Archive for January, 2014

5 Things to Do with… Pegboard – Via Bobvila.com

5 Things to Do with… Pegboard – Via Bobvila.com.

What You Should Know About Your Home and Your 2013 Taxes

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Published: December 12, 2013
By: Dona DeZube

It’s the last year for three sweet home tax benefits, but the first for a way simpler home office deduction

These days few things start a fight on Capitol Hill faster than taxes. Despite the fact that three important tax benefits used by millions of American homeowners are days from expiring, Congress is unlikely to do anything to re-up them any time soon.

So if you’re eligible, tax year 2013 is possibly the last time to claim the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction, the energy tax credit, and debt forgiveness benefit, all of which all expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

At least there’s one piece of good news for homeowners: If you have a home office, there’s a new, simpler option for calculating the home office deduction for which you may qualify on your 2013 taxes.

Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about those expiring benefits as you ready your taxes:

PMI Deduction

This tax rule lets you deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance, which is what you pay your lender each month if you put down less than 20% on a home. PMI protects the lender if you default on the home loan. Your deduction could amount to a couple hundred dollars depending on your tax bracket and other factors.


Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

This sweet little tax credit lets you offset what you owe the IRS dollar-for-dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades, from insulation to water heaters. On the downside, the credit is capped at $500 (less in some cases). But on the bright side, the right improvement could lower your utility bills indefinitely.

Debt Forgiveness

When you go through a short sale, foreclosure, or deed-in-lieu, your lender typically lets you off the hook for some or all of what you owe on your mortgage.

That forgiven mortgage debt is income, on which you’d typically have to pay income tax.

Suppose you’re in financial distress and your lender agrees to let you short-sell your home, say for $50,000 less than you owe on the mortgage, and forgive you for the balance. Without the protection of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, you’ll owe income tax on that $50,000.

It’s likely if you had the money to pay income tax on $50,000, you’d have used it to pay your mortgage in the first place.

New Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction

This may be the last year for the benefits above, but a new one kicks in for the 2013 tax year. If you work from home, you may qualify to use a new, simplified option for claiming the home office deduction when you file your 2013 taxes.

How much simpler is it? It lets you claim $5 per sq. ft. for up to 300 sq. ft. instead of having to compute the actual expenses of your home office using a 43-line form. To calculate the square footage of your office, just multiply the length of two walls. For example, an 8-by-10-foot room is 80 sq. ft. And at $5 per, that’s $400.

Although using the simplified option is obviously easier, the basic requirements for claiming the home office deduction haven’t changed. Your home office still must be used for business purposes:
Exclusively, and
On a regular basis.

Why Might the Tax Benefits Not Be Renewed?

Although the expiring tax benefits were renewed retroactively in past years, that may not happen in 2014 because many in Congress would like to see comprehensive tax reform rather than scattershot renewals of individual provisions. This could delay a decision on the homeownership tax benefits until the big picture budget and tax issues are resolved.

So if you can, enjoy them now!
INFORMATION COURTESY OF
houselogic

read more here
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/tax-deductions/tax-deductions-credits-for-homeowners-2013/#.#ixzz2riy8xFz9

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Quilt Raffle to Benefit CASA of Linn County, Oregon.

Quilt Raffle to Benefit CASA of Linn County, Inc.
Tickets 1 for $5 or 5 for $20
Drawing will be held MAY 9, 2014
During the
CASA Casino Royale
at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center

CASA flyer4B

CASA of Linn County, Inc. is a non-profit organization that supports volunteers who advocate for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected and are under the protection of the Juvenile Court in Linn County. Our purpose is to secure a safe and permanent home for every child in the dependency system as quickly as possible.

For more information contact

Kim Holmes

Development Director

CASA of Linn County, Inc.

2730 Pacific Blvd., Suite 201

Albany, OR 97321

541-926-2651

https://www.facebook.com/CasaOfLinnCounty

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Certified Distressed Property Expert
(541) 619-3640

Doug Hall, Broker
(541) 979-0571

**Pat Pendley, Christie Pendley ,and Doug Hall, are licensed Real Estate Brokers in the State of Oregon with RE/MAX Integrity

Team Pendley is a proud sponsor of Linn County CASA

Marcus Luttrell Partners with Veterans United

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marcus-luttrell

Veterans United Home Loans has partnered with Marcus Luttrell, the man who inspired the No. 1 movie in the country, “Lone Survivor,” to educate veterans and service members on the benefits of the VA Home Loan program.

