Our Annual Windermere Report (see link below) is an overview of last year’s real estate market and a forecast of the trends, opportunities, and challenges we can expect in the coming months.
Forecasting the future is always a risky business. However, we continue to remain optimistic about the future of our local real estate market. Why? Because families and retiring baby boomers will continue to seek out healthy communities that offer recreational opportunities, excellent schools and quality health care. And here in Kootenai County, we have these in abundance!
Are you interested in learning how all of this relates to the value of your property in today’s market? Whether you are evaluating investment strategies, tax or estate planning, or perhaps considering a change of address, we are here to help you! We would be happy to prepare a market value report for you, compiled on activity in your local neighborhood and specific to your property.
If you would like a custom market value report, or if you know of someone who needs professional advice regarding real estate, please don’t hesitate to call us.
In the meantime, we hope you find the “Windermere Report” informative. We look forward to talking to you soon.
Our summer tans have long since faded, the patio furniture and BBQ grill have been stored and the first winter snowfall has already hit the Treasure Valley. It is safe to say winter has officially arrived and for many so have enormous heating costs.
The television and web are full of great ideas on how to save money on energy costs, but more often than not it takes money to save money. Over the course of building homes for the last 40 years, Hibbard Construction employs building practices to ensure the energy efficiency of our homes.
In 2009, we conducted a survey of our past clients from the last 15 years and inquired about the energy costs of their “Hibbard Home”. We were delighted to learn that our homes are still some of the most energy efficient homes built and that our customer’s energy costs are still well below the average cost of most homeowners with similar sized homes.
For many, making the initial investment on an energy efficient new home or on major home improvement projects to make a home more energy efficient just isn’t in the cards this year.
But, that doesn’t mean you are out of options. There are some simple things you can do to cut your heating costs. Below you will find nine tips on how to save money on energy bills without breaking the bank. Each tip should cost from nothing to very little. With a little ingenuity you can reduce your heating bills this winter.
1. Bundle up! Running around with shorts and a tank top in the middle of winter just doesn’t make much sense. Winter is winter because it is cold, so act like it even if you’re just sitting around the house. Put on a sweater or sweatshirt; wear socks and fuzzy slippers (who isn’t more comfortable in their favorite sweats anyways?). Place a soft, comfy blanket on the couch to cuddle up in while watching TV, reading or chatting with friends. Put throw rugs on hardwood and tile floors to eliminate the shock of the ice-cold surfaces. It doesn’t cost anything to wear warmer clothes inside and by doing so you can keep the temperature inside the house a few degrees cooler and save big.
2. Not all doors and windows are created equal and not all are used in the winter, so plastic up the windows and doors that are going to go unused. There are window kits for sale for about $5 per window. These can help to eliminate drafts to keep in the heat!
3. Turn the heat down at night and when no one is home. This doesn’t mean turn the heat to 40 degrees, but turning it down to 60 overnight or while you’re away can make a big difference. Think about it; why keep it 70 degrees when you’re either sleeping (add an extra blanket to your bed) or out of the house for more than 12 hours a day? You can adjust the thermostat manually for free, but if you want to spend a few bucks a programmable thermostat is a great investment.
4. After baking cookies or making dinner in the oven, leave the door open a crack. There’s a lot of heat in that oven, so letting it escape puts the heat to good use by warming up the kitchen and surrounding rooms. This means the furnace has to run a little bit less.
5. Use a space heater only in the current room you are occupying (remember to use caution with space heaters, as they are a very common source of home fires). This will take the nip out of the air to make you feel more comfortable without heating all of the other rooms in the house and wasting energy.
6. Use silicone to fill any cracks in doors, windows, etc, including the basement floor and walls. You would be surprised at how much heat is lost through cracks that seem insignificant. A tube of caulk or silicone will only run you a few dollars and, it’s an easy weekend project.
7. Close any vents going to rooms that are not used regularly. That guest room that sits empty when you don’t have any guests? Close the door and the vents. Doing so, can easily cut 100-200 square feet off of your energy footprint.
8. Put weather stripping around windows and doors. Weather stripping helps quite a bit, especially in older homes. You’d be surprised how the seals around your doors and windows can deteriorate over time.
9. Cover up the attic entry with plastic, pieces of insulation, old blankets, weather stripping, saran wrap, painter drop cloth, or even a few old shirts. Any of it will help to slow, if not, stop, the drafts and warm air from floating away through your roof. Heat rises and may be getting pulled right up through the attic so you may not notice a cold draft even though your expensive hot air is floating away.
