Tax Benefits of Home Ownership

The deductions you’re eligible to take for mortgage interest, property taxes and other deductions greatly increase the financial tax benefits of home ownership.

Mortgage Deductions

Here’s how it works.
$ 9,877 = Mortgage interest paid (a loan of $150,000 for 30 years @ 7%, using year-five interest)
$ 2,700 = Property taxes (at 1.5% on $180,000 assessed value)
$12,577 = Total deduction

Then, multiply your total deduction by your tax rate.
For example, at a 28% tax rate:
12,577 x 0.28 = $3,521.56
$3,521.56 = Amount you have lowered your federal income tax (at 28% tax rate)
Note: Mortgage interest may not be deductible on loans over $1.1 million. In addition, deductions are decreased
when total income reaches a certain level.

Other benefits

AppliancesEnergy Credits

Some home appliances are eligible for tax credits according to the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010. Appliances that may be eligible include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Clothes washers
  • Refrigerators

You should refer to the IRS document.


Energy STAR Credits

The Energy STAR credits vary depending on the category.  Here is a basic breakdown from the government website:


  • Biomass Stoves
  • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (Metal & Asphalt)
  • Water Heaters (non-solar)
  • Windows & Doors
Tax Credit:
10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50–$300
December 31, 2013
Must be an existing home & your principal residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify.


The following applies to the 3 product categories below:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Small Wind Turbines (Residential)
  • Solar Energy Systems
Tax Credit:
30% of cost with no upper limit
December 31, 2016
Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.


The following applies to the single product category below:

  • Fuel Cells (Residential Fuel Cell and Microturbine System)
Tax Credit:
Credit Details: 30% of the cost, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity
December 31, 2016
Existing homes & new construction qualify. Must be your principal residence. Rentals and second homes do not qualify.


First Time Homebuyer Credit

The IRS offers a tool to help you determine your eligibility, and can be accessed here.





An Organized Pantry Sells | Real Estate in Acworth GA

Your kitchen’s pantry deserves a day all to itself. And knowing real estate in Acworth GA, even a big kitchen needs an organized pantry to impress potential buyers. We want your pantry to look huge and, yes, inviting. If your house is all about making small spaces work, get creative with your pantry.

Some houses have big walk-in pantries, while others have a single door linen closet size pantry. Still other houses have a bank of cupboards that are used for food storage. You may even split your pantry between food items and other necessary kitchenware, even brooms and mops. Whatever your kitchen offers, the buyer wants to see the potential. You have two objectives here, so you really need to dig in up to your elbows with this task. Get ready for a full day.

Your Assignment

If you have more than one kitchen pantry, just pick one to start with. Get out your sturdy boxes, bins, and your garbage can. Open your pantry and start by taking everything off the shelves. Do this methodically, taking one item off the shelf, decide if it’s edible, then either put it in a box to keep or throw it out. In this process you may run into food items that you will never eat, but that are perfectly fine. Label one box for charity and put those items in there.

Once you have sorted your food items into boxes, fill a bucket with clean water and gentle soap. Wipe down all the shelves, walls, and the doors. Now, with a dry or slightly damp clean cloth, pick each item you are keeping out of the box, wipe it off, and set it in the pantry. But, keep in mind your end result.

Imagine you are creating a display at the local supermarket. Group like items together and leave space between the groups. Line up all the cans so that the labels face the same way. If you have some attractive containers, fill those with your pasta rather than having half filled bags with twist ties. Smaller items should be grouped in nice baskets or decorative containers. And make sure there are absolutely no food items on the floor. That immediately tells your potential buyer that you don’t have enough room on the shelves. Don’t let your pantry spill over into your kitchen anywhere.

Remember, you are trying to make your pantry look roomy. It should appear there is plenty of room to fill when a new owner moves in. Putting everything in neat rows, consolidating small items, and having everything shiny clean will help give the buyer a ‘fresh’ look at your kitchen’s pantry.

If you have an area in your kitchen that you store cleaning or paper items in, be sure to separate that from the food. Think about investing in a hanging system for the broom and mop, and storage systems for paper products like aluminum foil, plastic wrap, spare plastic bags, or other necessities.

And don’t forget those appliances that you won’t be using any time soon. Get that pasta maker, ice cream machine, and bread maker out of the pantry and into a box to be stored. Remember, if your pantry looks crowded, it tells the buyer there isn’t enough room! You want your pantry to have lots and lots of air space.

