How to Reduce
Fight to be Armageddon
may be a good time to Buy or Sell
moderates is damaging Congress
Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Home
to Reduce Tax-Time Stress
Tax preparation doesn't need to give you a headache.
There are several ways to make it easier on yourself and
reduce errors. The IRS offers tips to help make your
tax-filing experience easier and also has social media tools
that can help you do your taxes. To reduce errors make sure
you check these eight common mistakes before you file.
Review these six tips before you get started:
1. Don’t procrastinate. Resist
the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last
minute. Rushing to meet the filing deadline may cause you to
overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely
increase your risk of making an error.
2. Visit the IRS website. More
than 322 million visits were made to
in 2011. Make “1040 Central” your first stop to check for
the latest news and find answers to your questions about tax
3. Use Free File. Let Free
File do the hard work with brand-name tax software or online
fillable forms. It's available exclusively at
Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and
e-file it for free. If you made $57,000 or less, you qualify
for free tax software that is offered through a
private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made
more than $57,000 and/or are comfortable preparing your own
tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic
versions of IRS paper forms. Visit
4. Try IRS e-file. Last
year, 79 percent of taxpayers - 106 million people - used
IRS e-file, which is the safest, easiest and most common way
to file a tax return. If you owe taxes, you can file
immediately and pay later (by this year’s April 17 tax
deadline). Best of all, when you combine e-file with direct
deposit the IRS can generally issue your refund in as few as
5. Don’t panic if you can’t pay.
If you can’t pay the full amount of taxes you owe by the
mid-April deadline, you should still file your return by the
deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and
interest. More than 75 percent of taxpayers eligible for an
Installment Agreement can apply using the web-based Online
Payment Agreement application available at
To find out more about this simple and convenient process,
type “Online Payment Agreement” in the search box at
You can also contact the IRS to discuss your payment
6. Request an extension of time to file – but pay on time.
If the deadline clock is ticking, you can get an automatic
six-month extension through Oct. 15. However, this extension
of time to file, which must be filed or postmarked by the
April 17 deadline, does not give you more time to pay any
taxes due. If you have not paid at least 90 percent of the
total tax due by the April deadline you may also be subject
to an estimated tax penalty. You can obtain an extension
through Free File at
Or, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of
Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, available
for downloading at
or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have a paper
form mailed to you. Allow at least 10 days for mailed forms
Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S.
Individual Income Tax Return
Let these social media tools from IRS help you navigate
last-minute tax-time tasks.
1. IRS2Go The IRS's smartphone application can help
you get your refund status and tax updates. IRS2Go is
available for the iPhone or iTouch and the Android.
2. YouTube The IRS offers
video tax tips on a variety of topics in English, Spanish
and American Sign Language at
3. Twitter IRS tweets from @IRSnews
include tax-related announcements and daily tax tips. Other
IRS Twitter accounts tailor information for tax
professionals and Spanish speaking taxpayers - @IRStaxpros
tweets IRS news and guidance for tax professionals and @IRSenEspanol
tweets IRS news and information in Spanish.
4. Podcasts These short audio
recordings offer one tax-related topic per podcast. They are
available on iTunes or through the Multimedia Center on
(along with transcripts).
5. Widgets These tools, which
others can place on websites, blogs or social media
networks, direct users to the relevant page on the IRS
website. The 2012 widgets feature often overlooked tax
credits, Free File services, common tax transactions and the
popular deadline countdown widget. Marketing Express hosts
the IRS widgets.
So far this tax season, more than 1 million taxpayers have
viewed the IRS's popular YouTube video tax tips, about
500,000 have downloaded the IRS phone app and more than
188,000 have viewed the IRS widgets. More than 23,000
Twitter followers get daily tax tips and IRS news at their
fingertips. You can too.
Remember: The IRS uses these tools to share information with
you. Do not post confidential information on any website or
through social media channels, especially your Social
Security number. The IRS will not be able to answer personal
tax or account questions through any of these services.
To find links to all of IRS’s social media tools, visit
and click on “Social Media.”
If you make a mistake on your tax return, it can take longer
to process, which in turn, may delay your refund. After
you’re computed your taxes and before you file check to make
sure you haven’t made one of these eight common errors.
1. Incorrect or missing Social Security numbers. When
entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure
to enter them exactly as they appear on the Social Security
2. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name.
