I was just saying to my wife the other day, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could embed the technology of an iPad into our bathroom mirror.” Apparently I am not the first person to have this revolutionary idea. The Smart Home at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has just this in the master bathroom. Ok, at $7,700 a piece, without the installation or set-up, may make this device not everyone’s alternative to a bathroom mirror, but it may not be long before competition has this within most people’s price range and ultimately a standard item in many custom homes.
With any luck, you might be able to walk away from the sale of your principal residence without paying any capital gains tax. The current law allows qualified married couples filing jointly to pull down a tax-free profit of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for single filers).
But you could still owe tax on a home sale. That’s because your “gain” for tax purposes is the difference between the sale price (less certain selling expenses) and your “basis” in the home.
If your gain exceeds the home sale exemption limit, or if you owe capital gains tax due to the business use of your home, you could wind up with a tax bill.
Tip: Scour your records and files for home improvements and other outlays that can be used to increase your basis. It doesn’t matter if the costs were incurred years ago. The more you can add to your basis, the less your taxable gain. Read the rest of this page »
Solar-controlling window films can block up to 80% of the sun’s heat, boosting a home’s efficiency. Here’s what builders and remodelers need to know.
- With interest in green building and utility rebates on the rise, builders and remodelers are looking at solar-controlling window films as a cost-effective solution for boosting home efficiencies and reducing costs for clients while lifting sales and profits for themselves. Applied to the window, transparent film acts as a solar shield, blocking up to 80% of the sun’s heat, according to the International Window Film Association.
- Read the rest of this page »
The news and rumors continue to spread about the government mandate to do away with incandescent light bulbs in lieu of other light bulbs that are far more efficient. For many people this is seen as an assault on their personal freedom of choice and how dare anyone dictate how we can light our houses and businesses. The reality is that it is not as far-reaching as most rumors have it. This change was actually put into law in 2007 and signed by President Bush, and if one considers the facts instead of the assault, it really is a good thing.
The 2007 Energy Bill, officially named the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, includes a mandate that incandescent lights bulbs of 40 through 100 watts be made more efficient by approximately 30%, requiring a reduction in wattage while maintaining lumens levels, a measure of the bulb’s produced light brightness. The law requires the change to take place by July 2012 with the elimination of the traditional 100W incandescent bulbs, then 75W bulbs by 2013, and finally 40W and 60W bulbs by 2014. Most specialty and decorative lighting sources are not regulated and will continue to be sold. There are many other provisions impacting fluorescent lights, ballasts, and other commercial lighting needs, but for this discussion, we will only cover the typical residential needs.