5 Tax Breaks Homeowners Should Take Advantage of this Tax Season

Though it may not have been your sole purpose of buying a home — tax breaks are a huge perk of homeownership. According to U.S. News, as many as 19 million taxpayers will benefit from itemized deductions this year. We spoke with Robert Covelle Sr of COVELLE & COVELLE Public Accountants, a firm who specializes in taxes and is certified by the IRS, about how homeowners can benefit this tax season.

Here are 5 tax breaks you should take advantage of:

1. Mortgage Interest

Something every homeowner can count on this tax season: deducting mortgage interest. In other words, you are able to deduct any interest you paid on your residence — up to $1 million in loans. This also includes deducting interest on a refinanced mortgage (with certain debt limitations).

2. State and Local Taxes

Don’t fret — those thousands of dollars you paid for state and local property taxes are actually deductible. As a matter of fact, you can deduct a maximum of $10,000 of your paid total property tax, state income tax, or state/local sales taxes.

3. PMI

Pre-Mortgage Insurance with properties that have less than 20% down is deductible.

4. Rental Property

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

5. Energy Tax Credit

Taxpayers who upgrade their homes to make use of renewable energy may be eligible for a tax credit to offset some of the costs. As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit. The credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021. Claim the credits by filing Form 5695 with your tax return.

For more information on how you can benefit this tax season, please contact Robert Covelle Sr at 781-844-2935 or rcovelle@comcast.net.

COVELLE & COVELLE Public Accountants is a firm who specializes in taxes and is certified and approved by the IRS. With over 40 years of experience, COVELLE & COVELLE has prepared more than 10,000 tax returns and has a proven track record. They are dedicated to providing clients with professional and personalized services in a wide range of financial, accounting and tax needs.

 

How to Qualify a Realtor

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coming to an end, you now have time to focus on those New Year’s resolutions. If selling your home is one of them, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing your realtor.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to qualify a professional realtor:

    1. Ask them how the property will be marketed.
      Any real estate agent can give you a price, but it is critical to hire realtors that know how to correctly price and effectively market your home. Not only are we highly analytical and transparent in our suggested pricing, we use an effective strategy that will get your listing in front of the right people. From professional photography to custom email marketing, open house brochures, exclusive property videos, and targeted social media advertising, we pull out all the stops to get as many eyeballs on your listing as possible. That’s something that can’t be said for every realtor!

      Within one week on the market, COVELLE & COHEN received multiple offers over the asking price on this Cambridge condo, listed for $1.1 million!
    2. Find out how many listings they have marketed and sold and what their average ratio of listing price to selling price is.
      Experienced realtors have solid reputations in the industry, strong negotiation skills, and can guide clients through closings smoothly. The COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate Team are seasoned realtors with tenure and experience coupled with talent and originality. During the past few years, we listed and sold more than 100 properties, and represented buyers in over 60 property sales. Our list to sale price ratio is 105 percent.  With an average list price of $700,000 — this means an extra $35,000 for our sellers!

      "Erica and Mike's combined knowledge, expertise, attention to detail, and hands on approach sold our home in a timely manner and for $25,000 over asking" - Mike Marra

    3. Investigate their online presence.
      How is their online presence or do they even have one? Many real estate agents tend to let their brokerage handle all of the marketing. While we agree that a brokerage should market properties, in our practice, we ensure that our clients’ properties are marketed in a more omnipresent way. Your realtor should have their own established brand, look, and following that is polished and professional. In a digital world, a robust online presence is critical to reach buyers and sellers. You should be able to tell the amateur from the professional just by taking a look at their established presence online.

      No other real estate team has a stronger online presence than ours! With a fierce social media and digital advertising strategy, we’ll get your listing on phones and feeds of local, interested buyers. With more than 7,000 local followers, we reach tens of thousands of people daily on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see for yourself!

      COVELLE & COHEN market where people are — on their phones and in their feeds!
    4. Get to know them.
      Getting to know your realtor is key! It is essential to work with someone you can connect with and trust. COVELLE & COHEN truly has all of their clients’ best interests at heart, and strives to provide white glove service.

      Erica Covelle was born with a gift of making things look fantastic. Her interior design background and top notch creative marketing skills set her apart from all other realtors. Mike Cohen’s niche is in effectively putting and keeping a deal together, providing great communication along the way, selling all kinds of property for top dollar and under the best terms possible. Together, they’ll make your home come alive and get it sold faster and for more money.

