5 Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

Real Estate

5 Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: A Complete Guide for Filing This Year

You may remember that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service delayed filing season by about two weeks. But just like last year, there are no extensions and the date for filing is April 18, 2023. (According to the IRS, “The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia for everyone except taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. Taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2023, to file their returns due to the Patriots’ Day holiday in those states.”)

Tax Break 1: Mortgage Interest

Why it’s important: The ability to deduct the interest on a mortgage continues to be a significant benefit of owning a home. And the more recent your mortgage, the greater your tax savings.

Tax Break 2: A Home Office

Good news for all self-employed people whose home office is the principal place where they work: You can deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500 Does Not apply t0 w-2 working remotely.

Tax Break 3: Interest on a Home Equity Line of Credit

If you have a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, the interest you pay on that loan is deductible only if that loan is used specifically to “buy, build, or improve a property”.

Tax Break 4: Property Taxes

This deduction is capped at $10,000 for those married filing jointly no matter how high the taxes are.

Tax Break 5: Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Qualifying solar electric panels and solar water heaters are good for a credit of up to 30% of the cost of the equipment and installation. You can also nab an energy efficient home improvement lifetime credit of a $500 for improvements made to your home through December 31, 2022. Energy-efficient upgrades include things like exterior windows, doors and skylights, insulation, and the cost of home energy audits. Here’s some more good news, the IRA passed an extension and expansion of the credit, so starting January 1, 2023, the amended credit will be worth up to $1,200 per year for a qualifying property.

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Renovations and Your Home’s Value

Renovations and How They Could Impact Your Home’s Value

Over the past few years, many of us have spent extra time at home—and that means we appreciate the personal design touches that make a house cozy and comfortable more than ever. Some of us have adapted our dwellings in new ways, from creating functional home offices to upgrading the appliances we use most.

But while it’s important to make your home your own, it’s also smart to think about the longterm impact your renovations could have on its value. Choosing highly-personalized fixtures and finishes can make it harder for future homebuyers to envision themselves in the space. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home soon, investing in popular design choices that are likely to stand the test of time will make things easier down the road.

And if you’re in the market for a new home, it’s wise to keep an eye out for features that might need to be updated soon so you can factor renovation costs into your budget.

We’ve rounded up six trends that we think will influence interior design in 2023, as well as ideas for how you might incorporate them in your own home. Remember, before taking action, it’s always wise to consult with a real estate professional to understand how specific updates and upgrades will affect your property’s value in your local market.

Separate Kitchen, Dining and Living Areas

For years, home design has been dominated by open-concept floor plans, particularly for kitchen, dining, and living areas. However, as the pandemic forced families to work and study from home, many struggled to find the privacy and separation they needed. As a result, designers report that more families are choosing to bring back kitchen and dining room walls to break up the space and create quieter areas.¹

That doesn’t mean that we’re returning to an era of dark and cramped spaces, however. Even as walls make a return, it’s important to take care to retain a sense of flow and openness within the home and to prioritize natural light. 

If you’re buying or building a new home, consider how you will use the space and whether or not an open floor plan will suit your needs. If you already live in a home with an open floor plan and it isn’t working for you, try rearranging furniture and strategically placing pieces like bookshelves, room dividers, or rugs to create distinct areas within the home and reduce noise. 

Photo by LDa Architecture & Interiors - Browse dining room photos

Photo by LDa Architecture & Interiors – browse dining room photos.

Nature-Inspired Design 

In the past few years, we’ve seen the “biophilia” trend explode, and there are no signs that it will be any less popular in 2023.² This trend is all about bringing the outside in by adding natural touches throughout your home.

This year, design experts predict that natural, sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, and liveedge wood will lend character without being overwhelming. Wooden kitchen cabinets and islands will become more common in 2023, with white oak and walnut among the most popular choices.³,⁴ Wood will also appear in bathroom vanities and shelving and furniture throughout the home.

Colors inspired by nature (think mossy greens and desert tones) will also play into this trend and will blend seamlessly with wood tones. We’re also seeing a return to natural stone countertop materials like quartzite, marble, dark leathered granite, and soapstone.⁴,⁵

If you’re planning to add new shelving or redo your kitchen, consider turning to these materials to embrace the biophilic look. Or, incorporate elements of the trend by choosing nature-inspired paint colors and adding to your houseplant collection.

Photo by Savant Design Group

Photo by Savant Design Group – more living room ideas.

Lighting as a Design Feature 

Spending more time at home has shown us the importance of having the right lighting for specific tasks and times of the day. As a result, many homeowners are reconsidering the ways they light their homes and using light fixtures to change the usability and mood of their spaces.⁵

In particular, homeowners are rejecting bright, flat overhead lighting and replacing it with lamps and task-specific options. A layered approach to lighting—such as using a combination of undercabinet, task, and ambient lighting in a kitchen—enables homeowners to tweak the level of light they’re using based on the time of day and what they are doing.