Your pantry can be pretty, too. If you have a walk-in pantry, for instance, think about hanging artwork on the back wall. Your pantry shelves can be pretty, too. Purchase five or six bottles of sparkling water. Buy some pretty oils and vinegars (but only if you would actually use them.) Think of your pantry as a little jewel box to show off your delicious food. You want your pantry to be remembered; not just for how clean it is, but for something intangible, perhaps. You want a buyer to walk into every other house thinking, “This is okay, but that one pantry we saw was so cute and so roomy.” That’s your pantry they’ll be talking about, but only if you do the work.

Your kitchen’s appearance starts from the inside out. The things a buyer will remember about your kitchen begins with a feeling – a feeling of space and quality. If your pantry stands out in these ways, that potential buyer will be haunted by it, and that’s what you want.

This was a big task, I know. But, as you see the house shape up, you’ll gain momentum each day. 

Next Steps

This article is one day of our 30 Days to Staging Your Home For Sale book, which we offer to our listing clients. If you are ready to list your house for sale, we would be happy to help.

Benefits of Home Ownership in Dallas GA

The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your future. The benefits of home ownership in Dallas GA, or anywhere are plentiful. Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families.

Home ContractOne of the most profitable markets in real estate is rentals, which means that many families are paying to live in a home that isn’t their own. In some cases, renting a home is necessary. For all others, the money that would be spent on rent could instead be used to pay a mortgage. In fact, monthly rent payments often exceed that of a typical mortgage payment. One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is putting money into something that you can call your own and knowing that the monthly payments are going toward your home’s equity. 

Speaking of equity, many properties experience a growth in value as more development moves into the area or the economy strengthens through an increase in job opportunities. If this happens, home values soar and owners can bask in the glory of their newfound profit. When you purchase a new car, it depreciates the moment that you drive off of the lot. When you buy a home, however, it has the potential to appreciate year after year. There are few things in life that can offer you a return above and beyond your original purchase price, but a home can.

Benefits of home ownership


When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner. In addition, you may even be able to use your home’s equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs. In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home. An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value.

Tax Benefits

Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available. The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible. For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional.

Credit Rating

In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.

What’s next

Click here to start looking for your home in Dallas GA. Then call us, we’ll be happy to turn your American dream into a reality! 

Five Things You Should Put In Storage While Selling Your Home

When your home is on the market but you are still living there, you can’t very well make it a model show home. Still, there are a few things you should think about putting in storage while selling your home in order to make it as appealing as possible to buyers. Here are the top five things you should consider putting out of sight.

Excess Family Photos & Personal Items

Buyers want to picture themselves in the house, and a slew of family photos hung all over the place can make that difficult. If all they can see is you and your family, they won’t be able to easily envision their own family there. You should also look around for personal items, i.e., religious items, collectibles, etc. While these things are important to you, they are personal to you and may create a barrier for a potential buyer to envision themselves in your home.

Your Liquor Cabinet

A nice wine rack or a few bottles displayed near the wet bar are fine, but if you keep a lot of liquor in the house put it somewhere out of sight. While it may seem illogical, buyers who share different lifestyle views might be put off by it.

Your Pet’s Toys

Chewed up tennis balls, smelly stuffed animals, and half-digested bones are part of life with a dog, but people coming to see your house will find it unattractive. It will also tell them your pet has the run of the house, and they will wonder what damage might have been done.

Signs Of Repairs

Put away the plunger and similar items when you are selling. It will prevent buyers from wondering if something is wrong with the plumbing, even if you only keep it around as a precaution.

Storage boxesAnything That Clutters A Room

So the extra bedroom is used as an office/exercise room/guest bedroom? Versatility is great, but all that stuff in there will just look like there isn’t enough space in the house for everything you-or a buyer-needs. Get rid of the exercise equipment and the desk, and leave the guest bed. Extra bedrooms are more of a selling point than an office or exercise room.

It might be annoying to have to put some of your personal items away while you sell your home, but it can mean a faster sale and a larger profit. Buyers need to see a home as a place where they can live, not the place where you live.

Next Steps

If you find preparing your home for sale overwhelming, you can check our resource directory for a professional organizer that might be able to help you. And when you are ready to list your home, please let us know.


What Is A Lockbox? | Selling Your Home In Dallas GA

When a homeowner lists their house with a real estate agent, they may choose to store their house keys in the lockbox for easy access in showing their home.  In fact, these handy accessories have all but replaced the need to keep a key under the mat.  And not to mention, they are a lot more effective and secure.

