How to Increase the Value of Your Home

Even if you consider your humble abode to be your “home, sweet, home”, there’s almost always a possibility it won’t be your last. Many of us know we will ultimately have to move to retire, find a new job, or tackle any other curveball life throws at us, and we need to keep in mind the resale value of our property. There are plenty of things you can do to be proactive in making your house more valuable when it comes time to sell. Wondering how? Read on for tips on how to increase the value of your home. Bonus: They’re not all going to break the bank.

Go for the Big Remodel When Possible

Just had a windfall? Promotion at work? Year-end bonus? Whatever the reason you’re suddenly at least somewhat flush with cash, now is the time to consider making improvements to parts of your home. Remodeling your kitchen and/or bathroom are going to get you the most bang for your buck when it comes time to sell. Whether you are a DIY type or you plan on outsourcing the projects, there’s no denying these home remodels temporarily inconvenience you. Hold on for the finished product, though, as there is nothing like seeing a room in your house go from drab to fab under your own direction. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy it for a while but, even if not, you can rest easy knowing you just increased the value of your home.

Make Small Improvements, Too

You might be feeling discouraged if you don’t have the money for the big remodels, but you can always seek the help of Tempe hard money lenders. Even if you don’t go for the loan, however, you can still make changes that will improve your resale value. Minor kitchen and bathroom remodels in which fixtures and floors are replaced can be crucial. Another inexpensive way to make a big impact on your home is a new coat of paint on each room inside. Painting the exterior is also a fantastic tactic to improve the look of your home, and this curb appeal will matter when it’s time to sell.

Tend to your Landscaping

This is another huge part of curb appeal. It doesn’t matter how amazing the inside of your home is; if it lacks curb appeal come selling time, the interior could be virtually worthless. Many busy real estate prospects won’t even go inside if the exterior of a home is a huge mess. Again, though, this doesn’t necessarily mean a million-dollar makeover complete with a water fountain. Some simple, well-manicured shrubs and plants along the walkway are wonderful, and a flower and/or rock garden will add additional value. Making sure your landscaping is well kempt when your house goes on the market will be crucial.

Consider Adding High Tech and Smart Touches

This is particularly true if you’re hoping that your house will eventually attract the eye of the Millennial crowd. As this CBS News article notes, “Where smart home features were once considered a fringe benefit, more buyers are demanding them, and agents are taking notice.” Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales associate Travis Gray tells CBS that the smart features of today are much like adding other features in the past:

“I equate it to stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops,” Gray told CBS. “Ten years ago it was great if you had them but it wasn’t expected. But now you have to have them — it’s expected. And if homeowners don’t have those features, they’re installing them to sell their homes at a better price.”

You can add an entire set of smart kitchen appliances and alarms or add smaller smart touches such as smart bulbs and learning thermostats. The latter is the type of thing that particularly appeals to Millennials, as these devices will turn off when they sense no one is home and thereby use less energy. Some companies claim that smart thermostats can lower an owner’s heating and cooling bill by up to 20 percent, which is no small feature when appealing to potential buyers.

Maintaining your home is simply smart practice, but if you add any or all of these suggestions, you can watch the resale value of your home skyrocket.




4 Signs It’s Time to Relocate Your Business

Location, location, location. It’s the mantra any small business owner is sure to hear in their first few months of operation. More so than any other feature of your company, where you set up shop can affect the type of customers you draw in, the opportunities you can access, and the reputation gain within your market. Indeed, with the growing number of mobile business searches, it’s never been more important that your physical location aligns with your customer base. With that in mind, let’s examine four tell-tale signs that will let you know you need to up sticks and find a new home for your business:


Low Mobile Search Rate


As mentioned before, people constantly search for goods and services on their cell phones. And it’s essential that you’re able to market yourself to cell-phone users in your location. To that end you need to monitor the amount of traffic you’re getting from mobile searches. If those numbers are decreasing rapidly or have been deteriorating for some time despite your best efforts, it may be time to sound the alarm. Relocating your business to closer align with people who are more likely to search for your company or product will likely coincide with an increase in sales.


Trouble Attracting Talent


If you’ve needed a position filled for months on end and still haven’t come close to finding a qualified candidate, it may be a symptom of poor location. People want to work in places that are hubs for arts, entertainment, and leisure activities. If you can’t seem to find the right people to work with, moving closer to them might be the solution.


