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Moving Tips

Marrying households: 7 savvy moving tips for newlyweds
Launching your pad: 7 savvy tips for newlyweds planning a move

(BPT) – If you’re planning a wedding or you’ve just tied the knot, congratulations! Getting ready to start the next chapter of your life with the one you love can be an exciting time, filled with anticipation about your future together.

That said, combining two households can take considerable planning and preparation, especially if both parties own troves of treasured possessions. As you are getting ready to make the transition into a single house or apartment, consider how the following suggestions may make your move easier.

* Pare down possessions. After unwrapping your wedding gifts, take an objective look at your collective furniture, household goods, clothing and other items. Where do you see duplicates? Whose décor are you more likely to use? Are those old clothes you’ve had since high school really worth keeping? Now is the time to be generous in donating unneeded items to a local charity (or selling them on Craigslist).

* Nix the shopping blitz. Although those wedding checks and gift cards are burning a hole in your pocket, postpone your purchases until after you move so you don’t end up needlessly hauling them to your next locale.

* DIY on the moving. Rather than shelling out a small fortune hiring a moving company, simply rent a truck that you can drive without a commercial license. As a rule of thumb, seek 150 cubic feet of space for the furnishings of each room in your present house; that means a 12- or 16-foot Penske rental truck should accommodate the contents of a small apartment or condo. Remember to reserve your truck at least two weeks ahead, and ask for the discounts provided to AAA members and military personnel.

* Invest in packing supplies. This is not the time to skimp by using flimsy containers, newspapers and cheap tape to pack up your treasured belongings. Save yourself time and frustration later by picking up sturdy boxes, labels, tape and bubble wrap from your truck rental store so you can ensure everything arrives at its destination safe, unbroken and easy to unpack.

* Party on. Inviting friends and family to help you with your move can be a win-win for all; many hands make light work when it comes to loading and unloading your truck, and you can offer incentives by springing for pizza and beverages at your new home afterward.

* Learn how to load. Apply logistical strategy to filling up your moving truck, perhaps by following the guidelines offered by Penske’s Truck Wizard. In general, heavier items should go in the back of the truck, with lighter items in front and on top.

* Practice makes perfect. Driving a moving truck isn’t difficult, but it’s definitely different from driving a car or pick-up. Take time to familiarize yourself with those differences; for example, you must use your mirrors to navigate turns, you should avoid sudden stops or lane changes and give yourself extra time.

Need more information about the advantages of renting your own moving truck? Check out PenskeTruckRental.com for details.

5 Skin Care Misconceptions

Dermatologist debunks top 5 skincare misconceptions

(BPT) – Figuring out what’s best for your skin can feel like solving a difficult mystery – everyone’s condition is unique, there are countless treatment options and people will do almost anything for a clear complexion.

“When it comes to your skin, there are many elements to consider,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist, CEO and founder of Curology. “Clogged pores, acne and other common issues can be a result of age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. I often hear about common misconceptions that cause otherwise well-meaning people to make mistakes that trigger larger skincare problems.”

To help people better understand skincare and take control of their daily regimen, Dr. Lortscher shares the top misconceptions about skincare and acne.

Misconception: Exercise and sweat can cause acne.
Fact: Sweating while exercising doesn’t cause acne. The eccrine glands produce sweat and the sebaceous glands produce oil – so revving up the sweat glands doesn’t actually turn on the oil glands involved in acne breakouts. The truth is sweating and humidity can aggravate breakouts by giving the bacteria on the skin a better environment to grow.

Cleansing is key post-workout, but keep in mind vigorously cleansing your skin can also be a source of friction that aggravates acne. The best strategy is to splash comfortable-temperature water on your face and neck, then pat dry gently.

Misconception: Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne.
Fact: Many people have heard that chocolate and junk food are the worst foods for your skin, but modern science hasn’t found a direct link between acne and oily foods.

Diets are like acne treatments: highly individual. That’s not to say your eating habits can’t affect your skin. Eating simple carbs and sugar raises your blood sugar levels, causing your body to produce excess insulin, in turn stimulating oil production and leading to more inflammation and increased acne severity.

Misconception: DIY skincare and home remedies are good for your skin.
Fact: The DIY craze has extended to skincare routines, giving people ample ways to create their own remedies at home. However, it’s wise to be careful about the ingredients applied to your skin.

