Should a plumber fix a condos cracked foundation?

Ok, so that sounds like such an obvious crazy question that it must be a joke. But recently a fellow Vermont real estate agent was actually planning on hiring a plumber to fix a crack in the basement foundation. Perhaps the guy that plows the driveway can take care of the electrical issues. When you are buying a condo or any home, make sure the offer has an inspection clause that specifies that the work is to be done must be done be by an appropriate licensed contractor. Sometimes the obvious just isn’t obvious to all people. Let the buyer beware, still holds true after all these years.

Monday Morning, dread or dream

So Monday has rolled around again, the weekend was but a blur. Here in Vermont, everyone was out enjoying the warmer weather shopping on Church Street in Burlington or doing some badly needed yard work. But today is Monday. Throughout Vermont and the U.S. it is the one day of the week with the most heart attacks as stress levels spike. Thus the questions comes down to, do you dread your week ahead, are you tired of the grind, do you hate your job. Or are you full of excitement for the possibilities ahead. A new client that needs your product or service, a new project you can jump into, a training program that can help shape your future.

Based on so many Facebook postings too many people are spending their entire week waiting for the weekend to finally get here. Is that living, or is that existing? The older I get, and the wiser ( I hope) I recognize I am 100% responsible for how my life looks and feels. No one to blame, no excuse will suffice. I am not a victim, I am a victor. Sure I stumble and fall, get hurt on occasion but in short order I figure out I simply need to modify my approach. Only then can I make progress.

So this Monday, choose. Choose to dread it or choose to dream. Your choice.

Four Places To Look For Tax Deductions In Your Vermont Home

Four Places To Look For Tax Deductions In Your Home Paying your income taxes each year leave your wallet a bit thin? There may be money hiding in your home that lessens your tax burden. Here are four places to look:

1. Home-Office Deduction

If you work from home, you could qualify for a home-office deduction. Taking the deduction can be a bit complicated; so many people who qualify don’t claim the exemption. An estimated 26 million Americans have home offices, but only 3.4 million claim them on their tax return.

Perhaps that’s why the Internal Revenue Service attempted to simplify the process in 2013.

The write-off takes into account depreciation, utilities, insurance, the amount of square footage dedicated for office space, whether you host clients at your house and other factors.

Because the parameters involved in filing a home-office exemption are rather complicated, it’s best to keep all business-related receipts, records of client meetings and other pertinent information to make things easier when you prepare your return.

2. Casualty Loss

Damage to your home from an act of God or a theft or burglary may qualify you for an income tax exemption. To qualify for the write-off, the causality loss must meet the “sudden event test.” That means it must be sudden, unpredictable, have involved some natural force and occur in a single instance.

To claim thefts and burglaries, you must be able to prove that a wrong doing has actually occurred. It can’t just be a case of a lost item that you suspect was stolen. Proof can come in the form of witness statements, police reports or newspaper accounts.

3. Energy Efficiency Upgrades And Repairs

Upgrading your home with energy efficient improvements can qualify you for a tax deduction. New roofs, insulation, windows, doors and a number of additional items qualify for the deduction. The deductions lets homeowners claim 10 percent of the total bill for energy efficient materials. The maximum credit is $500.

4. Real Estate Taxes And Newly Purchased Homes

New home owners should look at their settlement statement a bit closer. If the previous owner prepaid property taxes that cover any of the time you owned the home, you can include the prepaid taxes in your property tax deduction.

Don’t pay more than you have to when you file your taxes each April. Consider these commonly overlooked deductions that can lessen the amount you have to pay.

 

 

 

posted by Bill Desautels

P: (802) 655-9100 (800) 639-4520 x217 F: (802) 655-0400 E: condoguy@condoguy.com

The Condo Guy – Vermont condo real estate

The Condo Guy has been providing advice to buyers
and sellers of Vermont condos real estate
for nearly 30 years.

