Is Your Apartment Tax-Deductible When You WFH? | ApartmentSearch

Woman holding baby while sitting at desk on computerIf you’re someone who primarily works from the comfort of their home, you might find yourself wondering, “Can I write off my home office?” This is certainly a valid question and one that can possibly save you a lot of money when tax season rolls around. Learn what (if anything) is tax-deductible when your apartment doubles as your office space!

But before we begin, please know this post is not intended as legal or tax advice; rather, it’s simply meant to provide some helpful resources for your tax journey. If you need additional support or guidance as you’re filing, we encourage you to seek professional tax prep services.

Can I write off my home office?

With so many of us working from home these days, there’s a lot of curiosity around whether this situation can yield any tax breaks. Unfortunately, you won’t qualify for the home office tax deduction as a full-time remote employee in most cases.

In other words, if you work remotely — but you’re not an employer or business owner — you won’t be able to write off your home office. With that said, this might be available as a state tax deduction for *some* remote workers, so don’t give up all hope!

Anyone who’s self-employed or runs a business out of their home will likely have better luck with this write-off. According to the IRS, there are two basic requirements to qualify for a home office deduction: (1) regular and exclusive use and (2) principal place of your business.

The term ‘regular and exclusive use’ means you regularly use part of your house or apartment exclusively for conducting your business. The second criteria (principal place of business) implies your home office is either the primary location of your business or space where you frequently meet with customers or clients.

For instance, if you run a business out of your apartment, like an e-commerce store, you may be eligible for this deduction. Likewise, if you are “self-employed” as a freelancer, you may also meet this requirement.

How do I calculate my home office deduction?

If you meet the criteria stipulated by the IRS, you’ll want to know how to deduct a home office to net the most significant savings possible. There are two ways to go about this: (1) the regular method — keeping track of your expenses throughout the year and itemizing them on your tax forms, or (2) using the simplified option (if you’re eligible for it).

The regular method involves diligent record-keeping of your year-round expenses and honest reporting in your tax form. With this method, you can write off things like the cost to paint or repair your office space, which can add up pretty quickly!

The actual-expenses approach also allows you to deduct a portion of some indirect home expenses, based on the square feet you use as your office. What this means is, if your office is one-tenth of the total square footage in your house or apartment, you can deduct 10% of your mortgage interest or rent and even some of your utilities (like water and electric bills).

The simplified version of the home office deduction can be used if your office measures 300 square feet or less. For those who qualify, the IRS will give you a deduction of $5 per square foot of your home that’s used for business, up to $1,500 for a 300-square-foot-space.

If you’re unsure which choice is right for you, know that the simplified method can work well for single-room offices or smaller operations, while actual-expenses might work better if your business takes up a larger part of your home.

Additionally, the simplified route is typically easier to compute, resulting in a smaller tax break overall. The regular method requires more thorough recordkeeping (and more time to gather your receipts), but it could provide you with a larger deduction in the end.

Find a Place for Work and Life

Are you thinking of upgrading your apartment so you can have a dedicated home office? With the help of ApartmentSearch, you can easily explore two-bedroom apartments and live-work spaces for rent near you! This way, you’ll have an extra room you can use as your very own office, which is sure to help boost your morale and productivity.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Working From Your Apartment? Top Amenities to Look For

Man sitting at office desk sipping from a mug and looking at a computerWorking from home was still considered a bit taboo and somewhat of a privilege for many people until recently. According to this Gartner survey, at least 80% of surveyed company leaders plan to allow employees to continue remote work — at least part-time. Research has shown us that employee happiness and productivity seem to be highest when workers are allowed to stay at home rather than commute to an office. This trend isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Alongside this, many people are relocating since they now have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere. Apartment communities are paying close attention to this boom and have begun offering additional incentives to potential tenants for choosing to rent a space within their community. So, what are some of the most popular amenities being offered to those who find themselves working from an apartment?

Enhanced Concierge Services

These add-on services are not necessarily a new thing for some higher-end properties. But now that more people are working from home, concierge services are quickly becoming more of an essential rather than a luxury. Having a service dedicated to tenants for things like fetching food orders, laundry, dog walking, and package retrieval is a perk that apartment communities may offer to accommodate their WFH tenants further.

Built-in Nooks

Many apartment complexes now offer work areas or small alcoves within the apartments themselves that can be used for a dedicated home office setup. These nooks sometimes come already equipped with a built-in desktop space or a collapsible desk shelf. They’re usually furnished with power outlets and added extras like USB plug-ins so that you can keep your devices charged and ready to go at all times.