Some people try baking soda as a cost-effective scrub or mask. Baking soda is pH 9 and the pH of the skin is 4.5-5 or so. Therefore, scrubbing your face with a baking soda paste can be harsh and disturb your skin’s natural barrier, leading to red, raw and sensitive skin and leaving it susceptible to breakout.

Others suggest lemon juice as a home remedy for acne but it can cause significant dryness, redness and irritation. Lemon juice may have an exfoliating effect on the most superficial dead skin cells, but there are better ways to treat your acne.

If you’re fed up with DIY remedies and over-the-counter products just haven’t worked for you, you have options. Try custom prescription skincare like Curology, a service that gets you expert dermatology care from the comfort of your home. Just take a few photos and a skin quiz to get a prescription formula customized to your individual needs.

Misconception: You can make your pores smaller.
Fact: Most people want smaller pores, but in reality, you can’t change the size or force them “open” or “closed.”

Pore size is genetic; you can’t shrink them or make pores go away. To keep large pores from worsening, treat acne breakouts, don’t pick and use sun protection. Sun exposure breaks down collagen, which is the support structure surrounding the pores, so pores do appear larger as you age.

Misconception: You only need to wear sunscreen on sunny days.
Fact: It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy; if you plan to spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen daily. It is estimated that damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun is responsible for up to 80 percent of skin aging.

SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Preparing Your Home for Older Visitors

Senior guest? How to prepare your home for older visitors
How to host a senior guest in your home with success

(BPT) – Whether it’s for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home can be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.

“Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations,” says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living’s senior vice president of resident and family engagement. “Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults’ varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs.”

Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.

Outdoors
The walkways to many homes are cracked or uneven, which is a risk factor for falls. Make sure the pathway is cleared and easy to see, shovel show in the winter and sweep leaves in the fall. Stairs can be tricky to maneuver as well. If possible, add a ramp that leads to your door. If there are stairs, install handrails on each side. Entryways divided by a threshold can be tricky for someone with mobility issues. Eliminate this common tripping hazard when seniors visit.

Clutter
The easiest thing you can do is remove clutter (especially on the floor) to allow sufficient space for senior guests who may be in a wheelchair to maneuver around rooms. Remove or tape down all cords. Rugs may look nice but they are a leading tripping hazard. Remove all accent rugs from your home, and in areas like the entryway where you must have mats, make sure they are secured with non-slip material.

Light
Seniors need more light than you do in your home, particularly in notoriously dim areas such as entryways, hallways and staircases. Replace existing soft light bulbs with brighter or higher wattage ones and add motion-sensor lights to bathrooms. Adding night lights throughout your home is an easy addition that helps seniors see better, especially at night or on darker winter days.

Stairs
Ideally, a senior won’t have to navigate stairs, but if you have some in your home, you can make the space safer by having railings on both sides. Railings should be at least 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate seniors with limited dexterity and aging grips. What’s more, help each stair be more visible by using contrast strips (available at your local hardware store).

Bathrooms
Make bathrooms safer by adding well-placed grab bars next to the toilet and in bathing spaces. In the shower or tub, add non-slip strips and a shower seat for comfort and ease of use. For guests who are staying awhile, consider adding a handheld, adjustable-height showerhead. Finally, set the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees as to avoid unintended burns.

Room selection
Whether your loved one is staying one night, one month or more, selecting the right room will increase their comfort and safety. One-level living is key, so if possible use a room on the main floor with easy access to the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Furniture, including the bed and chairs, should be at a good height (neither too low nor too high) to be easily used. Knobs can be difficult, so consider replacing round door handles with lever handles.

“In addition to these tips, I recommend having a conversation with your loved one before their stay,” says Terry. “Talk to them about what will make them feel at home in your home. What’s most important is enjoying your visit to the fullest and spending valuable time together.”

5 essential planning tips to make your outdoor wedding perfect

 

(BPT) – There’s so much to love about an outdoor wedding. Whether it’s set on the beach, at a winery or even in the backyard of a family member, pledging your eternal commitment to your partner in beautiful natural surroundings makes the day extra memorable.

