LADIES OF REAL ESTATE BLOGS
MAR 9Pros & Cons of Adding A Fence To Your PropertyHave you been considering adding a fence to your property? Maybe you are wanting to increase your home value, or you just want a little more privacy. If you’re wondering about some of the advantages and disadvantages of adding a fence to your home, we’ve got the top contenders on both sides for you below!
Pros of Fences
1. Value + Appeal
If you’re looking to define your property line and keep your little ones enclosed a little better, waist-high picket fencing could be perfect for you. If you are looking to enclose your back yard, ask an appraiser or a local real estate agent how much value a new fence will add to your home.
A fence can keep both your family and others from danger. Adding a fence can ward off people who may consider entering your property for the wrong reasons, because any additional obstacle is more work for them. A fence can also prevent trespassers from putting themselves in danger if you have a pool or playground equipment.
It can be hard to enjoy family time on your patio or in your pool if everyone on the street has a clear view of your yard. A privacy fence can help create a private sanctuary in any neighborhood!
Concerned about letting your children and/or pets outside without having to keep an eye on their every move? A fence can help provide a safe play environment for your loved ones, keeping them inside and preventing others keeping from entering.
Cons of Fences
Fences can only add value to your home if they are well-maintained. Wood fences especially require cleaning, staining, sealing or painting - and they can warp and rot over time. Consider if you would be willing to take on those tasks or the cost to hire someone to do so!
2. Boundary Issues
If you want one and your neighbor doesn’t, you may run into some boundary issues. You may both have legitimate reasons for your views but you should not make the investment until an agreement is made. When considering costs, you may need to add the cost of an attorney to help negotiate a compromise.
The cost of installing a fence can vary greatly depending on the materials you want to use, the height and length of the fence, the number of gates, and the market in which you live. Labor and materials can vary greatly from area to area. Start your research now to get an idea of what type of fence you would want and if you could fit it in your budget.
Mowing or trimming along a fence can be time consuming and can do damage to the fence if you aren’t careful – especially a wooden fence. While this may not seem like a major con, it can become one if you are expecting only the pros of adding a fence!
By Audrey Ference | Apr 13, 2021
This year your taxes are due on May 17, unlike last year when the coronavirus pandemic prompted the Internal Revenue Service to extend the deadline to July 15. (And let's remember that tax day is usually April 15, so this is good news.) The deadline might seem like plenty of time with six weeks to go, but that filing window seems to come up fast every year.
We get it. Maybe you're a procrastinator. Or maybe you're a homeowner who, rather than taking the easy-peasy standard deduction, generally tries to save a bundle by itemizing your deductions instead.
Here are three last-minute tax tips for homeowners that could save you plenty of money, headaches, and more.
Tip No. 1: Grab Form 1098Form 1098, or the Mortgage Interest Statement, is sort of like your home's W-2: a one-stop shop for your possibly two biggest tax breaks.
Just remember to make it worth your while. These numbers need to add up to more than the current standard deduction, which jumped in tax year 2020 to $12,400 for individuals, $18,650 for heads of household, and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly.
Tip No. 2: File an extensionIf you still need more time to get your taxes together, it’s totally simple and penalty-free to file for an extension until Oct. 15. But don’t get too excited; the IRS still requires you to pay your estimated tax bill by May 17, or else you’ll pay interest on what you owe down the road.
The IRS makes it easy to file for an extension, either online or by mail. On the form, just estimate how much tax you owe. If you're filing an extension because you need more time to figure out your itemized deductions, one easy shortcut is to just take the standard deduction now—or the same amount you claimed last year.
All in all, it's better to overestimate what you owe, because then you won't pay any interest. Once you file for real, anything you've overpaid will come back to you.
But what if you need an extension because you can't pay your tax bill? It's still better to file for an extension with fuzzy numbers than to not file at all.
The IRS has payment plans that can help if you are short on cash. Just file something--blowing the deadline entirely will open you up to penalties as well as interest on your bill. And maybe an audit, too.
Tip No. 3: Hire some helpIf you make less than $69,000 a year, you qualify to use free tax prep software from the IRS. Even if you make more than that, there are lots of free or low-cost online tax prep options that should work for anyone with relatively straightforward taxes.
Of course, another option is to find yourself a good accountant.
If paying for a tax preparer sounds extravagant, keep in mind that, according to the U.S. Tax Center, the average cost of getting your taxes done is only $225. This, generally speaking, is money well-spent.
A good accountant can actually save you money by spotting deductions you might not have found on your own, and helping you plan to minimize the next year's taxes. All in all, that may add up to the best few hundred bucks you've ever spent!
Another timesaver: Rather than snail-mailing your accountant your tax forms, snap pictures of them on your smartphone; some apps like CamScanner can do so with scanner-style quality. Accountants don't need the originals to file.
For next year, remember to prepareOK, so this year you waited too long and stressed yourself out. If you don't want a repeat ordeal next year, now is also the time to mend your ways and start tax prep early. Nobody wants to be thinking about taxes all year, of course. But as a homeowner, you can do some things to be better prepared.
So before you do any home maintenance, upgrades, or renovations, research whether there are any tax deductions you could be eligible for.
Start now, and you'll be sitting pretty to collect on all the various tax perks that come with owning a home rather than pulling out your hair at the last minute.
For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.
Audrey Ference has written for The Billfold, The Hairpin, The Toast, Slate, Salon, and others. She lives in Austin, TX.
Kelly Ann Cameron