Working From Home – Can I Claim Any Money Back For Tax?

If you run an office from home then you can expect to have higher domestic bills. Why you may ask, well for one you will be using more electricity as you will be using your computer throughout the day and other appliances. You will also use more gas for central heating; you may even notice your water bills going up a small amount too.If you are working from home but are employed by a company then you are entitled to claim a proportion of these expenses back against your tax bill at the end of the financial year. But HM Revenue and Customs in Britain would rather that you didn’t. Back in 2005 it capped the tax relief available for gas, electric, water and phone bills to just two pounds a week for employed workers. This is as in effect by working from home you are saving your company money. The more people a company has working from home, the less it needs to spend on bills of their own such as electricity, gas, rent for premises etc.So why should the company keep those savings and expect the taxman to cover your costs? This is because it is down to your employer to reimburse you any costs by working from home, not the taxman. But alas more often than not the company will not as they see it that you are benefiting as you do not have to pay for travel costs.If you are self-employed working from home then it is a different story, and a better one. You can claim some of your home bills such as gas, electric, phone and the rent against tax. But you do need to demonstrate that your home office is only used for business purposes. So if you are working in the corner of your kitchen then I don’t think it will go down very well with the taxman. The easiest way to work out what you are entitled to is by square footage, so for instance if your home office takes up fifteen percent of your home then as a rule of thumb you can claim fifteen percent back of your bill s against tax.My advice is if you are running an office out of your home, then it is best to speak to an accountant to calculate it for you. They know the exact amounts you can claim back and how. They are the experts so ensure that you inform your accountant exactly what you use for business purposes in your home.

How to Find a Great Realtor to Run Your Property “Comparables” (Comps)

Establishing value on your property is critical. Skill number one above all other skills to master.

The most important aspects of being a real estate investor is the ability to establish value on houses or properties you are considering buying, wholesaling, or flipping. Irregardless of location, be it California, New York, Houston, or Dallas its a must know skill to learn in time.

But how do you master comping property if you do not have Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access? How can you practice and practice running comps (like I have until you breeze through it), looking at land, comparing variables like year built, location, lot square feet, bed and baths, subdivision and lastly what is the property next too? Is it next to a commercial center, stinky ranch or pig farm or a nice area with a creek or lake? These factors are important to know in learning to master running comps on property.

Before you can become proficient with running comps you need MLS access from a realtor if you are not one already. And this is how you do it. You want to find a realtor you know on a personal level, maybe a friend, friend of the family, or relative. If you don’t have a realtor on hand you need to make friends with one.

This is how you go about making friends and getting MLS access. Drive for dollars and find a vacant, boarded up house ones you want to consider buying or wholesaling. Find two or three, then call a few Realtors up tell them you are real estate buyer or investor and need a good realtor to buy through and run comps.

Start off only giving them a few addresses to comp then a week later give them a few more, meanwhile take them out to coffee get to know them, their likes dislikes, hobbies, etc. Form a relationship with them. A week later give them a few more comps to run, be sure the houses are in your actual buying areas of interest. In other words make sure its real comps of real houses. Its one way to get to know your platinum areas.

Phone your realtor talk to him or her about the houses he or she comped. Make the chat a casual conversation. Ask them if they would like you to refer them (realtor) to the sellers who want to list. Of course the realtor will say yes! Let them know not all sellers you meet are desperate or motivated sellers and some simply need a good realtor to list with.

Then when a seller does not want to sell ask them if they would like to talk to your realtor to see if listing is right for them. Call the Realtor and give them the seller’s name, phone, address, and the condition of the house. This will show the realtor you are serious. No one works for free. Keep track of those referrals maybe the realtor will give you a small finders fee once listed and sold, just don’t ask for one at this point. Your sole goal is MLS access! The gold standard of running comps.

Somewhere in the discussions you are giving them the comps to run, they start to get a bit overwhelmed at the extra work load of running the comps for you. This is what you want. They need to realize in the back of their minds without you mentioning it, they should just give you MLS access.

However, when you feel its a good time tell them you can “save them time buy getting MLS access as an “real estate assistant” or such, just whatever is easier for them” which they can ethically do. This is why, they have real estate assistants who run comps for them, look up properties on the MLS and help out in the office for them.

If you are giving them leads they are going to be more than happy to give you the access you need once you establish trust with them. It is wise to be working about 2-3 Realtors at once to see who is actually a big picture or forward thinker. Do this until they get you the MLS access. Do this until you can speak their language. Do this until you get your MLS access. But stay in touch with the other Realtors, because you never know when you will need them too.

Let this soak in a bit and see if it helps you to get the MLS access you need. Zillow or no other comp service is worth a darn, hey its hard enough to establish value with the MLS as it is. Some Realtors will say they can run the comps but a realtor see’s comps through a different light than the investor. Here is one major difference, WE write the $200,000 check to BUY the house, Realtors only list the house. We better be right-on with our comps! Get it!?! So they see running comps through a different pair of glasses, and this is one of many reasons why you need the actual MLS access yourself.

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