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Working from Home? Learn How to Create the Perfect Office with Any Spare Room

Working from Home? Learn How to Create the Perfect Office with Any Spare RoomWith the increasing flexibility of the modern workplace, there are many more businesses offering their employees the opportunity to work from home. While this shift in the job market has created a bevy of new options for freelance workers, it can also be a good reason to turn a spare room into a spanking new office. If you’re working from home, here are some tips for a stylish transition.

Prime It With Paint

Outside of lighting, the color and upkeep of the walls is going to have a huge impact on the way your spare office will look. Before even considering placing furniture or putting up pictures, decide on the perfect shade of paint that will keep you inspired and will go with the rest of your house. This will easily brighten the room, and prep it for its future purpose.

Start With Good Lighting

There are few things that will change the ambiance of a room like light, so make sure the room your changing up has a great set of windows or the kind of fixture that will provide effective illumination. Since many people have a hard time focusing in the orange or bright light that can come in certain work settings, a well-lit place may make all of your work seem a little bit easier.

Decide On A Desk

Many people put any old clunker of a desk in their spare office since it will do the trick, but if you’re making the decision to renovate your spare room for work, it will be worth it to choose a desk you’ll want to work at. Before going desk shopping, measure out the length and width of your spare room so you can make a desk purchase that will work for your new office.

What’s On The Wall?

Beyond the supply of pens, paper and a computer, it might seem like the extras of your office situation can be kept out of the equation, but a few pictures can add a lot. While you may want to add some photos of family and friends, it might also be helpful for your work-time diligence to put up a picture that adds a shot of color and will inspire your best work.

There are a lot of great options for a spare room, but if you work from home an office can be the ideal renovation. If you happen to be sprucing up your spare room to sell your home, you may want to contact one of your local real estate agents for more information.

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3 Reasons You Might Decide to Retire to a Tiny Home – and Why You’ll Love It!

3 Reasons You Might Decide to Retire to a Tiny Home - and Why You'll Love ItMany people romanticize the idea of paying off their home mortgage early so they can enjoy their home in retirement, but when it comes to the later years of life, a big house can actually be too much to handle. If you’ve started to consider a smaller home and are wondering why it might be a good decision for you and yours, here are a few things you may want to consider.

It’s Much Easier To Maintain

It is often the idea of the palatial estate with a pool that homeowners get excited about, but when it comes to reality, the larger the home, the harder it is going to be to take care of and maintain. If you don’t have a maid or a butler, a smaller home will enable you to spend a lot more of your free time doing things that you love instead of being bound to a house that is full of repairs and maintenance that needs to be completed.

Save On The Big Home Bills

One of the worries associated with getting older is having the ability to maintain your lifestyle in old age, and a smaller home can actually alleviate many of the high costs that go along with having an oversized home. A smaller home will not only minimize your insurance and taxes, it can also positively impact the amount you pay each month for heating and electricity, so you’ll notice the savings right off the bat.

The Freedom Of A Downsized Lifestyle

One of the best things about downsizing to a smaller home is the huge sense of responsibility that can be left in the dust. Instead of being held back by all of the stuff required to fill a big house, a small home means there is less to worry about. This may mean you’ll have the option to go on longer vacations or can even relocate to a hot climate for the summer months, and you’ll only need someone to come by and water the plants every once in a while!

There are plenty of people that decide to downsize later in life since it can actually be a great way to save money and have a lot more freedom. If you’re considering your smaller home options and are curious about what’s available on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

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Here’s How You Can Leverage Your Home To Reduce Your Tax Burden For Next Year

It's Tax Time - Here's How You Can Leverage Your Home to Reduce Your Tax BurdenEach year around April, we can find ourselves becoming a little more tense at the thought of what is about to occur: tax time.

Instead of falling into the trap of procrastinating your taxes, however, it’s much more beneficial to face tax time head-on and do your research on your applicable deductions well in advance.

Your home is good for many things, but using your home to reduce your tax burden may be one benefit you haven’t thought of.

Here are some tax benefits that can be leveraged with your home, and some ways to lower your tax bill in 2014.

Deduct Interest On Home Loans

Though interest paid on personal loans isn’t deductible on your tax return, interest paid on mortgages is.

Home mortgage interest, for both your primary residence and a second home such as an investment property, can account for a large bill near the end of the year, and can significantly decrease your tax bill for 2014.

Interest paid on a line of credit for your home or a home equity loan is also usually deductible, and you may also qualify to deduct the insurance premiums on your private mortgage if this was a requirement from your lender. Ensure you keep your Form 1098 from you lender, and be sure not to miss each of your interest deductions.

Deducting Points Paid For A Better Rate

If you paid points in order to get a better interest rate on your home mortgage, the IRS will allow you to deduct these, too. If you meet the requirements for this deduction, one of which is that you paid the points in the same year that you purchased your primary residence, be sure to add the points to your list of deductions.

Deduct Property Taxes

Property taxes are also deductible on your tax return, and since they make up a significant portion of your home expenses each year, they certainly shouldn’t be excluded from your list of deductions in 2014.

As an annual deduction for the entire period you own your home, ensure you don’t forget about your first year in your home. If you’ve just purchased your home, the property taxes would have been split between the seller, the previous homeowner, and you, the buyer, at the time of the property transfer. Your portion of your first year’s property taxes for the home is also fully deductible.