In 2023, we expect to see more statement chandeliers, pendants, and wall sconces in a variety of shapes and materials.⁶ Thinking about switching up the lighting in your home? Start by adding floor or table lamps and swapping out fixtures before you invest in rewiring your space. Take note of what works and what doesn’t and watch how the light in your home changes throughout the day. You can then use that information to make lighting decisions that require a bigger investment.


Photo by The Brooklyn Studio – search living room design ideas.

More Vibrant Color Palettes 

After the long dominance of whites and grays, more vibrant colors are coming back as a way to add character and dimension to homes.

This year, warm and earthy neutrals, jewel tones, and shades of red and pink are particularly popular.⁷,⁸ If your style tends toward the subtle, consider options like light, calming greens, blues, and pastels.

Major paint brands have responded to these homeowner preferences with their newest releases. Benjamin Moore’s 2023 color of the year, Raspberry Blush, is a lively shade of pinkish coral, while Sherwin William is embracing warm neutrals with Redend Point, a blushing beige.⁹,¹⁰ Behr’s choice of the year, Blank Canvas, is a creamy off-white that’s a warmer version of the stark whites that have been trending over the past few years.¹¹

If you’re planning to put your home on the market soon, it’s better to play on the safer side and avoid extremely bold or bright color choices when it comes to paint or fixed finishes like tile and countertops. Instead, try incorporating pops of color through throw pillows, art, and accessories.


Photo by Touch Interiors by Bronwyn Poole – discover bedroom design ideas.

Curved Furniture and Architectural Accents 

Goodbye, sharp corners. In 2023, arches and curves lend a sleek feel that draws on classical design and retro trends while remaining modern.⁵,⁸ Rounded corners feel more relaxed and natural than sharp edges, lending more of a sense of flow and comfort to a home.

If you want to incorporate the trend into your new build or remodeling plans, curved kitchen islands and bars and arched alcoves are all good options—or you can take it a step further with arched windows and doorways. You can also carry this trend through to your light fixtures by incorporating a bubble chandelier or globe pendants.

It’s easy to embrace this look without renovations, too. Look for a softer feel in furniture, with sofas, chairs, and tables that showcase curved edges. Or, break up your space with an arched folding screen and a circular rug. 

Photo by Wilson Lighting - Look for
living room pictures

Photo by Wilson Lighting – look for living room pictures. 

Art Deco Revival 

Art Deco, the architecture and design style that took hold in the 1920s and ’30s, is enjoying a resurgence.¹²

As a style, Art Deco is marked by bold geometry, textures, and colors, as well as an emphasis on art. But the 2023 interpretation of this style is likely to be a bit less splashy than its historical roots. Designers predict that instead of incorporating all of the elements of the style, which could feel overwhelming, homeowners will pick bursts of color or bold accessories to bring some whimsy to their space.

Keep an eye out for vintage mirrors, lamps, or vases that bring a touch of Art Deco glam to your home, or embrace bold colors and fabrics like velvet. Choose pillows and throw blankets in bright colors and geometric patterns to nod to the look without diving in all the way.

Photo by Favreau Design - Browse living room photos

Photo by Favreau Design – browse living room photos.

Designed to Sell

Are you thinking about remodeling or making significant design changes to your home? Wondering how those changes might impact your future resale value?

Buyer preferences vary significantly based on your home’s neighborhood and price range. We’re happy to share our insights on the upgrades that will make it easier (or more difficult!) to sell your home. Give us a call for a free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


1. US News and World Report – https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/slideshows/interior-design-trends-for-2023?slide=2
2. Architectural Digest – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/design-trends-in-2023
3. Insider – https://www.insider.com/popular-home-decor-trends-for-2023-according-to-experts-2022-
4. Houzz – https://www.houzz.com/magazine/35-home-design-trends-on-the-rise-in-2023-stsetivwvs~ 164032473
5. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/2023-design-trends-6743803
6. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/2023-lighting-trends-6891412
7. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/2023-color-trends-6751137
8. Good Housekeeping – https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g42084756/interior-designtrends- 2023/
9. Benjamin Moore – https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-colors/color/2008-30/raspberry-blush
10. Sherwin Williams – https://www.sherwin-williams.com/content/colorforecast/colormix-2023/color-of-the-year-2023
11. Behr – https://www.behr.com/consumer/inspiration/2023-coty/
12. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/art-deco-trend-for-2023-7092174

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Brownstone in the Capital District

Brownstone Architecture in the Capital District

Written by Jennifer Mentiply

Brownstone is a brown sandstone that was used as building material in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

What is Brownstone?

Brownstone is a term that has been used to describe townhomes in urban settings. The term applies to a style of building that is built of brick, concrete masonry, or material to give the look of a brick or stone material. In the Capital District, it is not uncommon to see these buildings contain 2-4 units. Often times they are in a Historic District, and have been renovated. These properties are often beautifully remodeled with the original integrity of the home either in mind or restored. You can find unique features like pocket doors, curved arch ways, exposed brick walls, and beautiful details on exterior trim of these homes.

Where Can You Find These?

These homes can be found in some of our oldest cities in the Capital District. Specifically, The Stockade of Schenectady, Greenwich Village of Albany, and The Antique District on River St. in Troy.

