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Jutta "Utah" Burden

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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 521

Budget-Friendly Curb Appeal Upgrades

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Curb appeal is the first impression that any potential buyer receives, so you should ensure that the front of your home, from the curb to the front door, is in the best shape possible—even if you don't have the budget to splurge on huge upgrades and services. 

With these easy and cost-effective suggestions, you can improve the curb appeal of your home, while giving yourself a lovelier residence to enjoy right now.

Paint your front door
Giving your front door a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the overall appeal of your house. Make sure that it's a shade that contrasts with the color of the house so that it really pops. This makes a home feel more welcoming, not to mention more stylish and appealing.

Spice up your front porch
After painting your door, don't neglect your front porch. Add small, inexpensive luxuries like metal house numbers or other decorations. Make sure everything is spotless as well. Sparkling windows and a freshly swept porch make for a more welcoming home, and a more welcoming home often sells quickly.

Get your lawn in order
Tidying up your lawn is a given. Making sure it's spick-and-span, regardless of the season, is a great way to improve your curb appeal without spending too much money—or any money at all! An unkempt lawn can make the house seem less appealing overall, so before showings, make sure your lawn has been mowed and edged for a more professional appearance. Also, try to ensure that weeds are pulled. The healthier the lawn looks, the healthier the house looks.

Plant flowers
Having a garden with flowers can really make a home stick out in a buyer's mind. The pops of color can improve even the most immaculately manicured lawn, and a healthy garden can make any house feel more welcoming. It's an inexpensive way to improve your home's overall aesthetic.

Hose off the front of your home and sidewalks

No need to buy a pressure washer—your standard garden hose is usually sufficient to get most of the gunk and grime off your house. You want your house to be as clean as possible for potential buyers and guests.

Touch up your driveway
Repairing the cracks in your driveway can go a long way toward making your house more accessible in the mind of a buyer. Even superficial flaws such as driveway cracks can really sour someone's opinion of an otherwise beautiful house. And a smoother driveway is easier on your car's tires and suspension.

Implement these simple and cost-efficient ideas to help spruce up your home's exterior and attract potential buyers.  

The majority of homeowners choose to use a listing agent to assist them. Moreover, people who don’t use an agent often lose thousands of dollars on the deal. That said, not every listing agent is going to work as hard or know enough to get you a really good deal or even sell your house at all. How do you choose a good listing agent? Ask them these 4 questions.
 
1. What is the average price of the homes you have sold?
 
If you are looking to make a particular profit on the sale of your home, it matters whether or not your listing agent typically sells homes in that price range. For instance, if you are selling a luxury home but hiring a listing agent used to selling farmland, they may be out of their depth.
 
When choosing a listing agent, find out what the average price is of the homes they’ve sold. If they are in the ballpark for what you are looking for, you’re on the right track.
 
2. What is your marketing strategy?
 
The internet is littered with homes for sale and MLS sites for homebuyers to sift through. How you stand out from the crowd depends on your listing agent’s marketing strategy. However, not all listing agents have a good strategy that incorporates both online and mobile advertising with good old fashioned marketing.
 
Before you choose a listing agent, talk to them about their approach to marketing your property. Is it a strategy that would reel you in? Do they seem competent and capable of marketing your property to the best-suited audience? Be detailed and don’t be shy about asking them how they would market your home specifically.
 
3. How many homes have you sold this year?
 
A listing agent can have a knockout website, a killer pitch, and an outstanding market strategy, but how many deals have they closed? The reason homeowners choose to pay the commission to allow a listing agent to help them sell their homes is largely for their negotiating abilities.
 
If the listing agent you are thinking about choosing has all the bells and whistles but nothing to show for it, it’s only wise to ask about it. It could be that they are new agents or that they just left a brokerage to go it alone. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure that it’s not because they are bad negotiators.
 
4. Are you familiar with my neighborhood?
 
How well your listing agent markets your property depends on how well they can sell your neighborhood. Your home could be great but what about everything around it? Has the listing agent you are thinking about using even been in your neighborhood?
 
As you interview listing agents, make sure that they are familiar with the area. The more familiar they are, the more knowledgeable they should be about the local market and how best to advertise to potential buyers.