When entering a dependent’s last name on your tax return,
make sure to enter it exactly as it appears on their Social
3. Filing status errors. Choose the correct filing status
for your situation. There are five filing statuses:
Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately,
Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent
Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction
and Filing Information, to determine the filing status that
best fits your situation.
4. Math errors. When preparing paper returns,
review all math for accuracy. Or file electronically; the
software does the math for you!
5. Computation errors. Take your time. Many taxpayers
make mistakes when figuring their taxable income,
withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax
Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the
taxable amount of Social Security benefits and the Child and
Dependent Care Credit.
6. Incorrect bank account numbers for direct deposit.
Double check your bank routing and account numbers if you
are using direct deposit for your refund.
7. Forgetting to sign and date the return. An
unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is
invalid. Also, both spouses must sign a joint return.
8. Incorrect adjusted gross income. If you file
electronically, you must sign the return electronically
using a Personal Identification Number. To verify your
identity, the software will prompt you to enter your AGI
from your originally filed 2010 federal income tax return or
last year's PIN if you e-filed.
Exemptions, Standard Deductions and Filing Information
Fight to be Armageddon
$100 billion mortgage interest deduction may be in play.
A battle of epic proportions is brewing as part of the
federal budget process. Pressures to reverse the rapid
growth of the federal budget deficit have implications for
both spending programs that affect housing as well as
current tax laws. A recent congressional report from the
Congressional Research Service, a research arm of Congress,
has broken down the value of major tax breaks, which total
more than $1 trillion a year. This is about the size of the
annual federal budget deficit. Current tax breaks benefit
almost all segments of the population, including homeowners.
At almost $100 billion a year, the mortgage interest
deduction accounts for 8.1% of all federal tax deductions,
behind employer-provided health insurance, $164.2 billion a
year and the exclusion for employer-provided pensions,
second largest at $162.7 billion. Exclusions for Medicare
and Social Security benefits rank fourth at $76 billion
annually and 6.1%.
A number of leading economists and advisory groups are
recommending that the mortgage interest deduction be
restructured, but that the net tax incentives remain at $100
million a year. Latest to join the call to modify the
deduction into a tax credit is Yale Economist Dr. Robert
Schiller, who is widely recognized for his work on the
history of stocks as well as housing prices. As part of a
comprehensive package that would lead to substantial deficit
reduction, both President Obama’s Simpson-Bowles Deficit
Commission and the Debt Reduction Task Force of the
Bipartisan Policy Center have recommended the replacement of
the current mortgage interest deduction with a flat mortgage
interest tax credit.
All three have recognized that the current mortgage interest
deduction has become very inefficient. It offers little or
no incentive to most first time buyers, who end up paying
the same amount of tax whether they take the standard
deduction or itemize the mortgage interest and taxes.
First time buyers are key to restoring liquidity to the
housing market. Low mortgage interest rates haven’t been
sufficient to persuade them to risk losing money by
purchasing a home that may be worth thousands of dollars
less next year. The home ownership tax incentive for
potential moderate income first time home buyers has largely
evaporated over time.
A couple who currently rents typically takes the “standard”
federal income tax deduction ($11,600 in 2011) because it is
much greater that the amounts they could deduct if they
itemized their deductions instead. That’s about the same as
the mortgage interest and real estate tax payments on a
$130,000 mortgage, which they could itemize if they buy a
home. Most renters have relatively small amounts of other
itemizable deductions. Most of them are also in a low income
tax bracket, so the relatively small total increase in
itemized deductions they might get from buying a home isn’t
worth much after taxes.
Our research suggests that the net tax savings for many
potential first time home buyers under the current mortgage
interest deduction formula is only worth $25-$50 a month.
Obviously a potential tax savings of $300 - $600 a year
doesn’t provide much incentive to risk buying a home that
could drop $3,000 - $5,000 in value over the next year.
This is not to suggest that the mortgage interest deduction
formula does not provide a significant tax incentive for
home ownership for most people. A high income taxpayer with
a million dollar mortgage can save tens of thousands of
dollars in taxes every year because of the mortgage interest
deduction. In the current market he may have trouble selling
that home because the person that might by his home is
stranded for lack of a buyer of his own home. This liquidity
challenge problem extends down the home ownership food chain
to the first time buyer, who usually liberates 2-3 upstream
One way to increase the number of first time buyers would be
to make the home ownership tax incentive equally beneficial
to them as it is to wealthy home buyers who have large
mortgages. A flat mortgage interest tax credit that was the
same rate for all homeowners regardless of their tax bracket
or the size of their mortgage, would give first time and
returning buyers a substantial tax incentive to buy a home.
