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Home Maintenance - Projects You Should Start Now

by Melissa Thompson

Summer is winding down and the kids are back in school. Before you know it, crisp Fall weather will be here.   Don’t wait to start preparing your home for the colder seasons.  Take advantage of warm weather and longer days to get the jobs done now.  Here are five home projects you can do now to prepare for Fall and Winter:

  • Get your heating system serviced.  Now is the time to have a technician come out to inspect your heating system and make sure it is clean and in good repair.  You will be glad you did this when that first cold night arrives.  Try to find a heating/air conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs certified technicians.
  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.  Caulking is an inexpensive and simple way to save energy and improve comfort in your home. Be sure to seal any areas where water and air can slip into your home.  The prime places where this can happen are gaps between the foundation and siding, cutouts for electrical conduits and pipes and all around windows and door frames. Replace any damaged weather stripping at the base of doors and windows to make sure they are effectively sealed. 
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. Trust me, you are not going to want to go up on the roof in cold weather.  Take the time now to inspect it and make any repairs necessary.  It will serve you well to deal with roof issues now so that you’re not scrambling to get things fixed before the first big winter storm.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good working order.  There’s nothing better on that first, cold Fall day than curling up in front of a warm fire.  And there would be nothing worse than trying to light that fire and discover that something is not right.  Make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to go.
  • Seal your driveway.  Check it for cracks and use driveway filler to repair any damage. Then coat it with a commercial sealer.  Sealing your driveway will protect it from the elements of cold-weather and extend the life of the asphalt.

Getting these projects done before the weather changes and the days get shorter will allow you to enjoy all the fun that Fall brings with it rather than spending every weekend doing chores!

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/5-Important-Things-to-Fix-Before-Putting-Your-House-on-the-Market

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

Luxurious Laundry Rooms

by Melissa Thompson

The laundry room is probably not the first space you think of when you hear the word luxurious.  But it is a room you spend a lot of time in.  Doing laundry is a necessary part of life, so why not make it more appealing by creating a comfortable, practical and pretty environment that will make it feel less like a chore and more like a pleasant task. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your laundry room a calm and soothing work space.  There are opulent touches you can add that will improve your disposition while performing the essential duties of washing, drying, folding and ironing.

 
  • Paint the room in a soft, neutral color - choose from greens, blues or yellow.
  • Hang some art on the walls.  Pick pieces that you love or are meaningful to you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money…just choose paintings or pictures that bring 
  • you joy.
  • If you lack storage in your laundry room, add some simple shelves with clean lines.  Get some clear containers for your detergent, fabric softener sheets, clothes pins etc. so you can dispose of the unsightly bags and boxes they come in. 
  • Use baskets or bins to pre-sort clothes into whites, colors, sheets, towels etc.
  • If your laundry room is spacious, create a folding area.  You can have a table or if you are using front loading machines, design a counter to go on top of them.  Add a small, wall-mounted television and a comfy chair, and folding clothes won’t seem so boring anymore.
  • Add a small vase with fresh flowers.  Being amidst the beauty of nature will make you feel better about being stuck indoors doing laundry!
  • Remember, guests are not likely to see your laundry room, so make it all about YOU.  Be funky and unique with your décor and have fun with it!  Before you know it, you will look forward to doing all that washing, drying and folding.  Ok…maybe you won’t look forward to it, but at least you won’t dread it! 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Clearing-the-Clutter

5 Important Things to Fix Before Putting Your House on the Market

by Melissa Thompson

If you want the best price for your house, you may have to do some repairs before selling it. Potential buyers will be willing to spend more for a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.  Here are 5 important things to fix before selling:

