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  • Tax Season 2010 vs Tax Year 2009 vs Tax Return..oh my

26th February 2010

Tax Season 2010 vs Tax Year 2009 vs Tax Return..oh my

I am a tax professional yet I always find myself confused about these phrases, especially when speaking to a client.  In fact it is very common for folks to be confused about the difference between a “tax season” and a “tax year” and don’t even try to figure out the tax return year.  Well allow me to clear it up for those that are still confused, I think… 

Tax Season

The Tax Season is commonly used to describe the time between January 1 and April 15 of each year.  This is the time that we all file our personal taxes for the previous tax year.  Just to add to the confusion, tax seasons also occur within a tax year. 

Tax Year 

The tax year is simply the year in which you earned income and therefore must pay Uncle Sam a portion.  Each year is a different tax year.  At the time of this writing we are in Tax Season 2010 for Tax Year 2009.  Sure this is Tax Year 2010 but we don’t really care until Tax Season 2011 right..??

When in a conversation with your tax professional, she may ask a question about last years tax return.  This often confuses my clients because they don’t know if I’m referring to tax season or tax year.  If you are confused by this question ask your tax professional which they are referring to, year or season.  More than likely she is asking you about your previous years tax return. 

Tax Return

This is when it really gets confusing so I typically stay away from associating a year with the phrase tax return.  So how do we refer to “tax returns” when it comes to the year.  Afterall tax reurns are filed during a tax season but they are accounting for taxes paid during the previous tax year.  Well here it is.  The “tax return” year is the same as the “tax year”.  Next time your tax pro asks you about a previous tax return just replace the word return with the word year and it all makes sense..right?

posted in Taxes, Tips | 0 Comments

13th August 2008

Try a Forum for Remodeling Tips

Other than this site there are lots of useful places on the net to get ideas on remodeling and rehabbing.  Forums are a great place to bounce ideas off of professionals and others in the business.   House flipping is basically remodeling on steroids, especially for rehabbers. 

One such site that I like to visit is the zillow.com forum.

Zillow Forum

The remodeling and repair category usually has useful information and some of the visitors seem to know a thing or two.

Another site that I like to visit is doityourself.com

Do it Yourself Tips

This forum not only has valuable information about home projects but you can find tips on other subjects such as automobiles and purchasing land.  On the site itself you will also find lots of useful articles on different projects.  The users in the forum seem to ask good questions they usually get some really decent answers.  Heck you might even find me out there asking and answering some of them.

posted in House Flipping, Tips | 1 Comment

28th July 2008

Replacing Windows - House Flipping Tip

Windows are an area that should not be overlooked when remodeling a house.  Does your house flipping project have old rotted wood, steel or aluminum single-pane windows?  Do you live in an area in which the winters are very cold?  If so you will need to replace them with newer double-pane windows.  Modern windows are mostly made of plastic, wood and metal.  Double pane windows make a room more comfortable and cut down on the heating costs.  They also reduce noise, interior condensation and outside interference from some wireless devices.  Low E windows offer more comfort in the summer months since they contain a special coating to reduce radiant heat loss.  I also prefer double hung windows in my house flip projects.  

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in House Flipping, Tips | 0 Comments

15th July 2008

Mold Removal - House Flipping Tip

Mold growth may be found in basements, bathrooms, kitchens and any other wet areas in a house.  Many older homes that have been sitting for years uninhabited usually have mold growth somewhere in the home.  As a house flipper you specialize in finding old ugly houses and will come across mold occasionally.  Black mold can be seen growing up walls, behind walls on base boards and any other place where moisture has accumulated.  The actual mold spores however are invisible and float in the air.  Its when the spores land on a wet or damp area that makes them visible and causes the spores to grow.

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posted in House Flipping, Tips | 0 Comments

11th July 2008

Selecting Framing Lumber - Green Wood

When framing your rehab project or house flip, you may think to yourself, ”I’ll just go to the lumber warehouse and pick out some 2 x 4’s”.  The new house flipper may not be aware that there is more than meets the untrained eye, when it comes to selecting the best lumber for your project.  Fortunately there are stamps on the lumber that tell you things like lumber grade, moisture content, and species.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in House Flipping, Tips | 0 Comments

7th July 2008

Latex vs Oil Based Paint - House Flipping Tip

Unless you are a professional painter acrylic latex paint is all the rage nowadays.  Any average Joe should choose this kind of paint simply for one reason… It cleans up with soap and water. Even professional painters opt for latex paint in many cases.  Since Latex is water based it does not require thinners and cleaners.  Even the rollers and brushes can be cleaned relatively easily as long as it is done immediately after use.  The main downside to latex is that it is subject to rust and mildew on metal surfaces or wet areas such as bathrooms.  It also is not known for its “glossyness”.