Tax credits are subtracted from tax liability after
deductions are taken on your federal income tax forms, so
first time or returning buyers could still take the standard
deduction. As a result they would realize all the home
ownership tax benefits of a tax credit. A flat mortgage
interest tax credit would be proportionate to the size of
the mortgage, so it would be much more fair that the current
formula. The tax benefits on the mortgage interest paid on a
$1 million dollar mortgage would be ten times the tax
benefits on the mortgage interest paid on a $100,000
Many first time or returning buyers would find they could
save $100 - $200 per month on their federal taxes with a
mortgage interest tax credit versus only $25-$50 a month
under the current mortgage interest deduction formula. As a
result home ownership would then become substantially less
expensive than renting for many potential first time or
returning buyers. While this approach would be somewhat less
generous than the current formula to homeowners in higher
tax brackets with large mortgages, the home ownership tax
incentives for wealthier homeowners would still remain very
substantial. For the average homeowner the net effect would
be the same as today. If the tax credit is set at a level
that is neutral with respect to federal tax revenues (i.e.
the same impact as the current mortgage interest deduction)
home ownership tax benefits over a typical homeowner’s
lifetime would remain the same as they are today. The
benefits would simply become more front loaded with this
approach, making home ownership far more attractive to
first time and returning home buyers.
These are the folks we need to attract to home ownership if
we are to restore health to the housing sector. We also need
to help the many homeowners who are currently threatened
with foreclosure. Many of them are in lower tax brackets due
to job losses or cutbacks in working hours. For them the
current mortgage interest deduction formula produces little
tax savings. Many would be able to get by if their cash flow
increased by another $100 - $200 per month and a flat
mortgage interest tax credit would improve their cash flow
by that amount.
There are additional reasons to restructure the mortgage
interest incentive as well. Homeowners enter retirement with
more savings than renters at the same income levels, mainly
due to their accumulated home equity. Homeowners are thus
less likely to become dependent on needs-based federal
programs such as Medicaid later in life, and their
accumulating equity is also a buffer against financial
challenges throughout their career. Policymakers recognize
that we need to reduce the costs of many federal social
programs as part of our deficit reduction efforts. One way
to do that is to encourage more renters to become
homeowners, and to do so earlier in their careers, by
replacing the mortgage interest deduction with a mortgage
interest tax credit.
The housing sector remains weak, so there’s little chance
that Congress will cut back on the current $100 billion in
annual home ownership incentives. There’s also little chance
that the amount will be increased given current budget
realities. However the housing recovery will receive a
significant boost if Congress simply replaces the current
deduction with a tax credit that has the same overall tax
Because of widespread support the other top four tax
incentives (employer-provided health insurance, the
exclusion for employer-provided pensions, and exclusions for
Medicare and Social Security benefits are relatively
unlikely to see substantial modification as part of the
budget process. This will make it difficult for House
Republicans to include them as part of an unspecified array
of tax breaks to be eliminated in order to offset the costs
of lowering top tax rates for both corporations and
individuals to 25%, from the current 35%, as they proposed
in a budget unveiled in late March.
There is far less public support for maintaining the current
preferential rate for capital gains, which ranks fifth in
terms of annual revenue losses at $71 billion and 5.8% of
federal tax deductions. After that things get harder. Other
tax deductions further down the list account for smaller
amounts of tax savings, and many are very popular (the
earned-income and child credits, deductions for state and
local taxes, and charitable deductions).
The Congressional Research Service report, noted that "it
may prove difficult to gain more than $100 billion to $150
billion in additional tax revenues" by eliminating tax
breaks. Even that amount seems optimistic, so it is
difficult to imagine where the necessary revenues to fund
the Republican corporate and personal rate cuts would come
In late March a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives
offered a resolution that called for Congress to use the
Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission /Debt Reduction Task
Force’s recommendations as the models for a Congressional
budget that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. Since
its December 2010 release, the
Simpson-Bowles plan has become
recognized by many independent budget analysts as the best
hope for reducing the deficit and restoring the nation’s
Unfortunately both conservative republicans and liberal
democrats voted against the measure, which was supported by
the dwindling number of moderates in the House of
Representatives. Instead, the House adopted a conservative
Republican budget proposal that has no chance of passing in
the U.S. Senate. If the Senate and House eventually
compromise and approve a package that reduces the deficit,
it will likely look much like the Simpson-Bowles Deficit
Commission /Debt Reduction Task Force’s recommendations. In
that scenario the aforementioned changes in mortgage
interest incentives for home ownership could become law.