  1. Exterior - When was the last time the exterior of your house was painted?  Is the paint faded and chipping?  Is wood rotting around the windows?  Is your front door dingy?  First impressions matter when it comes to selling your home and buyers will get their first impression when they see the outside of your house whether in pictures or in person.  Don’t forget the landscaping.  A well-kept lawn and simple, but clean flower beds will go a long way toward creating an enticing aesthetic for your property.
  2. Interior Paint - If the walls are looking a bit shabby and the trim a bit grimy, painting is a quick and easy fix.  The same applies if you went through a crazy color phase a few years back and decorated with hues that might not appeal to everyone.  Choose neutral colors that will allow buyers to focus on the spaces without being distracted.
  3. Kitchen - The kitchen is one of the most important rooms that buyers focus on when looking at a house.  So, if yours is looking run-down you will want to update it.  It will be worth the investment to replace appliances that are on their last legs or putting in a new granite counter.  Or it might be as simple as repainting cabinets and adding shiny, new handles.
  4. Bathroom - Nothing turns buyers off faster than an unsightly bathroom.  Sparkling, clean fixtures and a fresh coat of paint will go a long way toward impressing someone searching for their dream home.  Inexpensive touches like a decorative mirror or a lovely picture on the wall will add to the ambiance without breaking the bank.
  5. Flooring - If your carpets are stained or thread bare, it is worth your while to replace them.  Otherwise, buyers may ask for a carpet allowance when they make an offer on your house.  The same applies if your vinyl floors are in bad shape.  Hardwoods are always popular, but you may want to consider getting them refinished if they are looking old and scruffy.

It may seem counter intuitive to spend money on repairing or fixing up a house you are getting ready to sell, but at the end of the day, it will not only help you sell your house faster, but you will get a better price for it too.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/75-of-Homeowners-Think-Now-is-a-Good-Time-to-Sell

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Showing-Your-Home-to-Potential-Buyers

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership

by Melissa Thompson

Recently, Freddie Mac reported on the benefits of homeownership. According to their report, here are the five benefits that “should be at the top of everyone’s list.”

  1. Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
  2. Your monthly payments will remain stable.
  3. You may have some tax benefits.
  4. You can take pride in ownership.
  5. Homeownership improves your community.

Let’s expand on each of Freddie Mac’s points:

Homeownership can help you build equity over time.

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reported that now the net worth gap is 45 times greater.

Your monthly payments will remain stable.

When you purchase a home with a fixed rate mortgage, the majority of the payment (principle and interest) remain constant. On the other hand, rents continue to skyrocket. Your housing expense is much more stable if you own instead of rent.

You may have some tax benefits.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items from the Briefing Book:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Property Tax Deduction
  • Imputed Rent
  • Profits from Home Sale

You can take pride in ownership.

Most surveys show that a major factor in purchasing a home is the freedom you have to design the home the way you want. From paint colors to yard accessories, you don’t need a landlord’s permission to make the house feel like a home.

Homeownership improves your community.

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study explained:

“Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors…Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.”

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to homeownership. That is why it is still a critical piece of the American Dream.

Contact your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526 for all your home buying needs. 

By: KCM Crew

Quick Fix Tricks to Make Your House Sparkling Clean!

by Melissa Thompson

Putting your house on the market can be stressful in many ways.  Not only are you preparing to move yourself, you also need to keep your home looking as perfect as possible  for potential buyers.  Here are some quick fix tricks to help you get your house in order and ready to show:

 1. Cleaning the Microwave - No matter how dirty your microwave is, you can have it clean and shining in less than five minutes with this trick!  Slice a lemon in two.  Put it in a cup and add some cinnamon.  Place the cup in the microwave and “cook” on low power for 10 minutes.  Wipe the inside of the microwave clean with a damp cloth.  The cinnamon makes it smell nice.

2. Dusting That Lasts - The secret here is to wipe your furniture down with a little bit of cooking oil on a paper towel. This will do two things.  The first is that it will make your furniture shine nicely.  The second is that it adds an anti-static layer which repels dust.  You will need to dust again eventually, but not for a much longer time.

3. Getting Kids’ Artwork Off the Wall for Good - Finding that your creative child has used a wall for artwork with a pen or permanent marker is the worst! The good news is that the stain can be removed.  Try squeezing toothpaste (not the gel kind) onto a damp cloth.  Rub the toothpaste over the stain and watch it disappear. Here are some other ways to get marker off walls.

4. Keeping Window Tracks Clean - If you’re showing your house on a nice day, you’re going to want to have your windows open.  But if you do that, you want to make sure that the window tracks are super clean.  The easiest way to make sure they are, is to sprinkle the area with baking powder and then add vinegar.  Don’t worry when it starts to bubble; it’s supposed to do that!  Leave it for 15 minutes.  Then wipe it clean with a paper towel and done!

