Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Time Homebuyers

Tax time is here. If you've purchased your first home in 2009 and qualify for the first time homebuyer tax credit, you'll need IRS form 5405 to accompany your taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service has just issued its first formal guidelines for you.

Wait until later this month when the agency publishes its revised Form 5405 with the key instructions needed to get you a check from the government.

Download IRS Form 5405 in pdf at

The forthcoming version of the form will incorporate the major changes to the tax credit program made by Congress in legislation signed by President Obama on Nov. 6. These include expanded income limits, a cap on home prices, additional documentation requirements and prohibitions against claims by dependents.

In a tax bulletin issued just before Thanksgiving, the IRS emphasized that all home purchasers after Nov. 6 "must use this new version [of Form 5405] to claim the credit." Put another way: If you send in the old version -- the one you can currently download from the agency's website, -- your request for the credit will probably go nowhere.

Then again, you may want your tax advisor to handle all this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BRRRR it's cold outside.

Not the weather to want to make you get outside and do any exterior maintenance on your home, but...

When a buyer purchases a home they find by using me, I try to give them information that will help them keep their home values up. One thing I mention is to allot fundsd to do the maintenance all homes will require. A good rule of thumb is 1% of the cost of the home each year to savings for home maintenance or maintenance in general.

One of the home inspectors I recommend, Legacy Home Inspections, sent their newsletter to me with a January maintenance list that comes from so here is their January maintenance list for you!

Home Maintenance Tasks: January

Organize your home improvement files. Review warranties and product manuals to check on recommended maintenance for furnaces, equipment, appliances and tools. Mark your calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.

Inspect furniture, cabinets and vanities for loose knobs, pulls and hinges. Tighten or repair as necessary. Lubricate squeaky door hinges with lightweight machine oil. Free sticky doors by trimming edges or shimming hinges with thin pieces of cardboard.

Fix squeaks in floors and stairs by applying weight to the area (having a partner stand on it works) and driving an 8d or 12d galvanized finish nail through the flooring into a floor joist or stringer. If you have access to the floor from underneath, glue and screw backs to the floor or treads and to the joist or stringer.

Look for bargains on discontinued appliances and tools. Before buying, make sure that warranties are valid. Make a room-by-room inventory of everything in your house.

In the event of fire, flood or other disaster, it will be important in filing an insurance claim. Photographs or video of your possessions can also be helpful.

Don't close vents to crawl spaces. If you live where pipes can freeze and the floor becomes very cold, insulate pipes and under the floor. Vents play an important role in contolling condesation beneath a house. Learn more about preventing frozen pipes...

Double-check insulation around exterior pipes that are exposed to freezing weather to be certain that water cannot seep under the insulation.

Provided by

Friday, January 1, 2010

Movies for Grownups

This New Year's Day Harry and I went to see "It's Complicated". Don't let any negative reviews deter you from seeing this one. We both agreed it was a good comedy about adults, none of the juvenile bathroom jokes and canaille one can see in many comedies.
Lots to laugh about, no tragedies to contend with, just adult issues. Plenty of humor with this one, well worth the ticket price. Not too sure about the concession stand price, but go see the movie.