Co-Working Spaces

Apartments with coworking spaces are already pretty commonplace in most newer apartment complexes. Still, some are offering computers, printers, larger open areas with desks, comfy couches, and conference-style rooms for tenants to work privately. This trend started as a way to encourage human interaction between people who work from home. It may still be offered in some communities, taking into account social distancing and health guidelines.

Garden-Style Apartments

Working from home may be less stressful than going to an office every day, but we all need to take time out for relaxation. Garden apartments are unique compared to concrete highrise apartments and may allow for a more zen-like work from home experience. They’re typically surrounded by lush greenery and sometimes genuine gardens that can provide a sense of calm after a long day of work.

Pre-Furnished Apartments

If you’re looking for the ideal pad for a digital nomad-lifestyle, finding furnished apartments or temporary furniture for your next short-term destination is a must! After all, without quality furniture, you won’t be comfortable in your temporary space, and buying new furniture after each move is a quick way to put a dent in your savings account!

Turn to CORT for help decking out your new, temporary digs with whole-apartment furniture rental. We’ll turn any place into a furnished space, setting up your stuff before you move in and picking it up at the end of the lease.

Upgrade Your WFH Lifestyle

Whether you’re working from home in a small apartment part-time or full-time, it’s essential to have a relaxing and comfortable living space. From built-in office nooks to dedicated co-working spaces, apartment complexes are finding new ways to get remote workers’ business. Find available apartment units that fit your needs with ApartmentSearch. Check out our free search tool today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What is Tandem Parking and How to Navigate It

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Sometimes when you’re apartment hunting, you get lucky. You score the perfect apartment in the coolest neighborhood for a rent you can afford. And even better? Your roommate seems pretty cool. The garage parking was a nice surprise, but then you learn you and your roommate will both have to share a space. Wait … how do two people share one parking space?

What is tandem parking?

Tandem parking is one parking space that can accommodate two cars. It is two car lengths long and allows one car to pull into the space behind another car already there. More people own cars now and expect parking on-site or close to their homes. Tandem parking allows buildings to accommodate more cars in a smaller space.

Dark SUV in a parking garage.

Where is tandem parking most common?

Tandem parking is most common in new apartment buildings or recently renovated complexes. Previously, landlords only allowed one or two spaces per unit. But now as people are working more and living with roommates for longer stretches of time, each person needs somewhere to store their car that’s safe and accessible.

Apartment complexes are making this shift toward tandem parking because much like the apartments upstairs, space comes at a premium.

How to deal with tandem parking?

Many spaces are very narrow and difficult to maneuver, especially if you drive a big car or SUV. So don’t be surprised if your car doors catch more dings and dents. You also run the risk of getting stuck in the space because your roommate isn’t there to move their car for you. If your shared tandem parking spot is causing you both stress, it’s time to reassess and take a closer look at how you approach the situation.

1. Get on a schedule

If you and your roommate both work similar hours, congratulations. This is the perfect parking solution for you. If you leave in the mornings and arrive in the evenings within 15 to 30 minutes of each other, then it shouldn’t really cause that much of a hassle for either of you. But if you’re not, then it’s going to take a lot more planning… especially if you work different hours.

If one of you works earlier and the other works later, then the morning person will find themselves stuck in the spot because the night person is still sleeping. When the later-working roommate is on their way home, the morning-worker roommate can meet the other in the garage and move their car. Acknowledge there will be some challenges and hiccups with this arrangement and coordinate on a schedule that works for both of your schedules.

Parked cars on a treelined street.

2. Share your spare key

This is likely your most practical solution. If you share a fridge and a bathroom, you probably won’t also mind sharing a parking space. But this scenario also means sharing access to your car.

If one roommate has to leave for work early in the morning, they will move the other roommate’s car out of the way first. Then, after they get their car out of the space, they move the other car back into the space.

The downside of this, other than being a time-consuming hassle, is that it increases the likelihood of low-speed accidents. These are things like dented bumpers, broken headlights and taillights, or scratched paint. These aren’t budget-draining expenses, but it’s money nobody ever really wants to spend.

So treat your roommate’s car with as much care as you treat yours. You may also want to consider adding each other to your respective car insurance policies. Accidents happen, so it never hurts proactively prepare.

3. Rotate week to week

Tandem parking is tricky to navigate and we feel you for wanting to avoid the whole situation. So keep the space, but rotate who gets to use it week to week.

