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Home Upgrades with the Lowest ROI

  

           

File these six upgrades under wish fulfillment, not value investment.

Life is a balancing act, and upgrading your home is no different. Some upgrades, like a kitchen remodel or an additional bathroom, typically add value to your home. Others, like putting in a pool, provide little dollar return on your investment.

Of course, home owning isn’t just about building wealth; it’s also about living well and making memories -- even if that means outclassing your neighborhood or turning off future buyers. So if any of these six upgrades is something you can’t be dissuaded from, enjoy! We won’t judge. But go in with your eyes wide open. Here’s why: 

1. 

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What You Should Know About Your Home and Your 2013 Taxes

It’s the last year for three sweet home tax benefits, but the first for a way simpler home office deduction.

 These days few things start a fight on Capitol Hill faster than taxes. Despite the fact that three important tax benefits used by millions of American homeowners are days from expiring, Congress is unlikely to do anything to re-up them any time soon.

So if you’re eligible, tax year 2013 is possibly the last time to claim the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction, the energy tax credit, and debt forgiveness benefit, all of which all expire on Dec. 31, 2013. 

At least there’s one piece of good news for homeowners: If you have a home office, there’s a new, simpler

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Sellers Getting Ahead of Spring Rush

The spring selling rush may already be under way, as some home owners are already throwing their properties on the market to take advantage of rebounding home prices and improved equity.

Paul Reid, a real estate agent with Redfin in Temecula, Calif., says some sellers are listing properties earlier than usual in anticipation of the spring season.

Sellers are “nervous about what the spring is going to bring,” says Reid. “They don’t know if everybody will list this spring — then you’ll have a big counterbalance toward too much inventory — or if there’ll be a crunch again. They figure they’ll get out ahead of the market, list, sell, and be done with it.”

Inventory shortages persisted last year,

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Egging, Toilet Papering: How to Clean Up After Halloween Pranks


Halloween cleanup can be the scariest thing about the holiday. Here’s a tip sheet on how to remove eggs, toilet paper, wax, and other messes that go bump in the night.

But when the fun is over, the cleanup begins. Here are some tips from the American Cleaning Institute and others on removing the Halloween mayhem that little tricksters leave behind.

Egg Splatters on Your House

Time is your enemy when your house has been egged, because sunbaked yolks can stain your siding. Also, micro-shards of shell can become embedded in paint or act as an abrasive when you clean off the gunk.

Instead of scrubbing, spray away the egg with your garden hose. But don’t aim the hose

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Been Thinking About Selling Your Home?

If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, but don’t believe it is worth enough to cover what you owe, you might be pleasantly surprised. The reason? Prices have gone up significantly during the last year!

This simple fact has helped a market that only about one year ago was still bouncing off the bottom, begin the slow, but steady process of recovery. As a result, people are buying homes again.

I have a report that explains in detail why prices have gone up and why your home might be worth more than you think! The report is entitled “The Great Housing Rush,” and I believe you’ll be surprised by when you download and read the report. Once you are done, contact me today for a free market

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Paint has remodeling power when you use it to emphasize
a room's best features or play down the flaws.


Every home suffers a few negatives, but not every solution requires pricey structural changes. Paint (http://www.houselogic.com/home-improvement/painting/) is an often-overlooked, low-cost remodeler's remedy for common complaints with interiors, offering the chameleon-like ability to lighten, warm, enlarge, erase, or attract attention.

"Paint is a powerful tool that can enhance the architectural character and intent of space," says Minneapolis architect Petra Schwartze of TEA2 Architects. "As you choose your paint, think about what the experience in the room should be."

More Schwartze advice:

          •Always sample paint colors

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Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as

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Extra Touches to Help Sell This Fall

Homes can look less inviting in the fall and cooler months, but there are easy ways you can evoke that “homey” feel buyers crave. 

"Inventory is low, so if you have your house on the market and it's priced well, it's going to sell," says Gail Hartnett, a National Association of REALTORS® regional vice president and an agent with Keller Williams Realty Boise in Idaho.

Hartnett offers some of the following tips: 

--Creating a cozy smell. Hartnett says that fall can channel warm childhood memories of family Thanksgiving dinners. To give the home a more “homey” fall charm, Hartnett has spiced cider and freshly baked cookies during showings and open houses. 

--Tidy up the yard. Rake up large piles

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