Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tax Deductions for Homeowners

Tax time is almost here and though it isn't anyone's favorite time of year there are ways to make it less painful - especially if you're a homeowner.

Besides the more obvious deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes there are other ways you may be able to save money. Always talk with a professional to make sure that the deductions apply to you and that you know how to file correctly. Remember - it can't hurt to ask!

Eligible deductions for homeowners:

- Mortgage Interest
- Property Taxes
- Private Mortgage Insurance
- Medical Improvements (such as ramps or lifts)
- Dedicated Home Office Space
- Energy Efficient Home Improvements

If you've sold a home in the last year you may be eligible for deductions from that as well. Talk with a tax professional and enjoy even more benefits of owning a home!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Planning Your Garden - Part Two

So you've come up with the perfect spot for your garden and worked on a layout.  Now...what to plant?

It's a good idea to start with some easy-to-grow veggies that will not disappoint. Some of the best no-fail plants include:
Image result for tomato photo
- Basil
- Cucumber
- Summer Squash
- Green Beans
- Lettuce

Of course a summer harvest wouldn't be complete without red, ripe tomatoes.  Tomatoes need plenty of water and sunshine. Stake the plants to keep them from laying on the ground.  Look for disease resistant varieties where possible.

Different plants compliment each other and aide in growth.  Plant corn, beans and squash in the same area. Basil planted near tomatoes helps to repel flies and mosquitoes. Lettuce, carrots and radishes grow well together.

So here at the end of February what is your next step?  If you're growing from seed - begin the process inside where the seedlings will be safe from cold temperatures. If you're looking for rare or heirloom varieties begin placing your orders online.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Planning your garden

If you're ready to start thinking about the Spring - now is the perfect time to start planning your vegetable garden.  It's not too early! A little preparation and planning now will make your planting season go on without a hitch.

So how to begin?

When planning your first vegetable garden don't try to do too much too soon. It's better to have a smaller garden that you can manage then a large garden that is out of control.  The first thing to consider is location.  Most vegetables need about 6-8 hours of sun in order to remain healthy and produce as they should.  Think of a location that will be easy to water and easy to harvest.

Draw out a plan for your garden showing where you would like each item to go. It's not necessary to have a lot of space between plants - just know it will require some weeding by hand in order to maintain.

For some sample layout designs see the links below.

http://www.almanac.com/content/online-garden-planner-old-farmers-almanac

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/vegetable/

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Selling in Winter

Ready to get into a new home? Need to sell first? Most naysayers discount the winter season for selling - but - there are ways to do it!  Use some of our tips to sell your old home so you can move on!

Statistically, there are fewer buyers during the winter months - but there is also less competition. Buyers who are out are more serious and looking to buy in a shorter time frame.

That's the good news!

So what can you do to help move the process along?

Exterior:
- Make sure all the windows are clean and sparkle in the winter light
- Create a welcoming entryway using a wreath or porch decor
- Remove any dead landscaping and prune as necessary

Interior:
- If you aren't currently living in the room make sure you have the heat on long before your next appointment shows up
- Create a cozy feel using candles, blankets and the scent of fresh baking cookie or cider

Misc:
- Provide photos of your home in other seasons to highlight the landscaping and help potential buyers visualize themselves in the home year round