Helping Veterans Achieve the Dream of Homeownership

Marcus Luttrell is nothing if not completely dedicated to his fellow service members and veterans. That fact is evident through his retelling of the events surrounding Operation Red Wings, an epic fight between his Navy Seals team and the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2005.

His commitment to those who served did not stop when he left the battlefield, however. Luttrell remains an advocate for veterans, especially those who have returned from the War on Terror. Working to ensure every veteran can take advantage of the benefits earned through service, Luttrell has partnered with Veterans United Home Loans. With the help of Veterans United, Luttrell is spreading the word about how a VA Loan can open the doors of homeownership to our nation’s heroes.

“Veterans United Home Loans truly appreciates the sacrifices service members and veterans make in order to serve our country. That’s why I’m proud to support Veterans United.”

Texas native Marcus Luttrell has been forging a unique path for most of his life.

While most children are dreaming of baseball and long summers, at the young age of 14, Luttrell began an earnest path toward becoming a United States Navy SEAL. Along with his twin brother, Morgan, Marcus started his own training regimen that would go a long way in helping him reach his dream.

In 1999, Luttrell first attempted Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., but his graduation was delayed due to a fractured femur early on in training. Undeterred, Marcus would eventually graduate as an 18D, or team medic, in 2001.

A mere four years later, Marcus and his team, SEAL Team 10, would be tasked with a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains. Marcus’s life and the lives of his fellow SEAL’s would change dramatically after Operation Red Wings.

After being medically discharged, Luttrell would release his first book, The Lone Survivor, a few years later, which quickly rose to the top of the New York Times bestseller list in 2012. That same year, Marcus also launched the Lone Survivor Foundation, became a key spokesman for The Boot Campaign, and more importantly, started a family with his wife, Melanie.

Merely the beginning for Marcus, he has since released a second book, Service, and simultaneously became a public speaker and figure for organizations such as Veterans United Home Loans. Marcus joined forces with Veterans United in an effort to raise awareness about the VA home loan benefit available to service members and veterans. A man of strong faith and values, Marcus found that Veterans United’s values were similarly dedicated to the betterment of military families; that of making the American dream of homeownership a reality for those who so bravely served.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT
Veterans United Home Loans
http://www.veteransunited.com/marcus/

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Certified Distressed Property Expert
(541) 619-3640

Doug Hall, Broker
(541) 979-0571

**Pat Pendley, Christie Pendley ,and Doug Hall, are licensed Real Estate Brokers in the State of Oregon with RE/MAX Integrity

Get to Know Oregon Truffle Hunting

Oregon Truffle Hunt
by Grant McOmie – January 21st, 2014 –

The best adventures are the ones that entice and intrigue you down the trail – the ones that promise yet unseen rewards, perhaps a treasure for your efforts. It’s a different sort of field hunting that relies on a keen canine sense of smell – come along as we join man’s best friend and go digging for valuable Oregon truffles.

Kris Jacobsen is a professional dog trainer who operates a business called “Umami.” Her partner is a five-year-old Belgian Malinois breed of dog, Ilsa. We joined the team near Eugene in a Lane County forest. They prefer hunting together in dark stands of 30-year old Douglas fir and their hunting success depends on Ilsa’s famous nose.

The prize they seek are gorgeous walnut-sized fungi that are more famous than you’d think – you see, Oregon truffles are blessed with aromatic, almost pungent scents that are culinary treasures. In fact, the truffle’s strong aroma makes the finding easy for a trained dog like Ilsa.

“I give her a search command and she ventures out ahead of me,” noted Jacobsen. “I pretty much stay put and keep an eye on her as she wanders about me trying to pick up the scent of the truffle.”

It doesn’t take Ilsa long to find a truffle treasure. She dips her head, sniffs the ground, scratches the surface twice and shakes her head to signal a find. “Ilsa tends to stop right on top of them,” said Jacobsen. “She might nick it a little bit with her paw but by and large she’ll stop at the top of it.”

Kris’ said that her job is keep watch and follow Ilsa’s signs. Ten years ago, Jacobsen knew virtually nothing about truffles – what she calls a “mushroom that grows underground.” That changed when she tasted her first wild Oregon white truffle.

