Doug Danzey's Blog
One of the biggest benefits to buying a home is that of the tax savings for you. You own a home now, so there’s no more monthly rental payments going out the window. All of your mortgage payments are going towards your financial future. There’s many different types of tax breaks that you can get from owning your home. Many home improvement projects that allow you an extra tax break are hiding right in the fine print! Tax breaks are known as “incentives.” These incentives are essentially what help people to get important things in their homes done without having a order placed on them. There are some hidden things that you may not have known could be used as tax write-offs.
From putting solar panels on your home to replacing appliances, there are certain tax breaks that you can get for making your home more energy efficient. There are lifetime caps on these deductions, but on a certain year, you’ll be able to save some extra money on your taxes. Some of the deductions that you might be able to claim include:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Biomass stoves
- Central AC units
- Water heaters
- Certain energy-generation systems which include an array of things like water heaters, solar panels, fuel cell systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps.
You can deduct somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of the cost of these improvements to your home. It doesn’t hurt to check on the updated standards that are introduced each year by the government. Your accountant can help you to understand your own deductions a bit more in-depth.
Modifying Your Home For Medical Needs
If you need to modify your home in order to accommodate medical needs, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The modifications must not increase the value of your home and be medically necessary. If the doctor tells you to lose weight and you put in a home gym, you can’t deduct that. If you need a ramp put in your home for wheelchair accessibility, then that can be deducted. The cost of the modifications generally has to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, or 7.5% if you’re over the age of 65.
What’s Not Deductible
If you have done some major remodeling around your home, it’s sad to say that these improvements probably aren’t tax deductible. On the positive side, you will get a bigger return on your home when you do decide to sell it. This could help you to reduce any capital gains tax that you may have to pay on the sale of the home.
Remember that when you make improvements to your home, you’re doing it first for your own needs. Any tax write-offs that you may get are merely a bonus.
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Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.
One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.
Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.
To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.
Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."
Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.
Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.
Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.
Minimalism is everywhere lately, and it’s no wonder why. With each of us cramming our days full of more and more tasks, buying larger houses, and being bombarded with advertisements for all of the things we need to fill those homes up with, it becomes apparent why many are turning to a simpler way of living. Or, at the very least, trying to cut down on the amount of stuff we own and have to keep track of.
Since our homes are where we keep all that stuff and where we spend the majority of our time, you can see how it becomes easy for homes to get cluttered and messy.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the reasons you might want to incorporate minimalist ideas into your home and give you some tips on how to go about simplifying your life at home.
Less clutter, less cleaning, more time
The obvious benefit of minimalism is that the fewer things you own, the fewer things you have to spend time taking care of. This goes for cleaning, maintaining, and storing. It might be tempting to buy the latest single-cup coffee maker, but do you really need another thing to take care of and find counter space for?
When it comes to cleaning, a minimal house is much easier to take care of. Fewer things to dust and wash means you can spend more time doing things you enjoy.
To illustrate how much easier it is to clean a minimal room than a cluttered one, just image how long it takes to mop the floors of an empty room compared to having to move or clean around furniture.
The same reasoning applies to mowing a lawn--it’s easier to mow in a straight line that it is to have to carefully avoid objects strewn across your yard.
Easier to live in
By nature, we are an animal that loves to be organized. We get frustrated when things aren’t where we left them or when we forget where we put something we need. A minimal home takes away some of that frustration by allowing fewer opportunities to lose our keys or whatever else gets lost in the piles of clutter.
More welcoming to guests and more relaxing for us
Each of us has our own preferences when it comes to decorating. However, one thing that can be said about humans is that we tend to feel more relaxed when we’re not crowded by things or other people.
Similarly, it’s easier for us to focus in environments that have fewer distractions. A minimal home office would ideally contain mostly just the necessities for whatever work you need to accomplish.
How to get started
Now that you know the benefits, here are some ways you can get started making your home more minimal.
To avoid taking on too large of a task at once, approach your home one room at a time. Take note of what is in that room and think back to the last time you used it. Does it serve a purpose? If the object is just for decoration, is it a decoration that you feel adds to the room or does it clutter it up too much?
By asking yourself these questions, you can begin to make your home a more relaxing, more welcoming environment for you and your guests.
Ready to buy a home? Ultimately, you'll want to prepare for the homebuying process. By doing so, you can avoid many costly mistakes.
Believe it or not, it is easy to make mistakes as you browse the housing market. Some of the expensive mistakes that homebuyers frequently make include:
1. Overspending on a Residence
No one should be forced to overspend on a home. Unfortunately, if you fail to study the real estate market, you risk paying too much to acquire your dream house.
Remember, an informed homebuyer will be better equipped to optimize the value of his or her real estate investment than others. And if you understand the costs of properties in your area, you can avoid the temptation to overspend.
Explore the real estate market closely and assess the prices of similar houses. By doing so, you can understand the price range of homes that fall within your budget and plan accordingly.
Also, work with an experienced real estate agent. This real estate professional will help you determine how much you can spend on a home and can provide you with details about properties that match your budget.
2. Failure to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
After you find your dream home, you'll need to figure out how to pay for it. And if you struggle to obtain a mortgage before you start your home search, you might miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.
Meeting with banks and credit unions prior to checking out properties is ideal. This will allow you to obtain a mortgage and search for houses that fit your price range.
Moreover, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may help you stand out in the eyes of a home seller, as he or she won't have to wait for you to secure financing to finalize a purchase agreement.
3. Lack of Realistic Expectations
As a homebuyer, it is important to understand that every house has its pros and cons. But if you fail to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying process, it may be impossible for you to find the right property at the right price.
Separating your homebuying wants from your homebuying needs is vital. If you determine exactly what you'd like to find in your dream home before you explore the real estate market, you can narrow your search and streamline the process of acquiring the perfect residence.
Furthermore, hiring a real estate agent can make a world of difference for homebuyers. Your real estate agent can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and help you submit offers on residences. This real estate professional also can offer homebuying recommendations, ensuring that you can minimize the risk of homebuying mistakes.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner. Collaborate with a real estate agent today, and you should have no trouble securing your ideal residence.