Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 10/15/2017

You've driven by countless times and always admired this house and it's beautiful setting. Now this coveted spot is available for purchase! Imagine sitting on your front porch and watching the world go by. On a relaxing weekend, take a walk to Weir Hill or the Stevens Estate to explore the beautiful trails and grounds. During the week, kids can walk to local schools and social activities. Privacy abounds in this beautiful cape built by renowned local builder with your choice of first or second floor master suites. Amazing two story foyer with bridal staircase welcomes you into this beautiful home. Expansive fireplaced great room offers lots of space for entertaining and cheering on your favorite teams. Spacious open kitchen/family room make it easy to interact with your guests while putting together holiday meals and parties. Bonus room in lower level is great for kids and grownups alike. You can't beat the location and this amazing opportunity won't last for long!

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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 10/15/2017

What an opportunity to live in the coveted Bear Hill neighborhood where you will be part of great trick or treating, Labor Day cookouts, holiday parties and walks to Smolak Farm. This well cared for home offers great space for gathering all of your family and friends. Expansive eat in kitchen opens to fireplaced family room with skylight where you can easily entertain and interact with your guests while cooking. Picture Thanksgiving dinner in your well proportioned dining room and then retiring to your fireplaced front to back living room. Fireplaces in both the family and living rooms offer many options for cozy winter nights. First floor office is a great spot for getting work done at home.Nice playroom in finished lower level. Oversized deck overlooks tree lined private backyard where you can watch nature and relax or host family games. Nice fenced area for pets as well. This home has been lovingly maintained by the same family for many years and is ready for you to make it your own

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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 10/13/2017

You have probably been claiming the standard deduction on your taxes up until the time you bought a home. Now that youíre a homeowner, you may want to start itemizing your deductions. Your property investment will help you to start saving money in a new way. There are many different kinds of tax breaks that are available to you. Hereís the breakdown of some of the best deductions:  


Mortgage Interest Deductions


Many times, the biggest tax break comes from deducting mortgage interest. As a homeowner, youíre able to deduct interest on up to $1 million worth of debt that was used to purchase or make improvements to your home. Each January, your lender will send you whatís called a form 1098. This lists the mortgage interest that you paid during the previous year. The form should include the amount of interest that you paid from the date you closed on the home through the end of year. 


Real Estate Tax Deductions


Youíre able to deduct the local property taxes that you pay each year from your April tax forms as well. If you pay your property taxes through an escrow account, youíll receive a statement from your lender. If you happen to pay your taxes directly, however, youíll need to keep good records. You may have also reimbursed the seller for taxes that were paid on the home in the year you purchased it. This can be be included on your real estate tax deduction form. Payments into your escrow account cannot be deducted, as these are just set aside for future tax payments. 


Mortgage Insurance Premiums Can Be Deducted 


If you make a down payment thatís less than 20% of the home purchase price, you may have to pay monthly premiums for mortgage insurance. This is an extra fee that protects the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. The good news is that these premiums are tax deductible. 


Home Improvement Projects May Be Deductible


You should save your receipts for all of the home improvements that you make throughout the year. This can be anything from windows to landscaping to new energy efficient heating systems. While you may not be able to make these deductions right away, if you make a large profit when you sell your home, the IRS could tax you. Youíll want these deductions available to you if this happens to save money.   


Energy Saving Homes Get Deductions Too 


Any energy saving home improvements that you make can give you an additional tax break. You can earn tax credits worth up to $500. Tax credits are more valuable than deductions since credits actually reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar. Other improvements work on a percentage-credit based on the cost of the improvements and the type of project that was done.        




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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 10/6/2017

Little takes the luster out of a house like stale, drab colors. To keep a house feeling vibrant, even white, beige and off white walls need to be touched up. Painting your walls a new color is one way to add more zest to your home. But, painting the interior of your house takes lots of time.