“A nice ripe truffle should have a distinct vein running through it – almost like marbling thru a high quality steak. It’s got this amazing aroma coming out of it; a strong garlic-cheese like aroma – it’s very savory and it makes you hungry.”

Between two and ten tons of Oregon truffles are harvested from Douglas fir forests each year. The harvest varies each year depending upon climate and weather patterns during a season that stretches between November and February.

Chef Karl Zenk of Marché Restaurant in Eugene said truffles have a remarkable ability to transform meals from delicious to out of this world. “You’ve got the earthiness of the meat and the vegetables and the truffle kind of accentuate that and gives it a nice roundness of flavor and aroma that’s just special. Truffles are something we can really celebrate that we have in Oregon. We are proud of them – such a great thing.”

Back in the forest, Oregon truffle expert and mycologist Dr. Charles Lefevre said Oregon truffles are world-class delicacies, but not known widely. The so-called “underground mushroom” ranges in size from a pea to a grapefruit and it is unrivaled in the kitchen. They grow throughout western Oregon.

“Habitat is typically farmland that has been converted to Douglas fir,” said Lefevre. “It’s often a crop found right in people’s backyards; orchards or forest stands.”

Jacobsen added that truffle hunting is a lot of fun because she can spend a day in the field with her best friend and come home with a delicious reward. “Just being outdoors with Ilsa and watching her work is fun – both of us enjoy each other’s company and accomplishing a task together.”

You can learn more about truffles at the annual Oregon Truffle Festival and a visit to the Sunday Marketplace that is held on January 26. You can pick up tips, techniques and sample recipes at a fabulous affair that’s held in Eugene.

If you want to learn more about Oregon truffles, visit natruffling.org, the North American Truffling Society based in Corvallis.

For more information visit
Travel Oregon
http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/grants-getaways/oregon-truffle-hunt/

Team Pendley
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We Go The Extra Mile, It’s Less Crowded!

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(541) 990-2530

Christie Pendley, Broker
Certified Distressed Property Expert
(541) 619-3640

Doug Hall, Broker
(541) 979-0571

**Pat Pendley, Christie Pendley ,and Doug Hall, are licensed Real Estate Brokers in the State of Oregon with RE/MAX Integrity

Team Pendley Personal Finance Tips
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Team Pendley is a proud sponsor of Linn County CASA

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4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

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Tara-Nicholle Nelson
January 16th, 2014

If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are good that you’re seeking a lifestyle level-up: you want to bring your home’s size, shape, features, location, maintenance and financial obligations into better alignment with your life – or your future. Making sure that you execute a home sale that actually does align your home with your life requires a lot of prep work.

For most home sellers, it’s the property preparation work that is top of mind. You’ve gotta pick an agent, let them come and tell you all the junk that has to go, pack up that stuff and then let the painters and housekeepers do their job. Then, and only then, the stagers can begin, telling you to pack up all the rest of your stuff so they can create a really clutter-free, updated, neutrally-chic vignette of an irresistible life in your home for the next folks. (Be forewarned – sellers have been known to love their post-staging house so much they question their decision to move!)

But there are a number of financial prep steps that also need to happen to ensure your home’s sale actually does improve your life the way you hope it will, without creating any surprise dramas or burdens. Here are four of those money-do’s to add into your list of home sale prep steps:

1. Get clear on your current credit status. I know, I know – checking credit is an ever-present item on a home buyer’s prep checklist. But if you’re selling a home, chances are good that you’ll want to buy a replacement one. The best time to spot credit glitches and hitches – bills you need to pay down, rogue errors and the like – is not when your current home is on the escrow countdown. If you’re thinking you want to sell your home this year, now is the time to check your credit, spot issues and begin fixing them.

Some credit rehabilitation projects take months, even a year, to complete – so the earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have on your side. And this advice is for everyone – even if you think you have stellar credit, check your reports far enough in advance that you can spot and dispute any erroneous information that might have found its way there. Get started by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – and revisit this post for an even deeper dive into what you’re looking for, and what you need to do.

2. Scope out your minimum desired decrease – or maximum tolerance for increase – in housing costs. Often times, we eyeball these things: rates are still good, you just got a raise, you can well afford your current payment, looks like your home is worth more now and those houses up the hill don’t cost that much more – time to move up, right?

Maybe so. But maybe no. There’s a lot more to account for in this equation. You need to factor in what the actual increase in your mortgage payment will be, but also how much you’ll net on your home, how much cash you’ll need to close on your next one, and how much your utilities, property taxes, insurance and other home-related expenses might increase if you move up.

