- No inflation: If you rent an apartment for $1,800 a month and the inflation rate is about 3%, your monthly rent will increase to over $2,000 a month in just 5 years and you will have paid about $115,000 of your landlord’s mortgage in that time. When you own a home and have a fixed mortgage, your payment will not change.
- Personal wealth: When you rent, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage. When you own a home, your mortgage balance decreases while your property value goes up. If you treat your home like an investment, you can sell it when the market conditions are right and make a great profit.
- Both Federal and State tax savings: Under IRS code, interest from loans used to acquire, construct, or improve real estate is tax deductible up to a $1,000,000 mortgage. Interest on loans connected to real estate for any reason is deductible on up to a $100,000 mortgage.
- Diversified Assets: When you purchase a home, you can live in it while the investment grows unlike a 401(k) or IRA.
- Savings: When making payments on a mortgage, you lower the mortgage amount almost creating a forced savings account. With a mortgage of $1,800 a month, in 5 years you will have paid about $29,331 of the principal portion of your mortgage. If you were to sell your home at that point, that amount deducted from your principal would basically be put in your pocket.
The Hearld-News Home life
Many homeowners overlook their roofs, but it is important to inspect your roof twice a year in order to catch potentially costly problems early.
- Start with the interior: Before heading outside, check the interior of your home for signs pointing to potential roof damage. Look for marks on the ceiling which could indicate leaks. Attics should be inspected for wet insulation as well. Even if no visible water damage is found, a musty smell can signal moisture issues.
- Look at the roof: Using binoculars, check the exterior of the roof. Pay close attention to roof flashing and check to see if the flashing is damaged in any way; this can mean that moisture has settled in underneath. Sealant surrounding skylights or dormers can wear down, causing leaks. Check any masonry for spalling-porous materials can allow water to get it.
- Get on the roof: With an assistant, climb onto the roof while your partner holds the ladder. Carefully go around the perimeter of the roof and check for damaged shingles that are warped or coming apart, missing shingles, scrapes, or holes. If the roof is damaged at all, it needs to be fixed. Any issues found that are left alone can become much more expensive down the road. Some roof repairs are simply a matter of replacing a shingle using roof cement.
- Speak with a roofing expert: If you have any questions as to whether or not your roof needs to be repaired or replaced-call a roofing contractor. They will be able to analyze your roof and offer a professional opinion as to what the next steps should be.
- Don’t forget about the gutters: While inspecting the roof, look at the gutters and downspouts and check for damaged gutters. Damaged gutters can cause water to run down the side of your home which could cause foundation damage. Clear any leaves or other debris out of the gutters to allow rain water to go through the gutters successfully.
- Home evaluation tools can be inaccurate: Although there are several online tools that can give an estimate of your home’s value, these tools are often incorrect by about 5-20%. These inaccuracies mean that you are losing out on both money and buyers if you strictly go by these tools. Realtors may use these tools to begin the home pricing process, but there is a lot more work that goes into the price than simply using online tools. Realtors perform a lot of ground work that the average homeowner may not be able to do.
- There are many factors that go into the price of a home: Market data is just one component of property value that Realtors will use when coming up with a list price; the rest of the factors are very property specific. The age of the roof, home upgrades, neighborhood info, etc. all come into play when deciding on a listing price. The property specific data is not something that these online tools have access to which can make these home values very inaccurate.
- A Realtor’s experience plays a big role: A Realtor does a comparative market analysis or “CMA” for every listing. CMAs involve going to a property and thoroughly inspecting both the home and the neighborhood to determine the best price. After completing a CMA, the Realtor will be able to effectively articulate the home’s list price to potential buyers and their agents. A Realtor will use their experience and expertise to come to a well thought out price.
- Too much stuff: Don’t use too many furnishings or decor pieces in a small space; this can overwhelm the space and make it too busy. Instead, be sure to use furniture that counts and place it carefully. Large furniture isn’t completely out of the question; if a small room has a tall ceiling, a tall dresser or other piece placed appropriately can draw the eye upwards creating the illusion of more space than there is.
- Have a strategy: When working with a small space with multiple functions, divide the space in terms of task zones, such as sleeping, relaxing, dining, etc, can make arranging the room much easier.
- Think light: Choosing light colors for walls and flooring does automatically open up the space and make the room appear larger.
- Create a little gem: Often times, small spaces are overlooked and are seen as unusable. Instead of ignoring this hidden gem, make it a unique and cozy place to relax. Create a reading room, a craft room, or a play room for your child.
- Don’t use over-sized sofas and chairs: Super-sized furniture may be comfortable and appealing for movie watching but try to avoid it for small spaces. Instead, try to choose furniture pieces that are smaller in scale and more size appropriate for the space.
Plans to grill this weekend? Try this great steak marinade!
- 1 cup italian dressing
- 1/2 cup A1 (original)
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Place all ingredients in a gallon bag or tupperware container and mix well.
- Add your steak (preferably top sirloin).
- Let the meat marinate for 24-36 hours.
- Grill and enjoy!
- Blot the stain, don’t rub it: Blotting puts little pressure on the stain while rubbing causes the stain to go further into the carpet fibers.
- Club soda: Beer and wine stains can be cleaned using a small amount of club soda on a cloth and then by blotting the stain. If that doesn’t do the trick, try adding one part white vinegar with one part water and putting it into a spray bottle. Spray the stain, then let it sit for 10-15 minutes before you soak it up with a clean sponge.
- Shaving cream: While we don’t normally think of putting shaving cream on carpet, it is effective at removing most stains. Apply the shaving cream directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once set, blot it with a dry white cloth and then finish by spraying the spot with the vinegar and water solution followed by wiping it away with a cloth.
- Gum: In order to get chewed gum out of carpet, hold an ice cube to the gum for 30 seconds in order to freeze it. Once the gum is frozen, use a spoon to lift the gum up and then use scissors to cut the gum out of the carpet, being careful to cut as close to the gum as possible.
- Grease spots: When dealing with grease stains on carpet, put a small amount of grease fighting dish detergent and some water in a spray bottle and coat the stain and then blot it up. The detergent will cut through the grease on your carpet just like it does on your dishes.
- Pet accidents: Try an organic pet cleaner which can run about $10 a bottle. Spray the cleaner on the stain, scrub, and then blot it up with a cloth or some towels.
- Deep clean: It is recommended that you deep clean your carpet every 6 months to keep it looking clean and fresh.