Maintenance Free Does Not Exist!

In the world, I have found that everything is in a state of deterioration. Human bodies are in a state of deterioration, relationships are in a state of deterioration, cars are in a state of deterioration and houses are in a state of deterioration. All of them require effort and work in order to not deteriorate further. My body requires exercise, a healthy diet, regular doctor and dentist appointments, as well as rest and relaxation. My relationships deserve active listening, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts of service and meaningful touch. My car requires gas and oil just to run, air in the tires, regular servicing. And a house requires painting, gutters kept clean, trash and debris removed, HVAC and other systems regularly serviced. Even vacant land requires mowing, trash removal and erosion control.

It is commonly accepted that a new car’s value drops significantly the second it is driven off the car lot! So it amazes me when a home owner assumes that once they have bought a home, that they are done – that from then on they can live there happily ever after. Part of this misconception I believe is that advertisers frequently represent products as being “maintenance free”. How can that honestly be?

For example, the gutter companies that sell the shields or guards that go over the gutters lead one to believe that the home owner will never have to get up on the roof again. But even the gutter cover requires maintenance, if it gets clogged with debris, the entire system will jam up and not let water to flow freely. Our office had a roofing contractor explain issues to watch for in roof maintenance and the question came up, is it better to have gutter guards or not. The short answer is that yes they can help keep the larger debris out, but that still doesn’t mean they never require maintenance again.

Another product that often claims that it is “maintenance free” is synthetic decking manufacturers. One of these companies, Trex, advertised in 1996 that the product maintains its natural beauty and color “all by itself”. It is true that synthetic decking does not split or splinter, rot or warp, but it does tend to grow mold, mildew and other substances. To remove the mold substance it requires frequent cleaning, so thus it is not maintenance free.

My husband and I last year purchased a townhouse that is about 10 years old, much newer than our previous single-family home that was built in 1959. We were hopeful that would mean that the time associated with maintenance as well as our expenses would go down, and they both have. But that doesn’t mean that our home is maintenance free. In the first 6 months of ownership we had to replace the dishwasher, one of the HVAC units and several of the slate shingles.

Park Homes for Sale

Living in park homes is like living in the midst of nature and is a relaxing experience as there is adequate security. The secured gated and elite community is one of the alluring features of more people shifting to better surroundings. Though the buildings may look the same, these are not traditional houses as these homes are constructed elsewhere and later moved to the desire locations. However, holiday homes are available in different styles and sizes to suit a variety of budgets. The delightful relaxed bungalows with pitched roofs look elegant and are constructed with controlled conditions as per the British standards. After these are constructed, the home is placed on a pre-excavated foundation and later the essential connections are added such as gas, electricity and required drainage.

These homes come equipped with all required appliances and in most of the standard layouts, a kitchen and one or two bedrooms with bathrooms are present. With central heating and carpeting, you really don’t need to spend much on maintenance. These luxury homes have energy saving feature that includes high grade insulation to prevent large electricity bills. Most of the homes in the park for sale include the buyer to sign on the documents which have the specific rules of the living environment. It is important that the new owners commit to preserving the natural environment and the specific parks rules but different park house locations have different documents. You may consult with a legal expert about the information before you sign.

If you are looking for Park homes for sale, the cost to buy it will depend on numerous factors such as whether it is a conventional or pre-made home and the current market value of the park home lands. The park homes start at GBP 65,000 to GBP 100,000 and some elite park houses are also priced within the range of GBP 250,000 and more. You may also apply for a loan to secure a park house but you will need to cost it out and compare across different banks and check out the interest rates. Most park homes have an added cost of monthly park pitching fees which include council taxes and other utilities of gas, electricity and water.

In most of the park and gated homes, people who are about to retire or have retired settle down after selecting them based on relaxing enclaves within natural surroundings and adequate security. Most of these parks provide the desired privacy yet a community living essential for the social development and well being of individuals.