One roommate uses the space while the other finds street-level parking. It is inconvenient when it’s raining or those odd nights when you just can’t seem to find a parking space.

Both roommates can use the space when one is out of town or those rare occasions when your schedules line up perfectly. If your neighborhood has alternate side parking rules, you may want to set regular reminders in your calendar to avoid costly and annoying parking tickets.

4. Get a second space

If your building has parking spaces to spare, it is worth talking to your management office or landlord about each of you having your own space. If your building has multiple unoccupied spots, ask if you can park in an empty one until it’s assigned. They may work with you, but if not, it’s still worth the investment. The money you’d save on time and convenience alone would make it worth it.

5. Commute to work a few days a week

In addition to taking some of the pressure off the parking situation, walking or taking public transportation is better for you, better for your health and better for the planet. Plus removing the regular annoyances of traffic and finding a parking space will make your workday just a little less stressful.

Empty, dark parking lot.

6. Alternate your WFH days

The truth is a lot of us are still working from home at least a few days a week. So in the short term, tandem parking is a manageable inconvenience. This will still require some schedule coordination, but this will give you both a little breathing room with your living situation as well. Alternating the days you work from home with your roommate ensures that you’re not working on top of each other and it gives you both access to a safe, clean, quiet space.

Park it here

Tandem parking is a new way of doing something you already know. For those reasons, it is frustrating, especially when pulling in and out of a long narrow spot. But with some patience, a little communication and a schedule you can both stick to, you’ll be out on the open road feeling the breeze in your hair in no time.

Source: rent.com

Every Excellent Home Sale Happening This Weekend – Refinery29

All those dream WFH investments you’ve been wish-listing are likely in major markdown mode somewhere on the internet right now — and we’ve created a shopping syllabus for easily locating them. Discover the worth-it home promos hitting virtual shelves today through February 15; including excellent discounts on bestselling bedding, home office chairs, and beyond. Don’t forget to bookmark this page if you want to stay up-to-date on new scores as they drop, we’ll be keeping the deals fresh!

Source: refinery29.com

Can You Take a Home Office Tax Deduction Due to COVID-19? A Reality Check

2020 was the year of WFH: Working from home became a reality for countless Americans, as company offices closed down to curb the spread of COVID-19. And, as the time nears to file your 2020 taxes, you might be wondering: Does your home office add up to any tax deductions for you?

It’s a logical question: Since most WFH warriors shell out of their own pocket for internet, printer ink, and equipment upgrades if their laptop poops out, it’s understandable to hope you can recoup some of these expenses by claiming the home office tax deduction on your taxes.

But beware: The home office deduction has changed a lot over the years, so whether you can claim it will depend greatly on your circumstances. Here’s more on exactly who can claim a home office tax deduction—and who can’t—as well as how much certain people can save. For people who can’t claim this deduction, we’ve found some clever tax deductions to bring up with your boss that could still save you money—for now, and going forward as long as your WFH life continues.

Who can claim a home office tax deduction?

Even though the name of this tax deduction has the phrase “home office,” this doesn’t mean everyone who works from home can claim it, explains Paul Sundin, a CPA and a tax strategist at Emparion.

In a nutshell, the home office tax deduction can be claimed only by self-employed individuals—meaning freelancers, small-business owners, and anyone who works for themselves. That said, these workers still must meet certain conditions. (Read our next section for more details.)

What qualifies as a home office?

There are very strict rules on what constitutes a dedicated home office. To claim this deduction, you must use part of your home exclusively for business. That means an office that doubles as your bedroom or an occasional guest room does not qualify.

That said, an open area with a desk that’s used only for work qualifies just fine. So if your desk is in an open floor plan, simply measure the space you use for your office. And if you have an entire room dedicated only to work, measure the size of the room.

How to take a home office deduction

The easiest way to claim the deduction is to deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500.

If you think your deduction is worth more than $1,500, you can also try the more complicated method of tracking all the costs of your home office. Then allocate those expenses based on the percentage of the home you use solely as a home office. So if your office occupies 10% of your home’s total square footage, you can deduct 10% of what you pay to keep it running.

Here’s how that breaks down, according to Ben Reynolds, CEO and founder of Sure Dividend:

  • Business equipment: The IRS considers tangible equipment such as furniture, computers, electronic devices, and office machines as eligible.
  • Internet: You can deduct the amount used for business purposes. If you use your internet 20% of the time for work, you can deduct that percentage of your total internet bill.
  • Home expenses: These include rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, home repairs, electricity, and gas. If your home office takes up 10% of your home’s total square footage, you can deduct 10% of these expenses.
  • Depreciation: Computers and most office equipment can be depreciated over five years, while office furniture can depreciate for seven years. You have the option to deduct the full amount of the depreciation or gradually subtract the a portion of the total value each year.

