Save Cash With the Right Home Improvements

It may be the dog days of summer, but some of us are still thinking about unlocking our inner Bob Vila and fixing up our homes. Whether it’s building a new deck, remodeling our bathrooms, or just replacing some old windows, did you know you can save money when you make home improvements through tax deductions or tax credits?

Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, meaning you’re taxed at a lower income than you might have been taxed otherwise. It is subtracted “off-the-top” from the amount of money you made throughout the year, your gross income. Tax credits, on the other hand, directly reduce the tax you pay. They are dollar-for-dollar reductions which are subtracted from your tax liability. Both are widely used by eligible homeowners to save money on their home improvements.

If you’re wondering which improvements make you eligible for tax deductions or tax credits, it’s good to know how they are determined. If your improvements match any of these criteria, it’s a good bet they’re tax deductible or make you eligible for a home improvement tax credit.

Does it make your home more energy efficient?

There are a number of improvements that could fall under this category. These include energy-efficient exterior doors and windows, skylights, insulation, central air and heating, main air circulating fans, solar panels, solar-powered water heaters, and fuel cells. Look for ENERGY STAR-approved products, as many of them make you eligible for a home improvement tax credit.

Does it add value to your home?

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is the most common tax-deductible home improvement project. Other projects that add value to your home include finishing or re-modeling your basement, adding an addition, replacing the entire roof, paving the driveway, and major rewiring. Be aware that painting a room, replacing carpet, and fixing leaks or walls do not qualify for a tax deduction and do not add value to your home.

Does it enable your home to accommodate new uses?

Wheel chair ramps for the disabled, bathroom railings for those who need the support, elevators, and lowering light switches are all tax deductible. These improvements add function and make your home friendly to those who have a disability.

Remember, keeping the receipts and an accurate spending record of each improvement you have made will help reduce the potential taxable gain when selling your home. This will ensure that you are well prepared to defend your records in case of an audit. While it’s important to do research on your home improvement project, you should always consult a professional tax advisor for details.

Home Improvement Remodeling

There are always little changes that can be made to your home. In fact, home improvement remodeling is quite popular in this day and age. Especially with all of the DIY shows on television all the time. More and more men and women are taking it upon themselves to make their homes look great. This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it. After all, it will increase the value of your humble abode, which is always a wonderful thing. The key is to do a simple walk-through of your house. This way you can observe and determine what your house needs here and there. Make a list of the home improvement remodeling projects that need to get done.

In reality, the options are endless when it comes to home improvement remodeling projects. If you have one in mind for your residential house, then why put it off. If you are willing to tackle the project on your own, or as a family, you can save a lot of money. Possibly even more than half of what contractor would charge you. It is true! There are so many people tackling DIY home improvement remodeling tasks as time moves forward. The cost for labor is atrocious, and often jacked up. There are simple and convenient home improvement stores at your disposal that can assist you with this.

Some of the places you should consider for home improvement remodeling tasks and projects are Lowes, Home Depot, BidClerk.com, and FixMiHouse.webs.com. You can find all of these businesses online with ease. If you are seeking out a contractor in your area to assist you with home improvement or remodeling projects, then you need to make certain you get several bids prior to accepting any jobs. This is always wise because some contractor professionals will charge you a great deal more for their services. It is imperative to compare their rates, and the length of time it will take them to complete a job. Never pay them fully up front, because they may decide not to complete your home improvement remodeling project.

As stated before, many people are tacking home improvement jobs on their own. Now, the key to doing this correctly is learning the right tips beforehand. For instance, if you are going to replace the flooring in your home, then you need to understand this process first. If you have carpet, find out how to remove it and dispose of it. At this point you need to know how to properly install the hardwood, tile or new carpet you are putting down. Although it does not take much to learn how to do it, the process can be challenging.

Top Ways to Save on Home Improvement

Change is simply inevitable. As the family gets bigger, the children grows up, and the difference in lifestyles is felt; among the first things that is done to accommodate these adjustments is a change in the home. But with the challenging New York housing market, upgrading through home improvement proves to be a more ideal option than selling and moving into a new house. And to make the changes more financially beneficial, here are tops ways to save on home improvement whether you are in Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, or Queens.

Work within the Existing Blueprint

Envisioning your ‘perfect’ kitchen or bathroom can be totally exciting. Major changes however can be bank breaking. To avoid the hefty costs it is important to smartly choose which changes can be done to answer to the family’s needs without having to move primary features such as sinks, bathtubs, and toilets. If you are working with basement remodeling, instead of removing and relocating support columns, pipes, and other unsightly structural elements, you can work these into the design by using creativity. Not going through these major tasks in your home improvement saves you a big chunk on the remodeling project.

Reuse or Resell

If the fixtures and other features in your home improvement project are still in good working condition, consider reusing to save on the money you need to spend buying new things as well as demolition and disposal. Refinishing is a great way to create changes and make fixtures and furnishings as good as new. Some of the jobs you can include in your project are refinish hardware, repaint cabinets, refinish hardwood floors, etc. But if you really decide for new items, then sell your used fixtures and furnishings online or at a yard sale. The profits can add to your budget.

