The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 373
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December 7, 1997

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 373

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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Page 373
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, 30 THE PALM BEACH POST RESIDENCES ADVERTISING SECTION SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 j i t y i t $ i it i t k $ i i & t Z 4 : I How to best handle a deatibeaf contractor trim $280 off this year's income-tax bill. You could boost this year's deductions even more by making your January mortgage payment now. It's a tax-saving strategy worth considering, especially if you expect to owe a lot of taxes because your income rose sharply this year or you made a lot of money from the sale of stocks or rental property. If the general contractor refuses your request, you will have to negotiate with the roofer yourself. After you have reached an agreement with the roofer, you can sue the general contractor for damages in small-claims court. Pit could become asset Q: We're planning to retire next year, so we've been subscribing to some out-of-state newspapers to look at their real estate ads. A couple of ads refer to "borrow pits" on the property. What's a borrow pit? By DAVID W. MYERS Question: I had a lot of work done on my house this summer, including $3,200 in repairs to my roof. I paid the general contractor in full, and the contractor apparently paid all the subcontractors except the roofer. The roofer is demanding that I pay him the $3,200, even though I already gave the money to the general contractor. If I don't pay the roofer the "3,200, he said he will file a mechanic's lien against my home. What can I do now? A nswer: You paid the general contrac-" tor in full, so it's certainly not your fault that some of that money didn't make it to the roofer. But by the same token, it's not the roofer's fault that he wasn't paid for the work he did on your home. The real culprit here is the general contractor, who gladly accepted the money you gave him but then refused to pay the roofer. Laws in every state allow subcontractors who aren't paid for their work to sue the homeowner, even if the owner paid the . general contractor in full. If the roofer files a mechanic's lien against your home, you won't be able to sell the house or refinance until the roofer is paid and the lien is removed. Contact the general contractor who oversaw your home-improvement project and demand that he pay the roofer. Also, send him a certified letter insisting that he pay. If the general contractor refuses your request, you will have to negotiate with other half after Jan. 1. If I pay the whole bill before the end of this year, can I deduct the full amount on my 1997 tax return? A: Yes, you can deduct the full amount of any property taxes you pay in the year that you actually pay them, even if the second installment isn't due until the next calendar year. To illustrate, say your property-tax bill is $2,000 a year and that the first installment is due in November and the second is due in February. If you pay $1,000 in November but wait until next year to pay the remaining $1,000, you could deduct only the autumn payment you made on your 1997 tax return. You'd have to wait until you complete your 1998 return, a little more than a year from now, to deduct the other $1,000. If you instead paid the full $2,000 before Jan. 1, you could deduct all $2,000 on your 1997 return. Assuming you're in the typical 28 percent federal tax bracket, making the second payment now instead of waiting until next year would the roofer yourself. Perhaps the roofer will drop his claim if you agree to pay for the materials he used and a few hundred dollars for his time. Neither you nor the roofer would be perfectly happy with the compromise, but it would save the roofer the time and expense involved in going to court and save you the trouble of having the mechanic's lien removed. After you have reached an agreement with the roofer, you can sue the general contractor for damages in small-claims court. You should also file a complaint against the contractor with the state's licensing board and the local Better Business Bureau. Filing the complaints won't do you much good, but it will serve as a warning flag to other homeowners who might consider hiring him. Property taxes are deductible Q: I usually pay my property-tax bill in two installments, half in the fall and the A: Borrow is sand, gravel or other material that's taken from one area to be used for a grading project in another area. The hole that is left