Can W-2 employees claim a home office tax deduction?

If you are a W-2 employee, you cannot claim a home office tax deduction.

Why not? While in the past employees could claim a deduction for employment expenses over a certain percentage of their income, the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated these deductions from 2018 to 2025. The act now prevents full-time, W-2 employees from deducting home office expenses on their 2020 taxes even when they worked from home more than they did in the office, says Reynolds.

There is one small exception to keep in mind: If you’re a W-2 employee with a side hustle, you can deduct eligible home office expenses for that particular side gig.

Are there any home office tax deductions W-2 workers can claim?

Unfortunately, most employees working from home can’t claim any federal tax deductions connected to being a remote worker during the coronavirus pandemic, says Sundin.

However, full-time remote employees who live in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania have a unique option for their state tax returns.

“W-2 workers living in these states can deduct business expenses their employer didn’t reimburse them for,” says Reynolds. These can include a portion of your rent, mortgage interest, internet/utility bills, a new computer monitor, desk, or even an ergonomic office chair. Just be aware the deduction may not cover all of your 2020 work expenses 100%.

The exact rules vary from state to state, so check in with a local tax professional. You can also find your state’s government website complete with links to tax information explained in greater depth at the IRS.

WFH tax deductions companies can take—then reimburse you

Even if you’re a W-2 employee who can’t reap any tax benefits from a home office directly, there are still some ways you can save money—by asking your employer to take some tax breaks on your behalf, then reimbursing you.

“There is something called Section 139 where the employer can reimburse pandemic costs for employees, at their discretion, tax-free,” says Jackie Meyer, CPA and founder of The Concierge CPA and TaxPlanIQ. “You can ask for reimbursements or special stipends directly from your employer.”

Section 139 defines those expenses as “reasonable and necessary” costs incurred by employees due to the pandemic. This can include everything from costs associated with establishing a home office (buying a desk) to maintaining a home office (upgrading to a faster internet). These payments are fully deductible for companies, offering a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

You can also ask if your company would consider an “accountable plan” for the 2021 tax year. Here’s how an accountable plan works: Instead of being paid $50,000, your employer could pay you $45,000 in wages plus a $5,000 home office expense reimbursement, making your salary the same—while saving you on taxes.

Finally, business meals from restaurants (including takeout) may now be deductible under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. While still subject to clarification by the Treasury and IRS, it seems that food and beverages provided by an employer for virtual or business meetings will be 100% deductible. An employer could also deduct food provided for employee virtual happy hours.

So this might be a way to get your employer to start covering more of your WFH food if you order in, says Meyer. Simply point out to your employer working meals are a great tax deduction for them, and ask them to put delivered meals on their tab.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Source: realtor.com

Anthropologie Sale: Take an Extra 25% Off Fashion, Home Goods and More – KVUE.com

Presidents Day weekend sales may be nearing their end (don’t worry, there are still plenty of options to shop in fashion and beauty, home goods, and yes, mattresses), but that doesn’t mean the deals stop there. Case in point: the Anthropologie sale.

Whether you’re looking to get a head start on building your spring ensembles, round out your transitional weather wardrobe or update your space with new home decor, the Anthropologie sale has everything you could be looking for — and it’s available with an added 25% discount. With the exception of furniture, Anthopologie’s sale items are up for grabs at a fraction of the original price. In other words, if there’s any time to stock up on pretty things for your closet, kitchen or other areas of your home, this is the time to do it.

Of course, with a sale this big, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of options the retailer has for the taking, especially when you can get these pieces on steep discounts. Luckily, ET Style combed through the epic sale to find the best items worthy of a spot in your cart.

Take this opportunity to shop for a lightweight sweater or cardigan to layer over your outfits until the weather warms up for spring. Or get yourself some comfy house dresses that’ll take you from day to night, even with a WFH lifestyle. And while you’re embracing all of that time at home, you might as well spruce it up with some new pieces like plates, towels, diffusers and duvet covers.

Scroll down to shop ET Style’s favorite picks from the Anthropologie sale below.

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Anthropologie

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Can’t get enough of the house dress trend? This pretty tiered style is one option that you’ll never want to take off.

$75 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

Anthropologie

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

These sweet and simple floral diffuser sets will add an undeniably pretty touch to your home.

