Advice for Buyers

4 Important Purchases to Make for Your First Home

Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your first home. There’s no denying that this is a very exciting time in your life. Becoming a homeowner will bring many new opportunities your way, the first one being a chance to go shopping! As a first-time homebuyer, there are some things you need for your home that you may not have needed previously.  So grab a piece of paper and pen because it’s time to create the ultimate first-home shopping list.

Bhgrelife.com - 4 Important Purchases to Make for Your First Home

1. Lawn Equipment

One amazing thing about owning a home is that you own the lawn, the grass, the flower beds, and everything else that comes with the property. However, this also means you have to take care of what you own, and unless you’re hiring a landscaping company, you will need to purchase some lawn equipment. Here are a few useful tools to help with lawn maintenance and get you started in your outdoor maintenance:

  • Lawn mower
  • Weed whacker
  • Weed puller
  • Water hose and sprinkler
  • Ladder

2. Household Tools

Even if your home is newly built, maintenance will be required. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, squeaky hinges, or more elaborate home repairs that crop up, you’ll need some tools of your own. The upfront cost of purchasing tools can be significant, but they can save you an abundance of money in future home repairs. After all, if you let problems persist, they will only get worse—and much more expensive. In addition, you may wish to do some simple home renovations yourself, such as hanging a TV on the wall or changing out the house’s original hardware. As a rule of thumb, grab these tools to ensure regular maintenance and quick home repairs:

  • Screwdriver set
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Pliers set
  • Tape measure

3. Gardening Gear

Gardening gear is different than lawn equipment; while you have to maintain your lawn, you aren’t required to plant beautiful, vibrant flowers to enhance the landscaping of your home. However, planting some fresh flowers and/or a vegetable garden can bring an abundance of enjoyment to your experience as a first-time homebuyer. It will also enhance the exterior appearance of your home, and may even provide you with a new hobby to enjoy for years to come. Some items to get you started on the path to creating a captivating landscape include:

  • New plants, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, bushes, etc.
  • Soil, fertilizer, and mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Gardening tools, such as cultivator, trowel, and fork
  • Shovel

4. Outdoor Patio Furniture

As a new homeowner, you may not have had the benefit of an outdoor living space previously. However, now that you have purchased your first home, if you do have this benefit, you can style your backyard to your liking. Whether you have a condo balcony, small yard, or acres to enjoy, you’ll need some outdoor patio furniture. Create the ultimate outdoor living space with the following items:

  • Patio chairs and table
  • Outdoor lights
  • Barbecue
  • Outdoor plates, bowls, and cutlery

Buying a home is a huge investment. It’s the first major purchase you make towards building a better future. Preparing yourself with a list of must-have purchases you need as a first-time homebuyer will help decrease the stress of the move and responsibility, and bring much enjoyment in the long run.

Reprinted from BHGRE.com

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team

What to Expect at Closing

HR.Donna_3144CroppedIn order to take the mystery out of the closing for first time home buyers, here are some basics on the process:

  • You do a walk-through the day before or morning of the closing to ensure the house is in the same general condition as when the offer was made and things are left that were supposed to be there (e.g. appliances).
  • Your lender hires a closing agent to create a statement outlining the loan amount, loan costs, recording fees, title insurance premiums, escrows for insurance & taxes, state transfer tax, tax prorations, and the deposit.  This shows how much money you bring to close.
  • You are charged for any oil/propane/cordwood left.  This may be put on the closing statement or paid by personal check to sellers at closing.
  • Be prepared to sign lots of paperwork at the actual closing!  The money you bring to closing should be on a bank check or previously wired to the closing agent.

Your agent will help you through this process, but knowing what to expect can alleviate many concerns.  Give me a call if you want an experienced REALTOR® helping you!  603-526-4116, Donna@DonnaForest.com, www.DonnaForest.com

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate

7 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

  1.  Get you finances in order before even going to look at homes.  Make sure you have anough for a down payment and closing costs.
  2. Talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a loan.
  3. Decide when you can actually move.  When is your lease up?
  4. Realize there is no perfect home.  There will be trade-offs to every property.
  5. Don't be tempted to spend more than you can afford.  Remember, there will be recurring costs like insurance, taxes, utilities and maintenance.
  6. Understand the fine print and ask questions.  It's important to understand what you are signing to avoid problems down the road.
  7. Hire a REALTOR® to be your Buyer's Agent.  They can guide you through the whole process and provide invaluable advice.

