5 Pros and 5 Cons of A Homeowners’ Association

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Homeowners' Association

Across the U.S., homeowners’ associations are on the ascent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 59 percent of newly constructed homes in 2014 were part of a homeowners’ association. That’s up from 46 percent in 2009.

So, what’s the draw of a homeowners’ association? By the same token, what are the drawbacks?

“A well-run and managed HOA can be a blessing, and a poorly managed HOA can be a curse,” says Bruce Ailion, a broker at RE/MAX Town and Country in Woodstock, Ga.

Here, real estate agents and homeowners weigh in on the blessings and the curses of homeowners’ associations (HOAs).

Pro No. 1: Your neighborhood will look good.

Generally, an HOA establishes rules to ensure the neighborhood looks sharp, says Brad Pauly, owner and broker at Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, Texas. These include strict guidelines about keeping lawns manicured, restrictions on parking boats and other large vehicles on the street, and limitations on exterior paint colors.

“This type of oversight eliminates issues with one or two properties weighing down all property values due to an unpleasant exterior,” says John Lyons, a broker with Baird & Warner in Chicago.

Pro No. 2: You’ll enjoy access to amenities.

An HOA usually offers community amenities such as a pool, a fitness center, parks, children’s play areas and security gates, Pauly says.

Pro No. 3: Your maintenance costs will be shared.

HOA dues are earmarked for maintenance of shared spaces, according to Lyons. This includes community lawn care (but not for your own yard), community snow removal (but not for your own property) and upkeep of common areas like the pool or the fitness center.

Pro No. 4: You’ve got a built-in mediator.

Involved in a tiff with your neighbor over that big oak tree that’s losing limbs? You can settle some confrontations with your neighbors by taking your grievances to the HOA’s board or management company, Lyons says.

Pro No. 5: You can get to know your neighbors.

Gina Estrada, who lives in a gated HOA community in Clovis, Calif., says that if you’re elected to serve on the HOA board or are otherwise active in the association, you’ll become better acquainted with your neighbors. Heck, you might even make some new friends. “I believe we should know our surroundings, including the people in them,” Estrada says.

Con No. 1: You’ll fork over HOA dues.

When buying a home in a community with an HOA, you’ve got to add HOA dues to your budget. The dues vary, but typically run in the hundreds of dollars per month.

Con No. 2: Your hands will be (somewhat) tied.

If someone buys a home in an HOA community and wants to make changes to the property, such as the addition of an enclosed patio, it normally must be approved by the HOA’s board. “It’s possible that an HOA could prevent certain updates on a home,” Pauly says.

Con No. 3: You might be hampered by an HOA’s financial woes.

If an HOA is facing financial problems or is ensnared in a lawsuit, it could harm your ability to obtain a loan for a home and could hurt sale prices of homes in the community, Pauly says.

Con No. 4: You’ll lose some of your freedom.

When you live in a community governed by a HOA, you’ll have to follow its rules, even if you think they’re ridiculous, Lyons says.

“You do, however, have the option of petitioning the homeowners’ association to change any rule you don’t agree with. But if you lose, you will have to live with it,” Lyons says.

Con No. 5: You might be the victim of a “rogue” board member.

Estrada says her HOA elected a “rogue” homeowner to the board who decided to flaunt the rules and do whatever he wanted. For instance, Estrada says, the rogue board member thought the community needed speed bumps to slow down speeding drivers, so he had them installed. That move caused a neighborhood uproar. The process to take out the speed bumps and remove the rogue homeowner from the board cost several thousand dollars, including legal fees, she says.

“When there is one rogue homeowner, it can really mess things up,” Estrada says.

Problems also arise when homeowners stop attending HOA meetings, Estrada says, and it’s left to a small group of people to make decisions.

“The board of directors of a homeowners’ association is made up of your neighbors. If you want to have a say in how things go, you have to serve on the board,” says Ailion.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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This articale by John Egan was originally posted in RISMedia’shousecall

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, which connects homeowners with lawn care professionals.

Fixer Upper Or Rehab – Which Should You Buy?

Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper

is a home that is structurally sound and only needs some cosmetic changes to bring it up in value. This can include paint, new carpeting or refinished floors. It also can include non-essentials like updated kitchen cabinets or lighting fixtures—essentially things you can do yourself, if you’re handy, that won’t require a lot of heavy lifting.

fixer upper

 

Rehab

is a project that is a lot more than that and can include everything from roof replacements to repairing water damage and replacing electrical components.

 

The Differences

Somewhere between the two is changing the structural layout of the home to be more open, which likely involves contractor work and permitting but won’t make the house leak or catch on fire if it doesn’t get done.

Perhaps the best way to understand it is this: if you can live in the home safely and comfortably while you’re doing work, chances are it’s a little fixer job, not a full scale rehab. If you will have to go to great strides to inhabit a property before it’s more than halfway finished, it’s leaning towards a rehab.

Risks And Rewards

All of this goes to say that when you buy a home with the anticipation of doing work on it, there are risks and rewards associated with each. While the term fixer upper is pretty widely applied to homes that need renovation before they will be up to snuff for most buyers, the difference between something that needs a couple touches and something that needs its foundation redone is huge. The closer you tread towards the rehab side of the equation, the more risk and potential for expense comes with it (remember that Tom Hanks movie the “The Money Pit”?) When you’re shopping for any home, you should hire a professional inspector to come through and examine your property, and they should be able to give you an idea of what types of things may be wrong with your investment before you buy.

There are benefits that come with buying a home that needs a lot of work however, and if you’re ready for the labor involved you can quickly grow an investment. Getting a home that requires repair opens you up to a less competitive, less expensive market with unique funding options (including mortgages that estimate and fund repairs as part of the principal). It can also mean rates, stolen copper, and unexpected outcomes. Rehabbing a property that you buy for, say, $60,000 in a neighborhood where homes regularly sell for $120,000 or $140,000 is a great deal, so long as you can get everything repaired for under $30,000 or $40,000. Not only will the home jump up in value by a great margin as it gets up to speed with surrounding homes, but it will appreciate regularly in value over time with the market and inflation, adding to your profit if you choose to hold onto it (either to live in or as a rental property).

When it comes to choosing a project house, should you go with something light or go the full rehab route? First, consider your expectations. Once you know what your resources and level of commitment look like, you can start looking for the property that best fits your investment strategy

The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy a fixer upper or rehab property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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.Know the Difference: Fixer Uppers vs. Rehab HomesPosted on Nov 16 2015 – 3:14pm by Housecall by Nicholas Brown.  The text has been modified

5 New Home Mistakes to Absolutely Avoid

new homeA home is a major investment and it’s one that stands to appreciate if you continue to invest your money wisely. Avoiding these five critical mistakes will help you turn your home into your greatest asset instead of your greatest expense.

1) Don’t sell too soon.

Generally speaking, it takes at least three to five years to gain home equity. That said, it’s best to avoid reinvesting on professional movers for at least as long.  Moving is expensive, time-consuming and stressful. If you tend to move a lot or want the freedom to come and go to see the world, you might consider moving into an apartment or condo before you think about buying a single-family new home.

2) Don’t forego the inspection.

Having a home inspection is a crucial step in the new home buying process. The job of an inspector is to identify any potential problems with the home — problems that, left undiscovered, may leave you with hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs.

A home inspection may reveal major issues with:

  • Leaky pipes
  • Eroding foundation
  • Improper insulation
  • Faulty chimney
  • Water damage
  • Pest infestations

3) Don’t go too big.

Always think in the long term when buying a home. Are you starting a family? Are you buying for more than one family? Is this house just for you, as an individual or a couple? If you buy a house that’s too big, you could be stuck with far more maintenance than you wish to perform like when the water heater goes out, or the AC needs fixing. So make sure you don’t put thousands into a home that doesn’t suit your needs.

4) Don’t overspend on new home landscaping.

As you’re settling into your new home, you’ll probably consider a lot of renovations. Look before you leap. Unless your home requires immediate renovations, try to spend new homethe first year making smaller changes and building up your budget — especially when it comes to landscaping. Maybe reseed the grass if it’s in poor condition, but don’t add on a new porch or deck. It’s best to wait at least two years before budgeting for big exterior improvements; this way, you’re better prepared financially should a surprise maintenance issue drain you in the interim.