Homes for Sale Magnolia

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Homes for Sale Magnolia

Magnolia, Texas is the place to live in if you want the comforts of a country home and conveniences of a city lifestyle. Located in Montgomery County, Magnolia is close to Houston and residents enjoy all the amenities of the city. The town of Magnolia has experienced booming growth in recent years and homes in various shapes and styles have been built and this guarantees that whatever your style, you will find a home that meets your.

The town of Magnolia is full of history. In its early days, this was a small industrial town where sawmills was the main activity. Originally known as Mink, the town’s name was changed early in the twentieth century but the industrial past is still evident as a busy railroad is still in use in Magnolia.

The town has special appeal for horse owners and there are many outlets supplying stock feed and supplies and there are many horses for sale. If you are looking for a home that will accommodate not just you but also your horses, the one town where you can never go wrong is Magnolia. In Magnolia, the country and the city blend naturally.

If you are looking for the traditional single family home, you will find such a home in the Hidden Cove Drive, Magnolia. This magnificent home is one storied and has a fenced backyard. The home has three bedrooms and two baths, a kitchen that leads to the family room and a fireplace. Hidden Cove Drive is close to the Woodlands so as a resident here you will have access to all the facilities that the Woodlands is endowed with.

Horse owners will find their ideal home at Timber Oaks Court, Magnolia. These homes are built on close to seven acres of land which is vinyl fenced and has pastures and barns. The traditional single family home here has four bedrooms and three and a half baths plus a spacious kitchen.

On Monarch Oak Dr, Magnolia TX are many prime and newly constructed homes.  An example is a new construction on 1023 Monarch Oak Dr Magnolia, TX 77354. This single family home has three bedrooms and three baths and is built to allow for owner customization as much as possible. It has high ceilings and blinds for the rear door. This all-brick house has ceramic tiles and granite countertops. The kitchen is spacious and the outdoors allow for the creation of a flower garden.

The range of properties available for sale in Magnolia Texas is vast and every taste is catered for. Whether you are looking for a single family home or a Townhouse, you will find one in Magnolia. For this town which has a dual country and city complexion, there are also plenty of country homes, complete with facilities for horses. For the last category of homeowners, it should be gratifying to know that even vets are easy to find here. When you are looking for homes for sale Magnolia, always seek the services of a realtor who has experience selling homes in the area.

How to Choose the Right the Woodlands Realtor

by Jutta "Utah" Burden
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
by Jutta "Utah" Burden

How to Choose the right Woodlands Realtor

There has never been a better time to buy a home, provided you have the money to. The market is down and shows absolutely no sign of rising any time soon. Homes have been sitting on the market for months without a single buyer showing the slightest bit of interest. The only thing that could possibly help you make sense of all of this bedlam is a good the Woodlands realtor.

If you are looking to successfully sell your home, the first step is to pick a realtor that is right for you. You can primp and preen your house until the cows come home and you still won’t get far without a realtor. The problem arises, though, when it comes time to picking the right the Woodlands realtor. With so many available picking one may seem impossible; to help you through this difficult time however is this article. Read and learn.

Licensing and Membership: When you first start approaching realtors, the first thing you need to check is the state of their real estate license. The decent ones will possess fully active and updated licenses; you should be able to check this against whether they are a member of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and online listing database.

Education and Designation: It pays to be educated, especially in the realtor business. So, when looking around, it’s important to discover if they still regularly attend workshops and seminars. This will give them a much higher grasp of strategy and will enable them to put your home in the best possible light. If at all possible, go for brokers instead of agents, as brokers have to undergo more rigorous training to achieve their title.

Time Commitment: The amount of commitment a realtor has should also pay a factor in whether they are worth hiring or not. Full-time agents will be able to put in more effort in to presenting and selling your home - time that a part- time agent just doesn’t possess. It helps to see it in this light; would you rather sell your house part of the time, or all the time?

Reputation: Word-of-mouth is just as important as they say it is. Having a good reputation will speak volumes for the Woodlands realtor that you are thinking about selecting, so it never hurts to ask friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors if they have any suggestions. Chances are ,one or two people will have a recommendation and you can start your search from there. All of the training and licensing doesn’t necessarily make a good realtor, though. Instead, trust is the most important factor as you have to be able to trust them to sell your house; this is where a good reputation will come in.