HR.Donna_3144Buying your first home is an exciting experience and should be fun.  Give me a call if you are looking for an experienced REALTOR® and Accredited Buyers' Representative to help you through the process.  603-526-4116, Donna@DonnaForest.com, www.DonnaForest.com

 

Known for service, trusted for results – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Looking for Backyard Ideas? These will Make Your Small Space Seem Bigger

Don’t think of your microscopic yard as a curse. So what if it’s technically a small concrete slab that baaarely accommodates a half-sized Weber grill? Or if your flagstone patio is just big enough for you, a lounge chair, and a good book? Your tiny outdoor spot is actually an opportunity to get creative.

To live large with a small footprint, try these functional tweaks to make your minuscule outdoor space feel like a palatial retreat.

1. Divide the Space

Wait, what? That’s right. Even if your square footage is relatively small, dividing your outdoor space into two areas can actually make it seem bigger.

“Creating a space within a space makes it seem larger because it gives you a separate experience,” says Joy Diaz, chief marketing officer at Land Care Inc.

Diaz recommends a small wood pergola, which you can purchase at home improvement stores or even build yourself without too much effort. You can also use walls to divide the space. We’re not talking about bulky concrete barriers here — try using short trellises, arbors, or vine-covered wooden fences to separate your loungers from your patio table.

“It says, ‘I’m in one place, that’s another place, and if there’s room for two places it must be big,’” says J. Scott Williams, a landscape architect at YardApes in New Milford, Conn.

As an added bonus, walls prevent visitors from walking in a straight line from one end of the patio to another, instead creating a winding path that makes your small space feel expansive.

2. Plant a Privacy Screen

A peaceful space always feels roomier than one crowded with noise and other distractions — like the pressure to strike up an awkward conversation every time you lock eyes with the nice lady next door. Keep your evening soirées and morning coffee blissfully secluded with a few cleverly positioned plants.

There are a few ways to achieve this goal. Along the very edges of your space, plant a tall, wide bush, like the purple smoke bush, a fantastic, easy-to-care-for container plant that can grow six or seven feet every year. Just be sure to keep on top of trimmings to keep it from overgrowing your patio — you want it growing up, not out — but as long as you do so, it makes an excellent privacy screen.

“A larger plant in a small space is dramatic,” says Williams.

You can also privatize your patio without sacrificing any square footage with the oldest trick in the book: Install some climbing vines on a trellis to clearly tell your neighbors, “This is my special space.”

3. Add a Water Feature

A dramatic focal point can really add some intrigue to a mini yard. And a water feature, like a bubbling birdbath or wall fountain, can do just the trick.

Williams suggests choosing an element with a black bottom, which will create a darker surface that reflects sky and trees, making your outdoor space feel bigger. Just make sure your water feature doesn’t overwhelm your porch — you can skip the long, vanishing edge-style pool.

“I wouldn’t put a longer element in a small space, which might make it look smaller,” Williams said. “Add a smaller water element into a small space, and make it seem larger.”

4. Use Vertical Space

Distract from your lack of horizontal yardage by really maximizing your outdoor space’s most abundant dimension: vertical space.

Use your walls, fence, or railings as extra space by adding vines or a living wall filled with flowers, herbs, and other eye-catching greenery. For a simple change, prop an attractive ladder — think barnyard chic, maybe? — against the wall and use its rungs as shelving for plants or other decor. The internet is bursting with other vertical planter and shelving ideas, too, using everything from pallets to chicken wire.

“It draws the eye up and outwards, and gives it a green and completely different look,” says Diaz. “It can change the atmosphere of the area. You’ve walked into a different experience from your home — it’s a psychological and emotional change.”

5. Expand Space with a Mirror

“Mirrors really make space feel more expansive,” Williams says. On a small porch, place a tall mirror on the ground behind a portico or a patch of greenway, which “makes it look like a doorway into another garden.”

You don’t need to go huge on the mirror to have a huge impact. Even hanging a normal-sized mirror, like one you might find over a dresser, can make a tiny space feel much larger. But whichever you choose, make sure to weatherproof your mirror first using a mirror edge sealer (you’ll also want to add sealant to the frame, especially if it’s made from wood) to prevent moisture damage — unless you like the weathered look, that is.

Small spaces don’t have to be limiting. With a little bit of creativity — and perhaps a reflective surface or two — there’s no reason you can’t feel like you’re living in your very own Versailles.

By:  is a writer and editor with a focus on home improvement and design. Previously, she worked as a web editor for "House Beautiful," "ELLE Decor," and "Veranda."