If you’re thinking of holding the big day in the great outdoors, you’re in good company. Over the past decade, outdoor ceremonies are on the rise: 52 percent of couples tied the knot in an outdoor ceremony in 2017, compared to 29 percent in 2009, according to the TheKnot.com’s 2017 Real Weddings Study. Couples are also shying away from churches, hotels and banquet halls as settings for the ceremony receptions and opting instead for less conventional sites, such as rooftop event spaces, historic homes, wineries and parks.

Unlike the traditional venues, an outdoor ceremony and reception has its own set of considerations when it comes to planning. These practical tips will get you started in building the outdoor wedding of your dreams.

* Sketch out the itinerary early: Before you sign the contract with your chosen venue, discuss in detail your vision with the coordinator, and before you leave, be perfectly clear on what’s permissible and what’s off-limits. If you’re envisioning dancing the night away under the stars, you don’t want to find out three weeks before the big day that the venue has restrictions on equipment and noise. Before you sign any contract, have your itinerary ready and discuss it from start to finish.

* Plan your equipment needs: One thing to know about holding a wedding in a less conventional spot is venues can vary wildly on what they can provide for you in terms of supplies and equipment. Take time to walk through the entire event so you’re clear on what you may need to supply yourself. Even if a venue lacks essentials like power outlets and bathroom stalls, don’t give up. There are affordable solutions out there to help you upgrade the space to a fully functional venue. Your local rental store, for example, is an essential stop for anyone planning a wedding. In addition to all the wedding gear you could need, from decorations to seating, they also have lots of other equipment and ideas to help you plan the perfect outdoor event.

* Always have a Plan B: It’s impossible to predict what the weather will bring for an outdoor wedding, which can add uncertainty. But you can reduce the stress by planning for the worst conditions. Is hot and humid weather a possibility? How about a thunderstorm? A deposit on a rented air-conditioned tent and a set of misting fans can be a smart move. You may not end up needing these, but your peace of mind will be worth every penny.

* Set up a kids’ station: Many outdoor reception spaces have a built-in advantage for hosting pint-sized guests: There’s more space for them to stretch their legs and be kids without disrupting other guests. Create a kid-friendly corner featuring games, activities or even a rented inflatable bounce house that lets kids be active and let off some steam. They’ll be thrilled (and so will their parents).

* Encourage exploration: If the big event is held in a public place, help your guests fully appreciate the experience. Does the park have a hiking path that leads to a beautiful waterfall? Have maps printed and leave out a stack for those who decide to take a little break. Are you getting married in a beautiful garden at a historic mansion? Ask the venue if you can take extra brochures to offer the guests, or set aside time for special guided tours. This is a sure way to show consideration for your guests and make the day memorable.

When the pieces fall into place, planning and hosting an outdoor wedding is a beautiful way to begin your lives together. To find a rental store in your area to help you plan the perfect event, visit RentalHQ.com.

 

Travel Insurance Tips

Travel insurance tips for a worry-free vacation

(BPT) – Vacation may be a time to relax, but things can take a serious downturn if you lose your passport or if there is disastrous weather at your destination – or worse, you need an emergency medical evacuation. Though travel insurance can seem like just one more expense, without it, an emergency evacuation can cost over $100,000!

Travel insurance is a simple way to protect your belongings and minimize losses. Angela Wong of USAA Travel Services says, “Travel protection, offered through companies like Travel Insured International, provides travelers with that extra peace of mind so that they’re covered should the unexpected happen while away from home.”

To get a quote, you will need the following information:
* Number of travelers
* Age of travelers
* Trip dates
* Overall trip cost (which includes pre-paid, non-refundable expenses such as accommodations, airfare, cruises, tours and excursions)

Tip: To compare quotes and make more sense of them, divide the quote by the number of days you’ll be traveling to get the cost of coverage per day.

In most cases, the chances are that your travels will go without a hitch. However, if they don’t, you could be in real financial trouble. Wong adds, “Benefits often provide coverage for emergency evacuation, trip cancellation and interruption protection, medical insurance and baggage insurance.”

* Trip cancellation or interruption: With trip interruption coverage, you’ll have the money to refund the expenses of a new return ticket or to stay in a comfortable hotel.

