Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1.Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2.Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3.Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4.Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5.Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6.Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7.Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8.Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9.Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10.Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11.Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12.Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13.Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14.Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15.Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16.Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17.Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18.Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

ttp://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-sellers/simple-tips-for-better-home-showings

Here are some simple tips to help you with tax season.

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes” and come this April, the citizens of our country will be hustling to get their taxes done on time. Tax season doesn’t have to totally stress you out every year. Proper planning and the right attention to details, you can be done before that “famous” day gets here. Here are some tips on how to “keep calm and keep moving,” while avoiding headaches during this hectic time.

1. It’s the 21st Century – E-File
E-filing is one of the best routes to take when doing your taxes on your own. In the US, there’s Turbo Tax and in Canada there’s EFILE. In both cases, you can get professional input on some of your burning questions. It also saves a tremendous amount of time – and you can save a tree or two in the process.

2. Pay attention to your exemptions
Exemptions are the government’s way of giving a little back to the hardworking citizens of our country. If you’re married, have children, or are a contributing member of society you qualify for exemptions, you can save thousands of dollars.

3. Be sure to file the proper status
Your status when filing is extremely important to the Government. It lets the taxman determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for credits and deductions, and your correct tax rate. Filing under the improper status could cost you thousands of dollars in improper taxes and even keep you from getting the proper deductions.

4. Learn from Last Year
Mistakes become less painful when we don’t repeat them. A quick look at last year’s tax documents will ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities that you may be missing. Each year’s tax paperwork leaves clues and you should use them to ensure that you don’t miss an important deduction, or worse, pay more than you’re supposed to.

5. Deductions are your friends!
Like exemptions, deductions are the Governments way of reducing your total taxable income. Your filing status and your type of employment govern what deductions are allowed under the law. Be sure you are aware of every deduction available to you when you file by checking www.irs.gov for those in the United States and www.cra-arc.gc.ca in Canada. Even a little bit of research could save you money.
While this list is certainly not all-inclusive of year-end tax planning strategies available, you should check with a tax professional regarding your own, personal situation. A little planning can go a long way in helping you save money. Please note that the information provided here is not intended as tax advice.

CLEAR LEADERS: remax.com was the most visited U.S. real estate franchise website in 2012.

Averaging more than 4 million consumer visits a month, remax.com remained the most visited U.S. real estate franchise website in 2012. And that’s good news for RE/MAX agents who have received more than 12 million free leads from the site since 2006.
Data provided by Experian Hitwise shows that remax.com attracted 52.5 million visits – nearly 28 percent more than the nearest competitor, century21.com, and more than twice as many as fifth-place kw.com.

The remax.com traffic was up nearly 6 percent over 2011 when it also outdistanced all other U.S. real estate franchise websites.

Clear Leaders

Consumer visits to remax.com are bolstered by RE/MAX advertising, principally on TV. The visits, in turn, generate free leads for RE/MAX agents that are distributed through LeadStreet.

Since Hitwise introduced the total-visits metric in November 2009, remax.com has been No. 1 among real estate franchise websites 36 of 38 months through Jan., 2013. Experian Hitwise has the world’s largest sample of online consumer behavioral and search intelligence, and monitors more than 10 million U.S. users.

RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.

How did February only get 28 days?

How did February only get 28 days?

Seems unfair, doesn’t it? Every other month in the calendar has 30 or 31 days and February gets a measly 28…at least 2 days shorter than all the other months.
As a child you may have heard this rhyme to help you remember which months had which number of days, too, to remind you that February only had 28 days: Thirty days hath September, April, June and November; February has twenty eight alone all the rest have thirty-one except in Leap Year, that’s the time when February’s Days are twenty-nine.
Nonetheless, it’s always been a bit puzzling to us, so we decided to do some research for you and pass it along. Oddly enough, the answer is way longer than you would think and it’s the subject of this week’s Monday Morning Mojo.
Makes for fun reading and…good trivia for you trivia buffs.

As you may know, there are lots of groups that claimed their own calendars for use in their daily lives. The Romans, Mayans, Aztecs, and Hindi all relied on their own version of how the days, weeks and months of the year should pass.
The gold standard used today is the Gregorian calendar and it is the “gold standard” used for civil purposes almost everywhere.
How the calendar we use today ended up the way it is as we know it is explained very well in this article from Slate online magazine.

Enjoy:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/02/28_days.html