5. Shiny Bathtubs -  You won’t believe how easy it is to clean your bathtubs this way!  First, warm (don’t boil) some vinegar in the microwave.  Mix it with equal parts soap solutions in a spray bottle.  Spray all over the bath.  Leave it for about 30 minutes.  Come back and wipe clean.  The shine you get will amaze you! Don't forget to keep that toilet bowl clean and shiny as well!

6. Keeping Animal Fur off Blankets - Do you have pets that shed?  If so, you know the struggle of keeping your house fur free.  Vacuuming regularly helps, but doesn’t keep the fur off things such as blankets and throws.  Believe it or not, there is a way to do that. Wash them once in white vinegar and you will discover that the fur never sticks to them afterward!

Hopefully these brilliant, time-saving tips will help you keep your house ready to show!

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Showing-Your-Home-to-Potential-Buyers

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/3-Charts-That-Shout-List-Your-Home-Today

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

by Melissa Thompson

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.
  • For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, you can check out the complete list here.

Thinking about buying or selling a Memphis TN home, Call your local expert’s The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526.

 

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Four Reasons to Buy a Home Now!

by Melissa Thompson

You may be wondering if this is the best time to buy a home.  Spring is a busy time in general for real estate transactions and right now it’s a seller's market, meaning supply is low and demand is high. But the truth is, there are always excellent reasons to buy a house, regardless of market activity.

First, buying is cheaper than renting. The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The report reveals that:

“Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation…Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1% for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.”

Another benefit of homeownership is that it forces you to save money. The financial commitment you make when you buy a home means that your monthly housing cost must be paid, no matter what.  When you take on this responsibility, it may inspire you to be more frugal and to save more.

Tax deductions are also a perk of owning a home. There are many tax advantages, including (but not limited to) reducing your taxable income by deducting interest paid on a home mortgage and deducting property taxes paid.

Finally, experts expect home price appreciation to continue. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

The bottom line is that buying a home now will prove to be a sound financial decision for years to come. Don’t wait!  Contact Melissa Thompson at Your Key To Memphis to find your dream home today!

Tax Return Depressing? Owning a Home Could Help

by Melissa Thompson

Tax Return Depressing? Owning a Home Could Help | Keeping Current Matters

Many Americans got some depressing news last week; either their tax return was not as large as they had hoped or, in some cases, they were told they owed additional money to either the Federal or State government or both. One way to save on taxes is to own your own home.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen's guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” - there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items, and a quote on each, from the Briefing Book:

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage. The deduction is limited to interest paid on up to $1 million of debt incurred to purchase or substantially rehabilitate a home. Homeowners also may deduct interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity debt, regardless of how they use the borrowed funds. Taxpayers who do not own their home have no comparable ability to deduct interest paid on debt incurred to purchase goods and services.”

2. Property Tax Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.”

3. Imputed Rent

“Buying a home is an investment, part of the returns from which is the opportunity to live in the home rent-free. Unlike returns from other investments, the return on homeownership—what economists call “imputed rent”—is excluded from taxable income. In contrast, landlords must count as income the rent they receive, and renters may not deduct the rent they pay. A homeowner is effectively both landlord and renter, but the tax code treats homeowners the same as renters while ignoring their simultaneous role as their own landlords.”

4. Profits from Home Sales

“Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale. But homeowners may exclude from taxable income up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of capital gains on the sale of their home if they satisfy certain criteria: they must have maintained the home as their principal residence in two out of the preceding five years, and they generally may not have claimed the capital gains exclusion for the sale of another home during the previous two years.”

Bottom Line

We are not suggesting that you purchase a house just to save on your taxes. However, if you have been on the fence as to whether 2017 is the year you should become a homeowner, this information might help with that decision. Contact The Melissa Thompson Team today to start your home search! 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeytoMemphis.com 

Disclaimer: Always check with your accountant to find out what tax advantages apply to you in your area.  