If you are looking for park houses for sale, there are numerous available options for you and it is best to check out or research online to get the best deal. There are numerous websites and online real estate websites that provide you with the required information, where you can post advertisements and even get in touch with people looking to see their park homes. All you need to do is look at your requirements and as per your budget, choose a park home to live a live of luxury nestled in the verdant environment.

Purchasing Vacation Homes

When you first begin investigating vacation homes, you will likely have many important questions. From the location of your new home to the type of structure that you will be purchasing, you may wonder what the best options are for you and your family when buying a second home. Learn more about the steps you should take to go about finding the perfect vacation home that is just right for you.

The First Step: General Questions to Consider about Vacation Homes

When buying a second home, you first need to decide what sort of setting you are seeking. For example, do you want to look at vacation homes that are near the beach, where you can swim and go boating? Or do you want to focus on vacation homes that are near the mountains, where you can go for hikes or ski in the winter? Or do you perhaps want access to both types of settings?

Next, you can narrow down the best location for your new home by establishing whether this residence will only be used for weekends, whether it will be used for longer stretches of the year, or whether you plan on transitioning it into your primary residence within a particular period of time. If you are only buying a second home to be used for weekends, you may want to limit your search to vacation homes within driving distance from your primary home to minimize travel time and maximize your mini-vacation. However, if you are buying a second home that will be used three, four, or six months out of the year, you may only need to travel once or twice, to and from the home and therefore the proximity to your primary residence is less of an issue.

Then you should consider who is going to be using your home. Are you buying a second home just for yourself? For a couple? Will parents, children or grandchildren be visiting? Will it be used to entertain corporate guests? Each of these will dictate the type of vacation homes that fit your needs. For example, if you are going to have children at the home every time it is used, then you will probably want to find a community or vacation homes that are family friendly with lots of activities for children – and lots of children around for socializing. If, instead, you are planning to entertain corporate guests, you may want to look into buying a second home within a community that is more formal – one with more entertainment options that may require you to wear a coat and tie to dinner. Carefully research all vacation homes and all communities to make sure that they will be appropriate for your situation.

The Second Step: More Specific Decisions to Be Made When Buying a Second Home

Now that you have determined the general scope for your new home, you can start to drill down and make more specific decisions. Do you want a turnkey product or have you been dreaming of designing the perfect getaway? Do you want to research vacation homes in a gated community or do you want a home that is simply in a general area or a local community? If you are buying a second home within a general area, you will likely have the opportunity for more land and greater architectural control. On the other hand, a gated community can offer security, amenities, property maintenance and a closeness with your neighbors that you might not find elsewhere.

If you do decide to look at vacation homes within a gated community, you should look at the strength of the developer. Investigate the developer’s track record and the projects that have been completed to date. You can also look into the development’s lifecycle. If you are on a budget or are looking for a growth-oriented investment, it may be advantageous to consider buying a second home in a community at an early stage, when the price points are lower and there is a greater opportunity for property appreciation. Or, you may want to enjoy all of the amenities today and know exactly what you are buying. However, the peace of mind of buying a second home in an established community often comes at a premium.

You should next step back and look at the area as a whole to see how it will support your lifestyle. Is it important for you to live in a community that is close to a hospital or physician, either for urgent care or for regular visits? Would you like to find vacation homes that have access to shopping, dining, or entertainment centers? Or are you planning on buying a second home that will let you escape from the crowds to your own piece of heaven?

Also, look at the recreation opportunities available in the area or community. If you like to swim, does buying a second home in the area grant you access to a beach or to a private pool? If you enjoy golf, are there any clubs near the vacation homes in the area? What type of access is available — public, daily fee, or private — and what are the associated fees?

The Third Step: Determining the Type of Structure – and Beyond

It is also important to determine what type of structure you’ll want for your second home and what type of ownership you are looking for, whether it is fractional ownership, fee simple, a townhome, or a condo. Beyond the size and location of your home, you will need to consider how much work you will want to put into it. Are you considering buying a second home where you will want to do yard work and actively maintain the home or would you prefer to be spared the hassles of maintenance and have others take care of the house while you relax? Find out if the community in which you are thinking of buying a second home offers maintenance, and if so, at what cost.