Expensive and inexpensive steps to a more colorful home

You generally need to set aside five to six hours to paint a standard size room, and that's if you're a professional painter. Fortunately, there's a less time consuming path to a colorful  home. Artwork that's rich with color blasts is one way. Yet, artwork, especially original pieces that increase in value over time, start at several hundred dollars.

Color rich silk flowers is a third, less expensive and less time consuming path to a more colorful home. Have guests visiting in a few hours or one to two days? You could get silk flowers from your local department store. Choose an arrangement if you don't have experience creating eye popping floral arrangements.

Regarding color and design, here are a few tips to consider while shopping for beautiful silk flowers:

  • Go with floral arrangements that highlight outdoor seasons. For example, during spring, you can get silk flower arrangements that are rich with pinks, greens, whites and yellows. You could go with more greens, blues, purples and reds during autumn and winter.
  • Pay attention to lesser seen flowers. In other words, don't always go for roses and tulips. Carnations, buttercups, daffodil and amaryllis work wonders.
  • Opt for a vase that has the texture and design that sets off the flowers, the furniture and artwork at your house.
  • Clean silk floral arrangements twice a year, at the least before you store arrangements that are no longer in season. Regular cleanings keep colors in silk flowers vibrant.
  • Narrow to mid-size vases work well on end tables while long, broad vases fit well across coffee tables.
  • Wooden vases give silk flowers a greater natural look and feel.
  • Check out floral wholesale shops if you're feeling creative and want to design your own silk floral arrangement. You could also work with an online creative to get a customized arrangement. It might surprise you how much a customized colorful silk floral arrangement adds to your home, especially if you or a friend create the arrangement.
  • Don't feel pressed to add green stems to silk floral arrangements. Lack of green can create a more empowering color blasts.

Place a colorful arrangement in each room of your house, adding a different color to each room. You, your entire family and guests will appreciate it. After all, the human eye can detect about 10 million colors. Each color can affect how a person feels.

Be open to adding two to three or more new colors to your house each year. You'll have more options if you focus on color tones. Light blues, medium purples and spicy reds are only a start.




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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 9/29/2017

Thereís so much to consider when to comes to buying a new home. The first issue is that of your finances. You need to make sure that youíre preparing financially for the home search, and not just making your list of ďwantsĒ for a new home. Itís an exciting time when youíre purchasing your first home, but donít let the excitement overtake your responsibility. Hereís some tips to keep you on the financial straight and narrow path when preparing to buy a home: Be Mindful Of Your Credit Score Thereís many factors that can affect your credit score. Applying for new credit cards is one of those factors. Your credit score will drop a few points every time you have a new credit inquiry or open a new account. If you do get approved for new credit, lenders may have concerns that youíll spend up maxing out your new approved credit limit on that account and possibly default on your loan. Closing credit accounts is another factor that greatly affects your credit score. You may think that closing unused accounts is a good idea to help get yourself financially ready for becoming a homeowner. This isnít true. Closing accounts lowers your amount of overall available credit. This means that your debt-to-credit ratio is larger. This lowers your overall credit score. You can certainly make these smart financial changes after you close on your new home. Keep Records When you move your money around, make sure you have records of it. Your lender will want to know about any unusual deposits and withdrawals. Youíll need to prove where your money comes from. All of the cash that youíll be using for your home purchase should be in one account before you apply for a mortgage. Keep Up With Your Bills Donít increase your debt. This will have an affect on the very important debt-to-income ratio which is one of the most vital aspects of loan approval. Also, be sure that you donít skip your payments on bills. Your history of payments is incredibly important as well. Be sure that you continue to make full, on-time payments on all of your bills. Keep Your Job Even though a new job could mean a raise, or a better situation for you and your family, it could delay you in getting a mortgage. Youíll need to have your employment verified along with pay stubs to prove your source of income. Lenders like to see a longer employment history. Keep Saving The biggest up front costs in buying a home is that of closing costs and the down payment. Those must be paid at the time of closing. Lenders may even verify that your savings is on hand. Keep saving steadily and be sure to keep your savings in place.