Sunday, August 29, 2004

Tales From The Home Improvement Front, Part 2

We are finally in our kitchen! Summer is winding down and after 5 long months of living out of our makeshift basement kitchen, Dan just has some trim and finishing work to do. A quick look at the before and after pictures below show the dramatic change. It came out beautifully and Dan has done a wonderful job! We engaged the help of a designer to help us along the way which is why it's so bold--and we love it.

Here are a few more lessons I've learned during this process (see Tales From The Home Improvement Front, Part 1):
1) There will always be something you would have done differently,
2) Much like the pain of childbirth, remodeling pain goes away once you're finally able to enjoy the finished results, and
3) It will cost even more than you think.

September brings final outdoor repairs before the cold is upon us. Winter remodeling plans include the two bathrooms and finishing/painting all the doors and trim (no rest for the weary).

I hope you've had a productive season and been able to finish all your Summer projects!

Remodeled Kitchen Posted by Hello

Original Kitchen Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Slight Breather In July Home Sales

WASHINGTON (August 24, 2004) – Existing single-family home sales slipped in July but still managed the third-best pace on record, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

In July, the inventory of existing homes on the market remained stable at 4.3 months, slightly up from a revised 4.2 months in June according to NAR. Sales of existing homes were down in all regions except the South. Home resales fell 4.8% in the Midwest. However with interest rates still below 6% housing experts expect the market to stay strong.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

What Is A 1031 Exchange?

A 1031 exchange makes it possible for investors to sell and buy investment property while deferring tax consequences. This transaction is authorized by section 1031 of the IRS code and offers investors the ability to reinvest 100% of the equity from the sale of an investment property into the purchase of a replacement property without recognizing any gain. Primary residences do not qualify for a 1031 exchange.

1031 exchanges are not difficult, however there are a series of steps that must be followed or the IRS may disallow and the sale may be subject to capital gains. When selling an investment property, all of the equity from the sale must be transferred to a 'qualified intermediary or facilitator (the taxpaper can't receive any cash from the sale). The bigger challenge is in the timing of the sale and purchase. The IRS allows only 45 days after the sale to identify a replacement property and up to 180 days to close on that purchase.

For more details, visit Section 1031 Legal Information Institute.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

New Construction Versus Resale Homes

One of the first decisions you'll have to make once you start a home search is whether you will purchase a newly constructed home or concentrate on finding a suitable existing home. It is a very personal choice, especially since each has both benefits and drawbacks. Here is a closer look at some pros and cons to consider.

New Construction
Pros Building a home from the ground up gives you the opportunity to inject your personality and style into the layout, architecture and d├ęcor. Working with a builder, you will have the opportunity to influence everything from the size of the rooms to the lighting. You will also be able to install all new appliances and take advantage of modern conveniences, something not often available in an older home. Other benefits include the energy efficient products used in new homes and the knowledge that you will not have to renovate anytime soon.

Cons Typically, a custom-built home will be more expensive and require much more involvement from the buyer. You should also be prepared to deal with missed deadlines and unexpected costs. Other drawbacks include the possibility of a cookie-cutter look in the neighborhood and a lack of mature trees and vegetation usually found in a more established community.

Pros As a rule, resale properties often have more character, established schools and community groups, better developed landscaping and a more "neighborhood" feel. The previous owner may have also made upgrades and improvements that combine the charm of an older home with today's advancements.

Cons Purchasing an older home often requires more hands-on work from the buyer, such as taking down wallpaper, repainting and refinishing hard wood floors, to name a few likely projects. In addition, appliances and major home systems like plumbing and heating may be older and can need repairs much sooner.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Making An Organized Move

Moving is one of the most stressful times for most people. Whether you are buying or selling, here are some practical tips to help you make a pleasant, organized move:

> Use a checklist. Outline everything that needs to be done and give each step a realistic time frame.

> Get rid of clutter. Give away, sell or throw away anything you no longer use before you move.

> Mark and label. Use felt pens to mark boxes with their contents and label which rooms they go in.

> Make a survival kit for your first night. To save having to hunt through boxes for the basics, your kit should include essentials like towels, sheets, tissue, a flashlight, can opener, coffee, cereal, etc.

> Make the first night special. Order take out food, take a bath, light a candle, turn on some music. Moving is hard and you should reward yourself with a little pampering after it's done.

Using these tips to plan ahead and make an organized move can take some of the chaos out of the experience and help you transition peacefully into your new home.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Architecture 101: Roofs

Ever been at a loss for words when describing a home with an unusual roof. Brush up your architectural vocabulary with the Architecture Coach at Realtor Magazine Online. You'll learn the difference between a mansard, saltbox, gambrel and other roof types.