behind is called a borrow pit. Many city dwellers can't imagine why they'd want a property that has a giant hole on the premises. But in rural areas, a property with a large borrow pit sometimes commands a premium because the pit can be turned into a nice pond. David Myers has been writing about real estate finance and consumer issues for 15 years. Send ques- 9W312960 P'' 2m' C"lm Cit CA i Window cords can spell infant tragedy each day j , .I r. . m , & la. .tt s-tC "Cm - Mil J U Idtmni mm. M 1 SEA OATS WALK TO BEACH!! Light bright & ready to go!! Immaculate 3BR2BA with enclosed patio, pretty views & Upgraded 22 & loft & garage in desirable Estuary! Best Location! $169,999 private garage. i ao.auu JUST LISTED! Oak Harbour oversized 22 with new carpet, new tile, fresh paint and new appliances! Must See at $1 24,950 SOUTH MARTIN COUNTY Spacious 32 garage! Inside has been re-done & Oh, so pretty! Outside needs TLC. Call now! $89,900! ran a, : . capes- TEOUESTA POOL HOME IDEAL TEQUESTA LOCATION Must see 2BR2.5BA CBS home wgarage & bonus room! $1 12,900! Immaculate 32 split wtile throughout, screened patio, inground pool, security system and 2 car garage! Must see $125,000. mm mmm ri Acording to child-safety experts, the common window cord accounts for at least one accidental death every month. Most cord entanglements happen to children between the ages of 8 months to 3 years. Usually, the cord loops are within reach of a child's crib or dangling near a window that the child reaches by climbing on low furniture. Consequently, the first rule for cord safety is to move cribs and furniture away from windows. Beyond this, most window-cord hazards can be fixed by cutting the cord loop just above the pull tassel, and then placing separate tassels at the ends of the resulting two cords. Tips for child-proofing the most popular window covering styles are: Two-corded horizontal blinds: Cut the cord loop just above the tassel, remove the equalizer buckle, and place separate tassels on the two resulting cord ends. Two-corded pleated or cellular shades: Leave the cord-stop near the headrail in place, cut the cord loop just above the tassel, and attach the new tassels. Because another loop will appear above the cord-stop when the shade is raised, make sure the cord ends are secured beyond the reach of children. Vertical blinds, traverse rods, etc.: For window coverings that need a continuous loop to operate, secure a cord tie-down device to the floor, wall or window jamb. This pulls the cord loop taut and reduces the chance of entanglement Many newer window coverings have j incorporated design changes that reduce or eliminate the potential hazards of a looped cord. For example, all two-corded horizontal blinds manufactured since Jan. 1, 1995 are without a looped pull cord. This year, WCSC announced a series of additional design changes to improve the safety of cord configurations on most window blinds, shades and traverse rods. Products incorporating these latest changes should be on retailer's shelves. "Although the window covering industry has made tremendous strides in developing safer products, the true key to reducing looped cord hazards is improved parental awareness," says WCSC Executive Director Peter Rush. "We need every parent, every grandparent, every baby-sitter and every caregiver to automatically know that all window coverings need to be regularly checked and childproofed for looped-cord hazards." WCSC launched an intensive national campaign in 1994 to increase consumer awareness of looped window-cord hazards. The program, now in its third year, is being carried out in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Window Covering Safety Council a coalition of major U.S. firms that manufacture, import and sell window coverings offers consumers free tassels and tie-down devices for reducing looped- cord hazards through a toll-free hotline at (800)506-4636. :; T 'Ji taml .1 LAKESIDE GREEN Immaculate 22 townhome with screened patio; upgraded cabinets & waterfall. Must see $81,900. Perfect 22 wqlass enclosed patio, tile through out, security system, one car garage and community pool! Priced to sell $78,900 Gimelstob f j Realty Inc. I iV4 HSSSS if' i i; tv i I i u i. IV : i ' V r ,'nitHi sit' l !if i CATHY SHEPHERD, GRI REALTOR VfuHi-MiUion Dollar Producer Graduate of the Realtor Institute Lifetime Me mber Million Dollar Club President's Award Recipient Medallian Ckib Member (561) 745-0105 Direct Line err i 1995 1998 Customer Service Award Recipient . ,"Wa Make It Happen For You" ' tarn w won mwmgi to tmrfi trm mri ownetrj rx) opwiw! fcnC CprngK Crpproft 1903 M nj i 4

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