Monthly Archives: February, 2009

Energy Saving Tax Credits Help Ludlow VT Homeowners

The ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009‘ which became law on February 17, promotes energy independence and green jobs through tax credits and government grants. This is part of an effort to make Ludlow VT  homes and buildings more energy efficient. 

Energy saving provisions include: 

  • $6 billion to state and local governments for energy efficiency and conservation grants for energy audits, retrofits and financial incentives. 
  • 30% tax credit (increased from 10%) to homeowners for new furnaces, windows and insulation. 
  • $5 billion to modernize the nation’s electricity grid and install smart meters on homes, saving homeowners money. 
  • $5 billion for weatherization assistance for low income households. 
  • $2 billion for federally assisted housing (section 8) efficiency efforts.  

This bill is good news for Ludlow VT homeowners wanting to make their homes more energy efficient. Interested in buying a Ludlow VT home? Visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com

Search all Ludlow VT homes for sale.

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Ludlow VT Real Estate Market Report

Ludlow VT Real Estate Market Report

Trulia reports the average listing price for homes on Trulia in Ludlow Vermont, ZIP code 05149, was $646,657, for the week ending Feb 11, which represents a decline of 1.6%, or $10,317, compared to the prior week and a decline of 6.4%, or $44,355, compared to week ending Jan 21.

There are currently 208 resale and new homes in ZIP code 05149 on Trulia. The average listing price for homes for sale in 05149 was $646,657 for the week ending Feb 11, which represents a decrease of 1.6%, or $10,317, compared to the prior week.

Are you thinking about selling your Ludlow VT home? Get a complimentary Market Analysis.

Low Cost Fixes Sell Okemo Mountain Homes

If you have a home that only you can love, you will benefit for these low cost fixes to getting your Okemo Mountain home sold quickly. We don’t live in a house the way we sell a house. Buyers aren’t interested in seeing dirty socks lying around or dirty dishes in the sink. Below are a list inexpensive things, from Realtor Magazine, that you can do to make buyers fall in love with your Okemo Mountain home.

1. Move it.

Simply rearranging the furniture can reenergize a room. Add and remove furniture, lamps, rugs, and accessories from other parts of the house to create a whole new look. Mirrors are particularly useful when it comes to updating a room. Try one out in different rooms to see where it fits best. Even just moving a mirror to a different wall can create a more welcoming feel.

 2. Plant it.

Houseplants are a generally undervalued design component that can add texture, warmth, and color to any room. Just drop plants in their store containers into decorative planters. Small plants can be moved easily and regrouped to change a room’s look, while larger ones make a statement on their own. 

Group plants together of differing heights, fullness, and color for the most dramatic effect. It’s important to have plants that are well maintained and in tip-top condition.

 3. Paint it.

Paint is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make a substantial change. Use dramatic colors in powder rooms and dining rooms, and more neutral colors in living spaces. When selecting colors, “be sure to ask, ‘What am I trying to do? How do I want this to feel?'” And always, always do a test before you paint the whole room. 

 4. Organize it. 

Clutter just happens. So neaten up!  A variety of organizing tools can make a space feel polished while maintaining utility. Hooks and shelves inside the door give people a place to hang coats and keys, while canvas bins or natural baskets help contain magazines and mail. Just a row of hooks pre-attached on a board is so easy to install. And shelves are a great way to neatly display collectibles. 

5. Hide it.

Have a banged-up wall? It may be easy to camouflage. Paintable wallpaper will smooth out an uneven wall or hide minor dents and dings. Adventurous home owners can even try a simple two-step painting process for a more complex finish. A apply a solid base coat, then a glaze. 

Your intent should never be to mislead buyers; be sure to disclose flaws that would affect home value. 

6. Replace it.

Cabinet handles, switch plates, and other small pieces of housing hardware can update a home for just a few dollars a piece. Scan each room to see what looks worn or outdated and then replacing it. Inexpensive quick-connect faucets can make upgrading the look of your bathroom a snap. Just be sure to measure before you go to the hardware store. Some sinks are drilled for an eight-inch spread. Others require just four inches. 

And don’t forget the toilet seat. Fresh towels and a new toilet seat go a long way toward making a bathroom feel clean and new. 

7. Light it.

Lighting can have a major impact on a home’s look and feel. Whether a room seems dark or too bright and harsh, try “layering” the lighting by adding accent pendants and lamps. Make sure they have independent controls, so that you can turn them on and off at will. 

Light is such a mood setter. You can create a cozy feel just by turning down the lights. Add dimmers in the dining room, bathrooms, kitchen, and even the hallways for less than $4 each. Then adjust the lighting to create the mood you want.

 8. Clean it.

Turn a critical eye to the flooring to make sure it’s up to snuff. Scrub grout and seal natural stone. Rub out scratches and nicks on wood floors with scratch cover. Get down on your hands and knees and detail the floors. It takes a little elbow grease, but the results are well worth it. Vinyl flooring is a bit harder to spruce up but usually can be replaced easily and inexpensively.

