Episode 260 AskJasonGelios Show
Article By Leanne Potts
If the mortgage interest and other deductions elude you, these strategies might help reduce your tax obligation.
1. Single people may get more tax benefits from buying a house, Liddiard says. “They can often exceed the standard deduction more quickly than can married couples. This is because a house for one is not half the price of a house for two.” You can check how much you’re likely to owe or get back under the new law on this tax calculator.
2. Student loan debt is deductible, up to $2,500 if you’re repaying, whether you itemize or not. However, there are income limitations for this deduction.
3. Charitable deductions and some medical expenses are itemizable. If you’re generous or have had a big year for medical bills, these, added to your mortgage interest and state and local taxes, may be enough to bump you over the standard deduction hump and into the write-off zone. Keep in mind, however, that medical expenses are deductible only the the extent that they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
4. If your mortgage is over the $750,000 cap, pay it down faster so you don’t eat the nondeductible interest. You can add a little to the principal each month, or make a 13th payment each year.
Article By Leanne Potts
Car floor mats in the washer? Usually, yep.
Sometimes we learn from trial and error. But when it comes to a pricey appliance you use a lot, like a washing machine, you don’t want to take chances with the laundry you put in it. If you do, you risk damaging the machine (hello, expensive repair visit) and ruining the item you’re washing. On the other hand, why wash items by hand or throw them out if they can safely go in the washing machine?
Here are 11 surprising items you can machine wash — and a few things you should never wash — or wash with caution.
Things You Can Put in a Washing Machine
#1 Kitchen Sponges
They get grungy, and nasty, and can become a breeding ground for germs. Toss that sponge into the washing machine and run it through a sanitize cycle or use the hot water setting. You’ll destroy the germs. Throw in some dirty towels, too, so you’re getting your money’s worth from the power and water you’re using.
Yes! You can clean canvas, pleather, and fabric sneakers. Wash them with a load of towels to muffle the noise they make thumping around in the drum. Use a gentle cycle and warm water and run an extra rinse cycle to remove soap residue. Use a drying rack for front loader dryers to dry sneakers. Whirlpool recommends removing the laces and insoles and then putting the sneakers in a closed mesh bag before washing.
#3 Dog Collars and Leashes
Fabric and canvas collars and leashes can get super dirty. Toss yours into the washer to get them clean and fresh. Be sure to put them into a mesh laundry bag made for lingerie so that the metal buckles and clips on the leashes and collars don’t break the glass on a front loading washer or ding the drum walls of a top loader. Run them on a short cycle and air dry them. Be sure to remove all metal tags or you could break the glass on the machine. I know this from experience.
#4 Stuffed Animals
Your kids’ lovies can get dirty and germy from all the hugging and cuddling. Put them in washbags and use a gentle cycle. Check their label to make sure they can be washed. You can wash your dog’s fuzzy squeaky toys this way, too.
#5 Dog and Kid Toys
You can put small plastic and rubber toys that belong to your kids or your fur kids in the wash. Use the handy dandy washbag we keep telling you about, and you can wash everything from your child’s plastic dinosaur set to your dog’s Kong. Run them on a sanitize cycle or use the hot water setting to blast the germs.
#6 Car Floor Mats
Vacuum them for pet hair and dust, spot treat stains, and toss them in the washer. Wash them in warm water on a gentle cycle, then put them in the sun to dry. A couple of tips: This advice is for rubber and upholstered mats. Make sure your machine is large enough to accommodate the mats. (If you have a tiny, cute machine, it’s a no-go), and wash the mats in small batches if necessary rather than overstuffing the machine.
#7 Dog Beds (but Proceed With Caution)
You can throw the entire bed into the washer if it’s for a small dog or you have a big washer. For larger dog beds, take the cover off and wash it alone. Be sure there are no small tears in the bed before you wash it or you’ll end up with a ripped up dog bed and a washer full of stuffing.
You can wash both down and down-alternative comforters in your washer, but just make sure your machine is large enough to handle the heft. Front-load washers work best. Spot clean stains, use a mild detergent, and wash on the delicate cycle. Run through two rinse cycles to get all the soap out.
