Lynn D'Avolio
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 6/20/2017

If your house is 15 or more years old, you're fortunate if you still have the same roof that your house had when you first bought it. The same goes for your carpeting and exterior house paint, not to mention household appliances.

Putting off a home renovation is a confidence knocker

You don't even need a contractor to come out and inspect your house. Whenever you sit on the sofa, lay in bed and peer up at the ceiling or head outside to work, you can't help but notice how chipped the living room wall paint is.

Worn roof shingles are allowing rain water to drip onto your bed, cooling you to the point that the wet weather is starting to wake you in the middle of night. And your carpet has so many stains on it that you feel embarrassed to invite company over.

But, you do nothing to improve the situation because you've convinced yourself that you don't have the money to pay for home repairs and renovations. Yet, you could be wrong. Money to cover the costs of a home renovation could be right under your nose.

Don't think so? Check out these five places where you could find home renovation money:

  • Personal savings that surpass your retirement plan (For example, if you need to save $7,000 a year to have enough to retire on in 30 years and by the tenth year of your savings you've saved $92,000, you could use the extra money to pay for a home renovation.)
  • Proceeds that you generate from garage sales, events that you host to get rid of old furniture and unused household goods like old toasters, baby cribs and televisions.
  • Bonus money and extra commissions (In fact, within as little as two years, you could earn enough to pay for an entirely new roof if your sales commissions peak.)
  • Tax refunds (Instead of buying new furniture, another vehicle or a brand new wardrobe that you don't need, use your tax refund to pay for new carpeting.)
  • Home equity loan (Consider this a last resort to avoid taking on interest rates and loan fees.)

A home renovation schedule that helps your house keep its original beauty longer

Regular home renovations can keep you in your house for several more decades. Stick to a recommended home renovation schedule and your house could maintain appeal and a young, fresh look 50 or more years after its construction date.

For example, you could invest savings to pay for new floor tiles and brand new plumbing pipes and fixtures after the original equipment reaches 47 or 48 years. Every six to seven years, you could repair or replace worn parts on your garage door.

It's these steps that help to prevent a complete house part breakdown. Like hidden places to find home renovation money, sticking to a repair and upgrade schedule helps you to save money when you didn't think that you would.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 6/6/2017

If you work from home either full or part-time, you may want to give the home office deduction a go on your taxes. The problem with this deduction is that it can be tricky. 


Are You Eligible?


Your workspace needs to meet the criteria for business use. You need to use your work space regularly and as your principal place of business. If you don’t work from home as a self-employed individual, your employer must require you to work from home due to a lack of office space or other circumstances. The keywords in this part of the clause are “exclusively, regularly, and must.”


First, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of your home that’s used for business. This means that if your office is 100 square feet and your home is 1,000 square feet, you use 10% of your home for business. If you own the space you’re living in, you can deduct 10% of the mortgage interest that you pay each month. Keep in mind that you can’t double dip either. This means the amount of mortgage interest that you deduct on other parts of your taxes is reduced. If you rent your home, you’d deduct the percentage off of your monthly rental payments. 


Home Office Maintenance


If you own your home, you are able to deduct a portion of your property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses that are associated with your home office space. These expenses vary because some are direct such as the expense of you painting your office. Others are indirect. Home insurance applies to your entire home, so you would only apply a portion of that to a deduction. For the direct expenses, you are able to deduct the entire cost. 


For the indirect expenses, you’ll go back to applying the percentage of your home that is used for work. This means if we’re working with a 10% figure, you are able to deduct 10% of your utilities, 10% of your home insurance premiums, and so on.


If you rent, you can still deduct many of the same things that homeowners can from your taxes for a home office expenditure. The only thing that you’ll lack as a renter is the ability to write off things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. Know that you’ll be able to write off a portion of your renter’s insurance. 


The Complicated Stuff: Depreciation


You are able to depreciate the value of a home office as your home ages. It’s not always necessary to do this, so you should consult your tax professional before you decide to make this type of deduction. Equipment in your office, such as your computer, can be claimed as a depreciation over time as well. 


The important thing when it comes to your home office tax deduction is to do your homework. You don’t want to miss out on important savings!




