Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 10/2/2017

Major corporations arenít the only entities that save big on taxes each year. As someone who works from home, there are deductions that you can take that could save you lots of tax dollars. Home office tax deductions change. For this reason, itís important to stay current on allowable deductions. Itís also important to keep detailed records and receipts.

See if you qualify for these home office deductions

Your greatest tax savings will probably come if you are a sole proprietor, meaning that you operate your own business out of your house. Following are general deductions that you could be eligible for:

Usage of part of your home - To take this home deduction, you must use a portion of your home solely to conduct business out of. You could also be eligible for the deduction if you meet with customers at a place in your home. Examples of this include operating a daycare or a hair salon out of your house. A room that's attached to your house could also qualify as a deduction if this room is used for business.

Maximum home deduction - Your home deduction generally cannot exceed the amount of income that you generated through your home based business. If your deductions exceed the amount of annual revenues that your business generated, you may have to reduce the amount of deductions that you file.

Forms - The Schedule C and Form 8829 are two documents that are used to file home deductions. Form 8829 is used for regular home deductions.

Office supplies - In addition to taking a deduction for using a portion of your house to conduct business, you could deduct office supplies like the cost of a printer, computer, office desk, chair, filing cabinets and ink and paper. Mailing envelopes and file folders are other types of office supplies that you may be able to use as a deduction.

Travel - Flights to meet with clients and prospects or to speak at business conferences could qualify as a deduction. As a safeguard, keep a copy of the event brochure or itinerary with your flight, hotel and meal receipts. Additionally, you might be able to deduct mileage costs. Again, the travel needs to be used to conduct business.

Marketing - Keep receipts of money that you spend to market your business. These expenses could be deducted from your home business revenues. Included in marketing deductions is the cost of postage stamps. Consider working with a reputable tax preparer to review deductions before you take them.

As with any tax deductions, check with the IRS to confirm that you are eligible for a home office tax deduction before you take the deduction. Make sure that you have a record that confirms a purchase you made before you list it on your tax return. Also, ensure that you use the proper tax forms. For example, if you were paid to perform services for a client, you may need to file a 1099 Form. You also make need to file a Schedule C to list out your home office deductions.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 10/1/2017

Selling your home can be an expensive process if you're not careful. Fortunately, we're here to help you maximize the value of your home and ensure that you're able to avoid costly mistakes throughout the home selling process. Here's a closer look at three costly mistakes that every home seller needs to know about, along with ways to avoid such issues altogether: 1. Selling Your Home Before You Are Qualified to Buy a New One Although you had no trouble buying your current home, the same won't necessarily hold true when you look to purchase a new residence. For example, your financial circumstances may have changed between the time that you purchased your current home and now. This means that you may struggle to qualify for a home loan in the current economic climate. As such, you'll want to get pre-approved by a lender before you sell your current house. You also should conduct plenty of research into areas where you may want to live in the future; that way, you'll be better equipped to buy another house and relocate quickly if a homebuyer wants to purchase your current residence. 2. Guessing the Sale Price of Your Home It is unlikely that what you initially paid for your residence is what it's worth now. As a result, you'll want to understand the true value of your home before you add it to the real estate market to optimize the value of your residence. Getting a fair market appraisal will ensure that you can better understand what your home currently is worth. Furthermore, you should consider the upgrades that you've made across your home, as these improvements likely will boost your residence's value. When it comes to the sale price of your home, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Instead, do your homework so you can determine the optimal sale price, i.e. a sale price that highlights your home's true worth and will make your residence an attractive option for homebuyers. 3. Understanding the Stress Associated with the Home Selling Process A calm, cool and collected approach to selling your home often is ideal, particularly as the stresses commonly associated with the home selling process start to add up. For instance, a homebuyer may submit an offer and follow it up with a home inspection. But during the inspection, this homebuyer could find issues with your home that lead him or her to reconsider the initial offer and could put a potential home sale in jeopardy. Conversely, with the right real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be able to minimize many of the stresses of the home selling process. This professional will possess the necessary skills and know-how to guide you during the home selling process, and ultimately, improve your chances of a fast, successful home sale. Costly home selling mistakes can put a dent in your wallet or pocketbook and cause your stress levels to rise. But home sellers who work with a dedicated real estate agent can benefit from the support of an experienced professional who can simplify the home selling process.




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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/24/2017

If youíre a first-time homebuyer you might be worried or anxious about the process of making an offer on a home. After all, negotiating isnít something most of us look forward to on a day to day basis and we try to avoid it when possible. When it comes to buying a home, however, negotiating is usually part of the process.

One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent is that they have the knowledge and expertise to help you out through the negotiation process. Not only will they help you formulate your offer, but theyíll also present the offer for you and handle the in-person negotiations.