5) Don’t forget the warranty.

If your home doesn’t come equipped with reliable appliances, you’ll have to purchase them. Consider the warranty on any appliance you consider. Whether you should get an extended warranty depends on how worried you are about the brand of the appliance and the price you pay for it. Cheap appliances are more likely to break down before the warranty is up; high-end appliances are more likely to outlast even the extended warranty.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a new home or any property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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The text in this posr was originally posted on  RISMedia’s housecall  Nov 5 2015.  The photos have been changed.  

new home

“Know Before You Owe” – New Rules Now In Effect Could Impact Closing Costs And Date

know before you know“Know Before You Owe”. That is true now more than ever. if you’re a home buyer, changes to the closing process are now in effect

New regulations go into effect on Saturday, October 3rd, providing new loan disclosure forms that are designed to help you better understand the terms of your home mortgage before you close on your new home. That means if you applied for a loan on or after that date, you will receive the easier-to-understand forms.

What You Need to Know About the New Closing Disclosures

To summarize, these new rules combine mortgage loan disclosures from both the Truth-In-Lending Act (which informs consumers about loan terms) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (which deals with closings) into one simplified set of disclosure forms for home buyers who are getting a mortgage.

The official title to these regulations is a mouthful — Truth-In-Lending Act / Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure Rule— so the regulations are just referred to as TRID. (The enforcement agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, also calls it Know Before You Owe“.

“Know Before You Owe” is designed to help borrowers clearly understand the costs and terms of their home mortgages. Here are the changes that you can expect from these new regulations, from the number of forms you’ll need to fill out to the time requirements that can alter your closing date.

You’ll Have Two Forms Instead of Four

If you’re getting a mortgage, you’ll receive two forms under “Know Before You Owe.” The first, a loan estimate, based on your financial information. You’ll receive the loan estimate 3 business days after applying for your mortgage. The second, a closing disclosure, which outlines all of the costs you will need to pay. You’ll receive that form 3 business days before closing.

These two new forms are more user-friendly, and are replacing four separate forms that home buyers received before — two Truth-In-Lending statements, the loan estimate, and a list of itemized fees.

With these new regulations, you will have time to review the terms of your mortgage well before closing, so you can understand exactly what fees there will be. You can read the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s full guide to the loan estimate and closing disclosure forms here.

There is a 3-Day Review Period Before Closing

Under the new “Know Before You Owe” rules, mortgage lenders must send you easier-to-understand information about your loan — the Closing Disclosure form — 3 business days before closing on your home, giving you time to review the terms of your mortgage.

However, some changes to the mortgage terms — like changes to your interest rate or the loan product itself — will mean that you will need another 3-business-day review period, possibly delaying your closing date. If you would like an overview of the details, the CFPB highlights the instances where the 3-day review period would be affected.

We Can Answer Your Questions About “Know Before You Owe”

If you are buying a home and have questions about these new regulations, and what it might mean for closing on your home in the future, contact us today and we will be happy to answer your questions in detail.  Over the years we have encountered numerous regulation changes that demand a need to “Know Before You Owe”

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Is Renting Really Cheaper Than Buying A Home?

Owning a home is a dream for many people. You have the opportunity to invest in a place of your own and build equity, not to mention carve out a space that reflects who you are and what you love.

However, worries about down payments, property taxes, maintenance, and insurance (and student loans) can make buying a home seem like wishful thinking, which is why you may prefer to rent a home or apartment.

But is renting cheaper than buying a home? There are more than just financial costs to consider. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renting.

a person holding a wad of cashYou Receive No Return When You Rent a Property

As a renter, you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month to live in your community, and if you want to move, it’s much easier. But renting a home doesn’t offer you investment opportunities.

Unlike paying off your home loan and building equity, the money you pay when you rent goes straight to the property owner or manager.

You Don’t Build Credit When You Rent

As this recent Forbes article explains, your credit score often does not factor in your on-time monthly rent payments, so renting a property is not a great way to build credit.

Additionally, renting doesn’t provide you with any tax benefits. If you own a home, however, you can deduct mortgage insurance and property taxes, and exclude capital gains when you sell.

You Cannot Customize Your Living Space

upgraded kitchen with bright spring flowersNot all costs are financial. There are opportunity costs of renting a home instead of buying a home, and customization is one of them.

