Jena Khabazeh's Blog
When it comes to home ownership, you have many options beyond buying a single-family home. A condominium and a townhouse are two such options. Before you consider making one of these your permanent home, it's important to understand the differences between them.
When you purchase a condo, you own the entire inside of the structure. The condo association owns the exterior, all common areas, and the land where the condo sits. Condo owners are not responsible for exterior maintenance. However, you need to budget for condominium association fees apart from your monthly mortgage payment. This covers the cost of repairs and maintenance in common areas. Most condos are in multi-story buildings.
When buying a townhouse in a traditional manner, you must pay dues to its homeowner's association. This fee goes toward outdoor maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. Your fee may also include landscaping services. Townhomes typically appear as conjoined single-family homes.
If you choose to purchase a townhouse in a non-traditional manner, you own the land it sits on as well as the physical structure of the home. This means you are responsible for repairs and maintenance both inside and outside of your townhome. The association that owns a townhouse complex is only responsible for communal repairs such as potholes on the street.
You can't deduct homeowner's dues if either type of property is your primary or secondary home. The only exception to this is if you rent it to others. If you occupy the condo or townhouse, you can deduct real estate taxes and mortgage interest if you itemize deductions on your tax return. If you plan to use the condo as a second home and rent it the remainder of the time, make sure that you occupy it less than 10 percent of the time that you rent it. If you don't, the IRS considers it personal property.
The non-mortgage fees for a condo are almost always higher than they are for a townhouse. This is due to more shared areas and additional amenities that most townhomes don't have. These may include a swimming pool, a recreation room, or an area on the roof to suntan or host a barbeque for your neighbors. These amenities all carry an additional risk, which necessitates the need for additional insurance coverage.
The property taxes and initial down payment are typically higher for condos as well. Even so, some people prefer a condo over a townhouse because they feel that not being at street level offers them better security.
If you’re in the market for a non-traditional home, feel free to schedule a consultation. We'll go over your options and find the best home to suit your needs.
The homebuying journey may be long and arduous, regardless of whether you're pursuing a house for the first time. However, if you bring your A-game to the homebuying journey, you can speed up the process of finding and acquiring your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you bring your A-game to the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
There is no need to waste time and resources as you search for your ideal residence. Thankfully, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can streamline your home search.
Consider the cities and towns where you may want to reside. Then, you can narrow your house search to a select group of cities and towns.
Also, think about the features you want in your dream house. If you want to own a residence that offers a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, for example, you can hone your house search accordingly. Or, if you require a home that provides multiple spacious bedrooms, you can pursue houses that match your criteria.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is paramount, particularly for homebuyers who want to know exactly how much they can spend on a residence. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage in no time at all.
Of course, when you meet with banks and credit unions, don't hesitate to ask home financing questions. Banks and credit unions employ knowledgeable home financing professionals who can teach you about the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and much more. As such, these professionals can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
You should consult with a variety of banks and credit unions, too. That way, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal and choose a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Ultimately, there is no reason to work alone when you search for your ideal home. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the housing market and is happy to share his or her homebuying insights with you. Plus, a real estate agent will craft a plan to help you quickly discover your dream home. And if you are concerned about acquiring a house at the lowest-possible price, a real estate agent is ready to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf as well.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can guide you through the home closing cycle. He or she will help you finalize your home purchase and ensure you can relocate to a new house without delay.
Bringing your A-game to the homebuying journey can make a world of difference in any housing market. By using the aforementioned tips, you can simplify your home search and accelerate the process of acquiring your dream residence.
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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.
Selling a house should be a fast, simple process. Unfortunately, potential pitfalls may arise that make it tough to achieve the best-possible home selling results.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for the home selling journey.
Now, let's look at three steps that every home seller should take before listing a house.
1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market
The housing market fluctuates week to week. Thus, a real estate market that favors sellers one week may favor buyers the following week, or vice-versa.
A home seller should examine real estate market data closely. By doing so, this seller can analyze housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This housing market information will allow you to see how long homes were listed before they sold and help you set realistic expectations for the home selling journey.
Also, examine the prices of local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your house.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal
Don't wait to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. If you perform these assessments before you list your house, you can gain valuable home insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your house both inside and out. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that you can use to prioritize assorted home repairs and upgrades.
Meanwhile, a home appraisal can help you determine the present value of your house. The appraisal will be conducted by a property expert who will examine your house, as well as review myriad data about homes in your neighborhood and the local real estate market. Next, this property expert will provide a property valuation that can help you determine how to price your residence.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with selling a house. Fortunately, this housing market professional also knows how to identify and address these challenges early in the home selling process, increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you put together a strategy to sell your home quickly and maximize your earnings.
When it comes to promoting a residence to potential buyers, a real estate agent knows exactly what to do too. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing that hits the mark with the right buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host open house events and home showings to provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to view your house.
Want to list your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can boost your chances of a terrific home selling experience.