Buy Smart

There are many options that you can consider to get you the best value for your home improvement money such as:

  • RTA Cabinets – you can use ready-to-assemble cabinets for kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling. Without having to pay for labor costs, this will considerably cutback on expenses.
  • Bid on Materials – you can buy items at very cheap prices at auctions. One place to find such great buys is at the US Treasury auctions. You can also try searching for online auctions or local yard sales.
  • Buy Salvaged – salvaged materials such as hardwood, glass, marble or granite slabs, and other old fixtures and furnishings are great buys. This green way of doing home improvement is an amazing way to trim down on expenses. Some places to find such deals include recycling centers, architectural salvage yards, online classifieds and specialty boutiques offering vintage furnishings.

Know When and When Not to DIY

There are home improvement works that can easily be done by you and there are areas that are best left for professional contractors to efficiently do. Knowing when and when not to DIY is crucial as this decision can save you from the risks, hassles and costs of doing things wrong. Specially if the project involves any updates or changes in plumbing, electricity or other complex areas; it is best to hire a qualified contractor and get the best value for your budget.

Start Your Home Improvement Now!

Saying that our homes are extensions of ourselves is actually saying less. When you think of it, our homes are actually who we are. That maxim “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are” does not even come close. I mean, we do and we have most of our secrets inside our homes. It is the most private, personal place we can ever think of. And here we are, carefully dressing ourselves to be as pleasant to others as possible but leaving our homes slowly rotting away. Okay, That might be a real exaggeration. But, seriously, can’t you perform even a slight home improvement project?

Yes, your house may not be rotting away (at least not for now). But, how can you bear looking at yourself all dressed and dolled up when your house is as plain and boring as a shop assistant dressed in baggy clothes? Remember that people will always talk. No matter how we tell ourselves that what other people think is not important, appearances do matter. If that one prominent fact is not enough to drive you to perform home improvement now, I do not know what else.

How hard can it be to change the dull white tiles in your kitchen and bathroom to the bright or funky or dark personality that you are? After all, your home is who you are, right? You give such careful attention to your clothes and makeup. Why not try that faithful sense of duty to a home improvement project? Your home improvement project. Think about it. You will have nothing to lose here. Come on, who does not want a beautiful home? You will be a hypocrite if you say you do not. Either that, or you are just completely dull and dense.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to insult anyone. I’m just stating realities. The sooner we face things, the sooner we can go on with things and start our home improvement projects. Taking good care of your home is also one way of packaging yourself. An additional deck or a front porch won’t be that bad either. You have always wanted fresh air, haven’t you? And I bet that additional back porch will be perfect for your kid’s playhouse. A few paintings in your living room is also great. Or if you are not into painting, you can always choose from tapestry to figurines to vases. It is all up to you, really.

What I am trying to say is that we can’t just leave our homes feel neglected and lonely. They are like our best friends-when we talk about houses and buildings not people. Why not give them the love and care they deserve. Come on. Splurge a little for your home. It is yours anyways, not just anybody else’s. Home improvement does not come easy, of course. But the fulfillment and satisfaction you will feel in the end will be incomparable. Trust that all this will be worth that happiness.

Home Improvement Tips to Save Energy

Whether you’re looking for ways to improve the way your home looks or to make it more energy efficient, it’s always best to find out how to do it right and get the most out of your time and money. These home improvement tips can show you how to start saving energy right away.

1. Use energy saving lamps instead of incandescent bulbs. Energy Star qualified light bulbs such as CFLs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.

2. Check your heating and cooling system, including the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump). Be sure to seal your ducts. Leaky ducts make your heating and cooling systems less efficient and you’ll end up with higher utility bills. You can save up to 20% on energy with this home improvement tip.

3. Purchase and install a programmable thermostat. This will let you automatically adjust the temperature at your home when you are away.

4. Check the weather stripping around your windows, doors, garage, etc. Make sure your home is sealed and insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs.

5. If you’re in the market for replacement windows, install Energy Star labeled windows. Energy saving windows can dramatically lower your utility bills.

6. Is your refrigerator more than 10 years old? It’s time to get a new one. Refrigerators (and freezers) account for a substantial share of your electricity bill. An Energy Star qualified refrigerator
uses 50% less electricity than an old, conventional model.

7. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, replace it with an Energy Star compliant model. You will be able to use 50% less water and up to 70% less energy. Whenever possible, wash your clothes with cold water.

8. Here’s another home improvement tip that doesn’t cost much. Use curtains, blinds and drapes to help you save energy and money. In winter, open the blinds, drapes and curtains in the morning to let the sunlight in. Close them at night to help keep the warm air in.

9. Landscaping can improve your home’s looks while saving energy. Shrubs and trees in strategic locations can protect your home from frigid winter winds and block out the hot summer sun.

10. You won’t have to invest a lot of money for this home improvement tip but you’ll get a lot of savings in return. Purchase a hot water insulation kit from your local home improvement center and wrap it around your water heater. You’ll save on water heating costs.

11. Consider installing your own renewable energy system. A solar or wind energy system can help you reduce your utility bills.