#9 Shower Curtains and Liners
They get slimy and mildewy, and your washer can make them clean again. Use warm water and a gentle cycle. And don’t put them in the dryer. Air dry liners and shower curtains.
#10 Backpacks and Fabric Lunchboxes
Good grief, the stuff kids spill in and on their backpacks and lunchboxes. You can wash the items easily and let them air dry.
#11 Yoga Mats
If your yoga mat is getting a little too grungy for your liking, wash it in warm water on a gentle cycle so it won’t tear. Use a regular detergent, skip the spin cycle, and air dry the mat.
Realtor Rant By Jason Gelios
Episode 259 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by Terri Williams
Featured expertise by Jason Gelios
You’re retired and you have time to burn, but that doesn’t mean you should renovate an old house
If you're retired — with plenty of free time — you may be on the hunt for your next great adventure. And if you watch TV on a regular basis, you've probably seen numerous DIY/fixer-upper shows in which buyers purchase a run-down or outdated house and turn it into a dream home. Sounds like fun but is it realistic — especially for older adults?
1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up writing this book.
I’ve always had a love for printed books. I remember being a child diving into the entire Hardy Boys book series in my middle schools library. I would get lost in these books and the words that were on the pages. There’s something special about getting absorbed into a story that someone wrote that takes you into a whole other world.
As I progressed into my professional career, I wanted to create and share something that would outlast my time on Earth-something that provides value to those who come across it. For me, writing a book was a no brainer and the obvious choice. Being a professional salesperson and realtor, my focus is on being a trusted resource to others. People want to do business with those who care about their needs and problems they
Article by Rinal Patel | Done For You Real Estate USA
Featured Expertise By Jason Gelios
Are you a retiree looking for a way to make a passive income? If so, you may have considered investing in real estate. But is real estate really a good source of passive income? Keep reading to find out what some experts have to say on the matter. Enjoying your golden years with a little extra money may be easier than you realize.
Article by Jason Gelios
Knowing tips for decluttering and downsizing will help keep the process organized. Remember, it took years to fill your home with the belongings you have, so it may take awhile to go through everything you have to decide what you’ll do with it.
1. Start now
If your home could compete in a hoarder reality show or you’d like to park both cars in your garage, start sooner rather than later. Giving yourself weeks and months to sort through your house will help you get into a groove and avoid tossing something you’ll miss later.
2. Learn how to declutter
If you’re not sure where to start, try some of these great “minimalist” tips. Give one item away each day. With 365 days in a year, you could make headway faster than you realize. Speed fill a trash bag. Grab your stopwatch and the nearest pile of stuff and start filling the bag. Once it’s done, head straight to your local charity’s donation drop-off. Try the reverse-direction clothes hanger trick. Hang all the clothes in your closet backwards, and only correct them when you wear them. Get rid of the ones that are still reversed after a month or two. Share your before and after photos on social media. Pick a space, and post the before and after pics in your feed as you clear it out. You’ll see your progress and who knows – maybe your story will go viral. Give the four-box method a shot. Label four boxes as trash, donate, keep or store. Each day, make sure one thing goes into each box. Speed things up by increasing the number of items that go into each box until you fill them up, then start over.
3. Take an inventory of what you have
Once you start decluttering, you’ll probably see a pattern to the items you plan to keep and those you plan to get rid of. That will make it easier to start making an inventory list room by room. You may be surprised by how many duplicates and unused items you have – that extra
non-stick pan hidden behind the crockpot you got a few birthdays ago, or the popcorn popper that you haven’t used in years because you microwave your popcorn these days.
4. Have a plan for getting rid of things
Sort your belongings in four piles, or better yet try the four-box method with the following categories: keep, trash, donate or store.
Keep. Your keep box is for those items you know without thinking you’ll be hanging onto. Make sure you clearly label this box so you don’t inadvertently send it with the donation box.
Trash. There should be no “maybes” in the trash pile. You know these items are done, and you may want to make it a habit to add the trash box items to your regular garbage pick-up bins to avoid the temptation to go back in the box and second-guess what you’re throwing out.
Donate. Whether it’s Goodwill or your favorite church charity, the donate box should be clearly marked.
Store. If you don’t have the heart to get rid of some belongings, give them a new home in storage. You may find the emotional pull you felt for the “store” box wanes after you’ve paid the storage bill for a month or two.
