If you're in the process of searching for the ideal home for you and your family, there are many things to think about and evaluate.
While factors like the quality of neighborhoods and school districts may top your list, another important feature worth prioritizing is convenience. Since life is already complicated enough, it makes sense to simplify your daily routines whenever possible! The perfect time to set the stage for a simpler, easier lifestyle is when you're shopping for your next home. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when looking for ways to help make life easier
Short commutes: When you consider all the advantages of living close to your job or business, the benefits are undeniable! A relatively short daily commute not only helps you manage your stress level, but it also enables you to spend more time with your family... and less time dealing with rush hour traffic! A shorter commute can also save you money on gasoline, wear and tear on your car, and highway tolls.
A first-floor laundry: Unless you find ways to streamline and simplify your weekly laundry tasks, it quickly becomes a burdensome chore! Having to carry loads of laundry up and down basement stairs can definitely be tiring -- both physically and mentally. (It can be even more unpleasant if you buy a house with an unfinished basement.) The solution, of course, is to tell your real estate agent that you'd strongly prefer a home with first floor (or even second-floor) laundry hookups. Persuading your family to cooperate with organizing and sorting their own laundry items is also a good goal, but is easier said than done!
Two-car garage with remote control: After a hectic day at the office (or wherever you happen to work), there's nothing like the convenience of an automatic garage door and a spacious, private parking area waiting for you at home. In addition to the convenience, it's nice knowing your cars will be much more secure in an enclosed garage. It's also a great way to stay dry and warm when unpleasant weather is around.
Proximity to stores: The ideal location for your next home is close to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other services you and your family use on a regular basis. As is the case with job commuting distances, if you can live within a half an hour of places you need to drive to frequently, it makes day-to-day life much easier. While few neighborhoods are "a stone's throw" from everywhere you'll want to go, being close to supermarkets and other essential conveniences can save you time and provide you with a quick solution to having no milk, bread, or dinner food in the house!
So if you are getting ready to buy, or currently in the market, connect with your agent on the essentials you would like in your new home today.
An offer to purchase represents a key milestone in the homebuying journey. Ultimately, it helps to plan ahead to ensure you're ready to submit a homebuying proposal. Because if you know what it takes to put together a competitive offer to purchase a house, you can boost the likelihood that a home seller accepts your proposal.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to submit an offer to purchase.
1. Study the Housing Market
The housing market fluctuates frequently. As such, you may enter a real estate market that favors buyers but slowly shifts into sellers' favor, or vice-versa. But if you examine the real estate sector closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and submit an offer to purchase that accounts for the current housing market's conditions.
If homes are selling quickly at or above their initial asking prices, you may be working in a seller's market. Comparatively, if houses linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months before they sell, you may be operating in a buyer's market. As you start to craft an offer to purchase a house, you should analyze the real estate market. By doing so, you can submit an offer to purchase that matches a seller's expectations.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Entering the housing market with a budget in hand usually is beneficial. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can narrow your house search and stick to a budget as you pursue your dream residence.
Banks and credit unions can teach you everything you need to know about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. Perhaps best of all, lenders employ mortgage specialists who can respond to your mortgage concerns and questions. If you collaborate with a lender today, you can get the financing you need to buy a house. Also, you can conduct a search for homes that fall within your price range and reduce the risk of submitting an offer to purchase that surpasses your budget.
3. Avoid a "Lowball" Offer
Submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase a home may seem like a good idea at first. Yet submitting a homebuying proposal that falls short of a seller's expectations is unlikely to help you acquire your dream house.
In most instances, a seller will instantly reject a lowball offer to purchase. And if you receive an immediate "No" from a seller, you risk missing out on the opportunity to purchase your ideal residence.
Allocate time and resources to craft a competitive homebuying proposal – you'll be glad you did. Otherwise, you run the risk of putting together a lowball offer that will miss the mark with a seller and force you to look elsewhere to purchase a house.
Lastly, if you need extra assistance as you perform a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. By employing a real estate agent, you should have no trouble crafting a competitive offer to purchase any home, regardless of the housing market's conditions.
The sky's the limit for cloud-based documents and files. Remote working is on the rise. The ranks of independent entrepreneurs are growing. For many, home is a place to live and work.
Here are three elements to consider for your work-from-home space.
1. Choose Your Workspace
Pick a bright spot. Daylight inspires!
Will you be having clients drop in? Aim to choose a spot near an entrance way, apart from your intimate living spaces.
For tax purposes, this spot can be a dedicated room, or a section of a room—as long as there's a clear division between your working and living space. Other storage areas in the home, or partitioned-off space that's fully dedicated to keeping business items, is also square footage to count in the deduction.
Take pictures each year that clearly show the partitions and the business use of the space. Keep your photos with your tax documents.
2. Furnish the Space
Decorate mainly as you would if your work space were in a corporate building. Keep your desk, professional items, and office-appropriate décor in the space. Don't have a playpen (unless your business is daycare) or a dining table in your designated office space.
Bookcases, wall hangings, mirrors, and framed art all look good, and dampen noise from outside your work space. Succulents or crocus bulbs can make excellent office plants and uplift the mood of your work area.