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate

Real Estate Buyer Etiquette

HR.Donna_3144CroppedThere are certain unwritten rules of etiquette buyers should follow when they are out looking at homes.  Most are common sense and just plain ole being courteous!  Below are some tips for being a courteous buyer.

  • Take shoes off.  Mud, snow, rain - you may be out looking in all types of weather so don't tramp through a house with your wet/dirty shoes on.  Take them off and go in your socks or bring clean shoes to wear.  Extra tip - check your socks for holes before heading out!
  • Control your kids.  They shouldn't play with the toys they found or run unattended through the home.
  • Be on time.  When showings are set up, the seller leaves the house, a listing agent meets you there along with your buyer's agent.  Being late impacts many people, not to mention it may  put the whole showing schedule behind.  Unavoidably detained?  Then call your agent for a heads up.
  • Don't spend an hour viewing a home you already decided you dislike.  It's okay to do a quick look and say it's not to your liking.

If you are looking for a buyer's agent to help navigate successful home buying, then contact me and follow me on Facebook!  603-526-4116; Donna@DonnaForest.com; www.DonnaForest.com

You’ll be moving in the right direction with Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Don't Miss These Home Tax Deductions

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From mortgage interest to property tax deductions, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns.

Owning a home can pay off at tax time. Take advantage of these home ownership-related tax deductions and strategies to lower your tax bill:
Mortgage Interest Deduction One of the neatest deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can be a house, trailer, or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet. Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home. If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit. If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan. Prepaid Interest Deduction Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is generally 100% deductible in the year you paid it along with other mortgage interest. If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year. But if you refinance to get a better rate or shorten the length of your mortgage, or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the life of your mortgage. Say you refi into a 10-year mortgage and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years. So what happens if you refi again down the road? Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts again; you can deduct the points over the life of the loan. Home mortgage interest and points are reported on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040. Your lender will send you a Form 1098 that lists the points you paid. If not, you should be able to find the amount listed on the HUD-1 settlement sheet you got when you closed the purchase of your home or your refinance closing. Property Tax Deduction You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement. If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too. PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) as mortgage interest on Schedule A if you itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later. What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately). If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you can’t claim the deduction (10% x 10 = 100%). Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing, and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies. Vacation Home Tax Deductions The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.
  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.
Homebuyer Tax Credit This isn’t a deduction, but it’s important to keep track of if you claimed it in 2008. There were federal first-time homebuyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010. If you claimed the homebuyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest. The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe each year until it’s paid off. Or if the home stops being your main home, you may need to add the remaining unpaid credit amount to your income tax on your next tax return. Generally, you don’t have to pay back the credit if you bought your home in 2009, 2010, or early 2011. The exception: You have to repay the full credit amount if you sold your house or stopped using it as primary residence within 36 months of the purchase date. Then you must repay it with your tax return for the year the home stopped being your principal residence. The repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who got sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence. Energy-Efficiency Upgrades The Nonbusiness Energy Tax Credit lets you claim a credit for installing energy-efficient home systems. Tax credits are especially valuable because they let you offset what you owe the IRS dollar for dollar, in this case, for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain upgrades. The credit carries a lifetime cap of $500 (less for some products), so if you’ve used it in years past, you’ll have to subtract prior tax credits from that $500 limit. Lucky for you, there’s no cap on how much you’ll save on utility bills thanks to your energy-efficiency upgrades. Among the upgrades that might qualify for the credit: File IRS Form 5695 with your return. Related: A Homeowner’s Guide to Taxes This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction. Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Six Tips for House Hunting

HR.Donna_3144House hunting is an emotional experience. There is no “perfect” house and you need to keep in mind it’s a decision-making process that involves trade-offs between each property. Here are some key concepts to remember:

  1. Get pre-qualified before going out to look at homes.       This way you won’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford.
  2. Think about not only how the house will meet your present needs but how it will work for you in the future as well.
  3. Consider all the pluses and minuses of the location and how it fits into your lifestyle, including travel time to work, schools, etc.
  4. Set priorities. Put more emphasis on your needs vs. wants.
  5. Ignore bad décor. Be prepared to look at potential; cosmetics are easily changed.
  6. Don’t forget resale. Choose a home that not only appeals to you but also is likely to appeal to others down the road.

It is important to work with a good REALTOR® who knows the neighborhoods and local information. If you are planning to buy a home, contact me and put my 21 years of experience to work for you as your Buyer’s Agent.  Donna Forest 603-526-4116; Donna@DonnaForest.com; www.DonnaForest.com

Known for service, trusted for results – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

End of the Year (Almost) Market Update!

