January 2007 Vol. 2 No. 1
• Are Your “People” Ready for Tax Season? • Debbie on Fox25 News...Again! • January's Home Value Improver • About Us

Are Your “People” Ready for Tax Season?

H&R Block has a new ad on TV. A mailman is asked by a person on his route how he mails in his taxes – does he have to go to the post office like everyone else? It’s a play on the tricky questions like How do you throw out a garbage can? Which I’ve always wondered, so hit Reply if you know!

The mailman’s response in this ad is that his “people” at H&R Block take care of his tax return. This ad got me thinking about who my “people” are during this time of year. More importantly, I started thinking about you. Do you know who your “people” are?

Do you have a financial team or do you have a group of professionals who work in a vacuum on a particular piece of your finances?

You probably have an accountant, financial planner, realtor, mortgage broker and attorney who you use for specific transactions. But are you missing a financial opportunity by failing to view this group as a team of your “people” who can maximize your investments, alert you to potential pitfalls and coordinate with each other to enhance your financial future?

Would you go to a hospital where the nurses, doctors, technicians and administrators never communicated with each other about your care? Would you send your children to a school where the teachers, administrators and parents failed to communicate about the students’ education?

It makes sense, then, that you wouldn’t want to leave the various pieces of your financial puzzle scattered in different places. It’s time to create a team!

For homeowners or potential homeowners, a financial team serves a critical role in ensuring you make the most out of what is most likely your largest financial asset – your home.

This month, I’m sending a letter to all of my clients who bought or refinanced a home in 2006. The letter will include their HUD settlement statement, a document homeowners receive at closings that shows first quarter property tax information. Accountants need this data when preparing tax returns. By saving clients a step in their tax prep and saving their accountants a phone call, I hope to strengthen my relationship as part of their financial team – as one of their “people.”

You have “people,” too, and now is a great time to start using them! See my letter for specific suggestions.

Debbie on Fox25 News...Again!
Smaller January Pic

I was excited to be invited back to speak on Fox25 News about selling your home in a slow market. Here’s a look at my interview with David Wade.

Follow this link to watch!

January's Home Value Improver

Thinking about doing some home improvements or renovations this year?

Before you begin, consider which projects will deliver the highest return on investment by increasing your home value.

Here is what some home experts agree are the most financially rewarding projects:

  1. Adding a bathroom
  2. Renovating the kitchen
  3. Renovating a bathroom
  4. New siding
  5. Adding a family room or master bedroom suite
And here’s what some say are the worst projects in terms of financial return:
  1. Adding a pool
  2. Refinishing the basement
  3. Remodeling a home office
  4. Adding a gazebo
Of course, it’s always great to do projects that will enhance the enjoyment of your home. So if a project will make daily life better, go for it!

I appreciate you subscribing to – and reading! – my newsletter. As I wrote this issue on financial teams, I thought about specific ways you can start building a connection among the members of your financial team. Here are 4 to get you going.

1. When meeting with a member of your team, give him or her the business cards of your other team members, so they can reach out to them if necessary. Encourage them to do it.

2. If you have no meetings scheduled in the near future, write a group email or letter to your financial planner, mortgage broker, insurance broker, accountant and attorney. Share the contact information of each member in the email and simply say, as a customer, that you’d like them to have each other’s info in case they need to connect when working on your projects.

3. If any of the following situations pertain to you, schedule time to connect with your team:

a. You’ve bought or refinanced a home in 2006.

b. You plan to buy or refinance a home in 2007.

c. You are changing jobs, starting a business, getting married, getting divorced, having a baby or retiring.

4. Keep all financial files and documentation in one place. I suggest a file box or accordion folder organized by function – tax, homeowners insurance, financial planning, etc. Electronically, create a folder with appropriate subfolders and then create a back up CD of the data. Bring the file box and CD with you when meeting with members of your team so you have easy access to what they need.

Thanks again for reading, and please get in touch with any questions you have about mortgages. I want to pull my weight as a financial team member!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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Click here to read my “Mortgage Minute” in ForeclosuresMass.com's monthly newsletter. This month’s column: “Staying on the Good Side of the IRS.”

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