Buyerís vs sellerís market

Whether or not the odds are in your favor depends on many things. One important factor is the state of the real estate marketing. In a sellerís market, which is what weíre in right now, there are more buyers looking for homes than there are sellers trying to sell them.

However, you can still edge past the competition in a sellerís market if you plan accordingly. This is when negotiation comes into play, and when effective negotiation can get your offer accepted where others are declined.

Time is of the essence

When youíre shopping for a home in a sellerís market, youíll need to be swift with your offer and counteroffers to stay ahead of other prospective buyers. However, being too hasty with your offers can seem imposing or reckless. Itís better to take a day longer to come up with a more effective offer than it is to make an offer that looks bad to the seller.

Be clear and concise

Just as youíre nervous making offers on a home, sellers are usually nervous fielding them. So, if you want to make things easier for you and your seller, make sure your offer is simple and straightforward.

This involves removing unnecessary contingencies and sticking to the contract basics--inspection, appraisal, and financing. If the seller receives another offer that is riddled with contingencies, they might prefer to work with you since you presented them with a simple contract.

Be prepared

Having your paperwork in order, getting preapproved, and making yourself available as much as possible will go a long way in the negotiation process. Now more than ever itís important to be well-organized.

Do your homework on the house and neighborhood youíre interested in. Make sure you know if there is a lot of interest in the area and the house in particular. This will let you know how much breathing room you have.

Getting preapproved will not only help you know the limits you can offer but it will also signal to the seller that youíre a serious buyer.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/17/2017

Purchasing a condo should be fast and easy. However, negotiations with a condo seller can quickly become stressful and may put your chances to acquire your dream condo in danger.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of negotiating with a condo seller to ensure you can purchase your ideal property.

Here are three tips to help you navigate tough negotiations with a condo seller.

1. Consider the Condo Seller's Perspective

Think about the condo seller's perspective and try to find common ground with this individual. By doing so, you and the condo seller may be able to agree to terms that meet the needs of both sides.

When you initially submit an offer on a condo, ensure your proposal accounts for the condo's condition and the current state of the real estate market. That way, you'll be able to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer that falls below a condo seller's expectations.

Also, maintain open lines of communication throughout the negotiation process. This will allow you to listen to a condo seller's concerns and respond accordingly.

2. Collect Plenty of Housing Market Data

If a condo seller believes you are unwilling to pay a sufficient price for his or her condo, it is always a good idea to present housing market data to back up your offer.

Explore the housing market closely to learn about the prices of comparable condos in nearby cities and towns. This will allow you to see how a particular condo stacks up against similar properties in terms of price and condition.

In addition, check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area to identify housing market patterns and trends. With this real estate market information at your disposal, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to continue to negotiate with a condo seller or consider other properties.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent will negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf. Therefore, he or she will help you minimize the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with condo negotiations.

Typically, a real estate agent will submit an offer on a condo and wait to hear back from a condo seller. If a condo seller decides to negotiate, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the negotiation process.

A real estate agent will listen to your condo buying concerns and questions and respond immediately. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions during negotiations with a condo seller. This real estate professional will even share your concerns with a condo seller to help you get the best results possible.

When it comes to a negotiating with a condo seller, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of condo negotiations. And ultimately, you may be able to move one step closer to buying a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations.




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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/10/2017

Getting the best price for your residence can be easy, particularly if you allocate the necessary time and resources to become a smart home seller.

What does it take to become a smart home seller? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Analyze the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be tricky to navigate, especially for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, those who spend some time reviewing the real estate sector closely can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, a home seller should check out the prices of comparable houses in his or her area. This will enable a property seller to understand how his or her home stacks up against the competition.

A home seller also should review the prices of recently sold homes. This will allow a home seller to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.

2. Take a Look at Your Home Ė Both Inside and Out

When a homebuyer views your house for the first time, will your residence make a positive first impression? If you're unsure, you may want to conduct a home appraisal as soon as possible.

A home appraisal allows a property inspector to examine your residence both inside and out. That way, you can identify any potential problems with your residence and make home improvements as needed.

There are many quick, simple ways to enhance your property's appearance without breaking your budget too.

For example, mowing the front lawn and trimming the hedges can help you transform an ordinary home exterior into an exceptional one.

Or, if you want to upgrade your house's interior, eliminating clutter usually is a great idea. Removing unwanted items from your house will help you free up space so you can show off the true beauty of your residence's interior.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to navigate the home selling journey alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you seamlessly add your home to the housing market and optimize your residence's value.

A real estate agent will meet with you to understand your home selling goals. Then, he or she will help you map out a home selling journey, one that guarantees you can generate plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

Usually, a real estate agent will help you get your home ready to add to the real estate market. He or she will offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations so you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings, promote your residence to homebuyers and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will be happy to respond to them instantly.

Take the guesswork out of selling your home Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home seller.




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