The Neighborhood is Clearing Out


This is a hard one to miss, but you’d be surprised how stubborn certain business owners are when it comes to their brick and mortar. Especially if they’re just starting their small business. However, if you notice other companies –– even ones in different industries –– giving up on your area, the writing may well be on the wall to bolt.


Increase in Crime


Even if it hasn’t directly affected your company, operating in a high-crime rate zone is a risk not worth taking. If at all possible, relocate in this situation –– if for no other reason than your own safety and peace of mind.


The Bottom Line


A business location is rarely an easy process, but often it can provide a massive boost for your company. And if you’re concerned about the cost, know that there are many options available to cover relocation expenses. Even if a bank won’t finance it, alternative lenders offer business loans for bad credit so that you can move into your dream office and realize your business’s full potential.

New Years and Money

The beginning of the year can be tough for some families. The holidays usually lead to excessive spending so you often feel the monetary effects after the holidays pass. A brand new year also means preparations for tax time as well. Depending on your lifestyle and business choices, you may owe money for taxes. The New Year also means New Years Resolutions for most families causing for some changes in family spending. For all of these reasons, New Years is often a popular time to think about your spending and savings and ways to improve your family’s financial situation. Below are a few tips to aid in your family’s quest to a money makeover.

Lower Bills

The first and most obvious source of a budget killer are utilities and monthly bills. So a key to saving money is to evaluate what you are spending your money on and if you can lower it. Lower your costs and you will have more money available to save. Keep a list of all of your monthly bills and utilities to see if there is anyway to eliminate any. Do you belong to gym but never use it? Cancel the membership! Do you have multiple cable boxes in the house? Do you use them all? Can any of them be eliminated to save money on your cable bill? You can also call your cable, cell phone, car insurance, etc. to see if you are getting the best deal. It’s possible that just by calling you may be able to save some major cash. It’s better to be saving money than uselessly spending it.


An easy way to save money and an easy way to be frugal is by using coupons. Coupons can be used basically everywhere. You can use coupons on groceries, clothing, gas, travel, etc. There are so many places to find coupons. One way they come is through the mail. People often find advertisements, flyers and coupons from their favorite stores in the mail. Most stores ask you to provide your email so that they can send you coupons via email as well. Another popular source now a days are discount sites. Popular sites available are Groupon, or . Just by going to the site you can find any coupons available for a particular store or service. Depending on how serious you are with using coupons, you can save some major cash.

Stash Away Money

Your everyday spending is something to be evaluated as well. Spending money on little things can add up to major cash per month. The biggest culprit is coffee. If you get your coffee out than it could add up to $50-$100 a month. That could be your water bill, or even go towards your child’s education. It is best to try to put off on purchasing these novelties on a normal basis. If you can’t, then a trick that is good for saving is to stash away money  each time you go and spend money on these type of purchases. You spend $2.47 on coffee in the morning? Put the 0.53 in a savings account. Over time it will accumulate to substantial cash.


If you dug yourself a hole and are having a hard time getting yourself out, than a loan may be something to consider to pay off your debt. There are many sources of funding, like, that can help you research what is best for you and your family.

These quick tips are just a way to get you started on your way to saving. Obviously there are extremes for each of these but even doing a little bit at a time will help and eventually add up to something. It is important to be disciplined, than you will be able to save for you and your family. Let the new year be a new start for your family when it comes to saving and spending.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast

You know your credit score is important. After all, lenders use this three-digit number to decide whether to approve you for new loans and lines of credit. That’s a big deal if you need a loan to buy a car, become a homeowner or start a business.

When your credit score falls short of your expectations, fixing it is a priority. The question is how to improve your credit score quickly so that you can move forward with your financial goals. With the right plan, you can begin to see an improvement in your score in just a few months.

1. Know what’s working against you

Your credit score is based on what’s in your credit report. Things like late or missed payments, high credit card balances and numerous inquiries for new credit can all drag your score down. Taking a look at your credit habits can help you understand why your score is low.

2. Get on a payment schedule

Payment history is THE biggest influencer when it comes to your credit score. Even one late payment could knock up to 100 points off your score. If you’ve paid late in the past, you should be focused on paying on time, every time going forward. Set up email or text alerts with your credit cards and loan accounts so you know when they’re due each month. If you want to make absolutely sure you’re never late, schedule automatic payments for all of your bills.

