REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 12/14/2017

Cooking with fresh herbs is infinitely better than using the dried out flakes you'll find at the grocery store. Not only are they packed with much more flavor, but they'll also save you money in the process. Sure, there are some herbs you probably won't use very often and should just keep a small jar of them in your pantry. However, certain herbs are so useful that it's worth having on your window sill to pick from when you need them. If you're thinking about starting an indoor or outdoor herb garden, here are the best herbs to put in it that will spice up your recipes and save you money at the checkout line.

Basil

Number one on our list is sweet basil. Basil can be chopped up into sauces and salads, or it can be used whole on pizzas and sandwiches. For a great snack, toss some olive oil with chunks of tomato, mozzarella, and chopped basil. It's the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and refreshing. Basil is also great for making tea and has a strong and pleasant aroma. If you start running low, you can start a new plant with clippings from an old one. As you pick from the plant, be sure to remove the leaf node (the stem part of the leaf) fully so your plant keeps producing more leaves.

Parsley

A good herb to pair with basil is parsley. It goes great with pasta dishes, sauce, pizza, or eggs. Like basil, parsley can be harvested as needed. Simply cut the outermost leaves for use and leave the inner leaves to mature. However, parsley is also easy to dry and store. To dry parsley, hang it up in a warm place that has plenty of shade and ventilation. Test it by seeing if it crumbles in your hand. Once it does, crumble the rest up and store it in an air tight jar.

Thyme

Arguably one of the the prettiest herbs on the list, thyme fills its long stems with small flowers and fills the air with a pleasant scent. Thyme goes well with many vegetables and types of seafood and is also common in many teas. If you live in a temperate climate, you could also try growing some thyme as an ornamental and aromatic shrub in your yard.

Mint

As you would suspect, mint smells and tastes...minty. To impress everyone at your summer cookout, place some mint leaves from your garden into their ice cold drinks. Like many other items on the list, mint is also great in tea and can be paired up with basil, lavender, and many other herbs to make a great herbal tea concoction.

Lavender

Lavender is another pretty flowering herb. However, due to its size, it's best grown outdoors. You can make several homemade items from lavender including soaps, fragrance sprays, tea, and more. However, be sure to read up on caring for lavender plants as they require a lot of sunlight and well-drained soil. To make use of its size and aesthetics outside, you can plant lavender along walkways in your yard or garden.




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Categories: Gardening   Home   Garden   herbs   herb   herb garden   basil   parsley   thyme   lavender   mint  


Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 12/7/2017

If you work from home either full or part-time, you may want to give the home office deduction a go on your taxes. The problem with this deduction is that it can be tricky. 


Are You Eligible?


Your workspace needs to meet the criteria for business use. You need to use your work space regularly and as your principal place of business. If you donít work from home as a self-employed individual, your employer must require you to work from home due to a lack of office space or other circumstances. The keywords in this part of the clause are ďexclusively, regularly, and must.Ē


First, youíll need to calculate the percentage of your home thatís used for business. This means that if your office is 100 square feet and your home is 1,000 square feet, you use 10% of your home for business. If you own the space youíre living in, you can deduct 10% of the mortgage interest that you pay each month. Keep in mind that you canít double dip either. This means the amount of mortgage interest that you deduct on other parts of your taxes is reduced. If you rent your home, youíd deduct the percentage off of your monthly rental payments. 


Home Office Maintenance


If you own your home, you are able to deduct a portion of your property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses that are associated with your home office space. These expenses vary because some are direct such as the expense of you painting your office. Others are indirect. Home insurance applies to your entire home, so you would only apply a portion of that to a deduction. For the direct expenses, you are able to deduct the entire cost. 


For the indirect expenses, youíll go back to applying the percentage of your home that is used for work. This means if weíre working with a 10% figure, you are able to deduct 10% of your utilities, 10% of your home insurance premiums, and so on.


If you rent, you can still deduct many of the same things that homeowners can from your taxes for a home office expenditure. The only thing that youíll lack as a renter is the ability to write off things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and homeownerís insurance. Know that youíll be able to write off a portion of your renterís insurance. 


The Complicated Stuff: Depreciation


You are able to depreciate the value of a home office as your home ages. Itís not always necessary to do this, so you should consult your tax professional before you decide to make this type of deduction. Equipment in your office, such as your computer, can be claimed as a depreciation over time as well. 