Clearing the Clutter

by Melissa Thompson

Does your home suffer from “flat surface syndrome” (if there is a flat surface, it has something on it)? Is the “stuff” in your house ruling your life?  I’ve heard it said that a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind.  Now is the time to declutter and simplify your life.  Here are some tips to help you minimize the clutter in your home and maximize your peace of mind!

  1. Stop the flow of stuff coming in.   Decluttering doesn’t work if you simply replace old stuff with new stuff. As you begin to simplify, you will need to slow the flow of things coming into your house.  Make a conscious decision today to buy less.  You won’t regret it. The freedom from the desire to acquire is a wonderful thing!
  2. Declutter at least one item a day. Decluttering doesn’t have to be done all at once.  You don’t have to disrupt your whole household with a frenzy of “cleaning out”.  Making it a gradual process will give you time to process what you are doing and to change the way you think about stuff.  That way it becomes a lifestyle change and not just a crash diet of decluttering.
  3. Declutter the easy stuff first. There is no reason to torture yourself by trying to declutter the hardest stuff first. Doing that would likely make you feel overwhelmed and deter you from completing the task all together.  Start with the easy stuff, and as your will to reduce strengthens, it will be easier to get rid of the harder stuff.
  4. Have a disposal plan in place. Do your research.  Investigate your options for selling, donating and/or recycling items you choose to get rid of. The more you prepare for the task, the easier it will be and the more likely you will follow through with it.  Check out Freecycle and Ebay and local thrift stores for disposal options.
  5. Decide not to keep things out of guilt or obligation. Only keep things that you love and use.  Don’t let other people determine what you should keep or get rid of.  If something is not meaningful or useful to you, get rid of it!
  6. Don’t be afraid to let go.  If you are hanging on to something because you might use it someday, don’t.  Be realistic.  If you haven’t used it in years, chances are you will never use it.  Let. It. Go.
  7. Gifts do not have to be material. There are many gifts that end up as clutter. Encourage people to follow the concept of giving alternative gifts such as experiences and time spent together.  Check out these Clutter Free Gift Guides for ideas.
  8. Do not over-equip your home.  Be realistic about your true needs.  When deciding what to keep, think about the number of people that live in your home.  If you buy new dishes or linens, make sure to get rid of the old ones.
  9. Only declutter what is yours.  Allow your other family members to decide which of their own belongings they want to keep and dispose of.
  10. Do not waste your life on clutter! Every item that you own takes time out of your life: time to manage it, repair it, take care of it, clean it and maintain it.  That’s in addition to the time you spent shopping for it or the time spent earning the money to pay for it in the first place.  Make the decision today to stop living for things.  Simplify and be happy!

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at YourKeyToMemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Living-on-a-Budget

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-New-House-a-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-Home-More-Desirable-in-2017-Home-Improvement-Projects

Happiness is…the Right Paint Colors!

by Melissa Thompson

Have you been thinking about painting some rooms in your home?  You may want to keep in mind that the colors in your home can have a huge impact on your moods!    The shade of your walls has been known to affect emotions.  For example, there are certain colors that will bring you down, ones that will help you relax, and even some that will suppress your appetite. 

Here are some color ideas for you that will promote positivity:

Yellow for HAPPINESS.

Yellow is a natural source of positive energy and sparks feelings of happiness. Shades of yellow can also activate metabolism and boost thinking.

Sky Blue for RENEWAL

Pale blues are calming and help to restore natural rhythms.  Sleeping well contributes to productivity and overall well-being.  Calming blues have soothing and restorative qualities that help you rest better.

Violet Black for MINDFULNESS

While it may appear dark and moody, a hidden undertone of violet in a dark background draws you in and provides a sense of escape and relaxation.  This color also creates a space for focus and reflection.

Yellow-Green for OPTIMISM

This combination of green and yellow captures the essence of spring’s first bloom and the anticipation of renewal.  These colors bring positive energy into a space and stimulate personal growth.

Silver-Sage for BALANCE

The blend of sage green and silvery gray provides balance and harmony.  These are the perfect colors for a peaceful, refreshing and tranquil living space.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-New-House-a-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/5-Design-Trends-to-Avoid-When-Selling-Your-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/The-Top-Ten-Home-Décor-Trends-of-2016

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 51