Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don’t want in your home, but because it is colorless and odorless you might not even be aware when the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 10,000 require medical treatment each year.
Unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances can produce the deadly gas. In addition, other sources could be leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters or exhaust from cars or trucks operating in an attached garage.
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:
- Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
- Over gas stoves, install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors
- Open flues when fireplaces are in use
- Do not idle car inside garage
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually
Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide may be mistaken for the flu.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of a home and especially, in sleeping areas. The alarms can be purchased for as little as $25 and plugged into the wall like a night light.
Regardless of the government requirements, no one would want their family, guests or themselves needlessly at risk for something so deadly.
An economist responded when asked how interest rates would change: “They may fall some and then, rise and after that, they’ll fluctuate.”
Just because interest rates have been low for ten years doesn’t mean they are supposed to be low. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice this year and is expected to do so two more times this year and three times next year. The average 30 year fixed mortgage interest rate has risen from 3.95% to 4.62% since the first of January.
Increased rates directly affect the payments on homes but so does the price. With inventory levels remaining low, the prices will continue to go up. When interest rates and prices rise at the same time, it costs buyers a lot more.
If mortgage interest rates go up by one percent and prices increase by five percent in the next year, the payment on a $250,000 home could go up by $200+ a month. In a seven-year period, the buyer would pay over $18,000 more for the home. (See illustration below.)
People planning to buy a home might be wise to investigate the possibilities of accelerating their timetable to take advantage of lower rates and prices. Use the Cost of Waiting to Buy calculator to see how much more it could cost you to wait. Call (316) 337-5154 if you have questions about what can be done now.
A principal residence and a second home have some similar benefits, but they have some key tax differences. A principal residence is the primary home where you live and a second home is used mainly for personal enjoyment while limiting possible rental activity to a maximum of 14 days per year.
Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows a taxpayer to deduct the qualified interest on a principal residence and a second home. By the legislation the interest is reduced from a maximum of $1,000,000 combined acquisition debt to a maximum of $750,000 combined acquisition debt for both the first and second homes.
Property taxes on first and second homes are deductible, but limited to a combined maximum of $10,000 together with other state and local taxes paid.
The gain on a principal residence retained the exclusion of $250,000/$500,000 for single/married taxpayers meeting the requirements. Unchanged by the new tax law, the gains on second homes must be recognized when sold or disposed.
Tax-deferred exchanges are not allowed for property used for personal purposes such as second homes. Gain on second homes owned for more than 12 months is taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate.
This article is intended for informational purposes. Advice from a tax professional for your specific situation should be obtained prior to making a decision that can have tax implications.
A home that isn’t being maintained like others in the neighborhood can negatively affect your visual sense of appeal and in some extreme cases, even affect property values. It might be an overgrown yard, a fence in need of repair, excessive noise, unruly pets, paint peeling on the home or even a car or boat parked in front of the home that hasn’t moved in weeks.
Most people want to be good neighbors and may be willing to correct an issue once it is brought to their attention. A practical but possibly, confrontational solution is to contact the responsible person and describe your perception of the issue. Depending upon the nature of the issue and the personalities of the parties discussing it, this can require some diplomatic skill. The standards violator may not agree as to the urgency and it might be necessary to seek other remedies.
An owner-occupant may be more sympathetic to neighbors and willing to correct the issue than a non-owner-occupant. If you think the home might be a rental property, check with the county tax records to identify the owner. They may be unaware of the situation and welcome the notification to protect their investment.
Another alternative might be to notify the homeowner’s association, if there is one. One of the benefits of a HOA is to enforce community appearance standards as set in the covenants or bylaws that specify how properties must be maintained. This could be a less personal method of reaching a beneficial outcome.
If the source of the problem is a code or housing violation, the city may be the ultimate authority. Most cities have a separate code and neighborhood services division and some cities have 311 for non-emergency assistance.