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Giving Tree Realty Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014   /   by William Culp

Make the Most of Your Formal Spaces

Many of us have rooms we rarely use: dining rooms with tables too large for our family of four; a sitting room used once a year at holiday times. Often, these formal spaces feel stiff and empty. Below are several top tips—gleaned from years of home staging—to make your formal spaces feel more like your own.

Make use of color. Often, formal rooms stick to neutral color palettes, like beige. Jazz up your formal space with a pop of color. This can be as extreme as one brightly painted wall, or as subtle as a pair of purple throw pillows on the couch or a deep green table runner.

Pick a statement piece. There's no need to pick up completely new furniture, but keep an eye out for one unique piece to replace a more traditional item of furniture. A funky coffee table or even a bright piece of art will work.

Drape it right. An easy way to loosen up stiffness in a room is with fun curtains. If your furniture and color palette is basic, then pick a pattern you love for the d ...

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Friday, April 11, 2014   /   by William Culp

Home Selling 101: Understanding Capital Gains

For those who sold their home this year, it's important to understand how selling your home may impact your tax returns, now that tax season is drawing to a close. Below is a breakdown on how capital gains work for those who have recently sold a home.
 
Exclusions
If you sell your primary residence, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain – $500,000 for married couples – from your federal tax return. To claim the exclusion, the IRS says your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale.
 
Specifications
The are a few catches, however. You also must not have excluded gain on another home sold during the two years before the current sale. Additionally, special rules apply for members of the armed, uniformed and foreign services and their families in calculating the 5-year period.
If you do not meet the ownership and use tests, you may use a reduced maximum exclu ...

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014   /   by William Culp

5 Household Dilemmas You Can Solve on Your Own

While a house doesn't come with an owner's manual, there are several things you can do to stay on top of, and ahead of, your home. Knowing how to handle small maintenance fixes will save you stress and money. Save your dollars for when it's really time to call in a professional. In order to feel confident handling simple maintenance tasks, read through the following tips and tricks.:

1. Open the garage door when the power is out. Need to leave the house in a power outage? Pull on that red cord dangling from the ceiling-mounted operator. This disengages the chain drive, allowing you to manually slide the door up its track.

2. Remove the base of a broken light bulb. Accidentally break a lightbulb while it's still screwed into your lamp? No need to panic, as long as you have a potato in the pantry. Take a raw potato, cut it in half, and press the sliced end onto the jagged glass. Then, simply unscrew. This is also a great party trick.

3. Learn how to locate a stud. Trying to hang ...

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014   /   by William Culp

3 Buying Tips for 2014

As the market makes steady moves toward a solid recovery, more and more hopeful homeowners are entering the playing field. If you're looking to buy a new home this year, be it a downsize, vacation home, or your very first house purchase, follow these three tips.
 
Check into reality.
Instead of daydreaming your ideal home, make a list of what things are absolutely essential: a specific number of bedrooms, close proximity to work or your child's school, a decent-sized yard. Once you know what you need, but before you begin your actual house hunt, start looking at what sold in the last six months that fits your bill. See what the selling prices are looking like, and figure out if you can afford a similar price tag. If you can't, it might mean waiting a bit, or reassessing your needs.
 
Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified.
Many people get confused between “pre-approved” and “pre-qualified” when it comes to obtaining a loan. Getting pre-qualified mea ...

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Sunday, March 16, 2014   /   by William Culp

What You Need to Know About Mortgages Right Now

With the market constantly fluctuating, it can be exhausting to weed through all of the available information on mortgage rates. From trends to current percentage shifts, there is always a surplus of information at your fingertips. Below are three things you should know about today's mortgage arena.
 
They're headed up, but still reasonable. Today's rates are higher than they were a year ago, but they're still relatively low. Recently, mortgage rates are weighing in a bit above 4 percent, which isn't as low as 2012's 3 percent, but is still a great rate.
 
They shouldn't stop you from buying. If you're waiting to purchase a home because you think mortgage rates may drop – don't. While mortgage rates do increase and decrease slightly from month-to-month, larger changes happen extremely slowly. If a fraction of a percent increase or decrease dramatically changes how much house you can buy, then you may be shopping a bit out of your price range.
 
There could be ...

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