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Blog Archive November 2020



Renovations Dos and Don'ts to Increase Your Home's Resale Value

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As we all spend more extraordinary lengths of time at home, people are drawn to take care of the home improvement projects they've meant to do for a while. All sorts of tasks, large and small, have been underway in households across America. Organization projects, remodeling, painting, and even complete transformations are unfolding in our neighborhoods. Furniture stores cannot keep up with demand, estimating orders for many items to be as long as two months. Organizational systems for closets are also on backorder, and paint stores are busier than usual. Pool installations and new landscaping are also in high demand. 

Some of these changes are for the homeowner's pleasure or comfort, while others may be necessary, such as updating a furnace or roof. Whatever the reason, there are costs associated with any upgrade made to a home. Depending on the type of improvement, the money spent can be considered an investment because it will increase the home's value and return when the home is eventually sold. In other cases, the money spent will not increase the resale value of the home. Here are a few scenarios of typical home improvements and how they will most likely affect your home's resale value.

These home improvements will most likely not increase the resale value of your home:

Insulating your Home: If you were dreading another winter in your drafty home and thought the expense was well worth the comfort of insulating your home, you are probably right. However, you probably will not see a return on that investment in terms of finances when you sell your home. 

Tuckpointing Bricks: Your home looks so much better with the new tuckpointing completed, but a buyer will not consider your home worth more because of it.

Gutter Replacement: Purchasing the new gutters has improved the house's look and eliminated the issues the old gutters were causing. However, this expense will not drive up your asking price when it's time to sell.

Installing a Swimming Pool: Except for states with hot weather year-round, a pool is considered a considerable expense due to maintenance and is a deterrent to buyers.

These home improvements should increase your home's resale value:

Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades: The key to this improvement is not to overdo it. If the upgrades are too extravagant or of a very particular taste, chances are you may not recoup your investment or have a hard time finding a buyer with your same preferences. If the kitchen is fully upgraded, but the rest of the home is outdated, buyers will immediately feel as if they need to spend money to upgrade the rest of the house and consider your home to be extra work and too expensive.

Smart Home Capabilities: Electronics are the way of the future, but not everyone is on board yet with having technology operate their every move. It is costly to install high-end electronics in every function of your home, and it can be off-putting to some buyers. Technology changes so rapidly that the technology you install today may be out of date by the time you decide to sell in five years, making your investment pointless. 

Landscaping: Beautifying your home's exterior plays an essential part in the resale value of your home. Curb appeal is a massive draw for future buyers. The critical point to consider when deciding how much landscaping to invest in is to have a well-manicured lawn without giving the impression of needing to employ someone to maintain it. A buyer will be daunted by landscaping that requires a lot of effort and expense to upkeep.

Overall, move forward with projects that would make you happy and comfortable in your home if you plan to remain there, even if they will not increase your property value. Consider maintenance projects, such as replacing the HVAC, an expense that protects your home's current value. When considering more extensive renovations, for instance, a new kitchen, carefully avoid splurging on extras to have the best chance of recouping your investment. Once you've decided which project you would like to complete first, visit or call one of our Pan American Bank & Trust personal bankers at any of our locations. We would love to help you decide which of the many options we offer can be allocated to finance your home improvement needs.


Ten Great Reasons to Employ an Accountant

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While no one enjoys completing their yearly obligation of filing taxes, those that choose to use the services of a certified CPA are not only doing so to avoid the tedious task but also because of the numerous advantages, a CPA can offer. Consider the following points if you are thinking of doing your taxes on your own.


The financial situation is not simple. If you have more than one source of income, inconsistent income, own a business, are also attending school, work from home or unemployed, you may have many questions about your situation that a CPA would have the answers to.


CPA is a Professional. A CPA does numerous tax filings year-round, making him/her an expert. Considering how important your taxes are filed correctly, why wouldn’t you want your taxes filed by an expert rather than yourself who only does them once per year?


Knowledgeability. A CPA can apply legal loopholes you are unaware of to benefit you in situations you may not have considered, such as business or travel expenses. CPAs are updated on all of the most recent tax code information which can affect your filing. 


Deductions. A CPA is informed of every scenario that can and cannot be considered a deduction. For instance, many are incorrectly labeling home office equipment and space as a deduction since so many people are working from home. However, regulations have become more specific, and including too much incorrect info can be a red flag to the IRS. Home offices are considered business property by the IRS, which leads to other issues of depreciation negatively affecting your capital gains. This is explained in Section 1250 costs. This is yet another new regulation most would not consider or realize the full details of, but a CPA would. 


Long Term Expertise. While tax filings may be a short-term benefit, a great accountant will also have the expertise to plan for your future finances. Thinking ahead to your retirement goals, a knowledgeable CPA will suggest a plan for various types of accounts, funds, or investments that will most likely achieve a realistic outcome by your desired age of retirement.


Backup. If you’ve been using an accountant all along and an audit request comes from the IRS, there is no need to worry. A trusted accountant will not only function as an intermediary between you and the IRS but will also have all of the information the IRS will be requesting, without you having to scramble through files from five years prior. Also, having had an accountant ensures everything has been filed correctly. 


If you have filed your taxes on your own or have missed filings and are being audited by the IRS, a CPA can help sort through the mess and get you on the right path, eliminating further problems.


Mentor. Consider your accountant a trusted advisor. They can be consulted regarding any financial decision you are considering. Perhaps you are refinancing your home, trying to decide which method to use for college savings or not sure how much to set aside for retirement. A good CPA can give you those answers without the emotions that come into play from your perspective.


The expense of an accountant sometimes deters the use of one, but usually, the cost pays for itself in the money and worry saved. By filing taxes correctly and taking advantage of every credit and deduction, chances are a tax refund will be greater using a CPA. Also, having the peace of mind that your taxes are filed correctly should the IRS request an audit is worth the expense of a CPA. Lastly, knowing your retirement plan is being handled to secure a comfortable future is priceless.

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