50 Ways to be Green(er)

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, I have put together a list of 50 ways to make an impact – or less of an impact- on our planet.  Here are just a few of my favorites from that list: -Say goodbye to bottled water by purchasing (and using!) a reusable water bottle.

-Install low-flow faucets and shower heads. If your budget allows, purchase a water efficient toilet – you may even get a rebate!

-Buy foods locally at a nearby farmer’s market. My favorites are downtown Campbell and downtown Los Gatos on Sunday mornings.

-Recycle as much as possible.  Currently our recycle can is larger than our trash can and reminds us to see what can be recycled first.

-If you live within close proximity to work, kids’ schools/activities, or downtown community, ride a bike or walk.

-Adjust sprinklers so only your landscaping is getting watered, not the house. This is also great for the maintenance of your home.

-Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.

-Seal off drafts in your house and save 5-30 percent on your energy bill.

-Bring your own mug to your local coffee shop, they may even give you a discount. Also keep one on hand at work for coffee fill-ups.

To download the pdf with all 50 tips click here.

3 Reasons to Own Your Home

When you think about owning your own home what comes to mind first? Perhaps it is the promise of a place you can truly call your own. Maybe your new home is the perfect location for your kids to flourish or the perfect community for you to develop long lasting relationships. Romantic images of homeownership are extremely motivating. Yet some of the biggest advantages of owning a home are highly practical and financial in nature. Here are 3 great reasons to own your own home:

  • Tax Deductibility—Each year homeowners have the special privilege of deducting certain costs associated with owning their home. The largest one is the mortgage interest payment. Homeowners can also deduct the cost of property taxes. These tax deductions can make a big difference in what is owed to state and federal tax collectors and may have significant ramifications on your monthly housing affordability. For example, If you pay $2,000 rent you may be able to pay $3,000 in mortgage because of the tax benefits.
  • Equity Gain—Home value appreciation is a long term goal that can really pay off. Being the recipient of that gain is far better than giving that gain to someone else. Perhaps you have heard the old saying, “Renters write a check every month to make their landlord rich.” Putting your hard earned money into your own home is a great long term financial strategy.
  • Capital Gains Exclusion—When it is time to sell people often wonder if their amount of financial gain is going to be taxed. Currently a married couple filling jointly can claim up to $500,000 of tax free profit on their home sale, $250,000 if filling single. This exclusion requires the home to be the principal residence for at least 2 years. Being able to claim such a significant amount of tax-free profit distinguishes homeownership from all other types of investments.

There are many additional points of interest to consider when buying a home. If you are considering buying your first home I would love to talk with you more. I can help you assess your personal situation and assist you in taking the necessary action steps to homeownership.