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How to Get Organized and Stay Organized in 2013- Part 1

Categories: Home Owner Tips, In The News | Posted: January 21, 2013

It’s that time of year again when we decide that this year we will be more organized. This year, we will not let the house get cluttered. This year, we will throw away old magazines, keep the fridge clean, buy bins to keep the kids’ toys in so no one steps on a Lego in the middle of the night.

We’ve come across some tried and true tricks on how you can stay organized this year and hopefully throughout the next few!

Paper. Even though the world is well into its digital age, we still seem to have paper cluttering our homes. Maybe it’s bills that you didn’t go “green”  on and forgot to switch to the paperless option. Maybe it’s coupons or materials that you don’t remember subscribing to? Maybe you just prefer paper to online. Whatever the case may be, paper is a culprit for unwanted clutter. So take this time to splurge on what you feel will help you be more organized!

Buy a paper sorter or tray. Label them so that you have one for bills, one for coupons and one for stuff you don’t need to look at just yet. Make sure you clean it out every Sunday and then start fresh the next week. If you need ideas on what type of sorter or tray to purchase, check out the Container Store. If you need to find a drawer where you can toss the papers, clean one out. Put a tray on the bottom of the drawer. When the tray is too full, it’s time to sort. What may also help is to keep a recycling bag or box near the front door or the door you walk in after retrieving your mail. Go ahead and trash the stuff you know you won’t glance at. That way, it doesn’t end up cluttering the kitchen table later.

 

Bamboo Paper Sorter

Creating Shelf Space. If you are constantly shoving more items into your linen or bathroom closet, then you may be constantly frustrated and constantly promising you’re going to clean out the closet. That seems like a daunting task. Instead, look for certain items and learn how to stow them elsewhere. For instance, if you are keeping your cleaning supplies in the bathroom closet, .why not put it in a plastic container and keep it on the floor near your broom and mop? This might be in the pantry or laundry room. That way, if a bottle is about to run out, you won’t be tempted to shove it further back on the shelf. Instead, you’ll have to throw it away in order to make room in the box.

 

Easy-to-Carry Container

Another way to create more shelf space is to take out the sets of sheets. First, take the old ones you don’t use anymore and donate them. Second, recognize which sets you use for each bedroom. Take those sets and put them in between the mattress and box spring in the appropriate bedroom. Easy to find and they won’t get wrinkly. Same idea with those bulky blankets that are taking up way too much room. Find a box to put underneath the bed or in a chest at the end of the bed. Toss the blankets in and you’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your closet will already look!

Stay tuned for more ideas on how to stay organized this year by following our blog!

Tax Information for New Home Owners

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: January 17, 2013

Tax season is upon us!  While this understandably is one of the least exciting parts of our year, it’s one that we cannot afford to ignore.  Home owners in particular may be especially anxious during this time of year, but they don’t have to be!  While we heartily encourage Royal Oaks Building Group new home owning families to seek the guidance of a financial professional when handling their taxes this year, we feel confident in sharing that things are actually continuing to look up for home owners.  Congressional negotiations with the so-called Fiscal Cliff crisis were largely advantageous for home owners; the housing market remains worth the investment (and is steadily improving), and the mortgage tax deductions that remain ensure the ongoing benefits of home-owning over renting, according to Jann Swanson.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation‘s purpose was to offset the foreclosure rates and repossessions of the housing crisis of 2007.  While the intent of its legislative supporters was an immediate, albeit temporary, solution, it managed to survive its December 31, 2012 due date and is still in effect.  This primarily affects homeowners who have defaulted on mortgage payments and whose commercial lenders have forgiven or cancelled the debt.  What remains of the debt is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS.  While not always applicable, this is definitely one of the options home owners should consider discussing or further inquiring about with their lenders and other advisors.

Another home owning-related tax break is what’s known as the Mortgage Interest Deduction.  This measure allows the inclusion of additional residences (such as a vacation house or possibly even a boat) as well as the primary home when homeowners are deducting the cost of interest on said properties.  One of the most common deductions of this kind involves Home Equity Loan interest.  When a second mortgage is taken out on a home, the associated funds frequently go towards offsetting other large purchases, such as college tuition or personal vehicles.  Homeowners can also generally count on private mortgage insurance premiums (PMI) to fall under this category of tax deduction.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term, PMI is often utilized by lenders when a prospective homebuyer is unable to supply a specific cash amount in order to meet the loan; it protects the lenders from buyer default.

Naturally, these home-owning tax deductions are capped at a certain amount by the IRS.  For example, $50,000 or $100,000 loans claimed by single or joint tax filers only meet home equity interest deductions.  If you’ve agreed to a PMI, then its interest deductions only apply to good-standing tax payers who earn no more than $100,000 per year in adjusted gross income.  While these are not your only options, we at Royal Oaks highly encourage new homebuyers to optimize on potential tax deductions by keeping an itemized record; this may come in handy when you do want to submit a return or claim to the IRS.  Oftentimes homeowners do not take advantage of these tax breaks because of poor planning or otherwise are unable to provide these details.

The benefits of owning a home far exceed those of renting, especially when considering taxes.  There’s no doubt about it!

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