$22 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $38)

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Anthropologie

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Tangerine orange is the quintessential color to have in your wardrobe for spring. But thanks to this shirt’s classic silhouette, you can wear it layered with your favorite winter staples now.

$22 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $98)

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Brighten up your kitchen with these colorful dishcloths.

$10 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $18)

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

Anthropologie

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

A utilitarian jumpsuit like this will be a cool option for your weekend activities — especially when you pair it with ankle boots or sneakers.

$67 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Silent D Auston Boots

Silent D Auston Boots

Anthropologie

Silent D Auston Boots

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a pair of black ankle boots. This fitted style from Silent D will be a favorite in your closet for years.

$37 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $138)

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Anthropologie

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Real talk: Can you really ever have too many sweaters? The answer is probably no, and this versatile cardigan is perfect for layering up during the colder months as well as the early mornings of spring and summer.

$75 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Anthropologie

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Add a new level of texture to your bedroom with this dreamy, gauzy duvet cover.

$90 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $198)

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Give your kitchen a bright and sunny update with these vibrant yellow plates.

$26 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $56)

Keegan AirPods Case

Keegan AirPods Case

Anthropologie

Keegan AirPods Case

Carry your AirPods in style with this colorful case, which will easily clip on to your keys, your purse or anything else.

$11 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $25)

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

These bowls are so pretty, we wouldn’t blame you if you used them to hold your jewelry and other small trinkets.

$37 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $80)

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Source: kvue.com

Most Affordable (and Warm) Places to WFH This Winter

Remember that warm-weather place you cherished as a winter getaway back in those hazy, crazy, pre-pandemic days of, say, 2019? What would it be like to live there year-round?

For more Americans, this alluring fantasy has become a reality, especially during this particularly bleak COVID-19 winter. As office and home, work and play blend together in this pandemic age, areas that once served as sunny vacation respites from chillier climes are emerging as desirable long-term locations for remote workers—and that’s been a game changer for real estate markets across the country.

“Traditionally, winter is a season when many residents of northern, colder states move south to enjoy the warmer weather in states nearer the Gulf Coast,” says George Ratiu, senior economist for realtor.com®. “This year, the migration is compounded by the COVID pandemic, leading lots of residents from the Northeast and Midwest to seek not only a seasonal escape but a permanent home.”

One driving force: These are often much cheaper places to buy a home, in an era when working remotely is becoming a viable long-term option. While expensive cities have long held a monopoly on great jobs, it now turns out that you don’t actually have to pay for an overpriced, undersized urban apartment to make a great salary. And housing data shows that house hunters from snowy states have been bidding on homes in warmer and more affordable markets in Southern markets for a change of lifestyle, weather, and cost of living.

To find the most affordable warm-weather destinations where folks can ride out the rest of the pandemic—and well beyond—the realtor.com data team scoured the United States for counties with high median temperatures for January and February, lower cost of living with median home prices below $350,000, actual inventory, access to cultural and outdoor amenities, and high-speed internet so it’s possible to get work done. We also factored in the number of vacation rentals in each county just in case there’s a need to rent the place out.

So why not escape that tiny, overpriced apartment amid the polar vortex gales to somewhere you can actually thaw out this winter—and possibly every winter? Spring and summer, too!  Let’s take a tour of your potential new WFH headquarters.

Infographic: Warm-weather escapes
Infographic: Warm-weather escapes

Tony Frenzel for realtor.com

Median home price: $275,000

Tampa Bay residents are still celebrating their Super Bowl win, but the area has a lot more going for it than Tom Brady. The metro boasts 246 days of sunshine per year, average February temperatures in the 70s, and some of the softest sand in the continental U.S. along the Gulf Coast beaches in Pinellas County.

The county, which sits along the Gulf of Mexico, across the bay from Tampa, has seen an influx of home buyers from colder, more expensive places like Illinois, Minnesota, and even New York, who have been snatching up real estate.

“We are having New Yorkers come to the Gulf Coast,” says Terry Tillung, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realty. “There used to be separation where East Coast people would come to the east coast of Florida and Midwesterners would come here. We’re seeing a shift now.”

Those Northeasterners and others from cold climes have been trading out their cramped apartments for homes near the water, including this two-bedroom condo with killer views of Clearwater Beach listed for $250,000 and this two-bedroom house in St. Petersburg Beach on the market for $245,000.

