DEAR MR. MYERS: What are the best home-related goods to buy on Black Friday?
ANSWER: This year’s Black Friday deals officially begin on Nov. 25, which is the day after Thanksgiving, but many stores have already started their sales early, and others say that they’ll extend their discounts for another week or so afterward.
From “vacuums to washer and dryer units, November is the month when you want to make your major appliance purchases,” said Benjamin Glaser, editor of bargain-hunting website DealNews.com. “Dishwashers and refrigerators also will be at bargain-basement prices,” he adds.
Mixers, slow cookers, coffee makers and other small kitchen appliances also will likely be at their lowest prices of the year. They can add new life to your kitchen, or make an affordable yet practical gift for family and friends for the holidays.
Many types of television sets also will be good deals. But the greatest bargains, as I wrote last month, likely will be on 55-inch TVs: Retailers want to clear them out before the larger, more-expensive models start arriving in advance of February’s Super Bowl football game.
Wait another month or two to buy furniture. Despite today’s discounts, stuff like sofas and bedroom sets will likely be much cheaper in January or February, as big manufacturers and retailers cut prices to clear floor space for their 2017 model lines.
REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: Black Friday officially became the biggest U.S. shopping day only 25 years ago, according to the real estate-oriented International Council of Shopping Centers. For decades earlier, the busiest day each year was the Saturday before Christmas – when shopping procrastinators swamped stores to buy last-minute gifts.
DEAR MR. MYERS: We made a $16,500 down payment last month to buy our first home. Can we deduct this amount on our next federal income-tax return?
ANSWER: No. The monthly mortgage interest payments you pay this year, plus any real estate property taxes, can be deducted on your upcoming Internal Revenue Service tax return.
Though the $16,500 down payment you made cannot be deducted immediately, it can be added to the “cost basis” of your home to offset some or all of any profit when you eventually sell.
Consult an accountant or similar tax professional for details. Also, you can get a free copy of “IRS Publication 530: Tax Information for Homeowners” by calling the agency (800-829-3676) or by downloading it to your computer from irs.gov.
DEAR MR. MYERS: My sister recently told me that Samsung is recalling a bunch of top-loading washing machines. I have one in my laundry room, but I haven’t heard anything from the company about the recall and do not know whether my particular model is affected. Can you help?
ANSWER: Sure. You probably haven’t heard from Samsung yet because the recall wasn’t announced until Nov. 4, more than a month after the federal government issued a public warning that the machines are unsafe.
A staggering 2.8 million washers covering 34 different Samsung models are affected by the recall. They were sold between March 2011 and as early as the start of this month.
In its defense, Samsung may not have contacted you yet because you might have moved or changed your telephone number. If that’s the case, your contact information may be out-of-date.
Nonetheless, the Samsung washers can become especially dangerous when washing bulky items, such as comforters or heavy towels. The defect can cause the machines to shake violently or even blow apart.
The watchdog U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that it has received at least 733 reports of dangerous incidents, at least nine of which resulted in injuries that included a “broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact- or fall-related injuries.”
To determine if your washer is subject to the recall, call Samsung’s toll-free number (866-264-5636) or visit samsung.com. Click on the “Recall Notice” button at the top of the first page. You’ll be asked for the model and serial number of the washer, which can be found on two separate labels on the back of the machine.
Samsung is offering three different remedies for homeowners and renters who have bought the faulty washers. The first is a full rebate for those who purchased one within 30 days of the Nov. 4 recall date.
The second is to have a technician come to their home and reinforce the machine for free, even if it was purchased as early as 2011. Choosing this option also includes a one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty.
The third choice is to get a rebate to buy a new washing machine, whether it’s made by Samsung or a different company. The size of the rebate varies, based on the age of the old washer and its model: Buyers who choose to get another washer made by Samsung can add up to $150 to their rebate check.
David W. Myers’ column is distributed by Cowles Syndicate Inc.