Oil based paints are known for the “glossyness” factor.  It is generally more appealing in bathrooms, kitchens, and on trims and moldings.  It is sometimes used with a fungicide in bathrooms or other places where mildew tends to form.   Also oil based paints are usually brushed on vs. rolled because of its consistency and other factors.  The downsides are somewhat larger than for latex paint.  Oil based paint typically requires the use of thinners and the chemicals pose danger when swallowed.  Some dangerous ingredients in oil based paints include lead (banned after 1978), barium and mercury.  See my article on lead paint removal for more information.  It is recommended that a professional is used when oil paint is desired.

posted in Tips | 1 Comment

30th June 2008

Asbestos Removal - House Flipping Tip

Like lead based paint, many older homes have asbestos.  Asbestos was used as an insulator and mostly found wrapped around duct-work, plumbing lines and other pipes, floor tile, attics, roofing, etc.  If exposed and inhaled over a long period of time, it can severely damage human lungs. Asbestos can also cause other problems such as warts, plaques, and asbestosis.  Although it has been banned in many other countries, the Unites States still allows its use in new construction.

Removal 

Asbestos should be handled and removed by professionals.  It can be encapsulated so that the tiny fibers will not escape into the air.  It should not be vacuumed as the fibers are too small for the vacuum.   The EPA website is a good resource on what to do when you think you have exposed this material.  There you can find a local asbestos mitigation service.

posted in Complete Rehabs, House Flipping, Tips | 2 Comments

27th June 2008

House Flipping Tip - Lead Based Paint Disposal

Lead based paint  is commonly found in houses that were built prior to 1978.  Most areas of the country now require a lead certificate or approval before the home can be rented or sold after being remodeled.  Lead based paint is considered toxic and should always be removed by a professional.  It is typically disposed of at toxic waste sites or in some cases landfills.  

Lead paint should not be vacuumed, burned or sanded.  Any of these methods either release lead particles or lead smoke into the air which causes more problems.  Chipped lead based paint is commonly found in areas such as windows sills, floors, base boards and moldings where it can be eaten by young children.  If you believe there is lead paint in your house flip or remodel be sure to call a local lead mitigation service.  You can find them on the Environmental Protection Agency website.   Be sure to check out more house flipping tips by clicking on the House Flipping Tips category. 

posted in House Flipping, Tips | 1 Comment

20th May 2008

Flipping on a Budget - Linoleum Floors

I’ve decided to write a series of posts about house flipping on a small budget.  The purpose of this series is to discuss the use of materials that are lower in cost but without sacrificing aesthetics.  I typically use high end materials i.e. granite countertops, hard wood floors, all wood cabinets, ceramic tile, Kohler faucets and fixtures, etc.  Occasionally there are times when the budget is a bit tighter or the location allows for a little less flamboyance.  One material that has come a long way over the years is linoleum.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Budget, Complete Rehabs, House Flipping, Tips | 0 Comments

13th May 2008

Flat paint vs Glossy Paint

Some big mistakes that new flippers make come at the very end.  Specifically items like appliances, flooring, trim, cabinetry, tile, countertops, and paint are all huge factors in how quickly your flip will sell.  All of these factors must play well in your final product.  When it comes to painting it’s usually best to go neutral and choose no more than two colors.  However there is more to painting than meets the eye…  House flippers must also pick the best finish. 

Flat Paint

Flat paint gives off a dull (flat) finish.  Although this may sound unappealing, it’s actually the best choice for the majority of the house.  Flat paint does a better job at hiding imperfections, especially on new drywall.  It’s frequently used for all interior walls and also on the exterior of the house.  Two exceptions may be the bathrooms and kitchen areas, where more dirt tends to collect.   Historically flat finishes are difficult to clean, however there are newer washable flats that tout easy to clean surfaces with minimal cleansers required.

Glossy Paint

Glossy paint comes in several varieties such as satin, semi-gloss, high-gloss etc.  These paint finishes have bright, shiny surfaces.  They also are easier to clean which is why they are commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms.  The problem with them is that they do not hide the imperfections as well as flat paint.  Glossy paints are also used on trim work such as moldings, door jams, window trim, etc. 

The main priority for every house flipper is to sell.  The best choice for paint may be to use a washable flat paint everywhere except on your trim work.  This way you can hide imperfections but still give the new homeowner a washable surface.  Another thing to keep in mind is that the new owner will want to paint and decorate their new house themselves.  Keeping things neutral will allow potential buyers to use their own imagination while evaluating your product. 

posted in Complete Rehabs, House Flipping, Tips | 1 Comment

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