Technology Savvy: This is the 21st century, the age of technology, insuring that your the Woodlands realtor is up with the times is essential in order to achieve maximum exposure for your house. The technology savvy realtors will be able to create web listings and social media sites in order to get the greatest benefits from this huge market.

You can always reach me on my cell 713-515-7847

TAX REFORM HIGHLIGHTS

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

The tax code hasn't been thoroughly reformed since 1986, but the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act impacts every facet of real estate. We'll touch on some of the key highlights here.

The advocacy of National Association of Realtors' (NAR) members, and consumers, bore fruit. The legislation will benefit many homeowners, homebuyers, real estate investors, and NAR members as a result. Two important wins include the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home, and preservation of the like-kind exchange for real property.
 

  • Most individual provisions take effect for the 2018 tax filing year and expire on December 31, 2025. 
  • The new legislation provides generally lower tax rates for individual tax filers. Not everyone will pay lower taxes, but the great majority will. The total size of the tax cut from the rate reductions equals more than $1.2 trillion over ten years. The tax rate schedule retains seven brackets with slightly lower marginal rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
  • The law keeps the  maximum previous rates on net capital gains (generally, 15% maximum rate; 20% for those in the highest tax bracket; 25% rate on “recapture” of depreciation from real property).
  • Exclusion of Gain on Sale of a Principal Residence: The new law keeps current provisions, so to qualify for a capital gains exclusion, homeowners must live in their home 2 out of the past 5 years. The Senate-passed bill proposed a change to 5 out of the past 8 years.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: The law reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans after 12/14/17. Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered in, and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap. 
  • The legislation repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through 12/31/25. Interest is still deductible on home equity loans (or second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  • Deduction for State and Local Taxes: The new tax law allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. This $10,000 limit applies for both single and married filers.
  • Standard Deduction: Standard deduction will be $12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns. By doubling the standard deduction, Congress has greatly reduced the value of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions as tax incentives for homeownership. Congressional estimates indicate that only 5-8% of filers will now be eligible to claim these deductions by itemizing, meaning there will be no tax differential between renting and owning for more than 90% of taxpayers.
  • Child Credit: The final bill increases the child tax credit to $2,000 from $1,000 and keeps the age limit at 16 and younger. The income phase-out to claim the child credit has grown from $55,000 single/$110,000 married under current law to $500,000 for all filers in the final bill.
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction: Current law remains, allowing deductibility of student loan debt up to $2,500, subject to income phase-outs. The House bill would have eliminated the deduction for interest on student loans.

Winter Home Staging Tips

5 Container Garden Designs

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Don't limit greenery in your home design to only your outdoor garden. Container gardens are the newest trend in home design that can be implemented just about anywhere in your home. Not only do container gardens add a touch of nature to your home, they also create unique and intricate designs that don't require a lot of maintenance. Take a look at these container garden designs to add to your home for spring.
 
Mint Chandelier
Grouping together different containers of mint plants will create a mint chandelier for just about anywhere in your home! The smell of mint is sure to give your home a feel of nature, you can snip the mint leaves to create a refreshing garnish for spring and summer drinks, and the chandelier keeps the herb within arm's reach!
 
Lush Succulents
Succulents are lush and striking but many are small, making them hard to notice and appreciate when planted in soil in the ground. By planting a mix of beautiful succulents in a hanging sphere, you can enjoy these beautiful plants in a new light. First, work from a wire form with soil, then press down each individual succulent into holes no deeper than the roots. You will need to make sure to hang the hanging sphere securely in a place where the spiky silhouettes and colors and textures can be enjoyed closely. As the new offshoots begin to grow, they should be pinned to the surface with a hairpin or bent paper clip to keep the tight, compact profile intact.
 
Fern Container
Take a trip to your local flea market and pick up a few old-fashioned milk pails to add greenery with rustic charm. Sword ferns can be placed in 10-inch pots inside the milk pail to give your kitchen or dining room a rustic look with a touch of green!
 