Why real estate agent use lockboxes

It’s no surprise that real estate agents like to sell houses, but they wouldn’t be in business for long if the homes they show were to be vandalized or illegally accessed by an unlawful individual.  A lockbox works to prevent anyone, other than approved real estate agents, from being granted access into the home.  Not only does it allow the real estate agent to be more effective in showing homes, but it also gives the owner some added peace of mind in knowing that their home is being protected. Newer technology also helps to update real estate agents and sellers with showing alerts, mobile productivity tools, and listing activity reports. This new technology is called an eKey, and replaces the older model lockboxes. With eKEY, your real estate agent’s smartphone becomes their key to access listing properties. 

The Cost

Lockboxes vary in price according to the unit itself.  Depending on your agent, you may be required to purchase a unit if you prefer a specific type of lockbox for a real estate agent to use when showing your home to potential buyers.  In other instances, the real estate agent will provide the lockbox free of charge.  The best way to know for sure is to ask your real estate agent about their policy relating to lockboxes and what, if any, cost will apply to its use.

Lockbox Safety

When it comes to protecting any vacant home, careful planning is a must.  Many experts and homeowners alike believe that having a lockbox alone will not protect the home, but rather the unit together with proper placement would be the better combination for optimal security.  Most real estate agents recommend placing the lockbox in an area that’s concealed, one that’s not obvious at first glance, as opposed to leaving it in plain sight.  Some may prefer to leave the lockbox near the entrance of the home because, after all, how many burglars would ever walk right up to the front door? 

Now that you know where to place the lockbox, you need to know where not to place it.  Never choose a location that’s far from the home or is inconvenient for the real estate agent to access.  In order to show your house to potential buyers, your real estate agent needs to be able to get in the door and it’s not likely that they will be thrilled at the prospect of wading through an overgrown lawn, reaching blindly into a flower garden or sliding through the mud just to find your house key.

Next Steps

If you are ready to sell your home, let us know. We would be more than happy to help you.

Selling Your Home In The Winter In Dallas GA

Staging your home for a quick sale can be a time consuming and stressful task, which becomes even more difficult during the winter months. Not only do you have to contend with other homes on the market, and numerous buyers, but the weather can present a problem in terms of access to the home and the cleanliness of the interior. While this may not be a big deal in some areas like Arizona and Florida where they do not have to contend with snow and ice, here in northwestern Georgia, it can be a challenge. In order to ensure your home shows to its full capacity during the winter months, here are some tips.

Exterior Tips

Access to a home is crucial during the winter. Sidewalks and driveways can easily become dangerous areas since ice and snow can turn even the nicest yard into a skating rink. Depending on the weather, it can be a daily task to ensure that the driveways and walkways are clear and safe. Keep a good supply of rock salt or another de-icing agent on hand. The last thing you want is a prospective buyer to slip on their way to the door. Remember if people have to trudge through knee deep snow (not likely in our area, but it can happen) to reach your front door, it won’t look good for you as a seller. Keep the driveway shoveled and de-iced at all times. Its also a good idea to clear snow off the eaves and edges of the roof. Make sure there are no dangers to the visitors to your home. 

Interior Tips

Keeping the inside of a home clean while the weather is cold, icy and/or snowy presents a different challenge. This is compounded if your home is a popular showing. With numerous people coming in during a day, it is a great idea to have plastic shoe covers to help stop the problem of snow and dirt getting tracked into your home. During the cold months is a great idea to keep the house warm and inviting. If you have a fireplace, light it. The ambience and warmth will help visitors to stay longer and explore all that your home has to offer. Ideally you would like your home to be as inviting and interesting as possible. The winter months give a homeowner the opportunity to showcase their homes during the dreary winter weather. It’s a chance to turn your home into a winter palace that will interest buyers from the moment they see it.

Next steps

If you are considering selling your home during the winter months, please let us know. We would be happy to help you.

New Year’s Eve Decorating Ideas

On December 31 of every year, the world celebrates New Year’s Eve, sometimes with unique decorating ideas.  Resolutions for the coming year, the feeling of a fresh start and the notion that anything is possible are all common as another year approaches.  Because this day is so special to many around the nation, it’s often celebrated with a party.  And what party would be complete without the proper decorations?  Here are some ways to make your New Year’s Eve celebration fittingly festive:

Do You Have The Time?

A New Year’s Eve celebration would not be complete without a clock.  After all, the evening’s events all lead up to one great countdown that rings in the New Year, so make sure that your party features a large clock that’s big enough for every guest to see from a distance.  It should have an hour, minute and second hand so that you can host your own countdown to the New Year with everyone present.