Median listing price: $339,900

The Intracoastal Waterway as it bisects a residential neighborhood in the Pompano Beach area of South Florida just north of Fort Lauderdale.
The Intracoastal Waterway as it bisects a residential neighborhood in the Pompano Beach area of South Florida just north of Fort Lauderdale.

Getty Images

As winter approached, remote workers from New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Chicago, and pricey California began flocking to Broward County’s beaches in droves. The area, home to Fort Lauderdale, is just north of Miami-Dade and all of its world-class cultural offerings, but boasts a more chill vibe.

Its beachfront strip, once infamous for spring break shenanigans, now boasts high-end restaurants. Walkable and sophisticated Las Olas Boulevard attracts visitors from across the region who want to eat, shop, and drink.

Plus, the area boasts a wide range of housing at a wide range of prices. For just $269,000, buyers can get into this two-bedroom condo right next to one of the nicest beaches in Fort Lauderdale. And those who want newer homes with more space and better public schools can drive 20 minutes west to find places like this three-bedroom townhouse in desirable Cooper City listed at $299,900. But these days, buyers need to move fast.

“It’s been a complete frenzy,” says Samantha DeBianchi, estate agent for DeBianchi Real Estate. “If I put a home on the market and it’s priced right, I’ll get five calls within the first 30 minutes.”

Median listing price: $225,000

According to the San Diego Audubon Society, Corpus Christi is “America’s birdiest place.” The large, shallow bay on which it lies attracts diverse flocks of water birds, songbirds, and raptors that bring in avian aficionados from across the U.S. But it’s not just amateur ornithologists who have been migrating here.

The family-friendly metro is protected from the Gulf of Mexico by the gorgeous Padre and Mustang islands, which offer outdoor activities ranging from beach combing and watching sea turtles hatch to camping and paddling trails—along with plenty of tourists looking to rent vacation homes during season.

Those homes are a steal. Starting in the mid-$100,000 range, buyers can get into condos with a view, including this two-bedroom on the water listed at $144,500 or a single-family nearby for a couple of hundred thousand more, including this three-bedroom house listed for $279,900.

Median listing price: $175,000

Pelicans on Padre Island National Seashore
Pelicans on Padre Island National Seashore

iStock

One county south of Nueces, Cameron County, home to Padre Island National Seashore and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, has the same warm winter weather (average highs are in the 60s) with even more nature access and cheaper real estate. For $159,000, house hunters can get into this three-bedroom home in Laguna Vista, right near the waterfront and the wildlife refuge. Folks seeking a beach lifestyle can find a two-bedroom condo in the hub of South Padre Island for $172,500.

Median listing price: $179,800

Subdivision in Yuma, AZ
Subdivision in Yuma, AZ

iStock

There’s a reason Yuma County is called “America’s salad bowl.” The border region produces much of the lettuce, broccoli, and other leafy greens that Americans eat during the winter months. That’s because with highs in the mid-70s come February, plants can get all the sun they need to thrive when much of the rest of the country is frozen over.

The idyllic weather is reason enough to pack your bags and head south, but the landscape is just as impressive. It’s home to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, a 665,400-acre preserve with one of the largest herds of desert bighorn sheep in the Southwest, deer, foxes, and a wide variety of plants, some found only in this small slice of the Grand Canyon state.

Yuma County has plenty of affordable options for those seeking to thaw out through the winter, from relaxing retreats in the desert, such as this two-bedroom on an acre of land in Wellton for $139,900, to nice spreads in town with a pool, like this three-bedroom listed at $174,900.

Median listing price: $179,000

Terrebonne Parish is known as a paradise for outdoor activities, where locals spend their free time hiking through nature preserves and hunting and fishing in the freshwater bayous and the Gulf of Mexico. Because everyone is outside so much anyway, the pandemic hasn’t changed that much in terms of everyday life.

“My house is on the water, so COVID times did not even affect me,” says Melanie Rogers Bruce, real estate agent with Keller Williams Bayou Partners. “I sit out on my little dock, and any stress I have goes away.”

While the area does boast multimillion-dollar waterfront homes, the $250,000 to $400,000 range gets the most action. At that price, buyers can get their own little “camp,” a waterfront house raised on stilts with a dock, including this cute three-bedroom with a boat lift for $259,900.

Median listing price: $175,000

One parish over from Terrebonne and just a hop, skip, and a jump from all the action and music of New Orleans, Lafourche Parish offers a similarly outdoorsy lifestyle to its outlying neighbor with the same mild winter climate. But the area also gives Nueces County (see above) a run for its money in birding.