      In an image driven society, COVELLE & COHEN creates the image that drives the sale.
    5. Ask for references.
      The biggest compliment a realtor can get is a referral from a past client. Successful agents should always be able to provide this for you and you can find many of our testimonials on our website, Facebook, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

      "The Covelle & Cohen team ensured that I made informed decisions and guided me through the home buying process from beginning to end" - Maggie Toomey

New year, new home. If 2019 is the year you’re planning on buying or selling your home, contact us today and get to know the COVELLE & COHEN difference.

How to Winterize Your Home (And Why You Must)

How to Winterize Your Home (And Why You Must!)

In comes November, and up goes that thermostat! New England’s winter chill is just around the corner. Sit at ease in front of the fireplace with a cup of cocoa this season knowing your home is prepared and protected through frost, sleet, deep freeze, nor’easters, and all else Old Man Winter brings.

Weatherproofing your home can not only help you save money on utility bills — it can save you hundreds if not thousands in repairs. The last thing any of us want is a burst pipe in the middle of a winter storm. And when late spring comes and you reach for the sprinklers to water your fertilized lawn, you’re in for a big, expensive surprise if you failed to blow out your system the previous fall.

Trust us — you really ought to spend a little money and time upfront to weatherproof and spare yourself thousands of dollars (and headache) in the long run. Protect your investment with this winter home checklist:

  1. Make sure your home’s pipes and hot water heater are insulated. If we’re expecting a very cold night, let the faucet drip. Reading this in February? Here’s how to safely thaw pipes and make temporary repairs.
  2. Locate and seal cracks and openings in the walls, attic, basement, or crawlspace. Caulk and foam are your friends! Check to see your ducts are properly sealed, too.
  3. Insulate crawl spaces, basement windows, and garage doors; and replace old windows with storm windows, adding weatherstrips to both doors and windows with drafts.
  4. Clean your fireplace before lighting it up this season. This prevents dangerous dust and soot from entering your home, and you’ll be able to determine if any creatures have made your home their home, if you know what we mean…
  5. Install a programmable thermostat. The Nest thermostats are great, especially for people not often home. Have peace of mind knowing your house is warm enough for safety while you’re away.
  6. Consider a generator. Power outages often last for hours, days or even weeks, and they can be costly if you’re not prepared.
  7. If you have a gas furnace, maintain it seasonally. Vacuum the interior, change the air filter, check the fan belt, lubricate oil bearings, and more.
  8. Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles, and have them replaced.
  9. Clean out your gutters. Wet leaves can freeze, become heavy, and cause great damage to your gutters and home.
  10. Winterize the sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems need to have all the water blown out of them before winter freeze-up.
  11. Drain and turn off any exterior water spigots, including any hoses or air conditioning pipes.

Overwhelmed? Hire help. Get in touch with us today and we’ll connect you with our network of plumbers, electricians, and handymen in Greater Boston with proven track records. Email us today at info@covellecohen.com!

5 Kitchen and Bath Trends Dominating 2018

If you’re thinking of making improvements to your home, a kitchen or bath remodel is a surefire investment to increase your home’s value. Why? Because buyers are most interested in seeing updated, beautiful kitchens and baths! And in a hot housing market like Greater Boston, a kitchen or bath remodel often returns more than 100 percent of the cost.

Of course, getting started can be overwhelming. First, know what’s out, what’s in, and what’s likely to stay! Read on for the top trends dominating 2018, followed by tips and tricks to maximize your money:

1. Countertops

Stone countertops are in. In fact, they’re the top item to splurge on because everyone loves a clean kitchen.
Photo: @finding__lovely

Stone countertops are in. In fact, they’re the top item to splurge on because everyone loves a clean kitchen. High-end developers and luxury homeowners go for Calacatta, a bright white marble with thick veins that range in color from gold to brown to beige to dark gray. It’s a gorgeous historic favorite sure to stay in style.

Tip: Love this look but not the price tag? Engineered quartz is eclipsing granite as the most popular material for countertops, according to Houzz. Quartz is cheaper but more durable than marble — perfect for wear and tear in a family kitchen.

2. High-End Appliances

Without a doubt, new appliances reel in buyers in Greater Boston’s hot housing market.
Photo: @marieflaniganinteriors

Without a doubt, new appliances reel in buyers in Greater Boston’s hot housing market. Who doesn’t want an induction stove, a warming drawer, a smart refrigerator, or a wine cooler? If you personally enjoy cooking and entertaining, high-end appliances are worth the splurge. Enjoy your chef-inspired kitchen now, and profit when it’s time to sell!

Tip: Be savvy. Keep in mind the best time to buy appliances. After a new release, you can often find the previous year’s high-end model for a fraction of the price!