If you plan on building a custom home, find out about the building process and the restrictions. Can you hire the builder of your choice, or must you use a builder from a preferred builder program? Also, what is the ARB (architectural review board) process like? While loose architectural guidelines may have some appeal during the building process, tighter, more uniformed guidelines that are consistently enforced provide the greatest protection to your investment. If the ARB will let you get away with it today, what will they let your new neighbor do tomorrow? An ARB can help with the resale value of your property in the future by maintaining a consistent look and feel among all of the vacation homes (and other buildings) in the development.

The Fourth Step: Thinking about Fees and Obligations Related to Vacation Homes

When you have narrowed down your choices, you can take into consideration the property owner’s association fees the vacation homes require. How much will they be, and what do they cover? Can they escalate, and if so, how much and how often? What is the exposure for assessments? Also, when buying a second home in a community, are you required to join any clubs? For example, your community may have a swim and tennis club with mandatory membership. If buyers do not join when purchasing their vacation homes, do they have an opportunity to purchase a membership later, and will there be additional fees? Is it possible to attach the memberships to the sale of your home or land?

Finally, if you are buying a second home as an investment and think you may want to rent your home out at any point in the future, find out if this will be allowed and what rules will govern the process. Ask around about the going rates for rentals of vacation homes, and find out if you have access to on-site management for your property.

Hunting Land in Kentucky

When you buy any kind of land, including hunting land in Kentucky, there are many points to be evaluated. Hunting is a sport with very specific requirement. Land is an investment that needs maintenance. Together they can form an ideal recreational union. The points to consider when buying hunting land in Kentucky include the following.

First, the access to the hunting land in Kentucky you are considering purchasing should be open most of the year. Winter storms may temporarily block access for short periods, but there should also be more than one way into the property. Also make sure that legal ingress and egress is documented. Determine if there are any easement rights on your property or that you need on someone else’s property for your property access.

When considering the purchase of hunting land in Kentucky, calculate all land maintenance costs. These costs include maintaining the roads or trails on the property. Some roads may require expensive fill if they are prone to erosion. You should factor in the cost of the road material in your annual maintenance budget.

When deciding which parcels of hunting land in Kentucky to buy also consider having a survey done to determine property lines. This is true especially if the Kentucky property has any boundary disputes or questionable spots. If you don’t have a survey done, you are taking a serious risk. Though a survey may seem expensive, it is like buying insurance. A survey insures that you will not get into a legal dispute over the property lines. Since hunting land in Kentucky often needs or has fences, a survey is important. That leads to another point. You should understand the range laws in the area where you are buying land. Though the intent is not to have grazing livestock, your neighbor may very well have farm animals. Roaming animals have caused a lot of problems over time. In Kentucky, public waters are not allowed to be fenced.

When buying hunting land in Kentucky, double check the zoning for the land. You may want to build structures on the property at some point and don’t want unexpected restrictions to limit your activity. This is true for wells also. You may want to dig a well one day so it is best to understand the laws concerning wells before you buy land.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying hunting land in Kentucky is not doing adequate research. This is actually true for any land purchase. It is tempting to think of land as simply that – a piece of land. But land use changes as owners and interests change. It may be hunting land right now, but later on it may become a residential neighborhood or your retirement home. If that is the case then you will want to develop the property.

IRS Taxes That Affect Land

Various land related expenses are treated differently depending on the use of the land and whether the land is improved or unimproved. These expenses include land rates, association fees, and other land maintenance expenses.