5. Sell your extra furniture
Large furniture pieces like hutches and sectional couches may not fit well in a small home, but may fetch a pretty penny if you sell them online. Consider setting aside the sale proceeds to pay for new items that take up less square footage in your home. If you plan to downsize to a smaller home, check out small-home open houses or model homes to get an idea of the mix of furniture pieces that will fit. You may even want to bring along a measuring tape and notepad to keep track of the furniture dimensions you like.
6. Pick your storage options
If you’re just not ready to part with the bulk of your belongings, start looking at storage options in your area. The more space you need, the more you will spend. Depending on what you’re storing and where you live, you may need climate-controlled space to preserve items
that might be sensitive to weather extremes, which will add to your monthly cost. This is especially important in humid climates – an air conditioned unit might protect your belongings from extreme heat and cold, but a climate-controlled space protects your wood and leather furniture, artwork and other humidity-sensitive items from damage.
7. Take your time
Unless your downsizing needs are urgent, pace yourself with one space or room at a time. If your home is filled with boxes and piles of stuff everywhere, you’re more likely to give up if you try to sort through everything in a short time, rather than if you set a schedule to focus on one room, closet or even just one box at a time. If you’re downsizing due to the death of a spouse, reach out for help from family or friends – it may be especially difficult to make decisions about what to keep if you’re still grieving a loss.
Pros and cons of downsizing your home
Less space to maintain.
A smaller space is easier to clean and maintain, which gives you more time to spend on the activities you really enjoy.
Lower monthly bills.
Smaller homes usually come with lower costs for utilities like electricity, gas and water.
More cash flow for other goals.
If you spend less on housing costs, more money is freed up for other financial goals, such as boosting your retirement savings or emergency fund, or paying down debt.
Can be overwhelming to get started.
The sheer magnitude of what you have to go through, especially if you’ve lived in a home for decades, may cause you to throw in the downsizing towel early.
Will need to adjust to having fewer square feet.
The walls will be a little closer in a smaller home, and you’ll need to stay organized to keep it tidy.
May need to sell your existing home, which can be costly.
The cost of selling your home can add up to tens of thousands of dollars subtracted from your sale profits. It also may be hard to find a home in your price range.
Realtor Rant By Jason Gelios
Many expect that when people reach a certain age, they’ll want to sell their homes and downsize. But a recent Bank of America survey found that 70% of homeowners between the ages of 45 and 76 have decided to stay put and age right where they are.
After all, 78% say they like their current home and see no reason to move, and 22% have put so much work into their existing property that they want to stay.
Some reasons for remaining in their current property for aging in place among those who’ve not yet retired include avoiding high home prices and interest rates (32%) and benefiting from their current low mortgage payment or a paid-off home (20%).
In addition, about 95% of current mortgage holders have loans with rates of 5% or less, making them hesitant about giving up their low mortgage rates.
Moreover, renting, often an appealing option for downsizers, may be less attractive for those on a fixed income because of fluctuating rental costs.
Bank of America notes that decisions by baby boomers and Gen Xers to keep their homes can affect the country’s already tight home inventory and make it tougher for the next generations to buy homes.
But many in these two demographic groups plan to lend a hand to those future buyers by:
For anyone caring for a person – a grandchild, child, aunt, uncle, or another relative – with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD), a gnawing question is: "What happens to my loved one when I'm gone?"
A recent NPR story (https://n.pr/3AUr4sF) explored some challenges and the importance of planning a future for someone with I/DD.
It's a formidable task because you must consider and address every aspect of a person's life.
If you're the caretaker of someone with I/DD, one starting point for developing a long-term care plan is the Arc's tool (https://bit.ly/3XCzPBH), Build Your Plan®.
It takes you through the step-by-step, asking you to consider everything from housing and finances to a person's daily living issues, employment, and social connections.
The Arc, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has 600 chapters across the country.
The plan should consider everything about a person's life, including:
If you're concerned about where your loved one will live, the Build Your Plan® housing tool can point you in the right direction.
It asks you to create a wish list for a future home and to identify potential hurdles. The process includes determining whether independent living, a group home, or apartment life with a roommate is appropriate and identifying who can act as a person's housing advocate.