Real Estate sales and marketing in the Greater Burlington Vermont region has been my occupation and passion for more than 30 years. My focus has been on the sales and marketing of condominiums with a generous amount of single family home sales thrown into the mix. Each week I bring information of interest that not only focuses on the local home and condo real estate community but also provides context to the Burlington market in respect to larger market real estate trends. I enjoy feedback and the opportunity to meet my readers and experience their home. The Condo Guy is here for you when it comes time to buy or sell your condo or home.

Training the puppy for her move to condo living in Burlington Vermont

Elsie

On Valentines Day I picked up my new puppy dog, an English Bred black lab. Her name is Elsie, named after my great aunt Elsie, one of my favorites. Elsie is like most puppies I suppose, she has accidents in the house, her razor sharp teeth have left marks on my arms and she eats every stick and stone in site. As my friend Jess said while watching her one night, she is beautiful but energetic.

Here is my dilemma, I currently live on a quiet unpaved dead end road with virtually no cars. I have a huge home with over three acres of land, surrounded by yet another 25 acres of common land. Soon that will all be traded for condo living at the new Stratos building in downtown Burlington. I am ready for a change, puppy dog, I’m not so sure. Lately I have been testing her on a leash, knowing traffic is crazy downtown, not to mention the fact that Elsie hasn’t had much chance to socialize with other doggies. Let’s just say more practice required. The other day I took her to the office and deliberately used the elevator to see how she would handle the ride, this experiment proved to be successful. The breeder referred to Elsie as a very confident little girl, that she is.

Hoping her confidence will get her through this transition to condo living. If any pet owning city folks have some suggestions, we are all ears.

Bill Desautels
Condo Guy and President of REMAX North Professionals

posted by Bill Desautels

P: (802) 655-9100 (800) 639-4520 x217 F: (802) 655-0400 E: condoguy@condoguy.com

The Condo Guy – Vermont condo real estate

The Condo Guy has been providing advice to buyers
and sellers of Vermont condos real estate
for nearly 30 years.

Real Estate sales and marketing in the Greater Burlington Vermont region has been my occupation and passion for more than 30 years. My focus has been on the sales and marketing of condominiums with a generous amount of single family home sales thrown into the mix. Each week I bring information of interest that not only focuses on the local home and condo real estate community but also provides context to the Burlington market in respect to larger market real estate trends. I enjoy feedback and the opportunity to meet my readers and experience their home. The Condo Guy is here for you when it comes time to buy or sell your condo or home.

Geese are flying north, Vermonters are ripe for summer.

Like most of the US, we are finally experiencing spring, the snow is melting, rivers are flowing once again and flocks of geese are heading north. Spring has arrived; summer surely must be close behind. Boaters are dreaming of things to come with visits to their favorite marine shop. Basking in the sun must be a few weeks away.

As a Vermonter I know how much we long for the upcoming summer, after all, winter for most of us is merely tolerated, not embraced like avid skiers or dare I say ice fisherman. No most northerners bitch about the bleak winter like some kind of badge of courage. One day, one day they will escape the grip of the frozen tundra for good. Perhaps one day they will trade in snowshoes for sandals, but not now. Not when the trees are about to bud, daffodils are popping up from the ground and birds are flying all about. We have survived, after all we are Vermonters. This is home.

Perhaps one day we will have that place in the sun, Florida or at least one of the halfback states like the Carolinas. But not just yet, for summer is calling us.

Bill Desautels
Condo Guy and president of RE/MAX North Professionals

Just How Sustainable Is The Micro Housing Trend?

Just How Sustainable Is the Micro Housing Trend?Something that the Europeans have been doing for decades has finally made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to North America: the trend is called micro housing, and it’s turned into an entirely new way of living.

With micro housing, we’re beginning to do away with oversize condos and even detached homes, learning to live in a more minimalistic manner and curbing our hoarding habits for good.

The affordability of micro housing is making it possible even for young adults and students to purchase their homes in the city centers across North America. But one must ask, is the micro housing trend good for the globe too?