These tips won’t save you thousands like installing all new energy efficient windows would. But they will help you to save as much as possible and make a noticeable difference on your heating bill and take but a few minutes and maybe a few dollars to implement.
We would look forward to hearing from you regarding questions you may have or discussing ideas and developing a plan that would fit your budget if you are looking to make energy efficient improvements to save more money in the long run.
Daily Real Estate News | December 16, 2010 |
Owners Recoup More with Exterior Home Projects
As part of the 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, Realtors® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.
“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but also are among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Since resale value can vary by region, it’s smart for home owners to work with a Realtor®through the remodeling and improvement process; they can provide insight into projects in their neighborhoods that will recoup the most when the owners are ready to sell.”
Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. Realtors® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.
“Curb appeal remains king – it’s the first thing potential buyers notice when looking for a home, and it also demonstrates pride of ownership,” said Phipps.
The 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.
Realtors® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, Realtors® estimated that home owners would recoup an average of 60 percent of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8 percent last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.
According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70 percent of costs. Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by Realtors® the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80 percent of costs. Among the window replacement projects covered, upscale vinyl window replacements were expected to recoup the most, 72.6 percent upon resale. Another exterior project, a wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel for the fourth most profitable project recouping an estimated 72.8 percent of costs.
The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent nationally upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.
Although most regions followed the national trends, the regions that consistently were estimated to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
The regions where Realtors® generally reported the lowest percentage of costs recouped were New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota), and Middle Atlantic (New York and Pennsylvania).
“It’s important to remember that the resale value of a particular improvement project depends on several factors,” said Phipps. “Things such as the home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location and the regional economic climate contribute to an estimated resale value. That’s why it is imperative to work with a Realtor®who can provide insight and guidance into local market conditions whether you’re buying, selling or improving a home.”
Results of the report are summarized in the January issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit www.costvsvalue.com.
Rental Property Owners have been handed another huge burden for reporting income and expenses in 2011 & 2012.
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PL 111-148, signed into law in 2010, both beef up 1099 reporting requirements and pentalties for rental property owners.
Between the two acts, Rental Property owners will be responsible for sending 1099’s to perhaps hundreds of service and retail vendors over the next two years. Corporations are not exempt.
IRS Forms 1099 must be issued by every person in business paying $600 or more during the year for services. If you pay a plumber to unplug the sink in your restaurant 6 times during the year at $100 a visit, you’ve got to issue a form to your plumber and the IRS. If your plumber is incorporated, you don’t have to issue the form. Well, until now. http://blogs.forbes.com/robertwood/2010/11/23/got-irs-forms-1099-more-soon/
Chris Neefus of CNSNews.com explains it this way:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care law, requires that small businesses file a Form 1099-MISC with the IRS for any goods they purchase from an outside vendor valued at over $600.
But the new bill, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act (H.R. 5297), extends the mandate to private individuals who own property from which they receive rental income. Those people would also now have to fill out paperwork reporting any expenditure they make on that property valued over $600 for the year.
“There’s 10 million people who don’t know that they’re now suddenly going to be required to do this,” Ellis said. “They don’t have to issue them until January 2012 because it’s a 2011 requirement, but they’ve got to start tracking in January (2011). So I hope their internal accounting is good.”
Writing for ATR, Ellis said, “So imagine that you’re renting out your starter condo. You pay a property manager, a plumber, a repairman, a locksmith, a condo association, etc. Imagine having to get a taxpayer identification number, order 1099-MISCs from the IRS, fill them out by hand, keep a copy for yourself, send a copy to each payee (from whom you had to get a tax ID number and other information), and then finally take your legitimate rental deduction. Then the IRS finds some hiccup somewhere, and you get audited — all to placate an insane Congress.”http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/75911
Quick figuring…At .44 postage per sheet, a ream of paper (which might be required for all those 1099’s) could cost you big. Do the math:
500 Sheets per ream X .44 = $220
How many 1099’s will you be sending?
Not that you could actually PRINT your own 1099’s anyway. You’ll have to order those from the IRS. See page 1 of the IRS 1099msc form, which has been generously made available for downloading. Caveat? You can’t USE the downloadable pdf! It’s not scan-able. Sorry. Enticing though it may be, if you send the downloadable PDF, you may be fined $50!)
And…what in the world does this have to do with HEALTH CARE???
This is our government’s version of assisting Small Business??