Unfortunately it is even more likely that conservative
republicans and liberal democrats will be unwilling to
compromise in this election year, and that Congress will
approve only another stopgap measure that only pushes the
resolution of this serious threat to our economy into 2013.
may be a good time to Buy or Sell
home sales were down slightly in February but remain notably
above the pattern in the first half of last year, according
to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association
of Realtors®, who said we’re seeing the continuation of an
uneven but higher sales pattern. “The spring home buying
season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract
offers so far this year,” he said. “If activity is sustained
near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best
performance in five years. Based on all of the factors in
the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales
rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) in the Northeast slipped
0.6 percent to 77.7 in February but is 18.4 percent above a
year ago. In the Midwest the index jumped 6.5 percent to
93.8 and is 19.0 percent higher than February 2011. Pending
home sales in the South fell 3.0 percent to an index of
105.8 in February but are 7.8 percent above a year ago. In
the West the index declined 2.6 percent in February to 99.3
and is 1.8 percent below February 2011. The PHSI is a
leading indicator for the housing sector, and is based on a
large national sample, typically representing about 20
percent of transactions for existing-home sales.
“This data is encouraging,” noted American Homeowners
Foundation President Bruce Hahn. Other segments of the
housing sector are also experiencing recent signs of
improvement. There is an increasing likelihood that we’re at
or near the bottom of the market except for few parts of the
country. This should give confidence to more home buyers and
home sellers. There’s a lot of pent up demand on both the
buying and selling side as a result of the prolonged decline
of housing values in most parts of the country.
It is also much easier for home buyers and sellers today to
study the market using the many available Internet tools.
They can learn enough about housing values and market
conditions in their area to make an informed decision
without having to consult a real state agent. The return to
a healthy housing market will also likely accelerate the
trend towards new real estate brokerage models that can
greatly reduce the cost of buying and/or selling a home.
“Flat-fee” real estate brokers will list your home in the
local multiple listing service for a few hundred dollars.
This gives it an exposure to the 90% of today’s home buyers
who do their home searches on the Internet.
Some real estate brokers also rebate a share of the
commissions to home buyers who are willing to do more of the
work themselves. Home buyers can also avoid the risks of
dual agency by using exclusive buyers’ agents, who only
represent home buyers. The American Homeowners Foundation
offers a free electronic version of our Home Buyers Guide to
Real Estate Representation. To obtain a copy email
and put “free Home Buyers Guide to Real Estate
Representation” in the subject line.
moderates is damaging Congress
Congressional disapproval ratings are at all time highs.
Retiring Congressman Dennis Cardoza recently authored the
following analysis of the challenges faced by Congress
today. We share his thoughts with you because we believe
that they help explain the astounding disapproval rating
(nearly 90%) that voters express about Congress today.
By Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza (D-Calif.)
Favorability ratings don’t lie. In politics, when your
approval rating is below 50 percent, you’re on shaky ground.
When you’re between 4 and 13 percent -- as this Congress
consistently is -- you’re in revolution territory! Congress
is officially broken due to extreme partisanship on both
sides. The real question, however, is who is left to step up
and fix it?
Over 40 percent of the voters in the nation identify
themselves as “moderates.” However, less than 10
percent of the current members of Congress would
self-identify the same way. Congress was designed to
represent a cross section of America. This is no longer the
Lately, the media has made much of the fact that centrists
are leaving the Senate in droves, with the departures of
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-Tex.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Ben
Nelson (D-Neb.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.) at the end of this
There is rarely any mention that this exodus already
happened in the House in 2010 – albeit mostly involuntary –
and the resulting gridlock should serve as a warning. Scores
of Blue Dogs and moderate Republicans either resigned or
lost their elections when the Tea Party took power. This
extremism has absolutely devastated the day-to-day
operations of the House. With a great many more moderate
retirements already announced in 2012, I don’t see any
improvement on the horizon.
