Author: barthorowitz

10 Ways To Cut Energy Costs In Your Kitchen

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  —  The Staten Island Board of Realtors appreciates ways homeowners can cut costs. One effective cost-cutting measure is to save money on energy. Spending less money on utility bills doesn’t mean you need to rush out and purchase a whole new suite of Energy Star appliances. With occasional light maintenance and good habits, you can greatly improve the energy efficiency of your large kitchen appliances—up to about $120 annually—without sacrificing convenience. Here are some useful tips from the National Board of REALTORS’ HouseLogic educational Web site that can save you dollars in the kitchen: Refrigerator/freezer Energy-efficiency experts tell us to focus our efforts on the biggest energy hogs in the house, and that definitely includes the fridge. Because it cycles on and off all day, every day, the refrigerator consumes more electricity than nearly every appliance in the home save for the HVAC systems. The average refrigerator costs about $90 per year to operate, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The good news is that a few simple adjustments can trim roughly $38 to $45 off those utility bills. 1. Adjust the thermostat. By setting the thermostat colder than it needs to be, you might increase your fridge’s energy consumption by as much as 25% on average. Adjust the refrigerator so that it stays in the 37-40 degrees F range. For the freezer, shoot for...

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10 Easy Mistakes Home Owners Make On Taxes

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR) suggests that homeowners carefully review their tax calculations in order to avoid costly errors. As you calculate your tax returns, consider each home tax deduction and credit you are — and are not — entitled to. Running afoul of any of these 10 home-related tax mistakes — which tax pros say are especially common — can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep. The National Board of REALTORS’ Houselogic educational Web site points to the following c0mmon errors: Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2011 property taxes until 2012. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in 2011, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, tax manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen home owners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount. Sin #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed, says Bob Meighan, CPA and vice president...

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Is There a 3.8 Percent House Sales Tax in the Health Care Bill?

The following article is reprinted by the Staten Island Board of Realtors with permission of Keeping Current Matters:  The presidential election has renewed the debate about the Administration’s Health Care Bill. We are again getting many questions about a possible 3.8% tax on home sales that some claim is in the bill. To answer these questions, we have decided to re-run a blog post we did last year. – The KCM Crew We have received many questions about a possible 3.8% tax which will be put on home sales beginning in 2013. We want to do our best to clarify this situation for everyone. We are not accountants and give you this information just as a simple answer to the misconception. Understand that, when it comes to IRS regulations, you should check with your accountant for the most accurate and up-to-date information. A little history on the confusion Fact explains it this way: The truth is that only a tiny percentage of home sellers will pay the tax. First of all, only those with incomes over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) will be subject to it. And even for those who have such high incomes, the tax still won’t apply to the first $250,000 on profits from the sale of a personal residence — or to the first $500,000 in the case of a...

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Social Media in Commercial Real Estate No Longer Just for Socializing

As increasing numbers of REALTORS engage social networking sites, articles such as the following one from the CoStar Group (brought to our attention by local marketing expert Denise Gingold) are difficult to ignore: Commercial real estate brokers and companies are slowly shrugging off their aversions to social media platforms and are engaging more frequently in online marketing, information gathering and client building. While late to the social networking scene and still in a fledgling state of using websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, many in the CRE industry have started trying to harness their reach in hopes that one day it will lead to deals and dollars. At the same time, many others still refuse to join the fold and flat out state they will resist until they’re the last ones online.  Read more...

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Staten Island Realtors Meet With Trade Group Leaders In Albany

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Leaders of Staten Island’s professional real estate community took part in the New York State Association of Realtors’ (NYSAR) recent Mid-Winter Business Meetings in Albany. Comprised of officers and other members of the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR), the Island group attended the inauguration of NYSAR 2012 President Susan Goldy; President-elect Margaret Hartman, and Secretary/Treasurer JP Endres Fein. During the conference, SIBOR members Dawn Carpenter, NYSAR 2011 Realtor of the Year, and Neila Nuzzie, 2011 Realtor of the Year and board member, received special recognition for their hard work and commitment to the real estate profession. In addition to Ms. Carpenter and Ms. Nuzzie, SIBOR members who attended last week’s conference, included Sandy Krueger, CEO of SIBOR; Georgianna Diaz, president; Traci Cangiano, president-elect; Laird Klein, Secretary/Treasurer; Kathleen Garbarino, immediate past president, and  Greg Sokol, director. Island representatives additionally included Elizabeth Pappas, vice president of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Board of Directors; SIBOR past presidents Michael Diaz, John Vernazza, George K. Wonica and George S. Wonica; SIBOR affiliate member Raj Rajpal, and SIBOR members Eileen Torricelli and Vincent Cangiano. About the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit trade association in Staten Island, N.Y. SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically; and...

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