Our Real Estate Blog
21 Leonard Road, Marshfield, MA 02050
If you're currently renting an apartment or house, it makes good financial sense to consider becoming a homeowner in the foreseeable future. There are pros and cons to owning your own home -- and it's not for everyone -- but for most people, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
An exception would be if your job requires you to relocate frequently. In that scenario, the potential benefits of building up equity in a home would be greatly diminished.
On the other hand, if you plan on staying put for more than a few years, then the tax benefits and investment value of owning real estate could put you on a stronger financial track than if you continued shelling out your hard-earned money to a landlord. You've probably heard the argument before: "If you pay rent, you have nothing to show for it at the end of the year". However, when you buy a home, an increasing portion of your monthly payments is applied to your actual ownership of the property (as opposed to how much you owe the bank).
Tax Advantages of Home Ownership
In most cases, you can deduct all of your home mortgage interest from your federal tax returns, according to the IRS. More specifically: "The only costs you can deduct are real estate taxes actually paid to the taxing authority, interest that qualifies as home mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance premiums."
However, since everyone's financial situation is different and there is no "one size fits all" approach to financial management, it's always best to consult with an experienced CPA, enrolled agent, or knowledgeable tax preparer. There may be other tax benefits you could qualify for as a homeowner, too, including getting tax credits for installing a solar energy system. The government's Energy Star program says tax credits on new solar energy systems are available through the year 2021.
Getting the Process Underway
Two key steps to becoming a home owner are finding out your credit score and meeting with a mortgage lender to determine how much of a real estate loan you could qualify for. An experienced real estate agent can also provide you with a wealth of guidance and information on how to become a homeowner. They can fill you in on many of the exact steps, requirements, and advantages of buying your first home. A buyers' agent can also help you assess your readiness to take the plunge into home ownership.
In addition to finding out your credit score, which will impact your mortgage interest rate and the type of loan you may qualify for, other vital information can be gleaned from a detailed personal budget. Although the amount of rent you now pay will provide some insights into your potential house-buying budget, there are a lot of variables which will impact how much of a mortgage you could comfortably afford.
23 Aunt Lizzies Lane, Marshfield, MA 02050
There was a time when moving across the country was a trip into the unknown. For some, that prospect may be an exciting one. For a homeowner with bills to pay or children to raise, the more you know about a place the better.
Fortunately, today’s technology equips us with tools to learn everything (or almost everything) we need to know about a place without ever visiting. With the use of statistics, maps, and first-hand accounts, would-be homeowners can put in their researcher hats and get a feel for a place without ever even visiting.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to some of those tools. So, if you’re thinking of making a long distance move sometime in the near future, read on for a list of the most useful resources that will help you along your search.
Cost of living
Most of us would love to move to Hawaii or San Francisco, but let’s face it--cost of living differences can make a huge impact on our ability to move wherever we want. Fortunately, there is reliable data on the specific cost of living for different parts of the United States.
Nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator lets you enter your current city and income and then compare what you would need to earn (on average) to move to a city of your choice. Moving to Boston, MA from Denver, CO, for example, would mean a 34% increase in costs like housing, groceries, transportation, etc.
Do you freelance or work from home and have the ability to travel wherever you want? If so, check out the Nomad List. It lets you compare housing costs, safety, weather, and--perhaps most important for freelancers--internet speeds in cities around the country and around the world.
How’s the weather?
Another important consideration for long distance moves is the climate. Not only will it determine your wardrobe and comfort level, but it also could mean more expensive heating in the winter or air conditioning in the winter.
To check out the average monthly temperatures and precipitation levels, check out U.S. Climate Data.
It’s hard to judge schools based on a few numbers, and it’s best to see what kind of programs and classes they’ll offer for your children as well. However, to get a glimpse of the nearby schools, you can check out City Data or NeighborhoodScout.
Safety is always a concern when visiting or moving to a new place. Fortunately, there are several good sources of information for neighborhood safety.
When we think of safety, most of us think of things like crime rates. NeighborhoodScout provides all the data you’ll need on crime. However, there are other safety concerns that should be addressed.
Are you trying to keep cats out of your garden to protect your birds or to stop them from defecating in your yard? Or perhaps to keep wandering cats from mingling with your cats. Whatever the reason, with the correct approach, you can successfully keep cats out of your garden for good and stop them from using it as their private litter box.
1. Preventative planting with chicken wire
Place chicken wire down on top of your soil or mulch, across the garden bed before you plant. Cats dislike walking on the chicken wire, so this will keep them out. Using your wire cutters, you should be able to open up pockets in the chicken wire sufficiently large for your plants to grow.
2. Cat repellent plants
Some plants give off smells that repel cats. One good example is the plant known as scaredy-cat plant. Other plants that work just as well at keeping cats away are rue, lavender, and pennyroyal. You can plant these and also the other plants in your garden for all-around effectiveness.
3. Ultrasound devices
Some ultrasound devices function on a high frequency that is imperceptible by humans but is rather intolerable for cats. You just position the device so that it faces the garden. A motion sensor detects the intruder's presence, and the device gives off its high-pitched sound, frightening off the cat.
4. Smelly substances
Cats apparently don't like dried blood as is present in blood meal fertilizer, or citrus scents. Place peels of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit in your garden to repel stray cats. You can also use mothballs or cayenne pepper flakes although they sting.
5. Keep your yard, garden, and property clean.
Clear gardens decrease visits from all stray and wandering cats. Be sure to avoid feeding your own pets outside as the food odor serves to attract other animals, including cats. You should also keep your outdoor grill and any other outer eating areas clean to prevent food smells. Secure your trash bins so cats cannot gain access. If you observe urine spray on your garden walls, wash them with odor neutralizer to stop the cats from returning.
If your community has laws, ordinances, or homeowner association restrictions, that prevent you from taking any of these steps, you can ask what can be done legally to stop wandering cats.