PREVENTABLE PROBLEMS THAT CAN KILL A HOME SALE

DisBlasMar19Could your home sale be in jeopardy before it even hits the market?  With buyers much more aware of potential issues and what to look for, it certainly could be!

The good news is many common issues that can derail a home sale are preventable!  Here are a few things you may want to consider before putting your home on the market.

As always, consult with your real estate agent to ensure your property is competitive and makes a great first impression.

Your home is overpriced

The easiest way to stop potential buyers in their tracks is by overpricing it.  Sit down with your real estate agent and consider their suggestions when determining the list price.  They will be familiar with recent sales in the area and what would be competitive for your home.  The perfect price should generate a lot of buyer attention and be comfortable for your own finances as well!

Your home doesn’t make a great first impression

Let’s be honest, you’ll only have one chance to make a great first impression.  You want to get the attention of potential buyers and make them begin to envision themselves living there.  You can do this by cleaning through the house thoroughly, clearing clutter, staging furniture, and otherwise making your home inviting.

You haven’t been keeping up on maintenance

When potential buyers conduct a walkthrough of the home, they’ll notice that chipping paint and creaky step.  Worse still, they may begin to be concerned that the home hasn’t been properly taken care of.  What may be viewed as a minor maintenance issue to you, could be viewed as the tip of a much larger iceberg to your buyers and their home inspector.  Instead, take some time to work down that punch list and check off all of those little things you’ve been putting off.

You’ve been ignoring needed repairs

Do you have a mold issue in your attic or asbestos pipe wrap in the basement?  These are things you may have been planning to have professionally addressed but just haven’t had the opportunity to.  Unfortunately, these repair issues are often recognized by home inspectors and can scare off potential buyers.  Avoid having these issues crop up during your sale by addressing them now.  It’s important to have any indoor environmental issues such as mold and asbestos properly addressed by qualified individuals to ensure this work is performed properly and the home is safe.  Covering up issues such as this can result in a much larger issue later on.

Your home has radon

Have you tested your home for radon?  Due to a number of education campaigns launched by the DEP and EPA over the last few years, home buyers are increasingly aware of the risks of radon in homes and are having homes tested prior to purchase.  Recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, many potential buyers are, understandably, concerned about this invisible and odorless hazard.  Instead of waiting for your buyers to discover radon, by conducting testing now, you are able to proactively address potential radon issues!

By addressing these preventable issues before your buyers find them, the whole process will move along much smoother and with fewer potential issues!  From everyone at Disaster Blaster, we hope you have a smooth home sale and a quick closing!

About Disaster Blaster

Disaster Blaster is an indoor environmental firm serving the Northeastern PA Area.  We have been providing our local area with unparalleled mold remediation, water damage mitigation, asbestos abatement, and radon mitigation services for decades, and are proud to have been recently named The World’s Greatest Indoor Environmental Firm.  For more about Disaster Blaster, as well as more helpful tips, please visit our website at: www.disasterblaster.com or call our office at (570) 963-1123.

 

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR LIFESTYLE IN RETIREMENT

Lifestyle RetirementYou may have heard the rule of thumb that you need to replace about 80% of your preretirement income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle when you retire. But like many rules of thumb, that advice is much too general for most people, says Herbert Poole CFP® CRC®, Retirement Development Consultant for Wells Fargo Advisors. To help ensure you can actually live as comfortably in retirement as you do now, Poole says you need to identify what your desired lifestyle costs. Next, you’ll need a saving and investing strategy that matches your income needs. Here are the key questions for you and your financial advisor to consider:

What’s my ideal retirement age?

This is both a financial and a quality-of-life question, says Poole. Financially speaking, you need to determine when you’ll have amassed enough savings and investments to stop working. You want to be able to comfortably live on withdrawals from your accounts — without running out of money.

On the nonfinancial front, think about what you really want to do during retirement (Travel? Start an encore business?). “Ask yourself: ‘At what age could I retire and still be healthy enough to do these things?’” Poole suggests. As you get closer to your actual retirement age, you can home in on when you can afford to leave work. “Depending on your situation, working just a year or two more than you planned could make a big difference in how much money you have available to live on later,” notes Poole.1

How much money do I need to support my current standard of living?

This is perhaps the most important question to explore. “However, you’d be surprised by how many people answer this question by saying to their financial advisors: ‘I have no idea. Just tell me what kind of lifestyle I can afford,’” says Poole. You’re much better off estimating your target retirement budget early, so you can help ensure you’re saving and investing enough, says Poole. Your financial advisor can offer help estimating costs for items like health and long-term care for different parts of the country.2

During this process, Poole says it’s also a good idea to separate your necessary costs (mortgage/rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc.) from your discretionary expenses (fine dining, vacations, and more). That way, you know where you can cut costs if your estimated retirement income ends up being different than you planned.