It also encourages you to consider some key questions, including:
In addition, you can find tips on choosing lawyers who can advise you on the legal issues.
Once you've worked through the entire tool, you walk away with the to-dos you need to work on and a view of the future.
Though the process is complex and daunting, others have successfully navigated the difficult questions and have shared their experiences through videos (https://bit.ly/3FdWZqU).
Episode 257 AskJasonGelios Show
On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author and realtor Jason Gelios talks about his new book, Beating The Force Of Average, which teaches readers how to make positive changes in their lives.
Realtor Rant By Jason Gelios
Image courtesy of Pexels
By: Lynn Ettinger
Not feeling like a big spender these days? Check out the rewards of small home improvements.
How can myths sound so right yet still be wrong? Take the one that says homeowners need to do a big remodeling project (think HGTV gut rehab) to get a worthwhile return on investment or happiness. Not necessarily, according to the most recent National Association of REALTORS® “Remodeling Impact Report.” The survey found that homeowners can get payback and joy from several smaller, lower-dollar-value home improvement projects.
That’s good news for the one in five millennials and Gen Xers who had to compromise on the house they bought in 2021. Ditto for potential buyers whose offers were rejected and who are staying put for now. If you’re coping with inflation but eyeing a home improvement, a smaller remodel is worth considering.
Small projects are suited to DIY, which can save you cash. NAR research showed that 10% of young millennials, between 23 and 31, want a fixer-upper home where they can work on DIY projects. The supply chain is also cooperating, as some products used in renovation are coming back into the market.
Of course, kitchen and bathroom makeovers will always have a place in our hearts — if not our wallets. The following five high-performing projects listed in the NAR report are less expensive — though admittedly less exciting — options. But then again, there’s nothing woo-hoo about your scratched and dinged hardwood floors or having your utility bills outpace your grocery bills.
#1 Hardwood Flooring Refinish or Replacement
“Interest in hardwood floors was definitely the headline from this year’s report,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of NAR Demographics and Behavioral Insights. In fact, refinishing hardwood floors grabbed the top spot for interior remodeling projects that bring the highest return. Remodelers estimated the cost at $3,400, and REALTORS® estimated the value recovered at $5,000, a whopping 147% return. Consumers gave the project a joy score of 10 out of 10. On top of that, 100% of consumers surveyed said they want to be at home more after finishing the project. For 64% of consumers, the most important benefits were durable and lost-lasting results and materials.
“With hardwood floors, you get a lot of bang for your buck, and they’re not that expensive,” Lautz says. “And people really like them.” Postpandemic, homeowners are still concerned about cleanliness, and hardwood floors are relatively easy to clean. Plus, with increased pet adoption, homeowners prefer surfaces that are less likely to stain or retain odors.
Refinishing makes sense when everyday life has left scuffs, dents, dullness, and scratches — all unwanted reminders of spills, accidents, dragged furniture, and ground-in dirt from foot traffic. Your options for refinishing will depend on whether the coating or the wood itself is damaged. The deeper the damage, the higher the refinishing cost.
New wood flooring snagged the second-highest score for interior projects, with a $5,500 cost and a $6,500 cost recovery, netting 118% in value recovered. Although it’s a bigger investment than refinishing, new flooring will let you opt for the hardwood and finish you prefer. And that will affect the floor’s durability and appearance.
#2 Insulation Upgrade
Buyers want to cut their energy costs where they can, Lautz says. “We see consumers who want a home that’s energy efficient. They want their utility costs cut and efficient heating and cooling. But the typical home they’re purchasing is 29 years old and quite dated. So, it may not have good insulation.”
Making this home improvement could factor into more than comfort level and energy prices by appealing to buyers when you’re ready to sell. In a survey of REALTORS®, 63% said promoting energy efficiency in listings was very or somewhat valuable. That’s in line with preferences of home buyers, who ranked the importance of heating/cooling and insulation at seven out of 10.
If you’re still on the fence, consider that an insulation upgrade, at an average cost of $2,500, is relatively inexpensive. And it recovers $2,500 for a break even. The joy score of 10 is worth shouting about.
