Mark Carmien - Maple and Main Realty, LLC

Posted by Mark Carmien on 12/5/2020

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most useful investments that you’ll make in your lifetime. One thing you should understand when you're making big improvements to a home or doing any kind of high return renovations is that of the Capital Gains Tax. This tax can take away from the return on your investment, especially under the right circumstances. Even with minimal improvements to a home, if an area has seen an upswing in popularity, you could end up paying the price when you go to sell. 

Taxpayer Relief Act

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 can help many people to hang on to the returns they see from the sale of their home. 

Previously, homeowners could qualify for a one-time tax exemption of up to $125,000 on the sale of a home. They also could combine the earnings in on the purchase of another home. Currently, there are a few ways that you can save on the Capital Gains Tax thanks to the TRA. 

House Flippers And Homeowners Aren’t Equal

Not all home sales receive an equal tax treatment. If you are flipping houses, you’re out of luck when it comes to receiving profit-friendly tax breaks. You need to have lived in a home as your primary residence for two out of five years of owning a home in order to qualify for tax breaks. If this isn’t the case, you’ll end up paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. If you’re a professional house flipper, your homes are considered inventory and taxed as income. The tax on this can vary from 15% to 20%, depending upon the tax bracket you fall into.

The Type Of Property Matters When It Comes To Taxes

Whether the property is a primary place of residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, the gains are all taxed differently. If you own a second home that you’re interested in selling, it’s not treated the same as a primary residence for tax purposes. You’ll be taxed based on the amount of time that you owned the property, or the amount of time that the property was used as a second home. The taxes are based on a prorated amount of time.

The Price Of The Home Doesn’t Matter

You may think that higher priced homes are taxed more heavily than less expensive homes. This would be the case when it comes to property taxes, but it isn’t so when we’re talking about Capital Gains Taxes. These taxes are based on how much profit is made from the sale of the home. If a loss was taken, or the homeowner “broke even,” they may not owe as many taxes. A smaller home that had significant improvements made could be taxed a bit more than a home that was sold at a higher price with fewer upgrades.

Posted by Mark Carmien on 12/4/2020

This Condo in Easthampton, MA recently sold for $179,900. This Townhouse style home was sold by Mark Carmien - Maple and Main Realty, LLC.

41 South St, Easthampton, MA 01027


Sale Price

Full/Half Baths
Welcome to Town Crier! 2-br, 1.5-ba townhouse style center unit in a complex abutting the Manhan Rail Trail. This unit, with some recent updates, is in move-in condition and priced to sell. Roof replaced in 2019. Driveway/parking area in front of unit/building was repaved 10/2020. Complex consists of 2-pools and a playground. Close to the center of Easthampton.

Tags: Easthampton   Real Estate   Condo   01027  
Categories: Sold Homes  

Posted by Mark Carmien on 11/28/2020

Deciding to put up a fence on your property may seem like a simple decision, but there are a lot of things to consider before hiring a contractor to get it done.

One question to ponder is whether your neighbors might be offended or annoyed by the sudden appearance of a fence near the edge of their property. The answer to that question would partly depend on your relationship with your neighbor, the size of your lot, and whether the fence is tasteful or an eyesore. The problem with that standard is that "tasteful" is in the eyes of the beholder!

Tall fences can and sometimes do have a way of changing the look and feel of your immediate neighborhood, so the installation of a fence could potentially cause resentment from other property owners. The decision to put up a fence on your property is a personal one, but there's also a lot of value in maintaining friendly neighbor relations. (It can be a delicate balance!)

One Step at a Time

In some places, local ordinances or Homeowner Association rules may impose restrictions on fences and other structures. Many towns and municipalities require that you (or your contractor) obtain a building permit before putting up a fence, so a quick phone call or email to the appropriate local official can shed light on requirements, restrictions, and other assorted rigmarole!

Since the cost of installing a fence can easily run into the thousands, it always pays to get a few estimates and proposals from reputable fence companies. Other decisions include choosing the best height and composition of the fence. Fencing materials range from metal and chain link to vinyl and wood. Composite fencing materials are also an option.

Your choice will depend on a lot of factors, including cost, durability, maintenance aspects, and appearance. Online information, free brochures, and meetings with contractors can help you learn more and make an informed decision.

Once you've moved beyond the potential issues of installing a fence on your property, there are several distinct advantages to fencing in your back yard.