The Stockade of Schenectady, NY is located on the banks of the Mohawk River and most commonly known as Front St. The preservation of this area and the culture established by its residence is captivating. You can walk the streets and see vibrant colors and yet feel like you stepped back in time.

Greenwich Village is more commonly known as Lark St. in Albany, NY. This area has a cool urban funky vibe. Some Streets are still lined with Cobblestone from the turn of the century!

Better Known as River St, The Antique District in Troy, NY is nestled along the Hudson River and is the new spot for nightlife, gourmet restaurants, shops, and beautiful apartments made from large historic brownstones. Lots of developers have come in to preserve the architecture of this area and revamped churches into venues, and brownstones into luxury apartments with unique details like original floors, archways and fireplaces!

You can find a blend of commercial businesses and residential townhomes in this area. It is also known for it’s cuisine, coffee shops, and small boutiques many of which are located in the basement of these brownstones.

For more details on homes in the area, call me! I love unique properties.

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When to Get Excited About the Housing Market

When to Get Excited About the Housing Market

Real estate professionals get that consumers, by and large, ignore housing statistics and the market until they become involved in the purchase or sale of a home. It’s only natural then that what impacts the market is a bit of a mystery to many. What determines a buyers’ or sellers’ market? What factors influence home prices?

Of course the answers to these questions and more may be multi-faceted, but it’s important to pay attention to them if you hope to keep more of your money when it’s time to buy or sell real estate.

Believe it or not, even in what seems like the gloomiest of real estate markets, there will be a glimmer of light for some.

Pay Attention to Interest Rates

It certainly is no secret that obtaining a lower interest rate for a mortgage typically allows for a lower payment. Naturally then, low interest rates make home-buying an attractive venture—and, even whispers of a rate hike can spur folks to get out into the market.

For instance, by the end of 2015, the U.S. saw 5.26 million home sales, which was the most robust housing market since 2006. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), attributed the robust market, in part, to the mere “prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months.”

And, rise they did, throughout the following year. In fact, late in 2016, mortgage interest rates rose eight times in nine weeks, according to bankrate.com. Sounds rather gloomy until one recognizes that, post-hike, rates were still at historic lows.

The bottom line is that if you’re in the market for a home and interest rates decrease or remain attractively low, it’s time to get excited about the housing market.

The Economy

The current economy is a key factor affecting the real estate market. “Broadly speaking, when the economy is sluggish, so is real estate,” claims Joseph Nguyen at Investopedia. Rather than look at the glass half-full, however, we choose to take the opposite tack—when the economy is humming along, the housing market is at its most attractive.

When job growth is robust, consumer confidence rises and we’re more apt to spend money on high-ticket items, such as cars, appliances, vacations and, yes, homes.

Exciting Markets for Sellers

There’s an old saying in the real estate industry that counsels homeowners that the best time to sell a home is when you need to sell your home. Yes, we understand that isn’t very helpful. If you’re one of the fortunate who has no compelling reason to sell (such as a job offer in a different town or divorce), you have the luxury of choosing when to put the home on the market.

Get excited if real estate professionals mention the words “sellers’ market.” This is a period in which there are few homes for sale but buyer demand is high. During sellers’ markets prices typically increase rapidly and homes sell at or above list price.

One of the biggest mistakes we see in sellers’ markets is the homeowner who feels that the market itself will bring top dollar for the home, regardless of condition. Be aware that it’s the homes in good condition that sell the quickest and for the most amount of money. Regardless if market conditions favor sellers, if your home isn’t in move-in condition, it may be passed over by home buyers.

Buying a Home This Year?

A buyers’ market—when there is a large selection of homes for sale and few other buyers in the market—is a great time to purchase a home. Unlike a sellers’ market, prices aren’t rapidly escalating and you won’t be competing against a slew of other buyers. These markets are more relaxed so homebuyers can take their time deciding.

In a sellers’ market, however, it’s more important than ever to have all your ducks in a row before making an offer on a property. Ensure you know exactly how much you can spend and that you’ve obtained a preapproval letter from your lender. Make your offer stand out from others by keeping it lean and mean, with the shortest time periods for contingencies as possible. Finally, come in with your highest and best offer. A sellers’ market moves too quickly to assume the homeowner will negotiate over price.

While the type of market may determine when to jump in, as mentioned earlier, interest rates can also cause excitement in the housing market. Low rates and relaxed lending guidelines, such as we saw in 2015 and 2016, presented a prime opportunity for many would-be buyers who previously couldn’t afford to purchase.

Lower mortgage rates mean a lower monthly payment, which means you have more purchasing power, and that additional power can “mean the difference between buying a 2-bedroom home versus a 3-bedroom one; between buying a home with large closets versus small closets; and, between buying an upgraded home versus a dated one,” according to Dan Green at The Mortgage Reports.

Regardless of the media’s perception of the housing market, there is always a mix of good and bad news, depending on whether you are in the market to buy or to sell. Arm yourself with a professional real estate agent who can supply you with current and local market information (too often what you read in the news is stale and based on nationwide statistics), follow his or her advice and buying or selling a home in any market will be an exciting process.

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