Unimproved land

In taxation terms, improved land is land that has a structure on it, such as a building. A piece of land is considered unimproved if it has no buildings on it, even if you bring in utilities such as water, electricity, fencing, and/or a sewage system. As long as there is no structures that can be used for economic purposes or personal housing, it is considered unimproved. For unimproved investment property land, one cannot deduct ongoing expenses. However, you may add the cost of the various one-off capital expenses that you apply to the land to the value of the land and depreciate it if it is an investment property (as opposed to a personal property). If it is personal property, you can add the amount of such expenses used to improve the land to the cost of the land, which will increase your cost price of the property if you were to ever sell it. This way, the capital gain on the property will be lowered and you will consequently pay less in capital gain taxes.

Improved Land

Improved land is land that gives you some utility in one form or another. You may have a personal home on the land or some rental or investment property. If it is an investment property, then the land rates and land expenses are an allowable business expenses and are therefore, deductible for tax purposes every year that the expenses are incurred. Most of the land-servicing-expenses are not deductible for personal-use land.

Investment Property Land

For investment property, any association and property maintenance expenses are tax deductible. The details of qualifications of these deductible expenses are contained in the Internal Revenue Code Section 212. These expenses are a miscellaneous itemized deduction and therefore, follow the rules of itemized deductions. This means that you must add all itemized expenses and subtract 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income before deduction. You also cannot deduct this through itemized deductions if you are under the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). However, for those under the AMT and for those who do not itemize deductions, you can still add these expenses to the cost of the land so as to reduce on the capital gains (in case you ever sell the land). This option is called, capitalizing carrying charges, and is a choice available for those with an investment property. However, if the investment property is unimproved, you can only capitalize the carrying charges for only one year. If you opt to capitalize the charges, you will need to attach a statement to your tax return form explaining the expenses that you are capitalizing in the year you choose to do so.

Home Buying Maintenance Costs For Different Types of Homes

When you’re considering what type of home to purchase as a first time home buyer, understanding the total maintenance costs may be a key factor in your decision making process.

Certain types of homes incur neighborhood association fees or extra taxes and fees imposed by the town or city government; knowing what these fees are in the early stages of your new home search can help you make the best decision given your budget requirements or limitations. Here is a basic breakdown of maintenance costs associated with different types of homes:

Condominiums: An increasingly popular choice for first-time homebuyers, living in a condo means you have access to shared living spaces and amenities. As a result, you’ll be responsible for paying association fees and maintenance fees that are based on a percentage of ownership of the building.

Ilyce Glink, author of the book ‘100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask’ explains that condo fees are calculated by taking the total building’s expense and dividing that by the percentage of ownership.The total building expenses include the building’s emergency reserve account, and the final cost may fluctuate over the course of the year.

Townhomes: Townhomes, also known as ‘row houses’, are independently owned homes that typically don’t incur fees beyond your regular expenses. However, some townhomes are part of a homeowner’s association, in which case you will need to pay a monthly fee for maintenance. This fee typically covers the cost of painting the exterior and landscaping common areas.

Mobile Homes and Pre-Fabricated Homes: Mobile home owners and pre-fabricated homeowners are usually responsible for all fees involved with maintaining and operating their home. This includes the cost of sewage, water, cable and other utilities. However, some mobile home sites do charge additional fees for renting the land, and every park has its own rules, regulations and requirements.

Single-Family House: Detached home maintenance costs are typically the responsibility of the homeowner. Even if the home is within a community setting, the homeowner will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, landscaping, lawn services and other fees associated with maintaining a home. You will also be responsible for all real estate taxes and government fees; check with the Realtor and a financial advisor to get an estimate on what this may be.

Keep in mind that some lenders may roll in your condo association fees or other fees involved with home ownership based on your loan package. Make sure you have an accurate assessment of total costs from the Realtor and then approach your loan officer with all of the details to make the most of your loan and pay for only what you can afford.

Whether you’re interested in a townhome or a single-family house, there will be several costs involved with home ownership and maintenance. When you’re searching for the right fit, consider making a checklist or worksheet that lists all of the different home options and related fees. Having a side-by-side comparison of the total costs involved can help you make the most informed decision for your new home purchase.