Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Not Monopoly Money: Your Refund & Your Property


Remember playing Monopoly? After another player had put up a hotel on a pricey property like Boardwalk or Park Place, remember that feeling of relief every time you got past without landing on them? Whew!\
That's the way many of us feel now that Tax Week is over. If you're one of the millions who will soon be checking the mail for your refund check, you're are probably also pondering the best use to put it to. Especially if you're thinking of selling your property any time this year, you might do something that's less than obvious: put some of that check to good use by making one or more simple property improvements. After all, your property is probably one of your biggest investment -- and the payoff when you take good care of it won't be in play money.
If yours is an average refund  (most are somewhere north of $2,500), it can be pretty painless to direct a modest chunk of it to your property. I've come across some simple ideas that should also reserve most of the refund for other purposes.
One idea that few people act upon is to order a professional energy audit. This can cost between $400 and $600 for a full diagnostic inspection. By revealing gaps (even small ones) around doors, windows, and recessed lights, it can reveal energy-wasters that ultimately lower utility bills year-round. An even less expensive utility bill-saver is available in the form of the latest sophisticated low-flow showerheads. They are simple to install, and can save up to 50% of the water used by even some of the newer showerheads. The best ones feel nearly as if you are showering with the same amount of water. 
One of the last things likely to leap to mind once your refund check arrives is insurance. Basic homeowners insurance isn't fully comprehensive, yet for a small additional amount -- generally about $300 -- you can buy a million dollars' worth of added liability coverage with an 'umbrella' policy that also covers your cars.
It will feel like getting past Park Place and Boardwalk all year long!

written by Gina Odom, Realtor

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