What are my retirement income sources?

You may have a tax-deferred retirement plan through your job, personal and/or Roth IRAs, rental property income, and more. Once you identify all your potential income streams, you can make some smart decisions — including increasing your investment contributions now — that could help boost your income when you retire. For example, your financial advisor can help you determine whether it would be wise to add more income-producing options, such as annuities or real estate, or to consider more tax-advantaged investments.

How can I plan for the unexpected?

To avoid a financial snag that significantly affects your retirement income, Poole suggests having both contingency funds and contingency plans. For contingency funds, you could earmark money for your grandkids but hang on to the funds in case of an emergency. This could be as simple as leaving money to your grandchildren in your estate plan, rather than putting the money in trust in their names. Contingency plans might include paying for expensive home repairs like a roof replacement before retirement. You might also prioritize which assets (vacation home vs. business rental, for example) you would sell in a financial emergency.

Am I regularly monitoring my progress toward retirement?

Maybe you have 20 years left before retirement, or perhaps you’re already in the middle of retirement and planning to live to age 100. Wherever you are in the process, it makes sense to talk with your financial planner at least once a year — or whenever you face a significant life change. After all, the financial markets and your investments are constantly changing. You change over time, too. You may decide to retire to a state with a different cost of living or change your mind about how much risk you want to take with your investments. All of those factors could affect your retirement lifestyle and how much income you need to live well in retirement.

This advertisement was written by Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and provided to you by Michael J Krupa, Financial Advisor at Krupa Wealth Management,

Honesdale, PA 570-253-0121

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE.  Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFAFN), Member SIPC. Krupa Wealth Management is a separate entity from WFAFN.

© 2018 Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

1–https://communications.wellsfargoadvisors.com/lifescapes/a-changing-definition-of-retirement-age/

2–https://communications.wellsfargoadvisors.com/lifescapes/health-care-and-your-retirement/

THE 5 HUGE BENEFITS OF FILING YOUR TAXES EARLY

SagepicMar19-optWith nearly three out of four taxpayers receiving an income tax refund each year, around $2,800 on average according to the IRS, we can’t think of any reason you’d want to delay filing your taxes.

But, as awesome as it is to have more cash in your pocket, that’s not the only benefit of early filing. Here are a few more reasons to get your act together early this tax season:

Early filers average larger refunds

IRS data shows that taxpayers who file by late-February get significantly larger refunds than those who file later—around $300 on average. Obviously, if you know you’re getting a refund, you’re more likely to file sooner, and that could be part of the reason early filers enjoy larger refunds.

But another reason is that the sooner you start on your taxes, the more opportunity you have to make sure you’re claiming all the deductions you’re eligible for. The IRS reports that 66% of taxpayers choose to claim the standard deduction on their tax forms. Millions of taxpayers could get larger refunds by itemizing their deductions, which takes more time and requires more documentation than claiming the standard deduction. According to the Government Accountability Office, it’s a shortcut that could cost taxpayers $1 billion each year.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to cut corners in order to meet the tax-filing deadline. Start working with a tax pro early so you have time to get the job done right.

Early filers can protect their refunds from identity thieves

Filing early may not eliminate the threat of identity theft, but it can protect your refund. If thieves file a return using your Social Security number before you do, the IRS will kick out your return since their records show you’ve already been paid. It can take months to clear up the mess with the IRS and finally receive your refund.

Remember that even though you may feel like you’re in a race to get your forms filed, don’t rush through the process. That’s how mistakes get made. And when it comes to taxes, those mistakes come with dollar signs!

Early filers eliminate tax deadline stress

Any time you face an unpleasant task, it’s best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Income taxes are no different. You must fill out the forms and you have to file them, so just grit your teeth and get it over with. Give yourself a fake deadline—well ahead of the April deadline—to get your taxes taken care of. Once your return is filed, give yourself a small reward for being so efficient and responsible. Then relax while everyone else stresses out about getting their taxes done on time.

Early filers with a tax bill have time to make a plan

When you’re facing an income tax bill instead of a refund, it’s natural to put off filing as long as possible. But if you go ahead and fill out your tax forms and file them, you’ll know exactly how much you must pay—and you won’t have to pay in full until the April filing deadline.