The situation is made worse by the “seniority system.” The
most senior members with the safest (most partisan)
districts stay the longest, gain the most clout, and become
chairmen and leaders. The result is that the partisan skew
is magnified. As Congress continues down this
ever-increasing path of hyper-partisanship, the pressure on
and frustration among sitting moderate members steadily
increases until we choose to retire.
There are serious “real world” consequences for the lack of
moderates in government, too. Businesses are getting caught
up in a vicious tug of war between regulation-happy liberals
and live-free-or-die conservatives. The other day I spoke
briefly to a group of CEO’s from across the country. One of
their biggest complaints was that it takes too long to get
anything done these days. I could not agree more. Trivial
regulation is clogging America’s economic arteries,
stymieing our “can-do” spirit that made this country great.
During World War II, a time of great crisis, the Pentagon
was built in 18 months. Today, the environmental permits for
the parking lots alone would take 10 years.
But that doesn’t mean our government should scrap every
safeguard and always say "yes." Our leaders have a duty to
protect the public interest, and not every project or
program should get approval. In those cases, a swift NO is
much more desirable for all concerned than death by a
thousand paper cuts or, more correctly, being crushed by
reams of environmental documents. Sensible moderates are
needed to balance competing interests, so the pendulum of
regulation doesn’t swing too far in either direction.
We need a change of heart in how legislating is done.
Leaders – and the voters who elect them – need to recognize
that “compromise” isn’t a four-letter word. The purpose of
legislating isn’t to grandstand – it is to work out
differences and find commonality that is in the best
interest of our country.
Members of Congress from both parties must take
responsibility for getting things done, or our
representative democracy will fail.
The American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance believes that
Rep. Cardoza is absolutely correct. The solution lies in the
hands of the 40 percent+ of the voters who are “moderates.”
Too often moderates fall for the post-primary pitches of far
right or far left candidates who attempt to reposition
themselves as more moderate than they actually are during
the general election campaign. Moderates all too often
simply vote for whichever one they perceive as the lesser of
the two evils.
Moderates need to become more militant. The solution for
moderates to vote for neither, and don't contribute to their
campaigns of either. Don't contribute to the national
committees of either party because both are presently
controlled by the far right and far left. Instead support
and vote for moderate candidates only. In some cases you'll
have to go down the ticket to the level of the local dog
catcher before you find a moderate you can vote for. That's
ok, because if the dogcatcher gets 50% more votes than the
successful right or left wing local mayoral candidate, it
will both send a message and help advance the dogcatcher's
Congress will continue to become increasingly dysfunctional
until moderate voters recognize the cause of the problem and
take matters in their own hands. They need to get involved
as volunteers in the campaigns of moderate candidates,
whatever their party affiliation, and do everything they can
to help spread the word.
Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Home
Residential architect Richard Taylor offers these
excellent ideas in the
a real estate consumer website which covers real estate news
and advice and includes a consumer friendly home search and
Conventional wisdom, as it relates to houses, is often too
much convention and not enough wisdom.
Every year, somebody publishes a list of which
improvements will give you the
best (or the
worst) return on your
Replace your siding. Don’t build a swimming pool.
Paint everything neutral
Sit up straight. Get a haircut. Call your mother.
If “return on investment” (ROI) is why you bought a home, or
why you’re remodeling one, you can stop reading now. Because
the rest of this article isn’t for you.
Three, two, one…still here?
You invest in your home to improve livability first, not
value. If you get more value in the process, consider it a
bonus, but don’t make ROI your prime directive.
Otherwise you’ll end up like the potential client that came
into my office a few years ago with a three-page
single-spaced typewritten (as in made with a “typewriter”)
list of things he wanted in his house.
His list included this line: “A large dining room, near the
kitchen. Although we don’t need or want a dining room.” Why
would he want to build a room he didn’t need?
Because he’s thinking of things to make the house valuable,
instead of things to make it livable.
So let me rephrase the remodeling-ROI question this way:
what are some cost-effective ways to improve the livability
of your house?
Here’s my short list:
1. Walk-in pantry instead of kitchen cabinets
Kitchen cabinets are expensive. Half of them are up high on
the wall where they’re hard to reach, and the wall space
they take up could be better used for windows. A pantry
takes up less space, stores a lot more, is much easier to
use, and costs less to build.
