10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME

10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME
Gorgeous Gambrel

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

October 2015 New England Housing Report




http://www.remax-newengland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/NE-Housing-Report-Oct-2015.pdf

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them


Take a look at the most common things that can go wrong when you have guests and learn how to prevent them.
Imagine you’re preparing to host your annual holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home -- and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned into a microwave dinner.
That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday party before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to keep your holiday party on track.
Problem: The Oven Doesn’t Heat
For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted beef, ham, duck, or Tofurky to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.

How to avoid:
  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.
Problem: The Kitchen Sink Clogs
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

How to avoid:
  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.
Problem: The Heat Goes Out
As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats -- not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks.

How to avoid:
  • The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
  • Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they're missing or damaged.  
Problem: The Toilet Stops Up
Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s.

How to avoid:
  • Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.
Problem: The Fridge Doesn’t Cool
Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your yummy leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.

How to avoid:
  • Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
  • Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.


Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/holiday-hosting-tips/preview/?cid=eo_em_mkt_rcrnewsletter#ixzz3rsCrrbIo
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Portland Maine Theater Town





Cast Aside Productions  theater presented The Wild Party

Cooking Turkey Recipes

http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/recipes/15-tasty-turkey-recipes-guaranteed-to-please-your-palate/ss-BBmKio8

Portland Maine Best Lists:

Drone footage of Portland
Photo by Bill Lord/Maine HDTV


The secret got out sometime about a decade ago, it seems, and the rest of the world is now well aware that life is good in Portland, Maine.
Here’s a sampling of the wide variety of “Best of” lists that have featured Portland and helped make the city a go-to-there destination for everyone from hipsters to retirees:
Best Cities for Mid-Level Professionals, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, 2007
America’s Best Healthy Places to Retire (No. 1), U.S. News & World Report, 2008
America’s Foodiest Small Town, Bon Appetit, 2009
America’s Most Livable Cities (No.1), Forbes, 2009
The Coolest Small Cities in America, GQ, 2010
Greenest Small Cities (No.1), Rodale’s Organic Life, 2010
Gayest Cities in America (No. 8), The Advocate, 2010
The Best Cities in the World for Drinking Beer, Gadling, 2010
Most Affordable Places to Retire (No. 1), AARP The Magazine, 2011
Best Cities for Young Professionals (No. 6), Forbes, 2011
America’s Best Cities for Hipsters (No. 5), Travel + Leisure, 2012
Top 10 Best Cities for Families (No. 3), Parenting, 2012
The 15 Most Underrated Cities in the U.S. (No. 8), Complex, 2013
16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. (No. 13), Outside, 2014
10 Most Coffee-Obsessed Cities (No.1), Men’s Health, 2014
10 Classiest Party Cities in America (No. 2), Thumbtack Journal, 2015
America’s 20 Best Cities for Beer Lovers (No. 14), Travel + Leisure, 2015
Top 10 Coziest Cities in America (No. 1), Honeywell, 2015
The 10 Best Places to Live Now (No. 3), Men’s Journal, 2015
America’s Coolest Small Towns (No. 5), Jetsetter, 2015

From Portland Press Herald

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don’t Miss These Home Tax Deductions

Don’t Miss These Home Tax Deductions


    From mortgage interest to property tax deductions, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns.

    Owning a home can pay off at tax time. 

    Take advantage of these homeownership-related tax deductions and strategies to lower your tax bill:
    Mortgage Interest Deduction

    One of the neatest deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can be a house, trailer, or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet.

    Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home.

    If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit.

    If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.

    Prepaid Interest Deduction

    Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is generally 100% deductible in the year you paid it along with other mortgage interest.

    If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year.

    But if you refinance to get a better rate or shorten the length of your mortgage, or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the life of your mortgage. Say you refi into a 10-year mortgage and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.

    So what happens if you refi again down the road?

    Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts again; you can deduct the points over the life of the loan. 

    Home mortgage interest and points are reported on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040.

    Your lender will send you a Form 1098 that lists the points you paid. If not, you should be able to find the amount listed on the HUD-1 settlement sheet you got when you closed the purchase of your home or your refinance closing.

    Property Tax Deduction
    You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.

    If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.
    PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums
    The 2014 tax season was the last for which you could claim the PMI deduction unless Congress renews it for 2015, which may happen. In the last few years, Congress has reauthorized it retroactively.
    You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) as mortgage interest on Schedule A if you itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later.

    What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).

    If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you can’t claim the deduction (10% x 10 = 100%).

    Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing, and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.
    Vacation Home Tax Deductions

    The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.
    • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
    • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
    • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.
    Homebuyer Tax Credit

    This isn’t a deduction, but it’s important to keep track of if you claimed it in 2008.

    There were federal first-time homebuyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

    If you claimed the homebuyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest.

    The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe each year until it’s paid off. Or if the home stops being your main home, you may need to add the remaining unpaid credit amount to your income tax on your next tax return.

    Generally, you don’t have to pay back the credit if you bought your home in 2009, 2010, or early 2011. The exception: You have to repay the full credit amount if you sold your house or stopped using it as primary residence within 36 months of the purchase date. Then you must repay it with your tax return for the year the home stopped being your principal residence.

    The repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who got sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence.
    Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
    The 2014 tax season was the last for which you could claim the residential energy tax credit
    for making your home more energy efficient — unless Congress renews it for 2015.
    Tax credits are especially valuable because they let you offset what you owe the IRS dollar for dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades. 

    The credit carries a lifetime cap of $500 (less for some products), so if you’ve used it in years past, you’ll have to subtract prior tax credits from that $500 limit. Lucky for you, there’s no cap on how much you’ll save on utility bills thanks to your energy-efficiency upgrades.

    Among the upgrades that might qualify for the credit:
    If it’s renewed, file IRS Form 5695 with your return.
    Related: A Homeowner’s Guide to Taxes

    This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.
    Dona-DeZube Dona DeZube
    has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore Midcentury modest home on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound. Follow Dona on Google+.


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    101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

    Old Port Sandwich Shop: make your own deli style sandwich from lots of fresh ingredients!!


    Monday, November 9, 2015