The more time you have to come up with the money, the less likely you are to bust your budget or drain your emergency fund. So, don’t spend the first part of the year with your head in the sand. Get the facts about what you owe, make your plan, and get that tax bill out of the way.

Early filers face less competition for access to their tax professional.

By mid-March of the 2018 tax season, nearly 78 million people had already filed their income taxes. That left the remaining 68 million people just one month to file theirs by the deadline. If you were one of those procrastinators, you found out the hard way that it’s tough to get on a good tax pro’s schedule during crunch time. In fact, if you haven’t set an appointment with a pro by the middle of March, you’ll probably have to file an extension.

On top of that, most tax pros will charge more to complete your taxes as the filing deadline approaches. The best way to avoid all that hassle is to get an appointment with your advisor as soon as possible.

© Lampo Licensing, LLC. All rights reserved.

THE LONG & SHORT OF SHORT SALES

ShortSalePAGEMar19-optThey’re a fact of life… here’s what potential homeowners should know before making an offer.

What is a Short Sale?

Short sales are sales of real estate where proceeds from selling the property fall short of the balance of debts secured by a lien (hold) against the property.  The property owner cannot afford to repay its full amount, so the lien holders agree to release their hold on the real estate and accept less than the amount owed on the debt.

Any unpaid balance owed to the creditors is known as a deficiency.  Short sale agreements do not necessarily release borrowers from their obligations to repay any deficiencies of the loans unless specifically agreed to between the parties.

A short sale is often used as an alternative to foreclosure because it mitigates additional fees and costs to both the creditor and the borrower; however, both will often result in a negative credit report against the property owner.

Common mistakes to avoid:

Don’t Assume You’ll Pay the List Price

Some agents use below-market sale prices strictly as bait.  Banks will then request appraisals to determine price.  The lender may decide that it’s more beneficial to pursue other avenues, such as foreclosure, or wait for a better offer.

Don’t Assume You Have Enough Documentation

A lender must still study credit history, length of time on the job, debt ratios and more.  The most successful short-sale buyers submit a loan prequalification letter – or better yet, a loan pre-approval letter – with the offer.

Don’t Assume You’ll Close in a Few Weeks

It actually can take three to six months.  Lenders may have a backlog of short sales and foreclosures and limited staff trained to handle these.  The process could take longer if two loans are secured to the property.

Don’t Assume That Inspections Are Not Required

Even though most short sale properties are sold “as is,” you must still determine what problems may exist with pests, the roof, the sewers, the septic tanks, the chimney or fireplace. As with other purchases, your offer should be contingent on the results of the inspection.  While sellers are not obligated to fix problems, buyers must still know what they’re getting into.

Don’t Assume that the Contract Will Not Change

With new law passing on a regular basis, the lender can reserve the right to change the terms.

NIGHT AT THE OSCARS

2019MistletoeCom (5)A Night at the OSCARS! The 78th Annual Mistletoe Ball

They’re rolling out the red carpet—literally—at the Wayne Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Mistletoe Ball. The theme for the January 19th event at Silver Birches in Tafton will be A Night at the Oscars.

“Come experience old and new Hollywood,” says co-chair Nancy Moro, “dress like one of your favorite stars, and maybe you’ll win a prize.”  Moro, who is considering going as Marilyn Monroe, notes that the evening is fun and meaningful. It’s the auxiliary’s biggest fundraiser of the year to help its community hospital.

“The proceeds this year will go towards a fund to purchase the resources—such as equipment and information systems– needed to recruit physicians and other medical talent.  We’re building a state-of-the-art patient tower, and we want to assure it’s equipped and staffed as well as possible.”

The Mistletoe Ball will feature live music and dancing with disc jockey Jumping Jeff Walker from WKRZ and a “fabulous basket raffle” with donations from many local vendors, including Apple Day Spa, Black & Brass Coffee, Rustic Farmworks, Wallenpaupack Brewing, VIP Kids Club and Wayne County Ford.

With more than 200 members, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is one of the strongest in the state of Pennsylvania. Anyone can join, says Mistletoe co-chair Danielle Hedgelon.  “Come to the Mistletoe Ball and find out how much fun we can be while helping our community hospital at the same time.”

Tickets are $85 per person. Call (570) 226-9750 to reserve your spot. Visit wmh.org to find out more about the WMH Auxiliary.

Mistletoe Committee, left to right:

Gary Mesko, Joan Buehl, Marianne McConeghy, Martha Wilson, Carol Sturm, Danielle Hedgelon, Melissa Richard, Kaylee Racht and Michelle Corrigan. Missing from picture is Nancy Moro.