3. Set up balance alerts with your credit cards

Next to payment history, your credit utilization has the next biggest impact on your score. This means how much of your available credit you’re using. If you have balances on one or more of your credit cards, you could make a difference in your score quickly simply by paying them down.

Aiming to use 30% or less of your total credit limit is a good benchmark to follow if you’re hoping to improve your credit score. To keep yourself under the limit, set up balance alerts with your credit cards so you know how much of your credit line you’re using at any given time.

4. Increase your credit limits if possible

As you work on paying down your credit cards, you can improve your credit score in a different way. Asking for a credit limit increase can widen the gap between what you owe and your credit limit. Many credit cards let you request an increase online but if you don’t have a great credit score, you may be better off calling and making your case to a customer service rep.

5. Check your credit regularly

Checking your own credit score won’t hurt you and it can be helpful to see where you’re starting from and what’s working for you or against you over time. You can check your free credit score with Credit Sesame. Your information is updated monthly so you can see what kind of progress you’re making in your credit improvement efforts.

When Life Sneaks Up On You: 3 Resources You Can Use When Life’s Unexpected Moments Pop Up

Whether it’s an unexpected medical emergency, your car breaks down, or you accidentally break something, render it useless, and need to repair it as soon as possible, it’s good to have some sort of a backup plan that allows you to handle the problem and get back up on your feet. Today, we’re going to discuss the top 3 resources that can get you out of trouble when life just doesn’t deal you the cards you’d want:

  1. Your savings

Of course, you need to actually have some money put on the side for this to be counted upon, but the concept of saving money is really important; a little bit of planning things in advance can make life so much easier later on. While true that you won’t be able to amass a small fortune in a couple of days, just think about how much money you can accumulate if you don’t go overboard with your spending habits and funnel it towards your savings stash instead.

For starters, set a goal of how much you’re comfortable putting aside each month. Depending on your overall income, it could be $50, it could be $100, or any amount you see fit. But even just a $100 a month will turn into $1200 a year, a whole whopping grand. Just think about how many emergencies this could cover.

  1. Insurance

By paying a small monthly premium and opting to actively protect yourself against predetermined disasters, having the right type of insurance can effectively save you from a financial disaster. For example, some people choose to have their car insured (having a car insurance of some sort may even be legally required in certain countries), so when something happens, the insurance company jumps in and covers the repair costs without you having to worry about it.

Depending on what you’re most exposed to in your life and the risks you are taking on a regular basis, you may want to consider a specific form of insurance custom-tailored to your needs (like personal injury insurance, for example).

  1. Personal loans

If you simply haven’t had the time to prepare in advance and life catches you unprepared, personal loans are an option to consider. These types of loans are used for non-commercial purposes, may be unsecured, and repaid in monthly installments. However, do keep in mind they have a rather high-interest rate, which is something you need to consider before making your final decision.

When it comes to personal loans, it’s easy to get swayed into borrowing more money than you actually need, simply because most of the providers are willing to offer you lower interest rates when you borrow a large sum of money. But no matter what you do, the most important thing is making sure that you’re going to be able to pay it back when the time comes, otherwise things could end up unnecessarily complicated.


When life gets sour, don’t panic and retain a calm mind instead, even though every cell in your body wants to start screaming and throwing tantrums. By remaining calm and level-headed, you’ll find that most of the unexpected problems in life are solvable in one way or another, especially if you’ve prepared for them in advance.

Can You Withdraw From Your RRSPs Before You Retire?

If you have a traditional RRSP, you might be wondering if it is possible to take money out of it for an emergency before you reach retirement age. The answer is “yes” – you can withdraw from your RRSP before you retire, but you will have to pay tax on it immediately. And the sad reality is the taxes might be much more than you would pay if you waited until you were retirement age. Also, if you withdraw money from your RRSP early, then you take the chance of permanently altering the original contribution room you had to save according to government guidelines.

What are the tax consequences of withdrawing from your RRSP ahead of time?

When you withdraw from your RRSPs before you actually retire, then the financial institution holding the funds is required to take an immediate tax and pay it to the government in your name. Depending on what the specific tax rate is, the amount you will pay will probably be somewhere between 10-30% and is determined by how much you withdraw. If you live in Quebec, you might get a slight break with the taxes only being between 5-15%, but there will also be a provincial tax amount held back.