The important thing when it comes to your home office tax deduction is to do your homework. You donít want to miss out on important savings!




Categories: home office   tax credit  


Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 11/30/2017

An open house represents a valuable opportunity for a home seller who wants to generate interest in his or her residence. This event enables homebuyers to get an up-close look at your house, and ultimately, may help homebuyers become comfortable with submitting an offer for your home. For home sellers, there are many great reasons to devote time and resources to get your residence ready for an open house, including: 1. An Open House Gives You a Chance to Make a Positive First Impression. Any home seller can showcase his or her residence online. Conversely, it takes a dedicated home seller to highlight the true value of his or her house to interested homebuyers as part of an open house. With an open house, you can boost your home's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers. Because homebuyers can browse your home with ease, they will be able to evaluate it in a no-pressure situation. Plus, if you employ a real estate agent, this professional will be available to provide homebuyers with additional details about your residence during an open house. Your real estate agent might even be able to offer information to homebuyers about your residence that they won't be able to find online as well. 2. You Can Choose the Date and Time of an Open House. Unlike a home showing, a home seller can select the date and time of an open house. This flexibility ensures a home seller can plan accordingly and guarantee his or her house is clean and neat when the big day arrives. In most cases, home sellers will host an open house on a Saturday or Sunday, and the event may take place over the course of an afternoon. Meanwhile, an open house might even feature fresh-baked cookies, coffee and tea and other assorted snacks and beverages that homebuyers can enjoy as they check out your residence. 3. You May Be Able to Convince a Homebuyer to Make an Offer. The odds that a homebuyer will submit an offer on your residence without an in-person evaluation of your house are slim. On the other hand, after a homebuyer walks around your residence and envisions what life might be like in your home, he or she may be convinced that your house is the perfect choice. Thus, he or she may make an offer on your residence, which means you can move one step closer to selling your house. When it comes to hosting an open house, you'll want to prepare as much as possible. And with a dedicated real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to receive expert tips to get ready for an open house. This real estate professional understands the importance of an open house, and as a result, will do everything he or she can to help your residence stand out to homebuyers, too. Prepare your residence for an open house, and you could improve your chances of generating significant interest in your residence among large groups of homebuyers.





Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 11/23/2017

It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs--like children--have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend. There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You'll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family's ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.

Your dog's new home

If you've always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in. If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you. Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much†training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.

Raising a dog is a team effort

If you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a "permanent puppy") it's important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training. Your dog takes cues from your family's behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn't it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.

Please consider adopting

We all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What's more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor†conditions.

Guidelines for dogs and your home

  • If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
  • Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
  • If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
  • Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog





Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 11/16/2017

When you are looking to arrange your living room, thereís a few tips that you need to adhere to in order for it to be a well-functioning, flowing room. 


Arrange The Room So Face-To-face Conversation Is Possible 


You should place the seating so that when people are filled in the room, everyone is able to participate in the conversation. If seats face each other over a coffee table or an ottoman, it keeps drinks and appetizers within reach when company comes, creating the perfect setting for conversation.    


Plan Ahead


Thereís many different apps and websites that you can use to plan your furniture arrangements ahead of time. Thereís nothing worse than moving furniture once, only to have to move it again to get it in just the right spot. Changing up your living room will be much easier if you have a plan in place.  


Divide The Room Up Using Furniture 


If you have a home with an open floor plan, divide your spaces into separate parts using your furniture. Face your sofa towards the living room, with its back to the dining room in order to create a separation of the two rooms with a stylish flair. If conversations are going on in both rooms, it will also help to divide them up.   


No Sofa? No Problem


If you donít have the space for a sofa, or donít want one, use your comfy chairs in a strategic way. Set four chairs in a way that will suit the room. Thereíll be plenty of seating available for everyone, even in a small room. The room may even seem more open than if you had a sofa. 


The TV And The Fireplace Can Coexist


If you have both a TV and a fireplace, thereís a few different arrangement strategies that you can use to make both pieces look good in a room. You may place the television over the fireplace for a dual look. The best strategy to use is perhaps to place each on opposite walls of the room. Then, arrange seating accordingly so that thereís some chairs facing the fireplace and some facing the television. In the offseason for the fireplace, you can move the seating accordingly.


A Rug Makes The Room


You can easily put the room all together by placing a rug in the center of the room. These area rugs help to group a space, denoting that itís all the same area. Try to choose a rug thatís large enough to contain all of the seating pieces.







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