Make Your Move Stress-Free for Your Pet
You’ve just bought a new home, and Fluffy and Fido are starting to worry about all the moving boxes going into the truck outside. Pets can easily become stressed during a move, which might cause them to lose their fur, become aggressive, or even run away.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your pet’s anxiety before, during, and after your move. Read these tips to make your move stress-free for your pet.
Plan Ahead and In Detail
Many people consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s only natural to be concerned for their comfort and safety during a move. Meticulous planning well in advance of moving day is the best way to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible with moving to a new home. Continue reading