Tax Returns – Beneifts of Homeownership

girl-1561943_1280Was 2016 a big year for you where you finally became a homeowner? Well, guess what, you may qualify for some excellent tax benefits. This year, before you file your taxes, here are some deductions to be aware of:

  • Home-improvement loan. The interest on a home-improvement loan is deductible, according to the IRS, up to $100,000. However, any part of the home loan which is above 100% of the loan-to value (more than the value of the property) is not deductible.
  • Property tax. In most cases, property taxes are tax-deductible with the exception of your attorney, appraisal fees, title insurance, credit card reports, and other items on a settlement document. If you have any questions, consult your tax account.
  • Energy-efficient tax credit. If you made energy efficient improvements to your home, you may qualify for a tax deduction. Talk with your tax account to determine is this credit is still available.
  • Renewable-energy tax credit. Another tax credit to be aware of is the Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit. Under this tax credit, you may be eligible for a tax credit up to 30% (per cost of equipment, installation, and so on).

If you are ready to make the move towards homeownership and want to see what tax benefits you may quality for, give us a call today. We are here to help you find your dream home and start your journey as a homeowner.

Pool and Spa Care: 101

Now is the season many people are spending time in their pools and spas. Both are excellent for exercise, relaxing after a long day and can be fun for the whole family. Although enjoyable, maintaining your pool and/or spa can be time-consuming if you don’t keep up with the care.

Here are some simple tips to keep your pool clean without wasting your time: small pool side

Invest in a cover. Leaves and all sort of debris can find their way into your spa or pool. Help keep your pool clean by putting your cover over your pool when it’s not in use.

Clean your filters. You should clean the filters in your hot tub regularly to keep them from getting too dirty and making your water foggy. With pools. check your pH levels regularly and shock (super chlorinate your pool to kill bacteria) your pool. Talk to a pool professional for exact tips on shocking your pool.

Vacuum your pool. Remove debris from the bottom of the pool floor by suctioning the stuff up with your own vacuum system. If you have a lot of debris on the bottom, consider hiring a professional to do a power vacuum to protect your equipment from getting damaged.

Understand Your Mortgage

When it comes to buying a home, do you know how much loan you can handle? For most people who are looking to buy a home, applying for a loanrow-of-homes-san-francisco is not new, but navigating the financial world can be kind of tricky.

Before you apply for a home loan, taking time to check your FICO score is important. Depending where your credit score is can have a huge impact on the kind of loan you get and if you
even qualify for one. Any credit score above 720 usually qualifies for good rates. Talk to your loan officer about what your credit score qualifies for you.

Another important term to understand is debt-to-income ratios.When it comes to mortgage loans, the general rule of thumb is avoid dedicating more than 28% of your monthly take-home income. In mathematical terms, if you are taking home $50,000, you should avoid paying more than $1,166 per month toward your home (i.e. $50,000 x 0.28 = around $1,166). Again, if you have any questions or concerns, talk to your mortgage lender who will be able to answer all your questions.

As you move forward with buying a home, remember to consider future expenses. Don’t spread yourself too thin where you can’t pay your bills or save for your retirement. Talking with your loan officer and real estate agent to help you find the right home for you at the right price.

Give me a call today and let me help you find your dream home today.

4 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

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Sometimes you have the best of intentions, but you still get sucked in the vortex of procrastination. When it comes to procrastination sometimes the best thing to do is just push through and get the project(s) done. In Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!, he gives some good suggestions on how to complete projects you don’t want to do.

For some other tips on overcoming procrastination, try these:

Commit to an assignment. Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete for the day and make a commitment to crossing them all off. If you are having problems following through, why not reward yourself with something? Find whatever it is that will motivate you to finish.

Work in a productive environment. Avoid distractions by working in a place that will allow you to think clearly and efficiently. This is also a great way to stay focused on your task without any interruptions.

Be realistic. When you are setting your tasks for the day, be reasonable in your daily goals and keep them measurable. If you set tasks and goals are too big or unrealistic, you will just set yourself up to fail and be more likely to procrastinate.

Positive self-talk. Be kind and don’t put yourself down. If you are negative and hard on yourself, you will sabotage your success and will most likely procrastinate, or never start in the first place.

For more tips on overcoming procrastination, check out this great infographic.

Time Management – Setting Your Priorities

Do you ever sit down to complete a task only to find the hours have passed and you have accomplished nothing? Is procrastination your best friend? It is easy to get distracted with gettinggreen-alarm-clock-1391422612n8N things done especially when you haven’t mapped out all the tasks you need to finish. Time management is one of the greatest skills you can develop to organize your priorities and complete the most important tasks.

Start by creating a daily plan of all the jobs you need to work on (and complete) the night before. This gives you time to make sure you have the necessary information (phone numbers, notes, etc.) already to go so you don’t waste time searching for them.

For more time management tips and tricks, check out Eat That Frog (Tracy) and The 4 Hour Work Week (Ferriss).  I’ve found these books to be helpful and interesting when it comes to setting goals and managing time better.

What are some of your time management techniques?