  • Enhanced privacy: While "privacy" can mean different things to different people, a tall fence offers an immediate solution to a variety of privacy-related problems. 
  • Pet containment: If you don't always have the time or energy to take your dog(s) for a walk in the neighborhood, it's a major convenience to be able to let them out in a contained area to relieve themselves and get a little fresh air. It can also be a good way to keep them safe and out of trouble!
  • Wildlife barrier: Although there are often gaps at the bottom of fences that prevent fences from being completely wildlife-proof, a properly installed fence can drastically reduce the chances of wildlife sneaking their way into your back yard. Whether you want to protect your vegetable garden or pets from wild animals, a solid fence can be the barrier that you need.
  • Increased security: While fences are not always an impervious barrier to burglars, trespassers, and other intruders, it does provide some protection from those potential threats.
If you're searching for a new home or looking to improve your existing property, the right kind of fence can provide you and your family with a myriad of benefits.

Posted by Mark Carmien on 11/21/2020

Photo by Dference via Pixabay

"Can I tip the mail carrier?" It's a burning question whenever the holiday season approaches.

The short answer is no. Postal employees are bound by an Ethical Conduct code. Within this code, a rule lets carriers take a non-monetary gift worth up to $20. The annual total gift limit from one customer is $50 worth of gifts.

What Gifts Are Off-Limits?

Postal employees may not accept:

  • Cash or checks.  
  • Alcohol.
  • Clothes.
  • Meals.
  • Event tickets.

Gift cards are not a work-around. Anything else that can be used as money is similarly off limits.

What Gifts Will Keep Your Carrier on the Right Side of the Rules?

Postal Service rules on gifts for permit carriers to accept:

  • Hand warmers, mugs, and so forth, worth $20 or less. 
  • Snacks, drinks, and perishable gifts.

More expensive treats would need to be shared with the whole crew of your post office.

In other words, you may tip your individual carrier in trinkets, but not in actual money.

Any Legit Ways Around the No-Tip Rule?

If your mail carrier has been trudging through rain, snow, and blistering heat for years, is tipping really barred? Yes!

So, it's never done? Well, let's just say the official gift limit has been routinely ignored for years, if the New York Times blog is a good indicator. But gifts can get a carrier in trouble. This is something we should all keep in mind.

Now, maybe you know your carrier by name, and are on a friendly basis. Maybe you've shared garden cuttings, helped a stray cat get home, or even worked together. There is nothing in the law that says you cannot offer a gift to a friend. A carrier, in other words, may accept a gift of your choice if you have a personal friendship—but not because of the job, which is what defines a tip.

Check first. If your friend the mail carrier isn't comfortable with an intended gift, skip it.

How Else Can You Meaningfully Show Appreciation?

Make a splash on your carrier's behalf by writing to the higher-ups. Thanking the postal service for your carrier's excellence. You might send a letter to the local postmaster. To go higher up the leadership chain, you could write to the Area Operations VP or the Human Resources VP.  

Your letter can describe how your carrier has helped people in your neighborhood. It can explain why your carrier is the bee's knees. Nothing like positive reinforcement from the public in a personnel file. Plus, because such letter-writing rarely happens, this style of praise really stands out. 

Oh, and be sure to send your letter through the United States Postal Service.

Tags: Holiday   Gifts   Mail Carrier  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Mark Carmien on 11/18/2020

7 Grove Street, Williamsburg, MA 01039




Check out this oasis - an updated colonial on a quiet side street in Haydenville, just 10 minutes to Noho center! The recent expansion added a beautiful MBR with a fantastic balcony over looking the private backyard and in-ground pool area. Perfect spot for morning coffee! Other recent updates added a new family room/home office on the 2nd floor (future 3rd BR?), 4 mini-splits for heat and a/c, new windows and doors, as well as remodeled bathrooms with fabulous tile work. The utility systems are up to date as well. There's an ample-sized dining room with picture window overlooking the backyard and an eat-in kitchen with another picture window overlooking the side gardens. The kitchen has been remodeled too with beautiful tile work, counters and cabinets. Outside is a fenced yard, gorgeous professional landscaping, 2 car garage and a huge in-ground pool with gazebo. So much room to spread out, both inside and out. Great solar potential! SEE THE VIDEO!
Open House
November 21 at 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Call Chrissy at 413-464-2734 to reserve a 20 minute indoor viewing slot (unlimited time for outdoor viewing)
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 7 Grove Street, Williamsburg, MA 01039    Get Directions

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