* Emergency illness or injury: With travel medical coverage, you won’t be paying a huge medical bill. You’ll also have assistance services – in your own language – to locate a suitable medical facility and arrange transportation.

* Baggage delay, loss or theft: With coverage for delayed bags, you can relax. You’ll also be reimbursed for the essential items you need to start enjoying your trip.

* Bankruptcy of travel supplier: You’ll be able to recoup your expenses and reschedule your vacation.

* Weather-related delay: With protection against weather damage, you’ll be able to recover your pre-paid costs while travel assistance services will help you arrange a vacation to a new location.

With these coverage options, it is important to be upfront about pre-existing conditions and read the fine print to understand what you’re paying for. Remember: Don’t pick one just because it’s cheap; make sure you understand your needs and purchase one that makes sense.

While people understand the importance of travel insurance, they don’t often understand how it works. It’s really quite easy and no different than auto or home insurance. If an incident occurs, just contact your travel protection provider and start a claim to receive reimbursement and assistance.

At the end of the day, a vacation is about spending time with loved ones, unwinding from the daily routine and making happy memories. It’s not about worrying endlessly about all the things that could go wrong. Therefore, when it comes to protecting ourselves and our precious belongings, we shouldn’t think twice about travel insurance – it’s a must.

For more information on travel insurance coverage and to request a quote, visit USAA Travel or Travel Insured International.

Would direct sales work for you?

(BPT) – The Federal Reserve Board discovered in a survey of working Americans that nearly half of U.S. adults don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a $400 emergency. If that’s a concern for you, you might be thinking about joining the 44 million Americans who have found ways to make money in addition to their main source of income. Common options include waiting tables, working retail, becoming a rideshare driver and direct selling.

Direct selling, also called direct-to-consumer sales, has been around for over 160 years, and companies like Avon, Tupperware, WorldVentures and Amway have been offering new business opportunities to independent sales representatives since they opened. The direct-sales business is still booming, with a record 20.5 million people involved in the U.S. alone in 2016. The estimated direct retail sales of $35.54 billion in 2016 was the second-highest in direct-selling history.

Is working in direct sales right for you? Benefits of working in the industry can include:

* Flexibility — You determine your schedule, and you choose to work as many — or as few — hours as you want. If you have a knack for direct selling, you could ultimately make it your main source of income.

* Personal growth and development — Take advantage of the tools and training offered by your direct selling company to help you build your business.

* Companionship — Connect with fellow sales representatives and prospective customers, which can lead to lasting relationships.

Passion for travel and financial freedom prompted Wayne Nugent, founder of WorldVentures, to launch his direct sales business in 2005. “We’ve been changing the way people take vacations for more than a decade, all while helping our independent representatives discover their potential and experience more in life,” says Nugent.

The direct seller of travel and leisure club memberships, is just one of many opportunities waiting for you. Whether you decide to go into direct sales, housesitting or part-time bartending, the possibilities for supplemental income are limited only by your imagination.

5 savvy strategies to calm your travel worries

(BPT) – Traveling can make for some of the best moments of your life, but it is not without its challenges. After all, there are rooms to book, activities to plan and, of course, luggage to worry about. Without the right strategies, these challenges can seem pretty daunting.

How daunting? A survey from Honeywell shows that thinking about luggage and whether it’s been successfully loaded onto the plane is one of the top worries travelers have when embarking on a new trip. Fortunately, there’s a solution to that and many other challenges employed by savvy travelers. How savvy are you? Read on to see how many of these strategies you already use and find some new tactics to round out your portfolio.

* Downsize your wallet. Your billfold is a wealth of personal and financial information, but you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in the same basket. Clear your wallet of everything except a credit card, a backup and your insurance information and leave the rest at home. Pack some cash in your carry-on and you’ll ensure a missing wallet won’t be a total loss.

* Travel during the off-season. Travel can be expensive, especially if you’re flying during peak season. This makes winter travel to many locations significantly cheaper. However, many people refuse to fly during this time because they believe the weather will hinder their flight. Fortunately, many delays can be avoided thanks to modern technology. Honeywell’s GoDirect Weather allows pilots to safely navigate through snowstorms, hurricanes and other adverse weather conditions to provide you a safe, smooth and affordable flight to your destination.