Modern Container
Purchase steel utility boxes from your local hardware store to create a sleek and modern container for your plants. You can select a range of shapes and sizes and turn them so that the side with holes is at the bottom and plant low-growing succulents, then top with gravel. To create a unique and exotic centerpiece, arrange several succulents in a tray full of grit.
 
Go for the Green
You can transform a run-down atrium, like Chip and Joanna Gaines did on the "Fixer Upper" television show, into a plant-centric greenhouse that is busting at the seams with herbs and other plant life. Line the walls of the atrium with cedar planters and white chalkboard labels to keep all of your rows recipe-ready.

7 Buying and Selling Secrets Before You Relocate

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

The secret to a successful relocation is timing. Good timing takes some advanced planning to put you in control. Here are 7 more relocation secrets to make your move a little less stressful. 

1. Sell First 
Ideally, you should sell your current home first in order to have all your financial resources available to purchase your next home. You want to avoid waiting until the closing on your new home forces you to sell your old home under the gun. Note that in some markets today, houses are moving so quickly that sellers will not even consider a contingency clause that postpones their sale until the buyer's home sells. Setting the right price for your home and having a customized marketing plan are your best bets for bringing about a quick sale. 

2. Find Out What You Can Afford
While your house is on the market, look at what's available to buy within your price range and in your desired location. Your perfect house is out there, but take as much time as you need to find it. You'll want to find out about the neighborhood, schools, proximity to shopping, etc. before you commit to your next home. 

3. Shop for a Loan Before You Shop for a House
Try to lock in the best rate you can find. Get pre-approved for financing so you have more bargaining power when you bid on a house. With a pre-approved loan, you'll be able to go to closing on your new house faster.

4. Coordinate Settlement and Moving Dates
Try to move directly from the old home to the new one. Sometimes you can rent back the old property for a few days or weeks if closing on the new one is delayed. Another alternative is to rent an interim apartment while you wait to close on the new house. 

5. Begin Fix-ups and Presale Improvements Early
Complete any repairs on your home before it goes on the market. Consider having a home inspection done early so that you know what needs repairing or replacing before you set the sale price for your house. 

6. Work Closely With Your Agent
Make sure every "i" is dotted and every "t" crossed on time for both closings. You may save your buyer time and money by referring him or her to the previous providers of inspections, surveys, title insurance, etc. The information is in your settlement papers. 

7. Avoid the Last-minute Rush
Call us early. We'll gather information and provide it to you quickly so you can make informed decisions and workable plans.

 

7 Quick Ways to Live Greener at Home

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Greening up your lifestyle at home is relatively simple when you take the time to consider choices. Two central approaches are reducing your energy consumption and reducing consumer byproducts, such as waste.
 
The bonus to living with greener habits is you could end up cutting your electric and grocery bills.
 
1. Clean green. Swap out chemical cleaning products for more eco-friendly versions. Look for cleaning agents like Simple Green and Mrs. Meyers, and similar ready-made concoctions that will put the shine back on your countertops without harmful side effects.
 
Simple Green is available in a few different strengths and is appropriate for just about any surface and level of cleaning. Save money by using this all-purpose formula to pretreat laundry, degrease your stove or remove grime from the bathtub.
 
Mrs. Meyers is also a natural cleaning combination and it comes in a variety of fragrances. It uses essential oils and vegetable protein extracts to cut through dirt and film. Because there is no chlorine in the mixture, you can spray the multisurface everyday cleaner on carpet, bedding and door handles without damaging anything.
 
Side note: Natural household staples are also good grime tacklers. For example, baking soda plus vinegar will help unclog a bathroom or garbage disposal drain. The combo produces a fizz that helps move along particles stuck in the pipes without damaging the metal or plastic plumbing.
 
2. Disconnect. Unplug chargers when you're not using them. Any appliance, lamp or device charger connected to an outlet will cause a phantom charge. It's a small amount of electricity, but that current is continuously engaged. 
 
3. Change the lights. LED lights reduce heat and energy consumption, and are now available in shades other than fluorescent terrible. That's not a color, just an opinion. Replacing daily-use lightbulbs with LED lights as the regular bulbs expire will help keep the room cooler, use less electricity and contribute to your efforts toward green living.
 
