Omaha Real Estate News
Omaha real estate blog is a great resource for Omaha real estate market trends, useful information, and news about buying and selling real estate throughout Douglas, Sarpy and Washington Counties.
-Buy vs Renting-
Is now the right time for you to buy a home? You have many options to consider and choices to make. Buying a home is a big responsibility, financially and emotionally, but, most people want to own a home. Homeownership often is referred to as "the American dream." Why is it so special? Among the reasons: Real estate often is an excellent investment, perhaps the number one source of wealth-building for families.
Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity - and that's an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax benefits that may assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities - such as homeowners' insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep - which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are definitely worth it! Owning your own home also can be a great source of pride and stability.
But homeownership may not be for everyone. It's a big financial commitment - starting with the initial shock of your purchase (including a "down payment" and fees paid to a real estate agent, the lender and others) followed by years of monthly mortgage payments, real estate taxes, property insurance and maintenance costs. When you decide to purchase a home, you accept responsibility for paying for these expenses. They are additional costs to your monthly mortgage payment and should be included in your budget estimates: Property Taxes and Special Assessments, Home/Hazard Insurance, Utilities, Maintenance, Home Owner Association (HOA) Fee if applicable.
One of the advantages of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities and the flexibility of moving almost as soon as you decide. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for your housing needs. There are many considerations in choosing between renting and buying:
- Do you want to spend several years in a house and in a neighborhood?
- Do you enjoy lawn and garden work?
- Might you need to move suddenly to care for family?
- Do you want to keep your assets accessible in the bank, or do you want to invest long-term in a home?
There are tax advantages to homeownership in both the short and long terms. The mortgage interest and real estate taxes are tax deductible, which allows you to subtract part of your housing-related expenses from your taxable income, which could reduce your tax bill. In many cases, the amount of money a renter spends on rent can be about the same as or less than the amount a homeowner spends on a mortgage. With the tax benefit for homeowners, the savings can be significant.
Buy vs. Rent: Pros and Cons
|Property builds equity||Responsible for maintenance|
|Sense of community, stability, and security||Responsible for property taxes|
|Free to change decor and landscaping||Possibility of foreclosure and loss of equity|
Not dependent on landlord to maintain property
|Less mobility then renting|
|Little or no responsibility for maintenance||No tax benefits|
|Easier to move||No equity is built up|
|.||No control over rent increases|
|.||Possibility of eviction
Buy vs. Rent: Cost Comparison
The chart below shows a cost comparison for a renter and a homeowner over a seven year period. The renter starts out paying $800 per month with annual increases of 5%.
The homeowner purchases a home for $110,000 and pays a monthly mortgage of $1,000. After 6 years, the homeowner's payment is lower than the renter's monthly payment. With the tax savings of homeownership, the homeowner's payment is less than the rental payment after 3 years.
After Tax Savings
After Tax Savings
|8-30||.||.||Savings increase every year
The 2013 College World Series is just around the corner! Below is a schedule of all the games! Who do you think will be a series favorite?
|2013 CWS Dates & Schedule|
The 2013 NCAA Men's College World Series will begin with Opening Celebration Day on Friday, June 14. Games will begin Saturday, June 15, and continue through Tuesday/Wednesday, June 25/26.
All game times are listed in Central/Omaha Time and are subject to change.
Okay this is a funny ad by KMart! It suprises me that some people are offended by this! My opion is that if you are offended don't watch it! Please share your thoughts below!
There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.
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The Most Essential Do's and Don'ts for Choosing the Right Contractor
Americans spend billions of dollars on construction and home remodeling each year.Many homeowners have discovered that improving their present residence with an updated kitchen, an additional bathroom, new windows or a new roof can be a more prudent investment than purchasing a new residence. However, adding a room or updating a kitchen can cost more than a new car, and consumers should take some time and care in planning a costly home improvement project. Unfortunately, most consumers spend less time choosing a contractor than they do choosing a car. Here is a checklist of important things to consider before starting any major construction project:
- Do plan your project carefully.
- Do shop around before hiring a contractor.
- Do get at least three written bids on your project.
- Do provide all contractors with accurate plans or drawings that will enable them to determine the scope and cost of work when requesting bids.
- Do check with the Contractors State License Board to make sure the contractor is properly licensed, and to check the status and disciplinary history of the license.
- Do check out contractors with your local building department, trade associations or unions, consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.
- Do look at work the contractor has completed.
- Do ask your contractor to furnish a completion or contract bond.
- Do consult with more than one lending institution regarding the type of loan to obtain.
- Do ask your lender to recommend a funding-control company.
- Do make sure your contract provides for a "retention," apercentage of each payment or of the total job, ordinarily 10 percent, which you retain until the job is completed.
- Do make sure everything you and your contractor have agreed to is included in your contract, and don't sign anything until you understand and agree with all terms.
- Do ask your contractor about inconveniences that may occur, and plan accordingly.
- Do keep a job file.
- Do make sure you receive unconditional lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers.
- Do make frequent inspections of the work, including a final walk-through.
- Do consult an attorney if a mechanics' lien is filed against your property.
- Do negotiate with the contractor first if problems or disagreements occur.
- Don't hire an unlicensed contractor.
- Don't hire a contractor without first shopping around.
- Don't be fooled or pressured by a smooth-talking salesperson. Take the time and effort to make sure that the person or business doing your home improvement is going to perform in a professional manner.
- Don't act as an owner/builder, unless you are very experienced in construction.
- Don't sign anything until you completely understand it and agree to the terms.
- Don't make agreements with subcontractors or workers without consulting the prime contractor.
- Don't pay cash without a proper receipt.