Ring In The New Year Everywhere

Depending on where you are, it may be possible to watch live televised coverage of others as they ring in the New Year before you.  For instance, those located on the west coast or even in the central states can watch everyone on the east coast celebrate the New Year before they do.  This is often a fun way to lead up to your own time zone celebration, so be sure to include a television for all of your guests to watch throughout the party.

Popular Decorations

With New Year’s Eve comes streamers, confetti, balloons and plenty of other colorful decorations.  This means that you absolutely must incorporate color into your decorating theme.  Another popular accent is an automatic bubble machine, which is always a crowd pleaser at any party.

Have A Seat

If your New Year’s Eve party includes dinner, be sure to decorate each place-setting accordingly.  Tablecloths should be crisp white in color and beautifully adorned with elegant dinnerware and flatware.  At each setting, include a disposable camera, party hats, a small bag of confetti and a miniature bubble set.  These will be ideal for your guests to capture all of evening’s special moments on film and still be able to participate in the festivities.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Most New Year’s Eve parties feature dancing, so put your best foot forward when it comes to decorating your dance floor.  People love to dance and having the perfect setting will help everyone to enjoy your party even more.

Next Steps

Check out our articles on holiday party liability and smart holiday entertaining. Be careful. Don’t drink and drive.

Buying Versus Renting A Home

When it comes to a home, you have two options: buy or rent.  Making a decision on buying versus renting can be overwhelming for some. What is right for one person may not be right for another, which is why it’s important to know which is the best option for your individual situation. 

Why People Rent

There are a number of reasons why someone may either choose or be forced to rent, including sporadic or unpredictable income, a high debt-to-income ratio, a bankruptcy or foreclosure within the last six months, unpaid collection accounts or judgments, frequent relocating for employment or the inability to save enough money for a required down payment on the purchase of a home.

Maintenance Matters

As a homeowner, you will be responsible for any maintenance or repair issues that arise.  This is a big consideration when choosing whether to rent or buy.  When you rent, the property owner is responsible for repairs and it may not always be obvious that these issues can be very costly.

How To Know When It’s Time To Buy 

If you have steady income with a good employment history, can provide a down payment of at least 5-10 percent of the purchase price and are current with all debts, it may be time to consider buying a home instead of renting.  In some cases, the cost of rent may even exceed that of a typical mortgage payment.

When deciding to buy, job stability is a big factor.  If your job does not require frequent relocation and you plan to live in the home for at least 5-10 years, you may want to consider making the purchase.  If you need to relocate after that, you may have enough equity from the sale to use as a down payment on another home.

Home Buyer’s Checklist 

If you can answer yes to the following questions, you may be ready for home ownership.  We can help you to find the perfect home based on your individual needs.

  1. Have you been steadily employed for at least one year, but preferably two years?
  2. Do you plan to live in the home long enough to build equity?
  3. Can you provide a down payment and still have enough money left to pay for closing costs, utilities and home furnishings?
  4. Are you current on all debts, including auto loans, credit cards, etc.?
  5. In addition to any current debts that you may have, can you afford a monthly mortgage payment which will likely include property taxes and insurance?
  6. Do you have the time to devote to shopping for a home and comparing interest rates from various lenders?
  7. Have you checked your credit reports for inaccuracies and disputed anything that needs correction with each of the three major credit reporting agencies?

Next Steps

The decision to buy or rent is a very personal one that can only be determined after a careful evaluation of your situation. We can show you the perfect home and a lender can tell you whether or not you can afford it, but it’s up to you to make the choice as to whether or not you are ready to make the move.


Do You Know Beaujolais Nouveau

My family is big on tradition, and as a result, so am I. So when I celebrated the release of Beaujolais Nouveau on one of my trips to Paris, I quickly added it to the list of traditions my family would celebrate.

What is Beaujolais Nouveau?

Beaujolais is a province located north of Lyon, France known for its wine-production. Nouveau is a French term that translates to new. And unlike most red wines that are made from aged grapes, Beaujolais Nouveau is a celebrated wine from the Beaujolais region released every year on the third Thursday of November in France according to French law, it is a bright, fresh red wine made from the Gamay grape and bottled just at the end of harvest. And unlike most red wines, this one is typically served chilled.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a young wine, usually only 6-8 weeks old and tends to taste more like ripe berries and tropical fruits. It offers aromas of berries including wild strawberries, currants and exquisite scents of raspberries. Since they are processed differently than other red wines, they tend to be less dry than most.

