Home Maintenance Does More Than You Think



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For some, the phrase “home maintenance” might sound like a great way to spend a weekend, while to others it might seem like a dreaded, even avoided, task. However you view routine home maintenance, the fact of the matter is that this somewhat simple task, if done consistently, can increase your home’s value over time.

Increased Property Value

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.” This is certainly true when it comes to your home. In fact, proactive maintenance is essential to preserving the value of your home. If you ignore this important task, your home could actually lose 10% of its value over time.

There are a number of benefits you can expect from just making sure you home is kept in decent shape with occasional maintenance. For one, your curb appeal is improved by just simple acts of routine upkeep from time to time. Ultimately, your home reflects your attention to detail, or lack thereof.

Neglecting a home can greatly bring down the value of any property. Things like a house with chipped or fading paint, sagging gutters, or worn carpeting leads to a problem when it is time to sell. Not only does the work accumulate over time, so do the costs. A few simple fixes every year can add up to an increased home value over time.

Cost vs. Value

It’s easy to look at the cost of regular home repairs as a burden that might be able to be avoided. However, it is important to look at the value that you are placing in your home by performing the regular costs of upholding a well-built and maintained home.

A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that home maintenance can actually increase a home’s value by about 1% each year. Instead of viewing the routine tasks around a home as “chores,” these tasks should be looked at as a money maker. When you sell your home, you will reap their rewards.

 Dr.John P. Harding, Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the University of Connecticut’s School of Business and an author of the study said, “It’s like going to the gym. You have to put in the effort to see the results. People and houses are somewhat similar – the older they are, the more work is needed.”

Some years what needs to be down may be more expensive than others, but it is the overall strategy to keep a “fit” home that should be the ultimate goal.


Proactive Maintenance Strategies

Budgeting for home repairs each year will prevent them from seeming like a burden each year. Knowing there will be a certain amount of money going to home repairs and upkeep makes them a regular part of your annual routine. They won’t be a source of financial devastation they can be for many families.

Other things to keep in mind to take the burden out of home maintenance include:

Play offense, not defense. Being proactive is vital in preventing a small problem becoming a mountain of problems. By having a regular inspections and creating a maintenance schedule, you are in control, for the most part, of home expenses, instead of the other way around.

Focus on a room a year. If you home is generally in good order, you may be at a loss of where to start. By targeting a room each year, you can inspect each and every item in that particular room and know where improvements can be made. This prevents an overwhelmed feeling with you looking at your entire house, scratching you head of where to start.

Keep track. Maintain a notebook or computer file to keep track of all of the maintenance and upgrades you perform is important. Also, either keep a physical file of paper receipts or a file on your computer where can put your scanned receipts. This helps you keep track of what you have done and also helps you prove to a potential buyer exactly what you have done to the home. It also shows you are a conscientious homeowner who has paid attention to the details of your home.

Home maintenance is an important task that should not be overlooked. Not only does it maintain a nice home while you live there, it also helps increase your home’s value when you are ready to sell.

For more on home maintenance visit Bob Vila's home maintenance checklist here!

Tax Appeals Can Be a Great Way To Save Money and Bring Down Monthly Payments



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What exactly is a tax appeal? It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Many homeowners do not realize that they can evaluate the appraised value of their home and make the subsequent decision to appeal their tax value.

The process is not entirely a simple one. But there are two very good reasons why you might want to go through whatever it takes to have it done. First, and very importantly, an approved tax appeal will save you money each and every month. Another very solid reason to assess your true property valuation is that when it comes time to selling, buyers will find the lower monthly payments a very attractive aspect. Not only will this give you an added edge over other sellers in the market, it will also be a great bargaining tool for you as a seller.

Do-it-Yourself

Some homeowners prefer to brave this process on their own and follow through the detailed and sometimes mildly challenging process of filing for a tax appeal. There is more to it than just filling out a form and waiting for a new property value assessment. The procedure is fairly complex and involves reviewing and studying previous tax notices, filing for a protest hearing in court, obtaining an appraised value of your property and presenting a formal presentation to the appraiser. This can take time to get to know how the system works and it’s important to keep in mind that exact rules and regulations vary by state. A good way to understand the entire process is to observe other (public) hearings and gain a greater knowledge of the system.

Using Legal Channels

For those who are squeamish about acting ‘in pro per’ there is always the possibility of hiring an attorney who is well versed in tax appeals to do this for you. While there will be some extra costs involves than if you had done it yourself, by hiring a professional who is knowledgeable about this aspect of property ownership, you will spare yourself wasted time and energy toward an effort that may end up in less than optimal savings. Using an attorney also yields a greater chance for success, which can end up translating to savings in the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in property taxes each year.
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If you have noticed an increase in your property taxes or even if you are not comfortable with how your home is valued as compared to other similar properties in the area, it pays to have a tax appeal done. Whether on your own or through a reputable and experienced attorney, the worse that can happen is no change in your taxes and the best can be a savings of up to thousands of dollars in taxes from the tax appeal.