From fall through spring, a diverse array of migratory birds including herons, egrets, and hummingbirds spends time in the county’s idyllic pockets of salt marsh, shallow bays, grassy meadows, and shady live oak forests.

“It is one of the biggest bird-watching communities in the nation, and there’s monarch butterfly migration,” says Rogers Bruce. “Really it’s great for any kind of outdoor animal watching.”

Nature lovers can get into their own base near Grand Isle at prices starting around $200,000, including this $225,000 four-bedroom.

Median listing price: $254,900

Savannah, GA
Savannah, GA

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Savannah’s oak-covered squares and historic homes have been drawing new residents seeking a calmer (and warmer) pace of life for the past decade or so, but the city has offered yet another carrot to lure remote workers since COVID-19 roiled big tech centers: a $2,000 reimbursement for relocaters.

With its great restaurants, quaint streets, and gorgeous nearby beaches, it’s no surprise that this year has seen a massive influx of Northerners.

Buyers who want to be right near the historic core—and take advantage of the city’s moving incentive—can find small houses with compact yards starting in the $200,000s, including this two-bedroom cottage listed for $239,000.

Median listing price: $260,000

Tucson and greater Pima County have been growing steadily over the past decade. This Sun Belt city’s population has grown by a healthy 6.8% in the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even more people have been coming in since COVID-19 hit. Remote workers from California, Nevada, and beyond have been snatching up fully contained spreads with room for entertaining (outdoors, obviously) and private pools, including this $260,000 four-bedroom and this $260,000 three-bedroom on an acre just outside Tucson Mountain Park.

“Everyone wants amenities now,” says Jen Anderson of the Jen Anderson Team, Long Realty.

Median listing price: $177,900

Biloxi beach in Harrison County, MS
Biloxi beach in Harrison County, MS

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Want to know where you can buy a single-family house just steps from the beach for less than $200,000? Look to Mississippi, specifically Harrison County. The popular second-home and retirement area offers mild winter temperatures (highs in the 60s), a plethora of outdoor activities, frequent events (in normal times), and incredibly affordable housing, including this four-bedroom ranch right near the sand in Pass Christian listed for $185,000.

Mississippi’s beaches, which have been dubbed the Secret Coast, traditionally haven’t drawn as much attention as Florida, Alabama, and other coastal states, but that’s started to change as more buyers from cold places like Michigan and Colorado have been buying up homes and land.

“Many people don’t realize what a gem we have here, but I think the word is getting out,” says Wendy Hope Boyd, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty.

Source: realtor.com

Will the WFH trend affect the housing market after COVID?

Now that several vaccines are being distributed and hospitalizations appear to be on the decline in many areas, we can start thinking about life after COVID-19. I am interested to see what habits and cultural shifts stay with us and which ones are cast aside as soon as we can safely do so.

My instincts tell me that, for the most part, whatever happens in a crisis stays in a crisis. This is to say, I don’t expect that we will continue to bake our own bread and make time for afternoon walks once all businesses and commerce are back to full steam. But will we go back to shaking hands in the workplace? It is part of our human wiring that old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to grow. So what about the relatively recent cultural trend of working from home? 

Even before COVID-19, there was a rise in people working from home.

From early in the crisis, we had a we had a significant increase in working from home early in the crisis, as seen in this chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

It is a law of nature that parabolic moves like the number of folks working from home eventually moderate once the pressure that drove them diminishes. This is true in economics (like the parabolic rise in new home sales that are now moderating) and is true for cultural movements.

So will WFH be a cultural shift in society that sticks? The option of WFH is one that has great appeal for many people and offers some benefits to employers as well. For example, a company may shrink its corporate footprint and save on facility costs if its workforce is distributed rather than centralized. And the appeal of WFH will only increase when the additional burden of schooling from home is lifted off working families. 

And if WFH does stick, what will the consequences be for the housing market? For most of us, that decision is in our employer’s hands and not one we make for ourselves. But it is exciting to think about what the future may hold for our society if this trend that started during the COVID-19 crisis becomes a permanent feature.

One possible positive benefit would be an increase in inventory in urban areas. When workers are no longer obligated to live within driving distance to the office, homes in the centralized business area will become less attractive. A family that wants a bigger house or even a young couple who wants to start a family will no longer be geographically bound.

This doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the state — It may just mean going from expensive central cities to more affordable suburbs 20 to 40 miles away. But leaving a state like California to get a much bigger home and a less congested lifestyle for a much lower cost of living will have appeal for some.