Protect your health while working at home by using an adjustable (sit-stand) desk. Does that sound too industrial for the look you demand at home? Never fear. Gorgeous, adjustable desks that complement your existing furniture do exist on the market. With a little searching, you'll find yours.
3. Declare Your Tax Deduction
Calculate your home office percentage. If your home amounts to 2,000 square feet and your office space covers 500, declare 25% as the percentage. The deduction may not exceed your year's net business profit.
For smaller home office spaces, the IRS has a simplified standard deduction. Take $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet.
Speak with your tax pro about deducting a home business percentage from your homeowner's insurance, mortgage interest, utilities, and property taxes. Read the instructions, so you know how to plan your tax return.
Putting It All Together
For a tax deduction, your home office must serve as the core of your business affairs, or the place you do the bulk of your work. Whether you already have a home office, or are thinking of creating one, design your space so it fits the IRS tax deduction requirements—even while it uplifts your home, delights your senses, and inspires your best work.
If you’re ready to buy a home, you probably have done a lot of research. One thing is sure: You know you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. It’s perhaps the most critical step in the process of buying a home for a variety of reasons. There’s down payments and debt-to-income ratios, and other financial issues to worry about. You need to know what type of mortgage you should get. To help you understand what kind of mortgage you need, you should get pre-approved.
Understand The Pre-Approval Process
There are many misconceptions about pre-approvals. First, buyers need to understand that there is a difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification merely scrapes the surface of your financial state, while a pre-approval goes through everything a mortgage company will need to grant you a loan. You may be pre-qualified for a much higher amount than you can actually afford, for example.
A pre-approval is a lender’s written commitment to a borrower. The approval states that the lender is willing to lend a certain amount of money for a home. The lender obtains the following from the buyer:
- Employment history
- Credit report
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
The time and effort that it takes to get a pre-approval is worth it because everything will be ready for the lender to grant the mortgage once an offer is made on a home. It also gives the buyer an upper hand in finding the home of their dreams. Many sellers require a pre-approval with an offer.
When To Get A Pre Approval
As soon as you know you’re serious about buying a home and are ready to start the house hunt, you should get pre-approved. Pre-approvals do expire after a certain amount of time, but lenders can renew them with proper notice.
The Importance Of The Pre-Approval
Many buyers feel that they can skip the pre-approval process altogether. It has many benefits. Besides giving you a better look at your finances and how much house you can afford, pre-approvals can:
- Give you the insight to correct your credit score and help you correct credit problems
- Help to avoid disappointment when you find a home you love
- Allow first-time buyers to see all of the costs involved in buying a home
A pre-approval is a handy thing to have, and it’s not just because the experts say it’s essential. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you to be more on top of your finances going into one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make in your life.
Herbs make tremendous impact in the home due to their numerous functions. They can be used as spices on food or as air filters. They add fragrance and absorb odors. For best result, growing each of the herbs in their separate pots helps you customize the care they need as individual plants.
Here are a few plants to jumpstart your in-home, herb garden.
Basil grows very quickly and has been known as one of the most cultivated herbs for cuisines around the world. Make sure your plant gets enough warmth and bright light. It is not a long-term plant, so you will need to plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks. Aside from its aesthetically pleasing, decorative stature, it can be used to enhance sauce, curries, and salads. So, if you want an herb that you can easily grow, and has a multitude of possibilities, basil is your best bet.
2. Bay Laurel
Another remarkable herb that does well indoors is bay laurel. This herb develops thick and flavorful leaves essential for soup and stews. At its maturity, it will either grow into a lively bush or a small tree. When you’re ready to harvest the leaves, choose the oldest, greenest leaf. This will ensure you get a robust and savory flavor. If you’re looking to store them for later use, be sure to dry them well. Once you pick the leaves, place them in an open area on top of porous material. This will guarantee that they dry naturally and with little chance of damage. Bay laurel prefers a room that is well ventilated and has plenty of sun or fluorescent light.
There are more than 600 varieties of mint available, such as peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, pennyroyal, apple, licorice, and more. Snap the leaves and sprigs for tea and to garnish desserts. Mint is an attractive houseplant that grows robustly with catchy, fragrant stems and leaves. Try to keep the soil moist and maintain moderate to high light exposure.
Parsley is a curly-edged, flat leaf that does more than garnish dishes. It also adds brightness and flavor to your soups, stews, salads, and fresh sauces. Harvest the parsley by pinching the stems off from the base. A common mistake many make when growing this plant is using a shallow pot. A deep pot gives higher yields and should be placed under a bright light to ensure the plant is getting the most nutrition it can.
Rosemary is a popular stew spice. It brings out the flavor of roasted meats and root vegetables, and is a great option when looking for indoor herbs. Its aromatic fragrance, during winter, can transport you into warmer climes. Rosemary grows as a small bush or tree and can either be used fresh from the tree or as dried needles.
There are many other herbs that you can plant indoors and utilize to their full potential. Visit your local garden store for more options for your indoor herb garden.