There may be rules and regulations in your rental community that prevent you from changing your space to fit your style, such as painting the walls or upgrading the kitchen. These rules may also prevent you from living with a pet.

Owning a home means you can create your own space (with your choice of countertops and kitchen cabinets), you can invest in home improvements, and you can live with your furry companion.

You Have a Harder Time Connecting with Your Community

Forming deep connections with your neighbors is likely not high on your priority list if you’re a renter, especially when you consider that you will only be living in the community for a short time. If you desire to get to know your neighbors, homeownership is a better option.

buyer holding house keys to new homeRenting vs. Buying: The Bottom Line

Renting gives you flexibility and little maintenance to worry about. Buying a home is a long-term investment that gives you a space you can customize, helps you build credit and equity, and connects you with your community.

We want to help you make the best decision, and we have important real estate market resources that you can use to help you decide if renting is cheaper for you than buying a home. Just give us a call and we can talk about your plans.
 

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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The 7 Best House Hunting Strategies

House hunting strategies really come into play now that Spring is almost here! The warmer weather, beautiful flowers, and longer days are perfect for viewing homes in person, and it’s no wonder that the spring season is a popular time for home buyers to start looking at homes and neighborhoods.

But before you start driving around and visiting open houses, you should follow these important house hunting tips.

house hunting strategies1. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Getting preapproved for a home loan is one of the best tools you have when searching for a home, especially when you have competition.

If you are preapproved, the home seller takes your offer seriously and may end up accepting your offer over another interested home buyer who is not preapproved.  Of all the house hunting strategies this is the miost important

2. Get to Know the Neighborhood

If you have a specific home in mind, it’s best to visit the area more than once, at different times of the day and week.

3. Have a List of Your Wants and Needs

Have a detailed house hunting checklist outlining your wants and needs, and make sure that your list covers the type of home (e.g. house or condo), the location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and home features that you are looking for.

One mistake that home buyers make during their home search, however, is having a wish list that is too strict. You don’t want to get stuck searching for the perfect home that may not exist.

house hunting strategies4. Don’t Be Afraid to Examine Everything

If you have narrowed your home search and are viewing homes in person, it’s time to examine everything: doorknobs, cabinets, windows, faucets, light switches. Now is the time to find out if there is anything that needs repair, not after closing.

5. Consider the Weather

Relocating from another state or country? When buying a home in a new area, considering weather conditions and seasonal temperature changes is important.

For example, you may value a home that has a covered garage if you move to an area where snow is more common, or you may want to choose a home with a shaded backyard.

6. Order the Home Inspection

It’s crucial to have a trained professional examine the home you are interested in buying, even a home that has just been built. This is the best way to identify any major repairs that need to be made.  This is where the “rubber meets the road” in your house hunting strategies.  It alerts you to existing and potential problems that could impact negatively on this property as a realistic choice.

house hunting strategies7. Put My Experience To Work For You

If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed while house hunting and competing with other home buyers, I will be there to guide you through the process and keep you focused on the next steps.

I want you to be able to find the best home in the best location, and I am here to help. So if you are searching for a home this spring, talk with me about what you are looking for in a home and we can find it together.

The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket We have used these “best house hunting strategies” many times over

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Can You Purchase A home With Student Loans?

student loansAs more millennials are preparing to buy a home, one issue is making it difficult for many — student loans.

The Project on Student Debt calculated that just about 7 in 10 college graduates in the Class of 2014 had student loan debt, and on average each student had about $29,000 in loans.

With mortgages often amounting to well over a hundred thousand dollars, many first-time home buyers may be asking whether they can even qualify for financing with their student debt.

So, is it possible to buy a home even with thousands of dollars in student loans? It depends.

What’s Your Debt-to-Income Ratio?

It all comes down to your debt-to-income ratio, or what percentage of your gross monthly income goes toward your total monthly mortgage payments.

Lenders recommend a debt-to-income ratio no greater than 36%, with no more than 28% of your monthly income going toward paying off your mortgage. As an example, someone who earns $50,000 in a year and has $1,500 in monthly debt payments would be right at the 36% recommendation.

student loansSo even if you are saddled with thousands of dollars in student loans, it is possible to obtain financing for a home if your debt-to-income ratio is right around that recommended ratio.

