When You Need to Improve Accessibility in Your Home

Imagine trying to do the most basic tasks in your home with impaired mobility. Would you be able to navigate the hallways in a wheelchair? Reach the bathroom counter from a sitting position? Would you be able to reach the front door?

Whether you are recovering from a serious illness or accident, or simply choosing to remain in your own home into your golden years, the key is not only making your home safe but also making it easy for you to continue living independently.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

How to Improve the Accessibility of Your Home

Level Entry – Improve safety by installing a wheelchair ramp or adapting the floor plan to use a side or rear entrance that requires no stairs to access.

Safety Railings – Install railings on both sides of the stairway, extending from the very top step to the bottom.

Improve Lighting – Always keep stairways and entrances well lit. Consider adding luminescent paint or tape to stairs to make the edges of steps easy to see.

Turning Space – Reconfigure furniture placement to leave sufficient space to turn a wheelchair around, and ensure hallways and doorways are wide enough to navigate.

Remove Slip Hazards – Replace loose throw rugs and mats with sturdier, no-slip versions.

Knee Space – Adapt bathroom and kitchen counters by removing cabinets to allow for use with a wheelchair. See this aging-in-place remodeling checklist for more ideas.

Improve Grips – Replace round knobs with lever handles, or add rubber bands or handle grips to doorknobs to make them easier to grasp.

Add Grab Bars – Install grab bars and safety rails to assist with sitting and standing.

Switch Control Systems – Replace light switches with rocker switches that can be used with the whole hand, and add touch or voice sensors to lamps.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV

Looking for the perfect gift for family and friends? Try one of these gadgets and gifts for the home:

Matching Mornings – Give the couples on your list a set of matching or personalized mugs.

Tune Tech – Be the life of the party with a music docking station or wireless speakers.

Wine Accessories – Impress your sommelier friends with a gift for their wine cellar, like this red wine decanter and aerating funnel.

Endless Entertaining – Give the gift of entertaining with a cheese board and knife set.

Breakfast Basics – Make cooking up a batch of pancakes and bacon easier with a set of pancake rings and a cast-iron bacon press.

Coffee Caddy – Help keep your coffee connoisseurs organized with a Coffee Pod and Flatware Caddy or a K-Cup Carousel.

Vintage Charm – Give a piece of Americana with the iconic Fiesta Ware. Now back in vogue, this colorful dinnerware takes you back to Thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s house.

Coffee To Go – Make rushing out the door with a java in hand easier with a single cup coffeemaker that brews coffee directly into a reusable go cup.

Personal Touch – Add that personal touch with a monogrammed wooden cutting board made from bamboo or maple.

Bathtub Bliss – Give the gift of relaxation with a bathtub reading caddy, like this one with a reading rack to hold your book.

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV

Of Taxes and Homes

Great Tuesday, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend! It’s going to be April in a few days’ time, and that means Tax Day will be coming up soon! Are you ready to file your taxes yet? I stumbled upon an interesting article from NVAR.com that you might find useful if you are a homeowner, buyer, or seller.

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TAX INFORMATION FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

In spite of the extended discussion about modifying the mortgage interest tax deduction and making other changes to the tax code that could impact homeowners, the Congressional resolution of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations left most regulations associated with homeownership in place.

Bertrand says that the tax advantages to homeownership are still in place, since interest paid on a mortgage of up to $1 million and on a home equity loan up to $100,000 can be deducted.

“Single people with an income over $400,000 or a married couple with more than $450,000 in income are being hit with a higher marginal tax rate,” says Bertrand.

Those same high-income earners will also pay a higher capital gains tax of 20 percent rather than the standard 15 percent. While the profit from a home sale of $250,000 for a single taxpayer and $500,000 for a married couple still holds, home sellers who have a capital gain above those amounts will have to pay either 15 or 20 percent on their profit above the exclusion.

Tax deductions, including the mortgage interest deduction, property taxes and charitable donations, are phased out on a sliding scale for single taxpayers earning more than $250,000 and married taxpayers who earn more than $300,000.

More people will feel the expiration of the payroll tax reduction, because this will immediately reduce employee paychecks by 2 percent.

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“Probably one of the most important things Congress did was to extend the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act for another year through the end of 2013,” says Maureen Berrios, president of Berrios & Associates, Inc. in New York City. “I think it will probably be extended another four years or so, but it will probably gradually be limited and phased out.”

Kahn says that Congress made private mortgage insurance deductible retroactively in 2012 and through 2013, although the deduction phases out for married taxpayers with an income over $110,000.

“Congress also retroactively extended tax deductions up to $500 for energy-efficient improvements on existing homes,” Mortimer says. “The credit applies to purchases made in 2012 and 2013.”

Gift tax rules were also extended, and now allow an individual to give $14,000 tax-free to another person in one year.

“If you have a mom and dad who want to give money to their daughter and her husband for a down payment, they can give up to $56,000 total,” says Mortimer.

Realtors® and their clients should always consult a tax expert who can advise them on their individual circumstances.

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Hope you found that article somewhat helpful! Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!

Home Decor Resources 101

I visit Pinterest often for home decor ideas, but if you guys are looking for other websites, here are some recommendations:

1. Fab (www.fab.com)
Fab
is an online store with daily deals at good discounts. You can discover great finds, or inspiration for similar items if you don’t feel like purchasing online. The site has recently been integrated for social media, and is also available on iOS/Android apps.

2. Fancy (www.thefancy.com)
Fancy
is what you could call a store, blog, magazine, and wishlist all in one. You can like and “pin” items similar to Pinterest, with an option to purchase and blog about them at the same time. The site is also available as an app on iOS and Android.

3. Houzz (www.houzz.com)
Houzz 
is catered especially for home decor and is an excellent place to get ideas. You can browse through hundreds of thousands of photos and even create an “ideabook” with inspiration from top designers. App currently limited to iOS only.

4. Etsy (www.etsy.com)
Etsy
is a great place to find crafts and accessories. You can purchase from their online store, get and share ideas with the community, and even blog about your finds. App currently only available for iOS.

Check out these websites and I hope you guys can find some great ideas for your home! Happy browsing!