HR.Donna_3144As we near the end of 2015, I thought it would be helpful to know how our local market has fared. Looking at the past 11 months, we continue to move in a positive direction. In the 10 area towns, the total number of sales are up 14% from last year. Prices are about the same with the average price of all home sales only being down by 1%. These figures vary from town to town, but the combined data shows forward momentum. For example, in home sales under $1 million - Newbury sales are up 41% from 2014 with the average selling price about equal. Sunapee sales are 3 ahead of last year with the average sales price down 13%. New London’s volume is down 34% but prices are up almost 7%.

Nationally, home sales are up 3.9% through October compared to the same time period in 2014. Lawrence Yun, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist stated, “As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards even with moderately higher mortgage rates should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago." What does all this mean? Properly priced and prepared homes will continue to sell and waiting to buy will only cost you more money. Contact me if you would like to know the specific sales data for your town!  603-526-4116, www.DonnaForest.com, Donna@donnaforest.com

Figures are based on information from the Northern New England Real Estate Network, Inc. for the period 1/1/15 through 11/30/15 and 1/1/14 through 11/30/14.

Known for service, trusted for results – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Looking to Close Your Home Quickly? New Time Clock for Closings

HR.Donna_3144CroppedA new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect Oct. 3 requiring lenders to give consumers more time to review their loan documents. Mortgagors must give borrowers the terms of their loan and final charges & fees at least 3 days before the closing (7 days if sent by mail). It is designed to protect you from surprises at the closing table. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well the reality is, it is a massive change in the way lenders do business from new forms to new timetables. The 3 day period is mandatory and this waiting period can start over again if one of 3 changes occur: 1) The annual percentage rate increased more than 1/8th; 2) The loan product changes like switching from a fixed rate to an adjustable; or 3) A pre-payment penalty is added. Other alterations don’t require a new 3-day review like revisions to taxes, utility prorations, etc.

Until lenders have some time under their belt in dealing with these new regulations, buyers & sellers need to be prepared. 60 day closings may be the normal, last minute changes most likely will not be authorized, required paperwork will need to be completed earlier, and buyers & sellers should have a backup plan in the event something triggers a new 3-7 day waiting period and you can’t close as scheduled. Contact me if you are looking to work with a knowledgeable REALTOR® who can help you successfully navigate the buying or selling process!  Donna Forest, Broker Associate, 603-526-4116, www.DonnaForest.com, donna@donnaforest.com.

Known for service, trusted for results – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Top Ten Common Repair Costs

In the life of every home, repairs happen. Here are the top 10 most common repairs that, sooner or later, your house will require.

