What Happened to the American Dream?

dreamAs much as things change, things remain the same. This is not news. But let’s talk about the news or, more specifically, the media.

I’ve been hearing complaints about the holiday season starting earlier and earlier every year (most of the complaints have been coming from yours truly, but it’s only because I am still busy with the leftover Halloween candy and I don’t want to be pushed towards candy canes just yet), but a recent article in The Denver Post points out that even as early as 1912, stores were promoting Christmas sales early in the season. One ad even boldly stated: “For the sake of humanity, shop early.” Wow.

So actually Christmas promos aren’t earlier every year, we are just led to believe that. In reality, things have pretty much remained the same.

So, imagine my surprise when I heard that owning a home was no longer the quintessential American Dream! And you thought the impending wine shortage was serious.

A recent report stated that nearly one in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 defined the American Dream as being debt-free. That’s good, right?. But what the poll was trying to convey is that more young people would rather be debt free than own a home, which throughout history was cited as part of the American Dream thanks to the societal status associated with home ownership.

But wait!  The National Housing Survey of Delinquent Mortgage Borrowers study, conducted by Fannie Mae, asked questions about the importance of homeownership to those delinquent on their mortgages and 74% still see homeownership as better than renting.

So who’s right?

You’re right. Yes – you. Research and studies and polls and data can be skewed, so the only right answers when it comes to the question of whether or not to buy a home is whether it is the best decision for you now and in the future.

If you are, in fact, ready to buy, you should read my recent blog: Five Steps That Will Lead You Home, and remember that you would not perform brain surgery (I hope) if you were not a brain surgeon and therefore should probably not attempt home-buying without a professional at your side. A full-time, full-service Realtor with credentials and references is a good bet. Someone with CRS and ABR behind their name knows the ins and outs of the business while negotiating on your behalf. Realtors who have been in the business a long time know the pros and cons of different neighborhoods including everything from school districts to walking trails to resale values to the best floor plans for that perfect view.

If you are looking to buy or sell, I can help. In the meantime, enjoy that glass of cabernet before it’s gone for good.

Denver Home Improvements Will Earn you a Tax Break

Denver Home Improvements Will Earn you a Tax Break

TaxIf you are a Denver homeowner that is reluctant to put money into your home, think again. Home improvements will increase the value of your home and will reduce the taxes due on your financial profit after selling the property.

Inman News recently discussed how home improvements can benefit those not looking to sell immediately, as well as the differences between improvements and repairs since they are different in the eyes of the tax code. A new bathroom or kitchen would be classified as a home improvement, while fixing up a leaky roof qualifies as a home repair and will not earn you any tax benefits in the future. In this scenario, you would need to add a new roof to your Denver home in order to benefit from any tax breaks.

These home improvements are added to the basis of the house for tax purposes. By putting $50,000 worth of work into your Denver home, your profit from selling the property is taxed by $50,000 less. Keep in mind that according to the home sale tax exclusion, single homeowners receive $250,000 in tax-free profit when they sell their home, while married homeowners receive $500,000 in tax-free profit. By completing home improvements as needed, you may be able to reach a point where you won’t have to pay any taxes when you sell your home!

For more information about local real estate and events, bookmark my Denver real estate blog. Leave a comment to share your experiences with home improvements and how they have affected your taxable financial gain after selling your home.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng

Protect Your Pets from Harmful Household Items

Protect Your Pets from Harmful Household Items

Protect Your Pets Denver Colorado

Take necessary steps in your Denver home to prevent your pets from becoming ill.

There are many items around the common household that are harmful for our pets, even some you would not expect. Household cleaners and yard chemicals are probably the most obvious household items than can hurt your pets, but even certain oils can pose a threat. This summer in Denver, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your loved ones.

For animals that are known to open cabinets and stick their nose in something, make sure you put child safety locks on your cabinets in doors. We all know the cat that can open cabinets and all of a sudden spill one of these dangerous chemicals. Do not let this happen in your home.

If your pet has gotten into something they should not have, call you vet immediately. It will be helpful to know what chemical or item that ate, licked, sniffed, etc. and the active ingredients in it. If someone is watching your pet while you are away, be sure to leave your vet’s contact information and any necessary information about the pet to ensure they get proper treatment in your absence.

For more ways to protect your home with pets, you can read Barb Bestini’s article on LifeWhile.com. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline if your pet manages to be exposed to something harmful at 1-800-213-6680.

Do you have any tips of your own to ensure your pet is safe in your Denver home? Share them with other readers by leaving a comment below!

Photo courtesy of Opulent Pet

How to Create Your Own Kitchen Garden in Colorado

How to Create Your Own Kitchen Garden in Colorado

If you are new to Denver and love to garden, now is the perfect time to start planning your garden to enjoy this summer. Early to mid-May is the best time to start digging, but you need to plan which plant varieties you will enjoy eating the most. No matter the size of land area, you can have a garden that will help you create seasonal, fresh dishes requiring minimal effort. If you are living in a condo and have a small patio, pick two or three types of vegetables or herbs that can be grown in pots.

Colorado has a fairly short growing season, so if you are starting a garden it is wise to begin with small plants instead of seeds. Plants that grow quickly like peas, beans, and lettuce are fine to use as seeds. If you chose to plant things from seeds, begin by planting a few seeds to start with, but then repeat planting one or two times with two weeks in between. Staggering the planting season will ensure that you have a longer harvest.

Some plants that are great in Colorado for kitchen use are basil, parsely, thyme, lettuces, a variety of tomatoes, snap peas, zucchini, and green onions. Once you taste how good fresh vegetables and herbs taste in your homemade dishes you will never miss another summer in your kitchen garden.

Give me a call to learn more about living in Denver.

Source & photo credit: www.coloradohomesmag.com

Don’t Forget About Homeowner Tax Benefits

Don’t Forget About Homeowner Tax Benefits

Denver Homeowner Tax BenefitsAfter investing all that time and money into your home, it feels good to reap the benefits come tax season. Many home-related expenses can be deducted from your taxes to save you thousands of dollars.

Sure, moving from a simple IRS 1040EZ form to a 1040 long form and Schedule A is more time consuming, but it pays off in how much money it saves you each year. The Schedule A form is where you list your homeowner expenses that reduce your tax burden.

Here are some of the best tax breaks associated with home ownership:

  • Mortgage interest: The interest paid on your mortgage each year is tax deductible. During the beginning years of home ownership, interest makes up the majority of your payments. This means you will have far less to pay when tax season arrives.
  • Vacation homes: In addition to your primary residence, you can deduct interest paid on a vacation home loan. You can even rent it out for short periods of time while still qualifying for this benefit.
  • Tax-free profits: If you sell your home after living in it for more than two years, any profit from the transaction is tax-free. This is a great incentive as real estate is known for its appreciation.

For more homeowner tax perks, please check out the Coldwell Banker Agent Information site. Leave a comment below to let me know which benefit is the most appealing!

Still have questions about Denver homeowner tax benefits? Give me a call at 888-860-1931, and I will answer all of your questions and concerns.

Photo Credit: Ehow