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Carolynne Stilphen REALTOR®
PMZ Real Estate
701 S. Ham Lane, Suite B
Lodi,  CA  95242
209.642.3871
209.337.0214 
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Avoid tax when gifting down payment
DEAR BENNY: Our son is looking to buy a house and we promised to help him with the down payment, or part thereof, of approximately $100,000. What is the best way to do that to avoid any gift taxes? Can we give him the money as part of his future inheritance, which won't be taxable up to a certain amount? Or can we give him the money and ask for a promissory note, and then my husband and I both can "give" him $12,000 yearly until the note is paid off?
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As home ages, some defects unavoidable
Over time, many homes develop little nonstructural problem areas that need to be dealt with, and it seems like the older the house, the more of those little problems that occur. Here's some advice on fixing a few of the more common door and trim situations you might typically encounter.
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When it comes to routers, spare no expense
For many carpenters, woodworkers and home improvement enthusiasts, a router is one of the essential tools in their collection. Routers are extremely versatile, and once you have one, you'll no doubt find any number of uses for it.
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Top reasons home won't sell
It's a challenging home sale market for sellers in many areas around the country. Sellers who are having difficulty selling have several options.
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Is escrow account for taxes, insurance necessary?
DEAR BENNY: Why does one have to pay monthly insurance payments in escrow to the lender? Also, after having paid this payment in escrow for five to six years, why can't this be cancelled? –Marcelle
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Carolynne Stilphen
REALTOR®
PMZ Real Estate
701 S. Ham Lane, Suite B
Lodi,  CA  95242
209.642.3871
209.337.0214 
Contact Me
Visit My Web Site
Equal Housing Opportunity   
  
Want a fancier-looking room? Try wainscoting
One way to really dress up a room and try your hand at some different decorating techniques is to consider wainscoting. There are a number of ways to combine materials to create some very attractive wainscoting effects, and the cost doesn't need to be prohibitive. ...more
 
Mortgage approval is no easy task
It wasn't too long ago that home buyers made offers without financing contingencies and closed the deal in as short as 14 days following acceptance. Quick closes are virtually impossible today if you're buying a home with the aid of a mortgage. And, it's highly recommended to include loan and appraisal contingencies in your offer. ...more
 
Don't pay off entire mortgage with extra cash
DEAR BENNY: I am confused about paying off our mortgage on our primary home or on a secondary home/rental. My husband is totally against paying off either loan, even though we could pay off at least one of the mortgages. Our home mortgage has 10 years left at 5.25 percent interest and the other is a 30-year at 5.75 percent interest. ...more
 
Three ways to reduce capital gains tax
DEAR BENNY: I was told by a prominent accountant that there is a loophole in the law that states that you can be exempt from paying capital gains (if you are in a home less than the two-year period) if there are "unforeseen circumstances" involved. Are you aware of this? Can you doublecheck to make sure? This accountant is well trusted by a lot of businesspeople! At the time I was going through an "unforeseen" divorce. –Patricia ...more
 
Top ways to boost curb appeal
You've no doubt heard the term "curb appeal," which is the first impression that your home makes when a visitor arrives. Whether you have your home up for sale or just want things to look a little nicer when you or someone else pulls up out in front, the best place to start is by giving the front of your home a critical examination. ...more
 
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