The fruity flavor of the Beaujolais Nouveau is a perfect compliment to holiday celebrations, which is great since it si meant to be drunk as soon as possible. And in keeping with the French celebration of its release, it’s a perfect inexpensive wine to enjoy with friends during the holidays.

History of Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the Gamay grape, which is a cross between the Pinot Noir grape and an ancient white variety Gouais, the latter a Central European variety that history claims was probably introduced to northeastern France by the Romans.  The Gamay grape ripens earlier than Pinot Noir and is less difficult to cultivate. So Beaujolais had always made a vin de l’année to celebrate the end of the harvest, which until WWII had only been for local consumption. It wasn’t until 1951 when the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais (UIVB) formally set November 15th as the release date for what would henceforth be known as Beaujolais Nouveau. And then in 1985, the date was changed to the third Thursday in November which is probably why in the US, Beaujolais Nouveau has become known as a Thanksgiving wine. 

So now that you know why it has become one of my family traditions, aren’t you curious?

Where can you get it?

Beverage Mart
3482 Cobb Pkwy NW
Acworth, Georgia, 30101-4014
phone: (770) 529-3027

Total Wine
740 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy #500
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone:(678) 354-0168

Remember to not drink and drive.

Seven Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Now that you’ve made the decision to purchase your first home, a hearty congratulations is in order!  Here are seven tips for first-time home buyers that can help you navigate the process more easily. Becoming a homeowner, especially for the first time, can stir up some feelings of anxiety and excitement.  With the knowledge that you gain through individual research and our help, you will soon begin to feel like a seasoned househunter.


Tip # 1: Do Your Homework

Did you know that there are a number of incentives available to first-time home buyers?  Everything from a 3-5 percent down payment and interest rates as low as 5.75 percent are just a few of the ways that lenders help to make the dream of home ownership into a reality for many.  An FHA loan, for instance, is especially appealing to first-time home buyers.  The best way to find out what’s available, in terms of down payment requirements and interest rates, is to do your homework by comparing offerings from various lenders.

Tip # 2: Save Money

Although many loans are geared toward offering lower down payments to first-time home buyers, it’s important to save as much money as possible so that you will have enough to provide an earnest money deposit (if applicable), pay for closing costs and still have the funds to furnish and decorate your new home.

Tip # 3: Get Your Credit Profile In Order

When you apply for a loan, the lender will access a copy of your credit report and will use the information to determine your creditworthiness and/or interest rate.  This means that you will want to make sure that the information contained in your credit report is accurate and up-to-date.  You can do this by requesting a copy of your file from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, as well as an annual check-up with Annual Credit Report.

In addition to past credit history, lenders will also look at your current debt ratio in order to determine whether or not you can afford the home.  This means that you may want to consider paying down some of your existing credit card debt and avoid taking on any new debt before applying for a mortgage.

Tip # 4: Start Your Search

With the internet being what it is today, it’s no surprise that many potential home buyers start their search online.  Our website is designed to not only list real estate, but also to educate a buyer as they move through the process of searching for a new home.  In addition, the internet offers a way for consumers to browse through color photos and virtual tours, both interior and exterior, along with information pertaining to the homes themselves.  The convenience of being able to find a home that you like without having to wait is just one of the many benefits to shopping for a house online.  When you are finally ready to meet with us, you will probably already have one or more prospects in mind.

Tip # 5: Have Patience

Perhaps you will find the perfect house this week, or maybe it will take a little longer.  Some buyers find exactly what they are looking for right away, while others have to do a little more searching to find their dream home.  As a first-time home buyer, it’s a good idea to begin the process with an understanding that good things really do come to those who wait.  You may see a number of homes, take numerous photos and may even make an offer or two, but patience may very well be the key to finding your new home.

Tip # 6: Take Notes

If you see a lot of homes, it will be impossible to remember the features of each.  For this reason, you should consider taking a notebook and writing down each unique or defining aspect that you like or dislike about a particular house.  This information, along with any photos that you take, will help you greatly when it’s time to make a choice.

Tip # 7: Don’t Settle

A home is a big investment and it could, quite possibly, be the largest you will ever make.  For this reason, along with the fact that you will be living in the home every day, make sure that you get what you want.  There could be an instance where you need to make some type of compromise, but you may want to avoid choosing something just because it’s within your price range or you feel as though it’s your only option.  New houses are placed on the market every day and, as a buyer, the next one listed may just be your dream home.