Interested in selling your Okemo Mountain home? Give me a call, I’m glad to help!

What’s my Okemo Mountain home worth?

Is My Okemo Mountain Second Home Tax Deductible

Is My Okemo Mountain Second Home Tax Deductible?

This is the season when Okemo Mountain second homeowners are wondering just what second home expenses can be deducted on their federal income taxes. The best way to share this information with you is to share with you an article from Kiplinger.com. This should answer all Okemo second homeowner questions:

Tax Rules for Okemo Mountain Second Homes
Learn how mortgage interest, property taxes, rental property and tax-free profit affects your tax return.

Mortgage interest. If you use the place as a second home — rather than renting it out as a business property — interest on the mortgage is deductible just as interest on the mortgage on your first home is. You can write off 100% of the interest you pay on up to $1.1 million of debt secured by your first and second homes and used to acquire or improve the properties. (That’s a total of $1.1 million of debt, not $1.1 million on each home.) The rules that apply if you rent the place out are discussed later.

Property taxes. You can deduct property taxes on your second home, too. In fact, unlike the mortgage interest rule, you can deduct property taxes paid on any number of homes you own.

If you rent the home. Lots of second-home buyers rent their property part of the year to get others to help pay the bills. Very different tax rules apply depending on the breakdown between personal and rental use.

If you rent the place out for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the cash tax-free. Even if you’re charging $5,000 a week, the IRS doesn’t want to hear about it. The house is considered a personal residence, so you deduct mortgage interest and property taxes just as you do for your principal home.

Rent for more than 14 days, though, and you must report all rental income. You also get to deduct rental expenses, and that gets complicated because you need to allocate costs between the time the property is used for personal purposes and the time it is rented.

If you and your family use a beach house for 30 days during the year and it’s rented for 120 days, 80% (120 divided by 150) of your mortgage interest and property taxes, insurance premiums, utilities and other costs would be rental expenses. The entire amount you pay a property manager would be deductible, too. And you could claim depreciation deductions based on 80% of the value of the house. If a house is worth $200,000 (not counting the value of the land) and you’re depreciating 80%, a full year’s depreciation deduction would be $5,800.

You can always deduct expenses up to the level of rental income you report. But what if costs exceed what you take in? Whether a loss can shelter other income depends on two things: how much you use the property yourself and how high your income is.

If you use the place more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the number of days it is rented — whichever is more — it is considered a personal residence and the loss can’t be deducted. (But because it is a personal residence, the interest that doesn’t count as a rental expense — 20% in our example — can be deducted as a personal expense.)

If you limit personal use to 14 days or 10%, the vacation home is considered a business and up to $25,000 in losses might be deductible each year. That’s why lots of vacation homeowners hold down leisure use and spend lots of time “maintaining” the property. Fix-up days don’t count as personal use. The tax savings from the loss (up to $7,000 a year if you’re in the 28% tax bracket) help pay for the vacation home. Unfortunately, holding down personal use means forfeiting the write-off for the portion of mortgage interest that fails to qualify as either a rental or personal-residence expense.

We say such losses might be deductible because real estate losses are considered “passive losses” by the tax law. And, passive losses are generally not deductible. But, there’s an exception that might protect you. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $100,000, up to $25,000 of such losses can be deducted each year to offset income such as your salary. (AGI is basically income before subtracting your exemptions and deductions.) As income rises between $100,000 and $150,000, however, that $25,000 allowance disappears. Passive losses you can’t deduct can be stored up and used to offset taxable profit when you ultimately sell the vacation house.

Tax-free profit.Although the rule that allows home owners to take up to $500,000 of profit tax-free applies only to your principal residence, there is a way to extend the break to your second home: make it you principal residence before you sell. That’s not as wacky as it might sound.

Some retirees, for example, are selling the big family home and moving full time into what had been their vacation home. Once you live in that home for two years, up to $500,000 of profit can be tax free. (Any profit attributable to depreciation while you rented the place, though, would be taxable. Depreciation reduces your tax basis in the property and therefore increases profit dollar for dollar.)

But Congress is clamping down on this break for taxpayers who convert a second home into a principal residence after 2008. A portion of the gain on a subsequent sale of the home will be ineligible for the home-sale exclusion of up to $500,000, even if the seller meets the two-year ownership and use tests. The portion of the profit that’s subject to tax is based on the ratio of the time after 2008 when the house was a second home or a rental unit to the total time you owned it.

So if you have owned a vacation home for 18 years and make it your main residence in 2011 for two years before selling it, only 10% of the gain (two years of non-qualified second home use divided by 20 years of total ownership) is taxed. The rest qualifies for the exclusion of up to $500,000.

Learn about how you can buy an Okemo Mountain second home by visiting ISellVermontRealEstate.com.