You Also Need to Consider Credit History

When home buyers apply for a mortgage, lenders look at whether they pay their bills on time and their employment history, for instance. If you have good credit history, that may further help you qualify for a mortgage.

You can always talk to a reputable lender about whether you can qualify for a mortgage with your student loan debt. Talk with us and we can help you get started with the mortgage pre-qualification process.

We Can Talk About Your Home Buying Plans

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the area, we can also recommend a reputable local mortgage lender so you can discuss the right mortgage for you, including interest rates and down payments. We even offer a free mortgage calculator on our website that can help you calculate monthly mortgage payments.

Contact us today and we can get started!

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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5 Home Selling Tips For Homeowners Not Ready To Sell (Yet)

home selling tips

Selling your home may be an idea you are seriously considering, but that does not mean you are ready to put your home on the market just yet. Whatever the reason you are not ready to put your home on the market I believe these home selling tips will make the process easier when that time comes

But that does not mean you don’t have to start preparing to sell.

 

What Home Selling Tips To Consider Before Listing Your Home

home selling tipsMany home sellers feel overwhelmed when they are preparing to sell their home for a number of reasons: There is the daunting task of decluttering, the sometimes unexpected repairs that have to be made, and the seemingly endless list of squeaky doors and minor fixes that buyers would notice almost immediately.

And all of this happens in a short time. (Read this Popular Mechanics article about what surprises this first-time home seller experienced to get an idea of what can happen.)  These home selling tips wiuld have come in handy.

Prepare Now, Feel Less Stressed Later

You are in the perfect position right now to do what many home sellers do not have the chance to — slowly start to get your home in order. Here are ten home selling tips you can try now so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you are selling your home later.

1. Start with the Necessary Repairs

Free yourself from future stress by making any major repairs now, whether that is repairing the HVAC or replacing the hot water heater.

Home Selling Tips2. Go for Neutral Colors

If you want to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, opt for more neutral colors. During home showings, neutral colors and décor make it easier for home buyers to picture themselves living in your home, which is your ultimate goal.

3. Start Decluttering Now

Home sellers often find that decluttering is one of the more frustrating and overwhelming tasks, but if you start cleaning the clutter now, you will thank yourself later. A good rule of thumb: If you don’t love something and use it, lose it.

4. Deep Clean Your Home Periodically

home selling tipsSometimes it feels like the little things pile up quickly, don’t they? Try to stay ahead of minor maintenance and cleaning tasks by:

  • cleaning fixtures and light switch covers
  • fixing broken doorbells
  • repairing squeaky doors
  • dusting high and low
  • cleaning floors and windows

Check out our previous blog post for more ways to clean, organize, and declutter your home.

5. Refresh Your Front Entrance

During the home selling process, making a fantastic first impression is the key to getting buyers in the door. Refresh your home’s curb appeal by purchasing a new welcome mat, painting the front door, and polishing or replacing the doorknob.

Of Course I Believe There Is A Sixth Home Selling Tip – List Your Home With Me For A Smooth Experience

I hope  hope you found these home selling tips helpful. I know that selling a home can be overwhelming, especially if the unexpected happens. But I want to make sure that you have as painless of a sale as possible, so I will do everything we can to help you sell your home for top dollar and in a short time. So when you do decide to list your home, just give me a call.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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10 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips Especially For Sellers

The month of March brings spring, and with spring comes bright budding flowers, longer days, warmer weather, and spring cleaning. There is no better way to shake off the dreariness of winter than a freshly cleaned home ready to welcome the season. Here are 10 easy ways you can clean your home for spring.

spring cleaning1. Open the Windows

There’s nothing like the sun shining through your windows to usher in the feeling of spring.

Throw back the curtains, part the blinds, and open up the windows to let the fresh spring air waft through your home.

2. Organize Your Closets

If you are running out of closet space, you can put away many of your bulky winter clothes to leave room for your spring wardrobe. You can even take a few extra minutes to sort out any clothes you no longer wear to donate, giving you even more room for the upcoming season.

