10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME

10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME
Gorgeous Gambrel

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home.

Freshen Up On The 7 Financial Benefits of Home Ownership This Tax Season
The financial benefits of homeownership are evident year round, but particularly around tax time – they seem to jump off the page. Let’s examine how homeownership makes “cents” –  from the tax benefits, to good old fashioned financial stability.
1. Homeownership Builds Wealth Over Time
We were always taught growing up that owning a home is a financially savvy move. Our parents knew it, and their parents knew it. But this past decade of real estate turbulence has shaken everyone’s confidence in homeownership. That is why it’s so important that we discuss this again now that we’re in a ‘new market.’ Homeownership can be a very savvy financial move – but only if people buy homes they can actually afford. In 2014, this idea of sticking to a home you can afford to gradually build wealth is a “rule” that just happens to be new and old at the same time.
2. You Build Equity Every Month
Your equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on it. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe.  That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity. That is especially true now with the elimination of risky mortgages like negative amortized and interest-only loans – thanks to the new “Qualified Mortgage” rules. The way mortgages work is that the principal portion of your payment increases slightly every month year after year. It’s lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. Thus, as the months and years go by, your equity grows!
3. You Reap Mortgage Tax Deduction Benefits
  • Mortgage deduction: The tax code allows homeowners to deduct the mortgage interest from their tax obligations. For many people this is a huge deduction, since interest payments can be the largest component of your mortgage payment in the early years of owning a home.
  • Some closing cost deductions: The first year you buy your home, you are able to claim the points (also called origination fees) on your loan, no matter whether they are paid by you or the seller. And because origination fees of 1 percent or more are common, the savings are considerable.
  • Property tax is deductible: Real estate property taxes paid on your primary residence and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes.
4. Tax Deductions on Home Equity Lines
In addition to your mortgage interest, you can deduct the interest you pay on a home equity loan (or line of credit). This allows you to shift your credit card debts to your home equity loan, pay a lower interest rate than the horrendously exorbitant credit card interest rates, and get a deduction on the interest as well.
5. You Get a Capital Gains Exclusion
If you buy a home to live in as your primary residence for more than two years then you will qualify. When you sell, you can keep profits up to $250,000 if you are single, or $500,000 if you are married, and not owe any capital gains taxes. Now, it may sound ridiculous that your house could be worth more than when you purchased it after these past several years of falling house prices. However, if you purchased your home anytime prior to 2003, chances are it has appreciated in value and this tax benefit will come in very handy.
6. A Mortgage Is Like a Forced Savings Plan
Paying that mortgage every month and reducing the amount of your principal is like a forced savings plan. Each month you are building up more valuable equity in your home. In a sense, you are being forced to save—and that’s a good thing.
7. Long Term, Buying Is Cheaper than Renting
In the first few years, it may be cheaper to rent. But over time, as the interest portion of your mortgage payment decreases, the interest that you pay will eventually be lower than the rent you would have been paying. But more importantly, you are not throwing away all that money on rent. You gotta live someplace, so instead of paying off your landlord’s home or building, pay off your own!
As always, you must look very hard at your personal situation before making the big decision to buy. Stay tuned to Trulia Tips as we explore more on this topic.
ALL: What’s your favorite benefit of home ownership?
ALL: You can get more information on my books here, follow me on Twitter@1MichaelCorbett and like me on Facebook!
 
Michael Corbett
Michael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC's EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!

Fun Antiquing in Portland


                                         www.portlandfleaforall.com

                                       Something for everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Cleaning

How to Keep Things Cleaner Longer

Giving your home that spring-clean feeling takes some elbow grease, but these ideas make it easier to fight those dirty jobs faster and less often.
1.  Defy dust.

Trick: You can combat dust by adjusting your home’s humidity level.

The facts: Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!

Next steps: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40%-50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.

Tip:
Make it easy to keep your household vents dust free. Remove and wash them once a year with mild soap and water. After they’re clean and completely dry, apply a liberal coat of car wax; then buff.

2.  Keep glass shower doors crystal clear.

Trick: You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellant product made for car windshields.

The facts: When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

Next steps:
Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat glass, not plastic.

Tip:
Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.


