8 Things You Should Never Say to a Contractor

Ready to revamp your kitchen or finally add on that deck you’ve been dreaming about since last winter? Unless you’re going the do-it-yourself route, you’ll need a contractor—one with whom you can have a solid working relationship. You’ll need someone you can rely on, a good communicator who can keep your project on track. You’ll be hashing out specific details and having to make tough decisions together, so hiring someone you feel comfortable with is key. But if you really want to make sure things go smoothly, don’t blurt out everything that comes to mind, and certainly not one of these eight phrases.

Make sure you know what not to say—and how to set up your next home improvement project for success.

Should You Hire an Architect?

If your house is about to go through a major construction project, you’ll need some helping hands. You may already have a contractor in mind, but is that the only pro you need to hire? Depending on the project, you may also need to hire an architect.

But hiring an architect is not a small cost to consider. In fact, according to ImproveNet, the average cost of an architect is nearly $5,000, which, for most people, is a significant amount of their project budget.

So is an architect worth all that money? And how do you know if you can get by without one? We turned to the experts to find out.

Read more HERE.

How To Hire a Home Builder

Building a home is a huge investment of time and money. The exciting part: You’ll get exactly what you want in your dream home. But building something from nothing can also become a terrifyingly messy process if you aren’t prepared.

The upshot is, you need to hire the right builder so your project goes as smoothly as possible.

An experienced homebuilder will help you every step of the way—from planning the design, coordinating with an architect, handling permitting, and helping you set a budget to keeping the project on track. But how do you find this key team player?

Read more HERE.

Tax Deductions on Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

Do you have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC)? Homeowners often tap their home equity for some quick cash, using their property as collateral. But before doing so, you need to understand how this debt will be treated come tax season.

With the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the rules of home equity debt changed dramatically. Here’s what you need to know about home equity loan taxes when you file this year.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

You may recall the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—the most substantial overhaul to the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years—went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The result was likely a big change to your taxes, especially the tax perks of homeownership.

Whatever questions you have, look no further than this complete guide to all the tax benefits of owning a home, where we run down all the tax breaks homeowners should be aware of when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021.

Read on to make sure you aren’t missing anything that could save you money!

Did You Skip Mortgage Payments Last Year?

In March, as COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on the job market and caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs as businesses shuttered, federal lawmakers and regulators took the extraordinary step of extending forbearance to mortgage borrowers. Being in forbearance allowed homeowners to pause making their monthly mortgage payments — originally, borrowers could request up to 12 months of forbearance, though that was recently extended to 15 months.

Whether you’re still in forbearance now or resumed making monthly payments at some point in the past year, there could be implications for your taxes, especially if you plan to claim the mortgage interest deduction.

Read more HERE.

Questions To Ask Your Partner Before Buying a House Together

If you’re hoping to buy a house with your significant other, it can be easy to get caught up in the fun stuff, like deciding the style of home you’d love (Victorian, midcentury modern, Cape Cod?) and finding the perfect neighborhood (downtown or middle of the woods?).

It’s a cliche among successful couples that communication is key, and that’s especially true if you’re planning to buy a house together. So before you get too serious and start poring through real estate listings, pop these four questions first.

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