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Consumer News and Advice Archive


What about other home improvements, are they deductible?

Yes, but only after you have sold your home. According to the IRS, home improvements add to the basis, or value, of your home. A tax-acceptable improvement is defined as one that adds value to your home, "considerably" prolongs your home's useful life, or adapts your house to new uses. ...


Are window replacements tax deductible?

Yes, at least for a limited time. Congress made it a little easier to upgrade your windows while reducing your taxes. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offers consumers a tax credit for replacing old appliances and home products with energy efficient models. The tax credit is up to $200 ...


How can I make energy efficient improvements to my home?

Begin by focusing on those small cracks and crevices around doors and windows. According to Lowe's, a 1/8" space between a standard exterior door and its threshold is equivalent to a two square inch hole in the wall. Close those gaps to save up to 15% in heating and cooling ...


How much can I expect to spend on maintenance?

One percent of the purchase price of your home every year to cover everything from painting to repairing gutters to caulking windows and maintaining routine system repairs and maintenance. An older home may require more maintenance, although much will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years. ...


Are there routine steps I can take now to avoid major home improvements later?

Get in the habit of taking an annual inventory of every single space in your home to check for potential problems. Examine the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring - basically everything. Try to fix trouble spots as soon as you uncover them. This proactive approach will help you avoid major ...


How do I get help for remodeling following a natural disaster?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) not only assists businesses after a natural disaster, civil disturbance, fires and other catastrophes, it also provides disaster loans to individuals - including homeowners and renters. The loans, which cover uninsured or underinsured losses - are issued after the President or SBA Administrator signs a ...


Does the government offer assistance with home improvements?

Yes. Two very popular programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) include the Title 1 Home Improvement Loan and the Section 203(k) Program. In the first program, HUD insures the loan up to $25,000 for a single-family house to cover alterations, repairs, and site improvements. The ...


How can I finance a remodeling project?

There are many ways to finance a remodeling project. If you have equity in your home, a good credit rating, and steady income, you can refinance your mortgage and borrow a percentage of the equity to cover remodeling costs. Refinancing is a good option if you can get a mortgage ...


My budget won’t allow for expensive add-ons; is there another way to find and make space?

That space may be as close as the next room, particularly if there is unused or under utilized areas in your home. A garage, attic, side porch, large closet, or basement can all be converted to fit the use you have in mind. Or, maybe, a small area can be ...


What should elderly homeowners consider when deciding to remodel?

According to the AARP, older homeowners prefer to age in place, meaning they want to live in their homes safely, independently and comfortably, despite age or ability level. To do so, many require a few modifications in the home to enhance maneuverability, including the installation of a private elevator and ...


What is Universal Design and how does it relate to remodeling?

Universal design is an approach to design that focuses on making all products and environments as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, physical ability, or situation. In recent years, the housing industry has recognized the importance of a "universal" approach to residential design that ...


What should I consider when remodeling the bathroom?

Don't jump too quickly to discard reusable fixtures. If your tub is in relatively good shape, consider having it re-glazed instead of replaced, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. As for the walls around the tub, cultured marble sheets are cheaper to install than marble tiles and ...


What should I consider when redoing my kitchen?

It is tempting to discard existing appliances when you build new cabinets around them. Rethink the idea. If the appliances are workable, keep them - and save yourself from $1,000 to $5,000, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Also keep the present location of major fixtures, appliances ...


What are the best home improvement projects to maximize ROI, or Return On Investment?

Experts agree that any remodeling project that brings your home up to the level of your neighbors' is a worthy investment. However, some improvements offer a greater return than others. It depends on the type of work you have done. Remodeling magazine publishes an annual "Cost vs. Value Report." The ...


What can I do to minimize chaos, danger and stress once a project has begun?

Plan ahead. Since your home will become a worksite once the remodeling begins, inconveniences will arise that can be minimized with a little planning. Begin by having a frank discussion with the contractor to set guidelines and develop a clear understanding upfront about the various project stages and the processes ...