Congratulations on buying your first house. Now, you have to learn how to keep it in good repair. To be safe, you should set aside money every year — 1% to 3% of your home’s purchase price — for repairs and maintenance.
The good news is that most repairs are simple, inexpensive, and DIY-friendly. If you can fix stuff yourself, you’ll only pay for the cost of materials and save a bundle on these common repairs and replacements.
1.  Replace Toilet Fill Valves That annoying sound of water continually filling and draining from your toilet tank is often caused by leaky fill valve, which a plumber can replace, stopping water waste and restoring quiet. Plumber rates vary widely around the country, from $45 to $150 per hour, and the job will take about two hours — the minimum some plumbers require just to take the job. Labor: $50 to $200 Materials: $11 to $23 Total: $61 to $223 Related: Home Maintenance 101: 7 Things Every Homeowner Should Know 2.  Repair a Leaky Faucet The water torture drip-drip-drip from a leaky faucet won’t just drive you insane, it can drive up water bills, too. Depending on the type of faucet you have, fixes typically involve replacing damaged rubber washers (10 for $2), O-rings (10 for $2), or a faucet cartridge ($8 to $30). Labor: $95 to $300 Materials: $2 to $30 Total: $97 to $330 Related: The WaterSense Label: What to Look For 3.  Replace Ceiling Fan If you’ve got a ceiling fan, sooner or later the motor will burn out, the blades will warp, and fashions will change, so you’ll need to replace it. Replacing isn’t a big deal, because upgraded wiring, a reinforced ceiling box, and a light switch with ceiling fan controls are already in place. What you’re paying for is an electrician’s time — one or two hours — and a new fixture. Labor: $50 to $200 Materials: $54 to $1,000 and up Total: $104 to $1,200 Related: Ceiling Fans: Know the Spin Before You Install 4.  Repair Drywall Nicks, gashes, and smashes inevitably mar your beautiful walls. You’ll have to patch and paint to make them look as good as new. A painter can do both jobs and will probably give you a flat rate that will include patching or filling blemishes, then sanding, priming, and painting. Painters charge $25 to $62 per hour for labor or $2.68 to $4.60 per square foot including materials. Figure it will take about three hours to repair a wall, including drying time for the patching compound and paint. It’s a good idea to save up painting chores so you have enough to keep a painter busy while repairs cure. Materials include paint at $12 to $50 or more a gallon, which should cover about 350 square feet; plus another $10 to $50 for brushes, rollers, drop clothes, and drywall patching compound. Labor: $75 to $186 Materials: $22 to $100 Total: $97 to $286 Related: Patch a Drywall Hole 5.  Repair Cracked Tile Tile is hard and durable, but drop something heavy on it and it’s likely to crack — a reason to always order more tile than you need so you’ll always have spares. To replace cracked tiles, a handyman must pry out the damaged tiles, scrape away old fixative, re-glue new tiles, and spread new grout. Replacing a 2-foot-by-2-foot section of tile should take one to two hours, not including the drying time required for the adhesive to set. Labor: $30 to $125 per hour; with possible $150 to $350 minimum charge for a handyman Materials: $1 to $20 per square foot Total: $34 to $430 Related: Smart Tips for Choosing Bathroom Flooring 6.  Replace Caulk Around Tubs, Sinks, and Showers Caulk is the waterproof seal around sinks, tubs, and showers that prevents moisture from seeping through gaps and onto drywall and flooring. When caulk cracks or peels, it should be replaced immediately to prevent mold and rot. A handyman can dig out old caulk around a tub and reseal with new in about an hour. Labor: $30 to $125 per hour; with possible $150 to $350 minimum charge for a handyman Materials:  $1 to $4 for a tube of bathroom caulk Total: $31 to $354 Related: How to Remove Caulk 7.  Fix Gutters Gutters and downspouts carry water from rain and snow away from your house and onto the ground. Sometimes the weight of wet snow and soggy leaves puts too much pressure on gutters, causing them to pull away from the house or pitch at inefficient angles. A gutter contractor will clean gutters, and replace or reinstall supportive hardware and hangers. To restore the correct pitch, the contractor must detach and reattach each gutter section. Labor: $127 to $282 (depending on length of gutter) Materials: $10 for five hangers; $6 to $9 for gutter sealant Total: $143 to $301 Related: How to Unclog a Gutter 8.  Fix Out-of-Alignment Doors Over time, your house moves as its foundation settles and building materials expand and contract with changes in humidity. The movement often is noticed when doorframes shift slightly, causing hinges to creak and doors to not shut properly. Adding wooden shims to frames and hinges can bring doors back into alignment and let them easily open and close once again. Replacing worn-out screws with longer screws helps secure hinges tightly. A handyman can fix a door in about an hour. Materials will include shims and screws. Labor: $30 to $125 per hour; with possible $150 to $350 minimum charge for a handyman Materials: $5 Total: $35 to $355 Related: Cool Improvements: Replacing Your Interior Doors 9.  Repair Ice Damming If your house isn’t insulated correctly or your roof isn’t designed correctly, melting roof snow can run off and freeze around roof edges. Eventually, this can form an ice dam that creeps up your roof, damaging shingles and forcing melting water into your home. One popular solution to ice damming is to install a heating cable along the roof’s edge, which warms the area and prevents freezing. It’s not a DIY job. Roofing contractors will install the cable, and an electrician will install outlets that will juice up the cable. If you want a thermostat to turn the cable on and off automatically, that’ll be extra, too. Labor and materials: $30 to $60 per linear foot Total: $371 to $1,319 (average job cost) Related: How to Prevent Ice Dams 10.  Fix a Faulty Light Switch Sometimes you turn on the light but nothing happens; or sparks crackle, and the light turns on. It’s disconcerting, but most likely it’s an easy fix. An electrician will turn off the power, take off the faceplate, check and perhaps tighten wires; or replace the switch. All told, it will take less than an hour. Labor: $50 to $100 per hour Materials: $1 to $6 for a single pole light switch Total: $41 to $106 Related: How to Repair a Light Switch
By:  Lisa Kaplan Gordon - is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/repair-tips/home-repair-costs/#ixzz3k7vzJw8w Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook
Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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