3. Use Detergent as an All-Purpose Cleaner

A little bit of laundry detergent can go a long way. Warm water, laundry detergent, and items that you may have around the house can help you clean:

  • oil spills
  • carpets
  • cabinets
  • stovetops
  • sinks
  • toilets
  • walls
  • countertops
  • bathtubs
  • and more!
spring cleaning

These recipes for all-purpose cleaners recommend just 1/4 cup of detergent for 5 gallons of water. Simple and effective.

4. Brighten Rooms with Simple Changes

A simple change of pillows on a sofa or comforters on a bed can make a world of difference. You can rotate these household items seasonally, keeping your décor fresh and rooms feeling like new with very little effort.

5. Reorganize Living Areas

Again, small changes can make a big difference in the look and feel of your home, and rearranging the furniture in main living areas can leave your home feeling fresh and ready for spring.

6. Clean Light Switches and Fixtures

Take a few minutes to wipe fingerprints off light switches, dust your lamps, tighten the screws on any loose door hinges, and replace any incandescent light bulbs with brighter and more energy-efficient bulbs.

spring cleaning7. Clean Kitchen Appliances

Give your microwave and fridge a fresh look by cleaning any old food remnants from inside the appliances. An easy way to clean the microwave is by heating a bowl of water — the steam loosens the residue for easy clean-up.

8. Bring Plants Indoors

A few indoor flowers and plants can bring the fresh blooms of spring into your home, brightening living rooms, kitchens, or windowsills with ease.

9. Check Your Cabinets

Look in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to see if anything has expired, is almost empty, or needs to be thrown away. This is a simple way to declutter your home’s key features without spending a lot of time cleaning.

a new welcome mat in front of a door10. Put Out a New Welcome Mat

What better way to welcome spring than with a new welcome mat outside your front door? This fresh feature not only adds another focal point to your entryway, it makes an excellent first impression for visitors.

Spring Cleaning to Sell Your Home This Spring?

These spring cleaning tips can help you prepare your home to sell. Home buyers love to see homes that are bright, clean, and inviting from the front door, and these easy tips can help you get started. We can also recommend other home staging tips and home selling resources to help you make the largest return on your investment this spring; just contact us and we can talk about selling your home.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

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Are You Taking Advantage Of These Homeowner Tax Breaks?

homeowner tax breaksHomeowner Tax Breaks are one of the many benefits to owning a home: A home is an investment that can earn equity, is often cheaper to buy than to rent, and is your own place that you can fill with wonderful memories.

Each homeowner’s situation is unique.  You need to consult a CPA to maximize the homeowner tax breaks that pertain to you.  The items listed below are very general in nature, but important to consider

Major Homeowner Tax Breaks

Owning a home, and eventually selling it, can offer you opportunities for deductions on your taxes, and we wanted to outline the major tax breaks for homeowners today. Are you taking advantage of these tax benefits?

Deduction for Mortgage Interest

In many cases, you can fully deduct the amount of your mortgage interest on your taxes. The IRS has a chart you can use to help determine if your mortgage interest is fully deductible.  It is a major hpmeowner tax break

mortgage interest credit is available for lower income homeowners for part of the home mortgage interest that they pay.

Credit for Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Available until the end of this year, homeowners who have installed solar hot water heaters, solar electric systems, wind turbines, or qualifying energy-efficient home improvements can take a tax credit as part of the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.

The credit is for 30% of the cost for these energy-efficient home improvements.

Deduction for Property Taxes

In addition to deducting your mortgage interest, you can also deduct the annual taxes you pay on your home’s value, called real estate taxes.

Deduction for Capital Gains

homeowner tax breaksIf you have used your home as your primary residence when you sell, you can exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains from the home sale on your taxes (or $500,000 if you are married filing jointly).

To learn what other tax benefits you may take advantage of, visit the Credits and Deductions page on the IRS website or read this MarketWatch article about other tax breaks for homeowners.

Let Me Help You Find the Perfect Home

If you have been considering buying a home and are ready to start your search, we can help you find the perfect home that falls within your budget and provide you with helpful real estate resources to make the journey to homeownership as smooth and enjoyable as possible.  Oh yes, you’ll start earning homrowner tax breaks

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

homeowner tax breaks

Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

homeowner tax breaks