Jared Wilk Group's Blog
In times of rising temperatures and growing concerns of climate change, many of us are looking for small ways we can make a difference in our everyday lives. What better place to start than your own home?
It can be overwhelming to plan drastic eco-friendly changes to your home. That’s why we’ve broken these tips down room-by-room so that you can make changes in just one area and then build from there. Starting small will help you see your environmentally-minded project through to the finish.
Read on for tips for each room of your home to make your life more eco-friendly.
We’ll start with a small and easy one: the bedroom. Odds are your bedroom isn’t hogging too much power or creating a lot of waste. However, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you save some money while helping out the environment.
If your bedroom tends to get chilly at night, try using insulating curtains to help keep the cool air from slipping in through the windows. Similarly, on hot days close the curtains at peak sunlight hours to keep the bedroom cool. This small change could save you from having to turn up the heat or air conditioner when you enter your room each night.
The next time you clean out your closet, bring your items to a local thrift store or charity drop-off. You can even ask for a receipt which will make your donation tax-deductible. This way your clothes can extend their lives and stay out of a landfill a bit longer, and you’ll be helping out someone who could use the clothing.
Kitchen appliances offer a lot of opportunity for energy and water waste. When shopping for appliances, seek out appliances that meet Energy Star standards.
When it comes to water, forego the plastic bottles and buy a glass or metal refillable water bottle. Tap filters can greatly improve the taste, and you might find after a few days that you don’t even notice the water tasting differently.
Consider composting kitchen scraps in a composting bin. You can later use this for fertilizing plants in your yard and garden. And, finally, be sure you’re recycling all of your empty food and beverage containers.
Is your living room your entertainment center? If so, many of your devices, like cable boxes and streaming media devices, might continue running on “standby mode” wasting electricity. To prevent this, simply plug all of your devices into a power strip and turn it off at night.
Start by using refillable hand soap containers rather than buying a new one each time you run out. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and save you trips to the store as well.
If your hot water takes a long time to heat up and you find yourself running the tap often, consider installing a recirculating water pump in your bathroom.
To save on electricity throughout the house, make sure you’re using compact fluorescent bulbs and only keeping the lights on when you’re in the room.
When cleaning, try using non-toxic cleaners or making your own from solutions of water, vinegar, and citrus essentials.
A yard sale offers a valuable opportunity to get rid of items before you sell your house. As such, it is important to promote your yard sale effectively; otherwise, you may miss out on a chance to declutter and earn extra cash at the same time.
Ultimately, there are many quick, easy ways to stir up interest in your yard sale, such as:
1. Post flyers in your city or town
Old-fashioned flyers can help you promote your yard sale to large groups of people in your city or town. That way, you can create a buzz around your event and increase the likelihood of selling your stuff.
If you use flyers to promote your yard sale, be sure to include essential information like the location, date and time of your event. Also, using bright, vibrant paper and colorful markers may help your flyers stand out.
Ensure that all of your yard sale flyers are legible, accurate and easy to understand. This will help minimize the risk of miscommunication with potential event attendees.
Of course, it never hurts to ask business owners for permission to post flyers at local companies, either. The more flyers that you post, the more likely it becomes that your yard sale will be a resounding success.
2. Create an online posting
An online posting makes it simple for you to provide details about your yard sale to large groups of people.
Putting an online posting on Craigslist or local community websites may prove to be worthwhile. And in some instances, you may even be able to include photos of items that you plan to sell at your yard sale.
In addition, invite friends on Facebook and other social networks to attend your upcoming yard sale. By doing so, you can boost your chances of stirring up substantial interest in the days leading up to your event.
3. Select the right date and time
Oftentimes, Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to host a yard sale, and for good reason. Many people don't have to work on weekends, and as a result, may have free time to attend your yard sale.
After you know which day of the week that you want to host your yard sale, consider the date and time of your event closely.
Take a look at the holiday calendar, and you should have no trouble selecting a yard sale date that works well for most people in your area.
Think about the time of your yard sale too. And remember, if you host a yard sale that coincides with local community events, it may be difficult for some people to attend.
Lastly, if you need extra help stirring up interest in your yard sale, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent. This housing market professional may be able to share details about your upcoming yard sale with clients and colleagues.
Generating buzz in a yard sale can be easy, and with the aforementioned tips, you can stir up plenty of interest in your event.
If you work from home either full or part-time, you may want to give the home office deduction a go on your taxes. The problem with this deduction is that it can be tricky.
Are You Eligible?
Your workspace needs to meet the criteria for business use. You need to use your work space regularly and as your principal place of business. If you don’t work from home as a self-employed individual, your employer must require you to work from home due to a lack of office space or other circumstances. The keywords in this part of the clause are “exclusively, regularly, and must.”
First, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of your home that’s used for business. This means that if your office is 100 square feet and your home is 1,000 square feet, you use 10% of your home for business. If you own the space you’re living in, you can deduct 10% of the mortgage interest that you pay each month. Keep in mind that you can’t double dip either. This means the amount of mortgage interest that you deduct on other parts of your taxes is reduced. If you rent your home, you’d deduct the percentage off of your monthly rental payments.
Home Office Maintenance
If you own your home, you are able to deduct a portion of your property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses that are associated with your home office space. These expenses vary because some are direct such as the expense of you painting your office. Others are indirect. Home insurance applies to your entire home, so you would only apply a portion of that to a deduction. For the direct expenses, you are able to deduct the entire cost.
For the indirect expenses, you’ll go back to applying the percentage of your home that is used for work. This means if we’re working with a 10% figure, you are able to deduct 10% of your utilities, 10% of your home insurance premiums, and so on.
If you rent, you can still deduct many of the same things that homeowners can from your taxes for a home office expenditure. The only thing that you’ll lack as a renter is the ability to write off things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. Know that you’ll be able to write off a portion of your renter’s insurance.
The Complicated Stuff: Depreciation
You are able to depreciate the value of a home office as your home ages. It’s not always necessary to do this, so you should consult your tax professional before you decide to make this type of deduction. Equipment in your office, such as your computer, can be claimed as a depreciation over time as well.
The important thing when it comes to your home office tax deduction is to do your homework. You don’t want to miss out on important savings!
Newlywed life is such an exciting time! It’s also a time many couples decide to buy their first home together. And therefore aside from having a wedding, it’s the first major financial decision couples make together. Hit the ground running together with these tips:
Co-managing money: If they haven’t already combined finances before the big day many couples choose to do so after marriage. Learning how to manage money on your own is a task unto itself but managing it together is a vital skill for newlyweds. You can avoid unnecessary fights over money down the road by getting on the same page financially now. Get really honest with each other. Put everything on the table, especially various debts you each may hold, from credit cards to school loans it’s all important to get a true snapshot of your combined finances.
Create a budget for your life together. Calculate your combined expenses. Consider where you can cut back on services and habits to save money and what you need to add to your budget. Be sure to consider: savings for a nest egg, vacations, car repairs, and unexpected medical emergencies. You may also want to begin saving up to start a family or plan for retirement. When you have a complete picture of your finances you can then look at what’s left over. What kind of down payment and/or monthly payments will you be able to realistically make with this amount?
You’ll also want to talk to each other about your lifestyle goals. If you’ve always dreamed of living in the city or a small tightly-knit town. Perhaps you’ve always imagined a large, spacious home while your partner is thinking of something smaller to focus more on traveling. Do you want a garage, a big yard, a pool or to be close to family? Getting clear on what you each expect from your ideal home will help you find the perfect middle ground where you will both be happy.
It’s best to be able to make at least 20% of the house cost for a down payment. The higher the down payment you can make the better as you’ll have lower monthly payments and won’t get hit with extra fees from your insurance. If you can’t save up this amount, look into first-time buyer loans which allow new buyers to make a smaller down payment.
Be prepared. Remember to plan and budget for closing costs on your home. You don’t want this price tag to catch you off guard. Other things to be financially prepared for throughout the year are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance as well as maintenance and upkeep.
Being newlyweds is an exciting time where you have the rest of your life together to look forward to. And buying a new home, in a lot of ways, can feel like the first major step in laying down the foundation for a long, happy life together.
If you plan to sell your house, you likely will want to do everything you can to maximize its value. Lucky for you, we're here to help you obtain the best offer for your house, regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the best price for your residence.
1. Enhance Your House's Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is a difference-maker for any home seller, at any time. If you allocate time and resources to boost your house's curb appeal, you may be able to differentiate your residence from the competition. Perhaps most important, improving your home's curb appeal may help you increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.
To improve your house's curb appeal, you should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform any necessary home exterior upgrades. Consider the homebuyer's perspective, and you're sure to find lots of ways to enhance your house's appearance.
In addition, if you need help with home exterior upgrades, there is no need to stress. Many home improvement professionals are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these professionals are happy to help you transform your home's exterior from drab to fab.
2. Determine the Current Value of Your Home
A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for a seller who wants to establish a competitive initial asking price for his or her house.
During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. This expert also will evaluate various housing market data. Then, the property expert will provide a property valuation based on the appraisal results.
Once you receive a property appraisal report, you'll have a good idea about the current value of your residence. You next can use a property valuation to set a competitive price for your home from day one of the house selling journey.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
As you look for ways to earn as much money as possible from your home sale, you may want to consider working with a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of support at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to optimize the value of a home. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your house selling goals. A real estate agent then will help you determine the ideal initial asking price for your residence and promote your house to potential buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will provide a recommendation about how to proceed.
Want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your house.