Help Sell Your House with Paint

How to Pick Paint Colors

By: Jan Soults Walker

Published: December 17, 2012

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


“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.”

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Give Yourself A Pricing Edge When Selling

A question I get asked frequently is, “How do I get the highest value when selling my home?”

Let me offer a great insider secret that you can use in the effort to get the highest dollar amount on the sale of your house.

1) Prepare a written list of your home’s features (Keyword here is “Written.”)

2) Take pictures of the best features of your home, inside and out. Put these on a cd so they will be available to potential buyers. Take outdoor pictures during the different seasons to give a full perspective of the qualities of the property. I will put them to use in the marketing materials.

When pricing your house, we will be realistic when estimating the market value and be sure it is based on recent sales, not asking prices of nearby comparable homes.

By the way, I have a quick question for you. Have you thought about moving to a larger or newer home? When you look at just how low current interest rates are, you may be surprised that you can get into a larger home but have the same payment as you have now on an older, smaller house.

Tax Time Hints For Homeowners

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Amending Your Tax Return

5 Good Reasons to Amend Your Tax Return — and How

By: Reyna Gobel

Published: December 21, 2012

Missed tax deduction? Overlooked tax credit? Get what’s coming to you by amending your return.

1. Home office deduction

If your home is your principal place of business, you can deduct a percentage of eligiblehome expenses like:

  • Utilities
  • Mortgage interest for the proportion of the house used as your office
  • Home repairs and maintenance

Forms you’ll need to file an amendment:

  • 1040X
  • Form 8829 and Schedule A (if you’re employed by someone else) for the year you’re amending
  • Schedule C (if you’re self-employed) for the year you’re amending

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Save on Your Kitchen Remodel

How to Save 20% to 40% on Your Kitchen Remodel Without Even Trying

By: Oliver Marks

Published: September 11, 2012

A Remodeled KitchenYou can picture your new, beautifully renovated dream kitchen. But your budget won’t allow it unless you cut costs. Here’s how to save on your kitchen remodel.

Below are 7 great recommendations for ways to shave costs off your kitchen remodel. Each recommendation includes a percentage of the savings you can expect to trim off the overall cost of your kitchen remodeling. Because of variables, such as the price of materials in your area, the percentages are given as a range.
If you do all the recommendations, you’ll knock 20% to 40% off the cost of your project.

1. Skip the custom cabinet shop. All of the major cabinet manufacturers offer a range of styles and finishes in their stock product lines. The only compromise you’ll make is that you can’t get cabinet widths sized to the exact fraction of an inch.

“Stock cabinets come in 3-inch increments, so you may need to get something slightly smaller than the space you have to fill,” says Cambridge, Mass., kitchen designer Jean Courtney. But nobody will ever notice. “Your contractor will use matching filler pieces and moldings to hide any gaps and make everything look custom fitted.”

Your savings: 5% to 12%

2. Keep the sink and appliances in their current locations. That avoids having to run new electrical wiring, natural gas lines, plumbing pipes, and hood-vent lines, knocking thousands off your construction costs.

Your savings: 5% to 10%

3. Select a simple cabinet door design. A classic shaker door, which is plain and elegant, comes at about half the cost of something more complex, such as an arch-top panel with intricate moldings. And you’ll get a more timeless, never-go-out-of-style look.

Your savings: 2% to 4%

4. Choose a stock stain or paint finish on the cabinets instead of a trendy two-tone glazed finish. Most cabinet manufacturers offer an array of good-looking, durable stock finishes.

Your savings: 3% to 4%

5. Keep the existing window locations. Using the current openings — and resisting the temptation to increase window size — reduces construction costs considerably because the contractor won’t have to frame out new openings.

Your savings: 3% to 6%

6. Simplify the edge profile of your countertops. A waterfall, ogee, or other fancy edge choice can add hundreds to the fabrication costs of your countertops. Trim that cost by opting for a square or simple round-over treatment.

Your savings: 1% to 2%

7. Shop for discontinued hardwood flooring and backsplash tiles. “When a particular line of subway tile or oak flooring is going out of production, stores slash the prices to move the merchandise — but it’s perfectly good stuff,” says Courtney.

Another option: Look for salvaged building materials, such as sinks, faucets, and lighting fixtures.

Your savings: 1% to 2%