Also, if you withdraw money from your retirement account early, then the amount that you take out is subject to being taxed. The money from your RRSP becomes “taxable income” – so in reality, you are taxed on the same money twice. Whether or not that will affect how much you owe on your taxes is related to your earnings and income situation. But before you take money from your RRSP, it is essential to understand whether it could put you in a higher tax bracket and end up costing you a whole lot.

What is the anti-avoidance rule?

In July of 2011, a new anti-avoidance rule went into effect to encourage people not to take money from their Assiniboine Credit Union RRSP accounts. The government decided that any money that you withdraw before retiring is considered income and taxed accordingly. The rule is that you are supposed to pay the amount of tax that equals the total amount of money that you gained at a rate of 100%.

What are the two reasons that withdrawing from your RRSP makes financial sense?

If you use it to buy your first home

The laws state that you and your spouse are both allowed to borrow as much as $25,000 out of your RRSP account if you are going to use it as a down payment on your first home. Under the Home Buyers’ Plan, if you use your RRSP money for a home purchase, then you don’t have to pay any taxes on it – as long as you pay it back within 15 years from when you borrow it.

If you use it to pay for training or education

If you or your spouse wants to use your RRSP for educational goals or to attend training, then you may both borrow up to $20,000 from your plan to pay for either part-time or full-time educational expenses under the LifeLong Learning Plan. The maximum you can withdraw in any one year is $10,000. If you do take out money to further your educational goals, it won’t be taxed as long as you pay it back within 10 years from when you borrow it.

If you find yourself in an emergency where you need money quickly, then you might want to really think twice about withdrawing money from your RRSP instead of trying to take out a loan. Sometimes, depending on the amount you withdraw and your income tax bracket, you might end up owing more than you think. If you use it for either a first-time home purchase or to further your education, then it might be a good idea. Just make sure that you pay it back in the time allotted, or you can end up being taxed on it twice – which can add up quickly.

Benefits of Owning Your Own Business

A lot of people would agree that putting up your own business brings a lot of benefits. Surely enough, that is true, but it has to be a successful one.

Now, if you’ve saved up some money and you’re still contemplating whether or not you’re going to create your own business venture, then I am here to convince you.

In today’s article, I will be going over some of the benefits of owning your own business.

  1.    You are the Boss

So, you’re probably accustomed to taking orders from your boss and doing what is required of you every single day.

That may be good and all, but there might be times where you just don’t want to work on something, especially if it is something that you do not want to do.

Well, if you have your own business, you are the boss. You are going to be the one calling the shots. You are going to be the one who steers the company/business towards the direction you want to go.

Essentially, you have all the power. Don’t want to work for today? That’s fine, you can just have someone to work on something for you.

  1.    Hire Your Own Staff

When you are going to do something grand, say, putting up your own money-making machine, you need to have people who you can trust.

When you are the leader of the business, you have the responsibility of hiring your own staff. Perhaps you want to hire your best friend to do some accounting duties. Or maybe, you want your wife to do the Human resources work that is needed by your business. Whatever it is, you have complete control of who you want to hire.

  1.    You Can Make Investments

Maybe you want to create a restaurant business or maybe, you want to sell some computer components. Whatever it is, you’re going to be the one to make the investments. After all, you are the boss, right?

  1.    Management

Running a venture from the ground up can be tiresome, so you definitely need to be in complete control.

If your business has grown considerably, you will need to hire more personnel to handle the workload. The beauty of owning your own business is that you can manage everything in your company. You even have the power to manage the finances as well.

Speaking of finances, if you find that your business requires some more money, you might want to consider getting some from cash advance online schemes.

From the staff person to the manager, you have what it takes to keep your service up and running.

  1.    Feel Pride

And lastly, once you’ve built your own business and made it successful for the years to come, you will feel that sense of pride and accomplishment.

Let me tell you, owning your own business is hard. But, once you’ve figured it out how to stay relevant for the years to come, nothing can beat that feeling of pride.


So there you have it. There are a lot of benefits to owning your own business. You are the boss, you can hire the people you trust, you can steer the company to the right direction, and best of all, you can feel awesome just making a venture from the ground up.