* Pack a one-day survival kit. Lost luggage can happen to anyone, and that’s why it’s important to have a backup plan. Enter your carry-on. Instead of using it only for the items you want with you on the plane, pack it full of everything you’ll need to survive for 24 hours in your destination. That way, if your luggage should be misplaced at arrival, you won’t be stuck scrambling for everything once you land.

* Breathe easy while flying. Forty-four percent of survey respondents said they felt the air quality inside the aircraft cabin was so poor it could make people sick. This is a myth, and modern environmental control systems, designed by Honeywell, not only keep the cabin pressure comfortable, they scrub the air regularly of toxins, microbes, molds, viruses and even smells. This means you can breathe deep and focus on your destination without sacrificing your comfort.

* Do your research. Getting the lay of the land is one of the most exciting parts of traveling to a new location, and a little preparation allows you to enjoy the journey without getting lost. Make the most of your time while you’re traveling by planning some activities in advance and mapping them out. You’ll save time when you land if you know how far the airport is from your hotel and that hot restaurant you want to try. 

Never stop traveling

Travelers today are savvier than ever, but old myths die hard. In planning your next adventure, focus on the tips above and ignore the myths. It’s a surefire strategy to enjoy every moment of your travels and create memories that last a lifetime.

Read more about Honeywell Aerospace on the Follow the Aero blog.

4 Traits to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

BPT) – Planning a wedding is no small task. In order to enjoy the process (and stay sane), it’s important to recognize early on which details can be decided quickly, and which ones deserve more time and care.

When it comes to wedding photos, you can’t go wrong with a little extra time and thought, because there’s no such thing as a do-over. Choosing the right person for the job makes all the difference in getting that collection of photos you’ll treasure forever.

When your special day rolls around, a professional photographer will have the skill and artistry in capturing those beautiful candid moments as well as the more formal portraits. Here are some traits to look for during your search that signal you’re in good hands.

1. A portfolio you love. Your venue may have a list of “preferred professionals” to choose from, but don’t feel obligated to stick with their list. Feel free to explore your options, and browse local guides and websites for the ones that have strong portfolios that speak to you. As you look, pay attention to mood, style and facial expressions. Skilled and experienced photographers should have a strong and varied wedding day collection.

2. They help you think through the day. A good listener who takes a genuine interest in your plans — and makes sure you feel elated with their work — is always a good sign. Things like venue, lighting, time of day, the number of people you want to capture, number of settings and the itinerary are just a few factors they need to consider to plan and organize the shoot. If you’re not sure about something, ask their opinion. A professional will give you an honest assessment along with lots of suggestions so you enjoy your special day and capture those priceless images.

3. Something just clicks. And it’s not just the shutter. Bad puns aside, keep in mind you’re going to be spending the day with your photographer. In fact, you could very well be spending more time with the photographer than anyone else — even with your beloved. Don’t skip the in-person, face-to-face meeting when planning your special day. You want to be sure this is someone who makes you both feel open and relaxed, so trust your gut feeling.

4. They’re the complete package. A professional will complete the time-consuming (and sometimes overwhelming) task of sorting through hundreds of shots for you and put their skills to work in editing the images. What you should get is a collection of hand-picked images, all perfectly edited, cropped and toned, so they capture the best moments and emotions of the day.

The one bearing the camera has a great responsibility: They are recording the first pages of history for your new family. To make sure you find the one that has the experience and the flair the day calls for, a professional photographer is always the right call. Start your search with the Professional Photographers of America by visiting FindAPhotographer.com/WeddingPhotos.

How you can improve your FICO Score

(BPT) – Anyone who has tried to borrow money to purchase a car, buy a home or open a revolving line of credit may be familiar with the term FICO Score. Most lenders use this scoring model, which essentially determines a person’s creditworthiness.

“The FICO Score may seem like a big, daunting mystery, especially since your score can have a huge impact on your ability to borrow money at a competitive rate,” said Jim Johnston, of Colorado-based Bellco Credit Union. “The truth is, however, you do have power over your credit score, and there are things you can do to improve it over time.”

How FICO Score is calculated

FICO was named for the data analytics company Fair Isaac Co., which created the first credit-scoring system. In general, a credit score breaks down as follows:

* 35 percent is your payment history — Do you pay bills on time?