2. Comfortable shower instead of big bathtub
My firm does a lot of work in late-70s/early-80s
neighborhoods that are loaded with huge tubs. We’re taking
them all out, one at a time, and replacing them with
comfortably-sized showers (not the racquetball-court sized
ones you see in home shows) that people actually use every
A shower takes up less space, uses less hot water, and is
far more sanitary than a big tub.
3. Group windows together facing best views instead of
scattering them around the house
Got a great view somewhere? Bring it into the house with
lots of glass. Take excess windows from bedrooms and baths
and use them to connect the inside of the house with the
We once remodeled a house on the coast of Lake Erie that had
one window – one – facing the lake. Hey pal, did ya notice
the Great Lake in your back yard?
4. Keep ceiling heights reasonable for the room size
“Volume” ceilings do not automatically make better rooms.
They just make taller rooms. Rooms that are harder to
decorate and more expensive to heat and cool. Instead, focus
attention on a view, a large fireplace, or other element and
away from the ceiling height. Use wall trim and multiple
paint colors to break up the volume of the room and create
the illusion of height.
5. Spend more time planning, and less money building
I toured a client’s existing home before we began designing
the new one. “Of course,” she said as we peeked in on the
kids’ rooms, “these bedrooms are way too small.” Really? I
thought. The smallest was probably 14’ x 15’. But each
bedroom had at least one door or one window on each wall.
Pretty, but the design left little room for furniture.
I suggested we more carefully design the new bedrooms –
keeping the furniture placement in mind. In the end, we were
able to easily accommodate each child’s bedroom furniture
comfortably in smaller bedrooms than what they’d had before.
6. Consider the simple elegance of the box form house
Subtlety and restraint used to be virtues in home design.
These days, far too often, inexperienced designers attempt
to attract attention to their homes by adding more stuff…
more gables, more materials, more bays, etc. Others know
that proper proportion, scale, and details are what turn
The simple box house is a classic American form that’s
survived 150 years of stylistic changes. Greek Revival,
American Four-Square, Tidewater Georgian…all simple boxes.
Great proportions, great details…done.
And here’s a bonus – the
box form is easier and
cheaper to build, and because
it encloses a larger volume in less perimeter, it’s less
expensive to heat, cool, and maintain.
7. Share part of the master bath
This isn’t for everyone, but it really tightens up the
budget and the floor plan. Make the toilet and a sink in the
master bath accessible to the rest of the house, instead of
building a separate half bath – it won’t be used much by you
during the day, and rarely by guests at night.
Why have two baths when one will do?
8. Spend it when you have it, not before
Sure, it’d be great to have those granite countertops now,
but your budget’s tight and granite is ten times the cost of
laminate tops. So how about putting in nice laminate tops
now, and replacing them with granite in five years when you
have the cash? You can easily do the same with light
fixtures, flooring, window treatments…
9. Compartmentalized bath – two baths in the space of one
and a half
Each kid doesn’t need his/her own bath, but they do need
privacy and room to share. A compartmentalized bath puts two
sinks in one room and the toilet and tub/shower in another –
so three kids can use the bath at once and keep a little
more harmony in the family home.
I doubt any of these ideas will ever make a magazine’s list
of “Best Remodeling ROI” projects. But every one saves you
money over a more “conventional” design strategy, and every
one increases the livability of your home.
Connect with Richard Taylor at http://www.rtastudio.com/index.htm.
Please take the time to contact your legislators and express your
views on pending policy issues covered in this
month’s Home Base. It's easy - you can reach your
legislators by email in a couple of mouse clicks,
and you can use the content in Home Base and
elsewhere on our website to help you develop your
To look up the phone number, email, and/or postal address of your
U.S. Representative or your two U.S. Senators, (or
your state representative or state senator)
click here. You can also look up which
legislators represent your zip code if you don’t
recall their names.
A personal meeting is a particularly effective way
to get their attention and reinforce your message. Please consider
face-to-face meeting in their home state or home
district offices near you when you contact their
Washington DC offices on policy issues.
Is there a policy issue that
is particularly important to you which significantly
impacts homeowners or home ownership? Any member may
propose a position on a policy issue, so please
Homeowners Grassroots Alliance's 2012 Issue Guide.
If it isn't on the list, we invite you to send us an
email and tell us why you think the American
Homeowners Grassroots Alliance should take a
position and work on it.