Should You Complete a Kitchen Renovation? Questions for Home Sellers to Consider

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to transform an ordinary kitchen into a comfortable, attractive setting. With an awe-inspiring kitchen, you may be able to differentiate your house from others that are available in a competitive real estate market. Plus, your house’s kitchen might even lead some homebuyers to submit offers immediately following a home showing.

Clearly, a top-notch kitchen can make a world of difference when you sell your house. But how can you determine whether a kitchen overhaul is necessary?

Here are three questions to consider before you embark on a kitchen renovation.

1. When do I plan to sell my house?

If you intend to sell your home quickly, you may have limited time at your disposal. Therefore, a complete kitchen overhaul may not be an option.

On the other hand, if you have several weeks or months to plan ahead, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your kitchen and find ways to improve it.

Consider your home selling timeline closely. That way, you can examine various home improvement projects and determine whether a kitchen renovation is a priority.

2. How much money do I have to complete a kitchen renovation?

A kitchen renovation can include everything from simple upgrades to a massive overhaul. As such, the costs associated with a kitchen renovation may vary.

Assess your home improvement budget and plan accordingly. If you have the funds available, you may be able to revamp your entire kitchen. However, if your financial resources are limited, you may need to consider cost-effective measures to enhance your kitchen.

Remember, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster your kitchen. Wiping down the walls and ceiling can help your kitchen dazzle. Meanwhile, repainting the kitchen walls and mopping the floors also provide simple, effective ways to improve your kitchen’s appearance without breaking your budget.

3. Is a kitchen renovation worth my time?

A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for home sellers who are on the fence about completing a kitchen renovation.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and provide a report that highlights your house’s strengths and weaknesses. This report can help you establish a price range for your home. In addition, the report may provide you with insights into whether a kitchen renovation may enable you to boost your home’s value.

Lastly, if you’re still uncertain about a kitchen renovation after a home appraisal, a real estate agent may be able to provide extra support.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home. Thus, he or she can evaluate your residence and help you decide whether a kitchen renovation is worth your time.

When it comes to a kitchen renovation, it is essential for home sellers to examine all of their options. Consider the aforementioned questions, and you should have no trouble determining if a kitchen renovation is right for you.

Outdoor DIY: How to Resurface Tabletops Using Concrete or Tile

Give new life to outdoor tabletops using concrete or tile – and liven up one of the most important parts of your home, your porch or patio. It is surprisingly easy to make over an existing table; in some cases, the base of a table remains in excellent shape, while the horizontal surface ages more swiftly. A tile or concrete finish allows you to use what you already have and to make a custom piece you’ll enjoy for years to come. While every project is different, the details below will help you get started with a concrete or tile makeover. 

Tile vs. Concrete – What’s the Difference? 

Tile and concrete will have the same basic costs and take the same amount of time to complete. The differences lie in the look of the final results; you may prefer the look of a single, impressive slab or an artistic, tile mosaic, or another version that may better fit your home. The final consideration is tools and experience. If you’ve already laid tile in a bathroom or kitchen, or have a tile saw and tools, then tile may be the right fit for your makeover. If you’ve made concrete stepping stones and other pieces for the yard, then you might be more comfortable with this material instead. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Tile

Make sure your tabletop is in decent shape and that there are not any large gaps or large areas of damage. Measure your tabletop and sketch out a design.  You can create an artistic rendering, a geometric pattern or simply place the tile in a line. Planning things out first ensures you know how much to buy and what to cut. For tables, the pre-cut pieces designed for borders and trim often work well, so a trip to the DIY store can help you determine more about your needs and preferences. 

Choose Your Tile & Gather Supplies

You’ll need a tile adhesive rated for outdoor use to secure the tiles. Layout the tiles on the table before securing to check the fit and look of your chosen design. When you are happy, glue the pieces into place with the adhesive. Work in small areas and allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours (cover the table with plastic if needed). 

Fill in the gaps between tiles with mortar rated for outdoor use, and allow to dry at least 48 hours before using the table. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Concrete

Concrete’s smooth surface comes from being poured, so you’ll need to prepare the table before you mix anything. Your table should be clean, dry and clear of any defects, though the concrete will fill in small holes and hide minor blemishes. 

Create an edge around the table using a product made for concrete. This temporary barrier will be removed at a later date, but will keep the concrete in place as it dries. You can find flexible edging designed for this purpose at a DIY store. 

Mix the concrete as indicated on the package, then pour or scoop onto the table, smoothing it out with a trowel as you go. Once the concrete begins to set, you can make any impressions or patterns you like, or simply let it dry and harden. Do not remove the edges until the concrete is fully dried. 

48 hours later, remove the edging and sand or touch up the table, then enjoy.

Concrete or tile? The choice is yours — either of these finishes will add years to the life of your table and ensure you create a piece that is uniquely yours. Allow yourself a weekend to tackle this project and wait for a sunny, comfortable day, as most parts need to be completed in place outdoors. 

 

Tax Breaks and Deductions Every New Homeowner Needs to Know About

Buying your first home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. But, it does come with its advantages. Among them are tax breaks and deductions that you can take advantage of to save money if you play your cards right.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the tax breaks and deductions that first-time homeowners should seek out this tax season to help them lower their tax bill.

Mortgage points

While earning points is a good thing on the basketball court, it can be a financial drain on a mortgage. Mortgage points are what buyers pay to the lender to secure their loan. They’re usually given as percentage points of the total loan amount.

If you pay these points with your closing costs, then they are deductible. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their IRS Form 1040 can typically deduct all of the points they paid in a year, with the exception of some high-income taxpayers whose itemized deductions are limited.

PMI costs

If you’re one of the many people who made a down payment of less than 20% on your home, odds are that you’re going to be stuck with PMI, or private mortgage insurance, until you pay off at least 20% of the loan balance.

The good news is that homebuyers who purchased their home in the year 2007 and after can deduct their PMI premiums. However, the state on premium insurance deductibles is something that frequently comes up in Congress, so homeowners should ensure that these deductions are still valid when filing their taxes.

Mortgage interest

Mortgage interest accounts for the biggest deduction for the average homeowner. When you receive your Form 1098 from your lender, you can deduct the total amount of interest you’ve paid during the year.

Property taxes

Another deductible that shouldn’t be overlooked by first-time buyers is local property taxes. Save the records for any property taxes you pay so that you can deduct them during tax season.

Home energy tax credits

Some states are offering generous tax credits for homeowners who make home improvements that save energy. There are a number of improvements you might qualify for, including things like insulation and roofs, as well as photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

IRA Withdrawals

Many first-time buyers withdraw from an IRA account to be able to make a larger down payment on their home or to pay for closing costs. In most other cases, withdrawing from an IRA will count as taxable income. However, if your IRA withdrawal is used toward a down payment or closing costs, the tax penalty is waived.

Keep these tax breaks and deductions in mind this tax season to help you save money and get a larger refund.