Same with downsizing: if you downsize from a home you’ve live in for decades to a brand new, but smaller, condo – you could actually see an increase in property taxes in some areas and get an HOA bill you never had before, to boot. By no means does that mean it’s not the right move to make: the increased bills might be offset by decreased heating, cooling and maintenance, and the fact is that the smaller, new place might just be the right size and style for the next stage of your life.

But you can’t know that’s the fact until you have clarity about how much you can truly, sustainably, wisely afford to spend on your next move. To get this clarity before you list, you’ll need to enlist

•your agent – who can help you understand what sort of downsize or move-up property you can get at various price points

•your mortgage broker – they can help you understand various financial scenarios for purchase prices, down payments and monthly payments – including property taxes

•your tax advisor – who can help you understand the differential impact of various next-home scenarios on your income tax situation, and

•your financial planner – if you don’t have one, it might be worth engaging one to help you make a wise financial move as you carry out your next home move. A fee-based financial planner can help you get clarity around your current income and expenses, your debt, as well as your savings and investments – this insight allows you to wisely time your move vis-a-vis your other life and financial goals.

3. Get inspections and key reports in advance (then read them). The potential for big, bad financial surprises is the scariest element of any real estate transaction. And when you’re selling your home, that potential comes in the form of surprise property problems that complicate your sale, surprise liens and taxes that must be paid to close the deal and even surprise HOA problems that don’t manifest fully until the buyer gets HOA disclosures.

One way to limit your financial exposure to these sorts of surprises is to simply decide not to wait to gather this information until a buyer is on the hook. In many markets, it’s now standard operating procedure for sellers to actually have home, pest and/or roof inspections – and any governmentally-mandated inspections – conducted before the house even goes on the market. This empowers you, the seller, to either begin conducting repairs or to fully disclose what needs doing and list your home in as-is condition. You might not get the same price for it as you would have without the reports, but you will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations and falling out of escrow – things that are common when a buyer gets a mid-transaction surprise of negative property condition reports. Ask your agent for advice about whether obtaining any or all of these inspection reports in advance makes sense in your situation.

Additionally, work with your agent to get early copies of your home’s preliminary escrow report and HOA disclosures. If you have outstanding liens or there are HOA issues that will make it difficult to carry out a sale, better to know – and solve for – them sooner than later.

4. Create a financial plan for your home’s sale. “It takes money to make money,” they say. What they didn’t say is that it also takes money to turn your home into the cash your equity represents. So I’ll say it:

•When you bought your home, the seller paid both agents’ commissions. Now that you’re selling, it’s your turn – make sure you calculate the average 5-6% of the purchase price that you’ll need to cover your listing agent’s work, and the buyer’s agent’s, too.

•Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand getting it market-ready, whether you decide to do a DIY-fix-it sweep or to hire the best stager in town to showcase your showplace.

•Depending on how much financial margin you have – or need – and on what your advance inspections revealed (if you did them – see #3, above), you might want to build in a line item for a repair credit to offset the cost of any repairs that come up during escrow.

•Your agent can help you project other costs of selling your home, like property transfer taxes and paying for the buyer’s home warranty – costs customarily covered by the seller vary widely state-by-state, and even across counties within the same state. Your escrow holder and agent can also get you up-to-speed on precisely how much of your home’s sale price will go to pay off your mortgage(s), property taxes and any other liens.

Your final money-do is to actually document your financial plan and budget for selling your home. Many agents will sit right down with you and help you do this; if yours will, take them up on the offer. It also creates a perfect time and space to get educated about the flow of the home selling process and standard bargaining practices in your area. The goal is to get a clear, concrete understanding of the dollars that will flow in and out during this major life change, so you can make clear, calm decisions throughout the process that set you up for success long after closing.

Article courtesy of
Trulia
Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Trulia’s In-House Demystifyer of All Things Real Estate
http://tips.truliablog.com/2014/01/4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home/?ecampaign=cnews201401C&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home%2F

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We Go The Extra Mile, It’s Less Crowded!