4. Reuse and repurpose. Recycle all that you can, and buy products made from recycled materials. Trash dumps are an ecological ordeal, and the less we contribute to the mountains of waste, the better off we all are.
 
5. Use the sun. Go solar when possible for accessories like outdoor lighting and decor. You'll save money on landscaping costs, materials, labor and electric bills when you choose solar lights over traditional electric lamps.
 
6. Change power habits. Buy rechargeable batteries and a good charger. Batteries are not biodegradable, but if you buy the right kind, they can be recharged repeatedly.

7. Be clever with appliances. Run heat-producing appliances at night during the summer and throughout the day (if possible) in the winter months. Clothes dryers and dishwashers use a lot of electricity and produce a lot of heat. Use those side effects to your advantage.

Getting Divorced And NOT Selling the House? Here’s What You Must Do

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

When you get divorced your home is often one asset that needs to be divvied out between the two sides. In many cases today, ex-spouses will continue to own their former homes together even after one has moved out.

This can make it tricky for the non-resident ex to qualify for the valuable capital gains exclusion when the house is eventually sold.

To avoid paying capital gains on the profit from a home sale, you typically have to live in the home for two out of the past five years. But if one ex lives elsewhere and the home is sold for a profit years later, the non-resident ex’s share of the home sale profit can be fully taxable. 

You can avoid this problem if you prepare beforehand. 

If you are the non-resident ex, insist the divorce papers state that, as a condition of the divorce agreement, your former spouse may continue to live in the home until the children leave for college or for any other agreed amount of time. Once the agreed upon time to sell the home is reached, the home will be sold (or your ex-spouse can buy out your portion). 

The use of this language allows the non-resident ex to earn “credit” for the continued use of the property. This way the non-resident ex will likely still pass the two-out-of-five-years use test, qualifying them for the $250,000 capital gain exclusion privilege. 

It’s the little things that may be overlooked that can end up making the difference in situations like this. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me and I will help you out in any way that I can. 

Tax laws and tax rules are constantly being updated and interpreted. This article contains general information, so please discuss your individual situation with a trusted tax adviser before making tax decisions.

6 Ways to Incorporate the Farmhouse Style in Your Kitchen

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Farmhouse-style kitchens have long been popular, borrowing from styles that go back to the 19th century. Their simple beauty and functionality make them a great choice for busy families all over the world. Your farmhouse kitchen can be French- or Tuscan-inspired, or it can trend more toward an American prairie feel. From classy to rustic, the farmhouse kitchen can be adjusted to suit any style. Read on to learn some of the staples of the farmhouse kitchen.
 
Pastoral paintings. While it may or may not actually include cows, the artwork found in many farmhouse kitchens includes livestock, peaceful country landscapes or a combination of the two. Even if you live in the middle of a city, a painting of a farmyard can help create the farmhouse impression that you're going for.

White-painted cabinets. Nothing says farmhouse kitchen like white cabinets with metallic fixtures. One benefit of white cabinetry is that it is simple enough to go with almost anything, which means that intricate handles and hinges or complex molding can be incorporated seamlessly into your kitchen.

Farmhouse sink. One of the defining characteristics of a farmhouse kitchen is a farmhouse sink — defined as being large enough to bathe a baby in. These oversize sinks often have an "apron" that sticks out a bit farther than the edge of the countertop. While you may not actually be giving a baby a bath in your kitchen sink, this extra overhang offers plenty of space for all the cooking and canning that you might aspire to do in a farmhouse.

Countertop display. When storing baking ingredients on your countertops, consider using mason jars or large, glass canisters. This is a functional as well as an aesthetic choice — see-through containers are more practical when you are taking stock of your pantry.

Open shelving. On a similar note, open shelving or cabinets with glass fronts offer a great balance of style and practicality. The visible stacks of clean dishes can help give the illusion that you are ready for company to come over and eat. This is a throwback to the time when nearly all kitchens had open shelving, but this design element can help give your kitchen the historically rustic feel you desire.

Large central island. The farmhouse kitchen is a gathering place for the family, so it would stand to reason that you need plenty of places to sit. An island with a breakfast bar fits that bill perfectly. A large kitchen island also has the added bonus of providing extra counter space on the days when you are cooking large meals or freezing foods for later use.  

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 521

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