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/30/2017

When you buy a home, you may wonder what the benefits of having your own realtor to represent you are. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you probably will have a lot of questions. If you’re a second-time homebuyer you may still have a lot of questions! Buying a home can be a long, tedious process. It’s very helpful to know that you have a knowledgable realtor by your side to represent you and help you through the home buying process. If you’re looking to buy a home in a tough market, hiring your own realtor to represent you as a buyer is especially important. 


First, you should consider interviewing some prospective buyers agents in your area. Maybe you can get recommendations from friends and family as well. Learn what you can expect from a top realtor who will represent you as a buyer. 


Honesty Is The Best Policy


Your agent should be completely honest with you. While they can’t tell you what you personally want in a home, they should give you every last disclosure. No agent should put a home value or their own commission above their clients. This means that there’s strict documentation that realtors must follow including a code of ethics and standards for practice. A realtor must uphold these promises.  


Judging honesty in a realtor can be difficult. An honest real estate agent will help you through the home search process, for example. This is a good place to start. If the realtor points out some of the potential issues that you may have as a buyer in a home, you can see that honesty is one of their main policies.


Good Communicator


A realtor should be in frequent communication with you. Even if your home search isn’t active, they will check in, and see where you’re at in the process and if your needs have changed. 

Your realtor should alert you if offers have been made on properties that you’re interested in as well. Your buyer’s agent should reply to texts, e-mails, or calls within a short time frame of receiving them. Having a realtor that’s on top of things for you is important when it comes to buying a home since, without their help and information, the perfect home could slip through the cracks for you.                  


Knowledge Of Rules, Regulations, And Best Practices


Your buyer’s agent should have extensive knowledge of the real estate rules and regulations that are within your state. Each state has different practices when it comes to buying a home. Hiring a buyer’s agent is especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with a state or city. Your agent will be well-informed on all of your responsibilities as a buyer, as well as how and when you should complete these tasks and signings throughout the entire home buying process.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/23/2017

It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs--like children--have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend. There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You'll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family's ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.

Your dog's new home

If you've always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in. If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you. Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.

Raising a dog is a team effort

If you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a "permanent puppy") it's important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training. Your dog takes cues from your family's behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn't it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.

Please consider adopting

We all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What's more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor conditions.

Guidelines for dogs and your home

  • If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
  • Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
  • If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
  • Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/16/2017

For homebuyers, finding a dream home may require many days, weeks or months. However, when the big day finally arrives, you'll want to submit the right offer to ensure you can secure your ideal residence quickly.

Unfortunately, making the right offer on a home can be tricky. If you submit a proposal that is far below a home seller's expectations, you risk missing out on your dream home entirely. Or, if you submit an offer that is above your comfort level, you may wind up paying more for a house that it is actually worth.

So what does it take to make the right offer on a home? Here are three tips that every homebuyer needs to know to ensure he or she can submit the perfect offer on a residence.

1. Use Housing Market Data to Your Advantage

The internet is a powerful tool, particularly for homebuyers. And if you search for housing market data, you should have no trouble finding the information that you need to submit an offer that matches your budget and satisfies a home seller's expectations.

For example, a homebuyer who finds a two-bedroom home that he or she would like to buy should consider the prices of comparable houses in the area. Also, be sure to look at what other homes in the same neighborhood may be worth and tailor your offer accordingly.

A wealth of real estate market data is readily available across the web, and homebuyers who use this information to their advantage can submit a reasonable offer on a house at any time.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Although you may submit the best offer for a home, there is no guarantee that a home seller will accept your proposal if you lack the necessary financing. On the other hand, a homebuyer who receives pre-approval for a mortgage may be able to stand out to home sellers, and for good reason.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, you may be able to move through the homebuying process faster than other potential homebuyers. Thus, a home seller may choose your offer over others, as he or she will be able to minimize the risk that a deal could fall through due to a homebuyer's lack of financing.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of both seller's and buyer's markets. Therefore, this real estate professional will offer tips and insights to ensure you can submit a fair offer on a residence.

Remember, your real estate agent is happy to help you in any way possible. And with this professional at your side, you can gain insights into the home seller's perspective. Plus, your real estate agent will be able to negotiate on your behalf to help reduce the risk of overspending for a house.

Find a real estate agent who boasts years of industry experience, and you can reap the benefits of unparalleled support throughout the homebuying journey.




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