* 30 percent is the amounts you owe (on loans, credit cards, etc.) — Owing money on different credit accounts is not necessarily bad, especially if you’re paying your bills on time every month. FICO considers how many of your accounts have balances, if you’re using your entire credit line, and how much of any installment loan you still owe.

* 15 percent is the length of your credit history — Having a long credit history is good, but even if you’re young and barely have any credit history (such as credit cards and a car loan), you can still have a high FICO score.

* 10 percent is your credit mix — What is your mix of credit, meaning credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage loans, etc.? A good mix of credit, especially with a history of on-time payments, is helpful to your score.

* 10 percent is any new credit — If you’ve opened numerous credit accounts in a short period, this can have a negative impact. Although closing a credit account still shows up on your credit history, it has no impact on your score.

Tips to improve your score

Repairing your credit takes time, so it’s important to be patient. Below are three things you can do.

1. Check your credit report — The first thing you should do is get a free copy of your credit report and make sure there are no errors. If you find an error, you have the right to dispute it with the credit bureau.

2. Get organized — Don’t make any more late payments on your credit cards. The best way to do this is to get organized. Set up auto payments through your bank or credit union, or set reminders to make payments before they are due.

3. Pay down your debt — While this is no easy task, it will make a difference. Use your credit report to make a list of all your credit cards and the balances you owe. Pick the credit cards with the highest interest rates, and tackle those balances first. Most importantly, don’t add to your debt by continuing to use your credit cards.

Your FICO Score does not take into account annual income, length of employment, or other sources of financial support such as alimony or child support. However, these are things that your bank or credit union can consider when you’re borrowing money, so it’s not all about the FICO Score.

Knowledge is power. Understand what your FICO Score is, how a good or bad score can impact your life, and if a low FICO Score is holding you back. There’s no better time than now to begin to make positive changes to improve your score.

Rent vs. own: Which is right for you?

(BPT) – If you’re thinking of buying your first home, you’ve probably wrestled with the decision to rent or own your home — and for good reason.

Owning a home is a big commitment. With it comes a lot of responsibility and a long-term financial relationship.

But which is right for you? To answer that, let’s lean into the facts.

The improving housing market

Good news! Since the depths of the recession, the housing market has made a heroic comeback. That can be attributed to a number of factors, including a drop in unemployment and a stronger economy.

But as the housing market has recovered, it has experienced some growing pains. With a sharp increase in demand, housing supplies are being strained. This means, among other things, that prices are going up.

For families and individuals still recovering financially, finding affordable housing options can be difficult. This applies to home sales and rentals.

Making the decision

With rental and sales markets heading toward record highs, the decision falls back to what is best for you. Specifically, what is financially feasible.

Let’s look at the basic numbers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median gross rent paid from 2012 to 2016 was $949 monthly. Compare that with the median selected monthly owner costs with a mortgage, which was $1,491 over the same time period.

Then there are utilities. The median monthly electricity cost for renters in 2015 was $82, with owners paying $117. For piped gas, the median amount renters pay monthly is $42, while owners pay $58.

For renters, it is wise to carry renter’s insurance. Some landlords will also charge maintenance and other fees. Utility costs will also vary depending on the quality of the structure and materials used as well as size of the rental space.

Homeowners will pay property taxes, insurance and an estimated $500 annually for routine maintenance, according to the Census Bureau.

The benefits of homeownership

At a glance, it may seem that renting is the lower cost option. But there are certain benefits to homeownership that may offset the additional regular costs. According to the Tax Policy Center, the primary benefit to owning a home is imputed rental income. Simply put, making a monthly payment on a home that you own is like paying rent to yourself.

While that money is not taxed, it comes with another benefit — potential tax deductions. When you file your federal taxes, you may be able to deduct a portion of the mortgage interest you pay. Talk to a tax professional for more information on the expenses you can deduct and the limits for those deductions.

Beyond the numbers

Homeownership provides a variety of benefits beyond the numbers. For many people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make. The upgrades, work and care put into the home that you own can add value to your investment. It also adds a sense of pride knowing that it is yours.

“Having a place to call your own, a place to return to at the end of the day, makes life better,” said Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. President Eric Hamilton. “You can see it from the moment they make the decision — that sense of pride. It’s a life-changing event and a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, (http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.

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