Greetings,
It may be hard to believe, but spring is officially here! These quick but important home maintenance projects will start things off on the right foot. (There's also a printable checklist you can use to stay on track throughout the year, along with some noteworthy real estate news.)
Brooks Beaupain
206-778-4663 Direct
Spring Home Maintenance Ideas
(and a Checklist)


1. Check crawl space and attic vent covers.

Spring is when rodents and other pests look for new accommodations, and a cozy crawl space or attic full of insulation might be their ideal destination. Do a quick perimeter check (binoculars work well for attic vents) to make sure vent screens are securely in place. It's also a good idea to make sure openings are unblocked by insulation or debris, which ensures adequate ventilation.


2.  Change batteries in smoke and CO alarms.

If you changed smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries during the "Spring Forward" time change (as fire prevention experts recommend), congratulations! If you're like the majority of us, here's a friendly reminder that it only takes around 10 minutes and this weekend would be a good time to do it. 

Tip: Alarms typically take 9-volt batteries.


3. Check washer supply lines and fittings.

Yes, this can be done at any time of year... but it usually never is. :) If you haven't taken a peek at your washing machine's hoses and fittings in the last 6 months, now might be the right time. (Before vacation season, when you might be away from your home for weeks at a time.) Finding brittle hoses and loose or rusting fittings before they leak and cause damage can save thousands of dollars in the long run.


4. Clean out gutters and downspouts.

Winter can wreak havoc on gutters. Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of debris and direct water away from the home's foundation.


5. Clean the dryer hose and vent.

This is another "Spring and Fall" task that can end up going overlooked for years - often with no consequence, but dryers do cause nearly 3,000 home fires per year in the U.S. You can hire a dryer vent-cleaning service, or use a DIY solution such as this one on Amazon. (For longer vent ducts there is an extension kit.) 


This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a great start, and very doable over the course of a few days or a weekend. To download a 2-page printable home maintenance "cheat sheet" that you can use throughout the year, please click the link below:





Noteworthy Real Estate News


Airbnb Rental Income Can Now Be Used to Refinance Mortgages


With mortgage giant Fannie Mae's new program, homeowners can now use Airbnb rental income to qualify for a mortgage refinance. Applicants must have at least a 12-month history of Airbnb income, and the property needs to be their primary residence.


Home Equity Lines May Be Deductible Under the New Tax Bill

After months of news reports stating that home equity loan interest was no longer deductible under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS issued a statement at the end of February explaining that this was not the case. Interest is still deductible on the funds that were used to "buy, build, or substantially improve the taxpayer's home that secures the loan." 

This article from Forbes gives one of the better explanations because it contains three case scenarios provided by the IRS.

Takeaways from the IRS news release:

1. The old $100,000 limit on deductions for home equity loans appears to be gone. Instead, the total deduction limit of $750,000 (for married couples filing jointly) applies to the combined amount of mortgage and home equity loans.

2. Home equity loan interest appears to not be deductible if it is used to purchase a property other than the one that secures the loan.

3. According to the IRS, the law applies equally to home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and second mortgages. This is good news for home buyers who use both a first and second mortgage to purchase a home.


Recent Market Highlights
Market chart icon

- U.S. home prices rose 6.2 percent year-to-year in January, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report. They rose 6.7 percent year-to-year in February,  according to CoreLogic, a data and analytics company.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is in the 4.5 percent range.

The February Pending Home Sales Index decreased 4.1 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Contact Me for Market Information
Are you curious about your home's current market value, or do you have a question about home buying? Just reply to this email, or call me at 206-778-4663.
Links that Make Life Easier

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

Pocket
A free PC and mobile app that makes it very easy to save and tag web pages for future reference.

10 Ways to Turn Your Yard Into a Buzz-Worthy Bee Haven
Some surprisingly simple ways to be a friend to bees and the planet this year. 

Butterfinger Pie Recipe
This probably won't win anyone a culinary award, but it's easy to make and looks like it would be a welcome addition to a potluck.



The Lighter Side

 


Who can't relate to seeing their best-laid plans sometimes go awry? "Waffles the Terrible" won millions of fans online after a valiant attempt to execute the perfect leap under less than favorable conditions. Full points for effort though. :)

Click here or on the image above to watch the video on YouTube.

Your Resource for Real Estate
I welcome the opportunity to serve you, your friends and associates. Please give me a call today or simply reply to this email if I can be of assistance!

Brooks Beaupain, REALTOR®, ASP, GRI, CNE
Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.
Brooks@windermere.com | 206-778-4663
www.BrooksBeaupain.com


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