You can tackle an insulation upgrade as a DIY project; some can be done in a short 15 minutes. Installing certain types of insulation materials, like fiberglass and mineral wool, are especially DIY-able, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. But spray foam and some other insulation types require a professional. The Department of Energy offers advice too: The maximum thermal performance, or R-value, of insulation greatly depends on how well it’s installed. So, it pays to stick within your skill level.
#3 Closet Renovation
Consumers surveyed took on a closet upgrade for two main reasons: to add features and improve livability, and to improve organization and storage. This update averaged $6,000, costing more than some of the other smaller projects. But the cost recovery was substantial, at $5,000, or 83%.
On the satisfaction side, more than three-fourths of consumers (79%) said that now that they’ve remodeled, they want to be at home more. Almost half said the most important result for them was greater functionality and livability. And the joy score? Another perfect 10.
Closets are using something like a Legos approach when remodeled, according to the pros. “You take the basic building blocks — like drawers, hangers, hampers, shelves — but you use them differently and add to them,” says David Cutler, president of The Closet Works in Montgomeryville, Pa. “People want storage for their particular needs. If you have 100 pairs of shoes, you need creative ways to deal with shoe storage: shoeboxes, slanted shoe shelves, straight shoe shelves, shoe cubbies.”
#4 Add or Upgrade Laundry Area
Laundry wrangling is more of a chore if you don’t have enough work space or you’re missing certain features, like a countertop or a sink. Consumers in the survey said they focused on laundry room improvements to add features and improve livability or because they had just moved into their home and wanted to customize it. Sixty percent said the most important result was better functionality and livability, so they met their goal. The overall joy score was 9.5.
Laundry room remodeling costs $4,000 to $12,000, according to FixR. Why the broad range? Laundry rooms can be located in different parts of the home and vary in size and shape. Most people pay around $7,000 for a 35-square-foot laundry room that includes mid-range upper and lower cabinets, a laminate countertop, and front-loading appliances, FixR says.
Of course, you can upgrade an existing laundry room or space by adding à la carte features. Popular add-ons include stock or custom cabinets, a sink, countertops for work space, good lighting, and durable flooring. Some of the fancier options include units for hanging wet items like T-shirts so they can drip into the sink and racks that pull out of drawers for drying fine woolens, Cutler says.
Don’t forget about small DIY improvements — like painting walls or cabinets and adding lighting. They’ll help you customize the space so you might almost enjoy doing laundry.
#5 Paint One Interior Room
Painting an interior room is one of the most DIY-friendly small home improvement projects. There’s nothing like it to freshen a room or fix a quirk or two. More than half of the consumers in the survey chose it because they wanted a change. And more than a quarter wanted to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials. Most of us fit into one or both of those groups, right? Beauty and aesthetics were the most important results consumers mentioned. And the joy score? 10.
Hiring a professional to paint a room costs $990 to $1,320, according to FixR. The variation stems from the type of room and its square footage, plus the type of finish.
With practice and a little advice, even a novice DIYer can get great results. If you’re stuck on what colors to pick, there’s more advice out there than you can shake a paintbrush at. Most major paint manufacturers have released a color or palette of the year for 2023. If you want to follow your own preferences but would like a little guidance, you can get tips about how to choose complementary colors you’ll like over the long term.
The NAR remodeling survey also includes info for the big projects, like bathroom and kitchen renos, and basement and attic conversions to living areas. But depending on your priorities and budget, a smaller upgrade may make you happy and bring a healthy return.
Episode 256 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by Crystal Mayer | GoBankingRates
Featured Expertise by Jason Gelios
Buying a house is one of the largest transactions you will ever make. The entire process can be overwhelming and filled with uncertainty. If you have never purchased real estate before, it can be downright terrifying.
While rates are high, the housing market remains competitive in some areas. Potential buyers may face bidding situations that can make it difficult to get the house of their dreams. We asked real estate agents from around the country for the best tips and tricks for first-time homebuyers. Here is what you need to know before making an offer on a home, according to our experts.
Jason Gelios is a Husband and Father. After that, a Top Producing REALTOR®, Author of the books 'Think like a REALTOR®' and 'Beating The Force Of Average', Creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show and Expert Media Contributor to media outlets across the country.