3. Darker Tones for Cabinets

 Darker colors returned to 2018 kitchens this year — think navy, hunter green, walnut, and slate gray.
Photo: @neptunehomeofficial

While white kitchens will always be popular, designers are moving away from minimalist toward realist design. Darker colors returned to kitchens this year — think navy, hunter green, walnut, and slate gray. Many designers are even opting for two-tone cabinets, where the upper cabinets are light and the bottom cabinets are dark.

Tip: Cabinets are not the place to pour thousands of dollars. Save that budget for tile flooring, backsplashes, counters, or appliances. Why? Because those updates help sell the house! It’s more likely that in nine years, the trendy cabinets you chose will look dated, and you’ll regret over-spending.

4. Wall Coverings

Wallpaper is back, and it’s not your mother’s ‘80s florals!
Photo: @deeelms

Wallpaper is back, and it’s not your mother’s ‘80s florals! Wallpaper is a fairly inexpensive way to freshen up any powder room with an accent wall. Designer wallpaper ranges from geometric and art deco to bright and large-scale florals to even an “ombre” effect!

Tip: Want to go bold? Go for it! Wall coverings are a place to express yourself, and they’re an easy fix when selling your home. We’d recommend Chasing Paper, a beautiful, well-designed removable(!) wallpaper that will stick to nearly any surface.

5. Metal Fixtures

Metal fixtures are the simplest way to give your bathroom and kitchens a luxury look.
Photo: @kerrykirkphoto

Metal fixtures are the simplest way to give your bathroom and kitchens a luxury look. Faucets, lighting fixtures, mirrors, and frames all look incredible in nickel and brass against bright white. This year, we’re loving the matte black that’s trending!  

Tip: Fixtures are an easy way to stay on trend at minimal expense. For tubs, toilets, and bathroom sinks, stay classic with pure white! It will never look outdated.

COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate provides cutting edge strategies that offer a proven road map to suit any real estate needs. Contact us here or call 857.529.SOLD (7653).

Why Buy a Home in Somerville?

Here's Why You Should Call Somerville, Massachusetts Home

They say home is where the heart is. If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re living in the right place, consider Somerville — a city north of Boston wherein heart, community, and opportunity permeate. And although there are many factors to consider when deciding where to live, here’s why we think Somerville is an excellent place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike to call home.

Sense Of Community and Culture

Only four-square miles, Somerville is the fifteenth densest city in America — and it packs a big punch. Somerville’s an incredibly diverse city built for everyone. In 2015, Somerville was awarded the All-America City Award, celebrating municipalities that engage residents in innovative, inclusive, and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges. Residents are given the choice to simply live in Somerville or to “Be Somerville!” and play an active role in shaping their community.

Beyond that, there’s always something to do in Somerville — from the many festivals that take place in its neighborhoods year-round, like the beloved Fluff Fest, Honk! Fest, and Porch Fest, to the independently owned and operated Somerville Theater, home to the annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. And if art is your thing, there’s a community waiting for you at the Armory or at Somerville Open Studios.

Curb Appeal

“Slummerville? Haven’t heard that name in years.” Over the last few decades (since the arrival of the Red Line) Somerville has been going through a renaissance, making it a desirable place to live. The 2010 Census found that the city has the second-highest proportion of residents between the ages of 25 and 34 in the United States. It’s a city that is becoming increasingly hip, replete with craft breweries, all-season farmer’s markets, and trendy restaurants that lure high-end chefs, yet it still maintains a mom and pop feel from yesteryear, with iconic mainstays like Lyndell’s Bakery, Vinny’s Ristorante, and more.

Somerville is city convenience with a suburban neighborhood feel — run into your neighbors biking  down the Somerville Community Path or strolling through one of the city’s many parks and open spaces, just steps from shops, cafés, world class universities, and more. And, the upcoming arrival of the green line makes it a commuter’s dream.

Bustling Economy and Real Estate Market

Future job growth in Somerville over the next 10 years is predicted to be 39.5 percent. Property values continue to rise — condominiums last year appreciated 9 percent, and the median sale price for a single family home was $734,000. And Somerville’s residential tax rate is $11.31 per $1,000 of assessed value — that’s one of the least expensive statewide, at a rank of 291 across 347 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

Sold on Somerville? The Covelle & Cohen Greater Boston Real Estate team successfully helps both homebuyers and sellers navigate the process. SELL FOR MORE, BUY FOR LESS — in Somerville and beyond! Call us today at 857.529.7653 or connect with us online.