- Don't make a down payment that exceeds the legal limit,usually ten percent.
- Don't let your payments get ahead of the contractor's completed work.
- Don't hesitate to ask questions of the contractor.
- Don't make final payment until you are satisfied with the job
Pet odors can be a problem when you're in the process of selling your home. If your house has an odor problem, you should remove any offending furniture or carpets or hire a professional to clean them. Be sure to check the cat box frequently and keep the litter fresh.
Since some people have allergies or fears of certain animals, it's a good idea to put dogs or cats outside or confine your pets to one area when your house is being shown. It's hard for buyers to fully appreciate your home through itchy, watery eyes or in between sneezes! Even if the house is exactly what they want, your chances of selling it are less if the scent of Spot lingers in their memory.
If you're planning to sell your home in a year or two, a fresh coat of a neutral-toned paint could make the sale easier. A professional exterior paint job may also recoup close to 75% of its cost. Let's face it - we all like things fresh-looking.
Are you as FRUSTRATED as me with Googles "completly redesigned compose and reply experience" for Gmail?
The new format lets you compose messages right from your inbox, allowing you to keep an eye on incoming messages and reference other emails without ever having to close the draft on which you're working. When you hit the "Compose" button, the message template will pop up in a window on the lower right-hand size of the screen just like Gchat messages, only larger.
This way, you can view the messages in your inbox, and even do a search as you write an email. Since the new compose window works the same way as chats, you can work on multiple messages at once, and minimize a message if you want to finish it later.
"How many times have you been writing an email and had to reference something in another message?" Gmail product manager Phil Sharp, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "Saving a draft, opening the old email, and then reopening your draft wastes valuable minutes."
Even better -- you'll see the same changes when you respond to a message as well. The new reply window will take up much less space on your screen, and expand to fit your content. It will always show the message recipients, no matter how long your message gets.
Google is rolling out a preview of the new compose and reply format today. You can test it out by clicking the link that says "new compose experience" next to the Labels button when composing an email. Google said it will launch the new format for everyone over the coming months. Until then, you can choose whether to use the new or current format.
For more information about the new compose and reply format, check out Google's GmailHelp page.
Google is also adding some other new features to the compose experience, like the ability to insert inline images in a message on which you're working. In addition, when you add recipients to your message, you'll see their profile photo next to their email address in autocomplete. This should help you find the intended recipient even faster.
The Web giant is also working to add a number of other familiar features to Gmail like emoticons, event invitations, read receipts, and canned responses. Google said those features should be available soon.
Protecting Your Home:
One of the crimes most frequently reported to the police is residential burglary. It's also the most preventable. It doesn't take much or cost much to out-smart most burglars. They're usually not professionals, but rather people taking advantage of an easy target. Burglars may do more than steal things. If they're surprised by someone coming home or if they choose a home that's occupied, someone may get hurt.
||Tips on Safeguarding Your Home
||When you go away
||Neighbors Helping Neighbors
There's more to crime prevention than locks and lighting. The fact is, concerned neighbors who watch out for each other are the front-line defenses against crime.
Joining a Neighborhood WatchNeighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Crime Watch-whatever the name, it's one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.
A few concerned residents, a community organization or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the effort to organize a Watch. Members learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions to the police or sheriff's office.
Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood Watch helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.
One of the biggest mistakes businesspeople make is assuming that working from home will automatically result in a higher level of productivity. Unless you carefully construct your home office environment, you may find that working from home is less productive than you anticipated.
Staples, the world's largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions, offers the following tips for setting up your home office to help maximize your productivity.
The ideal working environment
Home office setup is an exercise in knowing yourself. Before you make any decisions, make a list of the things you need to spur productivity. Some people can work at a desk in a common area of the house with the television running in the background. Others want a closed-door environment where distractions are minimized. For some people, a home office is a place to finish up work from a regular day job. For others, a home office is a primary workspace where they spend eight or more hours of the day. Before you start rearranging the furniture, decide what you need as an absolute minimum to encourage you to use the space as intended.
The right office furniture, equipment and supplies
Once you have decided whether you're going to segregate an area of the living room, convert a spare bedroom or set yourself up in the basement or garage, you should start thinking about home office furniture. The type of office furniture you pick and the way you organize your space will significantly impact your productivity.
Whatever your preferences are, investing money up front in the style of office furniture that makes you comfortable will naturally lead to greater productivity. At the very least, this ensures that you won't be tempted to relocate to the bedroom instead of working at your desk. Likewise, an upfront investment in office supplies and equipment will help you get your work done faster and avoid distractions.
The cost of outfitting a home office
A basic home office setup can cost you under $500 if you already have a computer that you can relocate to your new space. There are a number of functional office furniture options that look expensive but are actually quite affordable, especially if you are willing to put the furniture together yourself. A printer and a phone with voicemail can round out a basic home office setup.
A more advanced home office setup would include a fax machine and a photocopier. Fortunately, there are 3-in-1 office machines that combine a printer, fax and copier all in one piece of equipment for under $300, saving you money and space. Keep in mind, however, that a machine that does many things often offers fewer features for each specific function. For example, if your work at home requires more than the occasional photocopy, it can be more efficient to buy a dedicated copy machine that has special functionality to handle a heavier workload.
Don't forget to set aside money in your home office budget for office supplies. From paper to paper clips, you will have to buy all of the little things that you took for granted when you worked for an employer. A home office is sometimes considered the holy grail for people who work. Who wouldn't want a comfortable home oasis where commuting is a foreign concept and the work just gets done? To achieve home office nirvana, make a plan that is specifically designed to meet your individual needs and choose the right home office furniture, equipment and supplies to make your plan a reality.