Tax-Free Sales Gain

If you’ve owned and lived in your home for a minimum of two years and are ready to sell, you likely qualify for up to $250,000 dollars of tax-free profit, or up to $500,000 for married couples.

If the sale falls short of the two year mark, the IRS provides some tax relief if the sale is due to a list of unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in employment or health. Be sure to see where you qualify, and leverage the sale of your home for tax-free sales gain.

Having the ability to leverage your home in order to lower your tax burden is, of course, another benefit of being a homeowner. Often, reaping the full benefits of tax deductions is a simple matter of doing your research or speaking with a professional to get the information applicable to you.

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Smart Ways To Create Equity Within Your Home

Smart Ways To Use The Equity In Your HomeHome equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build.

This is money you can use before you sell your home through a home equity loan. Just keep in mind that a home equity loan is secured with your home. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home.

Use Your Home Equity In Smart Ways:

  1. Remodel Your Home – If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make Needed Major Repairs – Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs like plumbing problems and re-roofs. Once again, this is an improvement for your home that will help keep its value up.
  3. Buy Another Property – Real estate is still a safe investment. You can use your home equity to buy a second property when home values are down. When the market recovers, you can sell the investment property for a profit. This also works if you have to move out of town and are still trying to sell your home. If you can afford the payments, use your home’s equity to purchase your new home until the current one sells.
  4. Pay For Unexpected Medical Expenses Or Job Loss – You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will leave you in debt. A home equity loan can give you the money you need to get through this difficult time.

It’s easy to build equity in your home when you find the right deal. Let me help you find your perfect home and negotiate a great price and terms for you. Contact your real estate professional today.

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Be Proactive And Inspect Your Home Foundation

Be Proactive And Inspect Your Home FoundationYou probably had someone check your foundation when you bought the house, but have you looked twice at it since? These problems don’t happen overnight.

They start small and they grow. By the time an issue comes to your attention, it might be too late. Learn to recognize the problems while they’re still small and cheap. Your wallet will thank you later.

Floor Level

You might be able to tell if your floor is level just by walking on it. Some people have a knack for recognizing this problem. If you suspect your floor of being a bit off balance, grab a tennis ball and see if it stays put.

If a door has been scuffing the floor when it swings open, double check the floor. That could be your culprit. A slanted floor can be evidence of a serious structural issue. A shifting foundation can slowly pull apart your house’s frame.

Sight Your Walls

Look down your wall from corner to corner and make sure there are not bumps or bulges. Walls should be flat. Grab a level and see if they’re leaning at all as well. Problems with the walls can mean problems with the concrete.

Check Your Foundation 

Walk around your foundation with a sturdy screwdriver, and poke your foundation firmly. If you can dig a hole in the concrete, that’s a bad sign. It should be firm enough, and dense enough to keep you from causing any damage.

Just give it the screwdriver test though. If you start using the jackhammer test, you’ve gone too far.

Know Your Cracks

Concrete is always shrinking and expanding. It shrinks with the cold and then spreads back out in the heat. This can cause cracks, and most of these cracks are no big deal. Some of them, however, can be evidence of serious problems.

Small hairline cracks between concrete blocks are not a problem. Cracks on areas where the concrete stair-steps down to follow a slope are also not a big deal.

They are probably just caused by shrinkage. If you’re worried about one, paint it over with some waterproofing paint, and make sure the crack doesn’t come back.

Stair-step cracks on the walls are a bad sign, especially if the wall is bulging. Also look out for horizontal cracks, near the soil. This can mean the moisture in the soil is working into your foundation and putting pressure on the concrete. For problems like these, it’s best to bring in a structural engineer.

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5 Strategies To Secure Your Home Against A Break In

5 Strategies To Secure Your Home Against A Break InHaving your home broken into is completely violating. Burglars don’t just steal your stuff; they steal your peace of mind. While this is the sort of thing you think will never happen to you, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure you’re not a target.

Below are five strategies to help secure your home against a break-in.

1. Use Landscaping As A Barrier

Purposefully place plants in spots that create a natural barrier to your home. Plant thorny rose bushes in front of bedroom windows and remove overgrown shrubs that provide coverage for creepers.

Also, trim back any tree branches that might make an open upstairs window accessible.

2. Put In A Security Alarm

While a loud alarm might not stop a burglar from quickly grabbing the large flat screen in your living room, it does limit their time for snooping around and finding other valuables. Install an alarm that monitors the entire perimeter of your home.

Only give the code to family members and trusted friends. Also, be sure to advertise your alarm system with a sign out front.

3. Install Motion Detector Lights

Not only should these be placed in the front of your home, but also on the sides and in the backyard. Install motion detector floodlights that cover a wide area, and use LED bulbs so that you don’t have to change them as often.

4. Hide The Spare Key Better

Get creative when it comes to hiding your spare key. Seasoned thieves know the common places to look, such as under your doormat, in the mailbox and beneath flowerpots. If you can’t seem to find an obscure spot, then you’re best to leave it with a close neighbor.

5. Don’t Tweet Your Trips

While we may have the strictest of privacy settings on all of our social media outlets, you never know who your real Facebook friends are — or who’ve they’re talking to. So don’t let all of your friends know over the Internet that you’ve arrived safely in Paris and will see them again in two weeks.

The insecurities a robbery creates might even be worse than losing your precious valuables. Follow the precautions above to secure your home and make your possessions less of a target for looters on the lookout.

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