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Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

8/15/2017

The cost of installing solar panels on a home has dropped dramatically over the past decade. Is it time for your home to run on sunshine? Here are some pros and cons to consider.

1. Pro: Demolish your electric bills

Obviously by capturing free energy from the sun, you'll pay less in your utility bill. In some states, you can even earn money back by selling the unused energy your panels generate to the utility company in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).

2. Con: Upfront cost

While installation and materials are more affordable than ever, it might take up to seven years for the system to pay for itself through the money you save. Fortunately, there are considerable tax breaks, rebates and solar-specific loans available to help homeowners get started. The federal investment tax credit allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of your system from your taxes. You can search for state programs on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®.

3. Pro: Save the planet

Generating energy from fossil fuels emits harmful carbon dioxide and methane that contributes to global warming – using solar panels for power does not. And unlike other energy sources, solar power doesn't require water to process.

4. Con: Doesn't work for every roof

Some roofing materials used in older homes, like slate or cedar tiles, make it difficult for installing panels.

5. Pro: May increase your home's value

Solar panels can increase the value of your home, according to research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the Department of Energy.

6. Con: Maintenance costs

Insurance, cleaning, repairs. As with anything, solar panels come with their own additional costs. Wondering how much energy solar panels might be able to generate in your part of the country? Check out this address-based calculator from the Department of Energy.

If you're looking to relocate to a state with a sunnier disposition, an experienced real estate agent can help. Find one on www.remax.com.

3 Things to Consider Before Registering Your Home on a Short-Term Rental Site

7/31/2017

 

                                                                        Curb Appeal

Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.

Enter changing consumer attitudes, the "sharing economy" and online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and VRBO (owned by HomeAway, which is now owned by Expedia).

Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn't an outlandish concept. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?

If you think you're up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally, many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited inventory (check out this article from The Los Angeles Times to learn more).

Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You don't need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:

1. You rent it out for fewer than 15 days a year AND

2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).

Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? Forbes and TurboTax provide some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.

In addition to insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.

Looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Search for properties on www.remax.com.

6 Things to Know Before You Purchase an Income Property

7/5/2017

Purchasing an income property is a big decision. In some cases it can be a great investment, but there are risks involved. Here are some things to be aware of:

1. You won’t get rich quick.
Or maybe not at all. The real estate market can be unpredictable, so make sure you have realistic expectations about the potential return on your investment.

2. Income properties cost money.
As a landlord, you will likely need to pay for maintenance, taxes, cleaning between tenants and vacancy time. Set money aside for emergencies.

3. There are rules as to what can and cannot be rented.
Make sure you check that local zoning regulations allow renting before buying a property you plan to use as a rental.

4. Insurance can be expensive.
Insuring rental properties can cost much more than insuring an owner-occupied home. Get a quote first, so you know what you’re getting into.

5. Maintenance workers will save your life.
A reliable and talented repair woman or man is vital. When the need arises, it’s important to repair items as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Plus he or she will be the one who runs over when the fire alarm starts beeping at 3 a.m.

6. Income properties should operate like a business.
Start a separate bank account for the property and keep paperwork for things like maintenance separate from records for the property you live in.

Is buying an income property the right decision for you? Contact a RE/MAX agent to weigh your options. Find one here: http://www.newmillenniumre.com/agents.aspx

Meeting Hillside - The Taste of Brazil

5/22/2017

Hi,

I am Rosmena Desa and I am part of Remax New Millennium Group in Hillside and as we are part of this city, decided to develop a series of videos to showcase our city, our spaces and what we have to offer. To start, I present a typical Brazilian restaurant that I really like.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSL0Eii0yLI

 

 

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