Ann M. Vracin

ANN M. VRACIN

YOUR PERSONAL REAL ESTATE RESOURCE

DIY Pallet Furniture You’ll Want to Try

Jan 28, 2015 in Homeowner. 0 Comment

DIY Pallet Furniture You’ll Want to Try

Green is definitely in – not just the color, but the practice. More homeowners are becoming aware of their impact on the planet and choosing eco-friendly options for their home decor pieces. Pallet furniture gives a rustic and rugged aesthetic, adds texture to your design, and is easier on the planet compared to other traditional furniture options. Take a look at these DIY pallet projects and decide which one you’ll try first.

Outdoor Table

For this project, you’ll need a couple of wooden pallets, a 4x4 cut to four six-inch lengths, four casters and their hardware, L-brackets and screws. Stain is optional, but it can give a customized look to your final table and provides some weatherproofing. You may want to paint or stain the pallets before assembling them to ensure even coverage. Use L-brackets and screws to attach the legs to the top of the base pallet, and then again to the underside of the uppermost pallet. Affix the casters to the underside of your table, and you’ve got a simple and charming patio table that’s easy to move around.

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The Digital Driver’s License

Jan 26, 2015 in Tech. 0 Comment

The Digital Driver’s License

Driving a car involves certain habits that an experienced driver takes for granted. Most people drive their daily routes automatically with hardly any thought at all. Likewise, a majority of people find it easy to keep their drivers licenses on them when they drive. But who wouldn’t love the freedom of not having to worry if you have it in your wallet? Thanks to the prevalence of smartphone technology, that option may be right around the corner. 

Going Digital

In Iowa, a plan is in place that will allow the driver’s license to go digital. Many see this as a natural progression of using the available technology to the fullest. The Iowa Department of Transportation is working on a smartphone app that will give drivers in the state of Iowa access to a digitally encoded license. The company developing the app, MorphoTrust USA, also currently produces the physical licenses for 42 states. 

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Rules for Running a Successful Small Business

Jan 23, 2015 in Business/Finance. 0 Comment

Rules for Running a Successful Small Business

Small businesses have grown over the last few years, and it appears that 2015 will follow suit. If you’re thinking about starting your own business this year, follow these guidelines to gain a foothold on success.

Start With the Right Legal Structure

Should you operate as a sole proprietorship, or as a corporate entity? Your decision will depend on whether or not you have employees, whether you’re providing goods or services, or if you have partners. 

You’ll automatically start out as a sole proprietor. Keeping that status is much less expensive than becoming a corporate entity, but it also risks your personal credit and liability. If more than one person is involved, filing for corporate status will spell out the equity each partner has in the business, and what will be done if it dissolves or if one partner leaves. It also gives you some legal protection. Online resources like Legalzoom or Incfile can help you minimize expenses associated with obtaining corporate status.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Jan 21, 2015 in Homeowner. 0 Comment

5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Whether you’re planning a remodel of your current home or building a new one, it’s essential to communicate with your contractor about what you expect. Knowing what to ask is even more vital. Use these questions to ensure you’re getting quality service and the best value for your money.

What’s Your Business History?

Check out your prospective contractor before you sign any agreement. Look for a contractor that is licensed in your state, has above board payment practices for employees, and has been in business for a number of years. Also check for memberships in professional associations.

Consider it a red flag if you learn of bankruptcy proceedings, frequent relocation of business headquarters, frequent name changes, poor reputation with the Better Business Bureau, high-pressure sales tactics, or arrangement of the “perfect” loan for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for and follow up with references that pertain to the job at hand.

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Tax Benefits for Landlords

Jan 19, 2015 in Homeowner. 0 Comment

Tax Benefits for Landlords

Owning rental property doesn’t have to mean paying huge sums in taxes each year. Check to see if you’re eligible for these tax deductions that are available to rental property owners.

Interest

If your property is mortgaged, you can deduct the interest you’ve paid. There are a few stipulations, however. The funds should have been used for rental activity such as improvements, purchases, or goods and services used to improve the property. You can’t deduct the interest if you’ve paid it with a second loan, or if you’re a co-signer on the property deed but not the mortgage.

Repairs

You’ll need to walk a fine line with repairs. Replacements or upgrades are considered improvements and aren’t tax deductible. Keep consistent and thorough documentation for any repairs done, including notes of the original tenant complaint, invoicing that specifies mending or only replacing damaged portions with materials of the same quality, and bookkeeping notations when payments are made that mark each entry as a repair, not an improvement. Use words like fix, patch, repair, mend, recondition or restore rather than improvement, replacement or remodel. Make sure your accountant knows how to classify these expenses as well.

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Aviara Real Estate

2555 Townsgate Road, #200
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Ann M. Vracin
Mobile: (805) 469-0693
Email: vsalink@aol.com
CalBRE #: 01501214