Sustainability Of Micro Condominiums

Being able to pack a higher number of salable units into one building and lowering the prices to widen the market and encourage young buyers to purchase instead of rent is certainly economically beneficial; but is this trend sustainable and beneficial for the planet too?

As it turns out, the cost of building a micro-apartment structure over a regular sized one has a much lighter footprint on our earth. Micro-housing is a sustainable part of urban design because it is made to be a contributing asset to compact cities across North America, requiring less infrastructure cost, fewer resources, and a smaller environmental impact from shipping to construction to ongoing management and maintenance.

Some micro-buildings even have shared areas like kitchens and lounges; this helps to cut back on building costs even further and lessens air pollution from shipping.

Micro Homes: Are They Green?

Though micro detached homes are also on the rise, they have run into problems with bylaws in certain cities across North America. They may just be the way of the future, though, with the real estate prices in many areas growing out of control.

These micro homes are similar to the micro condominium units in their petite sizes, however they typically do not have a standard foundation, instead resting on screw piles that are attached to the ground. These easy-to-assemble micro homes, though perhaps battling with particular municipalities and their bylaws, offer practical housing that is sustainable too.

Green features of these micro homes include the additional options of a composting toilet, solar power energy systems, grey water treatment system and a rainwater collection system.

The Lifestyle Of The Micro-Housing Trend

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when looking at the sustainability of the micro-housing trend in the kind of lifestyle it is promoting. Generally situated in the dense city centers, micro housing encourages a lifestyle that is affordable, thereby attracting residents who will take public transit or be within walking distance to work or school, and lessening the need for the daily use of a vehicle.

Perhaps we’re looking a little too enthusiastically at the future, but as it seems, the micro housing trend is bringing with it all kinds of benefits, both economically and sustainably. A lifestyle and housing solution that finally benefits the planet is always accepted among our modern cities across North America, and soon it may just be the reason to purchase instead of rent, allowing us to walk instead of drive.

For more information on the micro housing trend in your area, call your trusted real estate advisor today, and get in the know!

 

 

 

posted by Bill Desautels

P: (802) 655-9100 (800) 639-4520 x217 F: (802) 655-0400 E: condoguy@condoguy.com

The Condo Guy – Vermont condo real estate

The Condo Guy has been providing advice to buyers
and sellers of Vermont condos real estate
for nearly 30 years.

Real Estate sales and marketing in the Greater Burlington Vermont region has been my occupation and passion for more than 30 years. My focus has been on the sales and marketing of condominiums with a generous amount of single family home sales thrown into the mix. Each week I bring information of interest that not only focuses on the local home and condo real estate community but also provides context to the Burlington market in respect to larger market real estate trends. I enjoy feedback and the opportunity to meet my readers and experience their home. The Condo Guy is here for you when it comes time to buy or sell your condo or home.

Time to renovate your condo?

Here in Vermont much of our existing condo stock is now 20-30 years old. For most owners of older condos not much has changed within the home except perhaps a fresh coat of paint or perhaps some updated carpet. Sea foam green and dusty mauve carpet were out of vogue decades ago, yet I still see it almost daily as I visit folks homes. That is all fine if you love it and don’t plan on moving, but if you are thinking about selling it’s even more passe than still having a land line.

I know these past few years have been very trying for so many people in Vermont, as the economy took it’s toll. But perhaps it is time to invest in your home, first because you are ready for a new look, but also for the future investment in your home. Renovating is most often worth it, for your enjoyment and for your return on our investment. Let’s face it there is a lot of competition out there with a new sense of style, style that today’s buyers demand. Like clothes and hairstyles things become outdated, let’s face it white Formica kitchen cabinets aren’t even for sale in the greater Burlington area, which speaks for itself. So where do you spend the money, dare I say in the most important room of the house, the kitchen. And the good news, that investment will give you the best bang for the buck. Studies show that for every dollar you spend most of it will come back in the sales price down the road. Not to mention you will proudly show off the HGTV skills you picked up over the years.

Spring is here, it’s time for a change in your place without changing where you live.

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