3.  Seal your stone countertops.

Why:
Natural stone countertops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or soy sauce can stain them.

The facts: A countertop sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of getting absorbed. Likely, your contractor sealed your countertop when it was installed.

Next steps: To keep your countertops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone countertop. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for 2-3 minutes, it’s time to reseal.

Tip:
Shopping for stone countertops? Slabs with lots of swirls or veins tend to be more porous.

4.  Protect your furniture and carpets.

Why: Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants guard against inevitable spills. Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.

The facts: Protective sprays and sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, cause liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed.

Next steps: Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning. 

Tip: In the future, you may not need to buy a protective furniture spray or carpet sealer thanks to a new fabric coating that repels dirt and water. It’s made by Liquipel, the company that created a water-shield substance to protect cell phones, MP3 players, and other electronic devices. The company plans to release a water-repellent clothing line next year. We bet household fabrics and materials will be next.

Rust-Oleum introduced a similar product, NeverWet, last year. But the company doesn’t recommend it for furniture, because the product “will repel liquids when applied to fabric, but will change the appearance.“

5. Give oven-cleaning products the boot.

Why: Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess.

The facts: The basic ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed. 

Next steps: Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.

Tip: Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can bust filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Put on rubber gloves before you pick up that hot sponge.



6. Keep things tidy with quick touch-ups.

Trick: Small cleaning projects prevent filth from building up.

The facts: When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.

Next steps: Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in minutes.
  • Cleaning pads are great for eradicating dirty fingerprints on walls and light switches. 
  • Damp micro-cloths can reduce airborne dander when used daily to wipe down pets.
  • Dry sweeper cloths can quickly pick up dust and dry dirt off floors, shelves, and electronics.
Tip: Keep stored items cleaner longer by shuting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.

7.  Ditch your outdated low-wattage bulbs.

Trick: Good lighting can make you and your home look and feel great.

The facts: A room lit with low-wattage incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents can look dark and dingy. “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up. These full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural light, so they give better visual accuracy. Bonus: Like sunlight, these bulbs can boost your mood.

Next steps: When shopping for bulbs, look for those marked “daylight” that have a range between 5,000-6,500 kelvins.


8.  Use a cleaner sweeper.

Why:
Brooms hold on to dirt.

The facts:
You don’t want to just push dirt around when you sweep. You can use spray dusters (like the ones used on computer keyboards) to blow dust bunnies off brooms, and soapy water to get rid of the grime. But how about combing dirt off broom bristles while you’re sweeping?
Next steps: Check out the Broom Groomer. It was invented by a guy who cut his hand on broken glass when it got stuck on the bristles of his broom.

Tip:
About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.
deirdre-sullivan Deirdre Sullivan is an NYC-based writer who’s obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She’s a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and InStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw. Follow Deirdre on Google+.


Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/green-cleaning/spring-cleaning-tips/#ixzz2wFFDq7Y3
Follow us: @houselogic on Twitter | houselogic on Facebook

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Retire in Maine--10 great places



10 Great Maine Retirement Towns:




http://www.huffingtonpost.com/moira-mcgarvey-/retire-in-maine_b_4825027.html

Buy Now~~Don't Wait 'til Spring

5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now Instead of Spring - GoGSF

Posted by GoGSF | February 05, 2014 | GSF Blog
Based on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five reasons purchasers should consider buying before the spring market arrives:

Supply Is Shrinking

With inventory declining in many regions, finding a home of your dreams may become more difficult going forward. There are buyers in more and more markets surprised that there is no longer a large assortment of houses to choose from. The best homes in the best locations sell first. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy.

Price Increases Are on the Horizon

Prices are projected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

Owning a Home Helps Create Family Wealth

Whether you are rent or you own the home you are living in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Fed, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

Interest Rates Are Projected to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of RealtorsFreddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the this time next year. That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates.

Buy Low, Sell High

We would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy.
Kelly Hodgkins | Mortgage Loan Officer I NMLS ID # 466504
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank
Mailstop:  ME2-076-021
One Portland Square Portland Maine 04101
T: 207-761-8523 I Cell & Text: 207-450-3895 | F: 207-828-7521