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(541) 990-2530

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Certified Distressed Property Expert
(541) 619-3640

Doug Hall, Broker
(541) 979-0571

**Pat Pendley, Christie Pendley ,and Doug Hall, are licensed Real Estate Brokers in the State of Oregon with RE/MAX Integrity

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Get to Know Oregon Cape Perpetua Thor’s Well

Geography

Cape Perpetua is located about 2 miles (3 km) south of Yachats, Oregon along U.S. Route 101. It is a typical Pacific Northwest headland, forming a high steep bluff above the ocean. At its highest point, Cape Perpetua rises to over 800 feet (240 m) above sea level. From its crest, an observer can see 70 miles (110 km) of Oregon coastline and as far as 37 miles (60 km) out to sea on a clear day

History

For at least 6,000 years Native Americans hunted for mussels, crabs, sea urchins, and clams along the coast near Cape Perpetua. Evidence of their lives can still be found in the huge piles of discarded mussel shells that lie along the shore near the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.

Several early explorers sailed past the cape. The first recorded passage was by Bartolomé Ferrelo in 1543; then came Sir Francis Drake in 1575 and Martin d’Aguilar in 1605. The cape was named by Captain James Cook on March 7, 1778 as he searched for the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage. Cook named the cape Perpetua because it was sighted on St. Perpetua’s Day.

The area became part of the Siuslaw National Forest in 1908. In 1914, the United States Forest Service cut a narrow road into the cliff around Cape Perpetua and constructed a wooden bridge across the Yachats River, opening travel between the small community of Yachats and Florence, Oregon to the south. The wooden bridge was replaced in 1926 with a steel structure. The Cape Perpetua section of the Roosevelt Memorial Highway (now Highway 101) was built in the 1930s.

In 1933, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was built at the foot of the cape just north of Cape Creek near where the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located today. The CCC constructed Cape Perpetua campground, a network of trails, and the West Shelter observation point near the top of the cape. During World War II, the West Shelter observation point was used as a coastal watch station and a large coastal defense gun was temporarily installed. An SCR-270B radar was installed at an undetermined location to take advantage of the height of the promontory.
The Cape Perpetua Shelter and Parapet were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

The Forest Service created the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and built the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center in the 1960s to highlight the unique beauty of the central Oregon Coast. The scenic area includes 2,700 acres (11 km2) of old growth spruce, Douglas-fir and western hemlock

Camping, picnicking, hiking, sightseeing, whale watching, and a visitor center with daily programs are all available within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. There are twenty-six miles of interconnected hiking trails in old growth forests which lead to Pacific Ocean tidal pools. One of the trails leads to a 600 year old Giant Sitka Spruce known as the Silent Sentinel of the Siuslaw. This tree stands more than 185 feet (56 m) high, and has a 40-foot (12 m) circumference at its base. On September 15, 2007, this ancient spruce was designated a “Heritage Tree” by the State of Oregon to recognize its exceptional age and size and ensure its protection.

Along the Cape Perpetua coastline there are several unique features as well. The Devil’s Churn is a long crack in the coastal rock that fills with each ocean wave, occasionally exploding as incoming and outgoing waves collide. The Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well on the plateau nearby are both salt water fountains driven by the power of the ocean tide. Thor’s Well is at 44.278421°N 124.113499°W. Spouting Horn is at 44.277497°N 124.112994°W. Both Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn are best seen approximately an hour before high tide to an hour after high tide. How spectacular the sights are is a function of the height of the high tide and the direction and size of the swells. The wind can also be a factor. Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well are popular with visitors; however, all three can be dangerous especially at high tide and during winter storms.

The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located two miles (3 km) south of Yachats. The visitor center offers spectacular views of the ocean and coast from its deck. It is also a popular place to watch migrating gray whales. The visitor center has comprehensive natural history and cultural exhibits, an interactive children’s science area, a theater with nature films, and a bookstore. At the shelter there was never a gun installation. An SCR270B radar was installed on the site in 1943 in response to the bombing of Mt. Emily, Brookings, Oregon.

For more information visit
Travel Oregon
http://traveloregon.com/ask-oregon/im-looking-for-history-or-information-about-thors-well/

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Christie Pendley, Broker
Certified Distressed Property Expert
(541) 619-3640

Doug Hall, Broker
(541) 979-0571

**Pat Pendley, Christie Pendley ,and Doug Hall, are licensed Real Estate Brokers in the State of Oregon with RE/MAX Integrity

Team Pendley Personal Finance Tips
http://teampendley.makingfinancepersonal.com/

Team Pendley is a proud sponsor of Linn County CASA
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