Although inventory may increase in some areas, I do not expect WFH to result in forced selling. WFH does not force anyone to sell and move, but it is a variable that could create more inventory in certain areas if people do want to move. The WFH trend is more likely to increase inventory than if mortgage rates fell.

You may be familiar with the questionable mortgage rate lockdown thesis, which suggests that homeowners delay moving to preserve their low mortgage rate on their loan, and if interest rates fell, they would move. Therefore, according to this thesis, if interest rates fall, inventory will rise. This has never happened, and it won’t. Note that the last time rates moved lower, total inventory also went lower – because more folks wanted to get into the market. It all makes sense when you think about it! 

The WFH trend may allow some folks to move, but the fact is that people move every year, COVID or no COVID. People move to buy bigger homes, smaller homes, be near better schools, or get away from city life. But the trend before COVID was that Americans were staying in their homes longer. Homes have been growing in size for decades. If a family’s first home is large enough to accommodate a growing family, there is no need to move up. In an article I wrote earlier last year, I highlighted this reason as one factor that is keeping Americans in their homes longer.

American demographics are such that we have many people coming into the family formation/home-buying ages. The years 2020-2024 have the most significant number of people ages 27 to 33 years old ever. We had approximately 32,458,118  Americans in this group in the year 2020. 

People of this age typically have gone past the rent, date, and mate phases of their lives and are into the marriage, planning, kids, and home-buying phases. This demographic motherlode means we will have a healthy number of replacement buyers for 2020-2024. Even COVID-19 wasn’t big enough to destroy mother demographics.

With the trend of WFH in play, some people might consider moving who wouldn’t have if the COVID crisis didn’t happen. During 2017-2019, the cities with the most significant total population growth were Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, and Austin.

Looking out in the future, a young couple or a married couple looking to have a larger family might not need to worry about finding a new job to do so.  

From the Census Bureau:


Only time will tell if the work-from-home cultural phenomenon is just a trend or a persistent social movement. Curmudgeon that I am, my gut tells me WFH won’t be as big as some people will hope. Surveys show that workers typically feel that they have the resources needed to be productive working from home.

A study of nearly 3,000 employees in a global work from home survey last year showed that 78% of North American office workers say they have the resources they need to be successful. Additionally,  most managers “are just as satisfied” with the work performance (70% report the same or better results) of their WFH employees. The companies surveyed included heavy hitters like Adobe, Aetna, and Amazon

Some companies can function well with some of the workforce home-based. And for some people, it makes perfect sense to take advantage of the WFH trend. A young family that wants a more prominent home than they can afford in their current location can get a bigger home elsewhere and skip the commute to work. 

But the question remains: With over 6 million in total home sales, will the WFH trend be big enough to dent this number and create the much-needed inventory to cool down home prices in certain areas and drive home prices up in others?

My guess is no. We tend to go back to the norm, and while working from home sounds great on paper, I don’t think most of corporate America is ready to jump on board fully. I would love to be wrong here. However,  like many things that happen in a crisis, the excitement of a change loses its luster once the crisis is over and we drift back to “same as it ever was.”

Source: housingwire.com

Amenities to Look for When Working From Home | Apartment Search

Man sitting at office desk sipping from a mug and looking at a computerWorking from home was still considered a bit taboo and somewhat of a privilege for many people until recently. According to this Gartner survey, at least 80% of surveyed company leaders plan to allow employees to continue remote work — at least part-time. Research has shown us that employee happiness and productivity seem to be highest when workers are allowed to stay at home rather than commute to an office. This trend isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Alongside this, many people are relocating since they now have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere. Apartment communities are paying close attention to this boom and have begun offering additional incentives to potential tenants for choosing to rent a space within their community. So, what are some of the most popular amenities being offered to those who find themselves working from an apartment?

Enhanced Concierge Services

These add-on services are not necessarily a new thing for some higher-end properties. But now that more people are working from home, concierge services are quickly becoming more of an essential rather than a luxury. Having a service dedicated to tenants for things like fetching food orders, laundry, dog walking, and package retrieval is a perk that apartment communities may offer to accommodate their WFH tenants further.

Built-in Nooks

Many apartment complexes now offer work areas or small alcoves within the apartments themselves that can be used for a dedicated home office setup. These nooks sometimes come already equipped with a built-in desktop space or a collapsible desk shelf. They’re usually furnished with power outlets and added extras like USB plug-ins so that you can keep your devices charged and ready to go at all times.

Co-Working Spaces

Apartments with coworking spaces are already pretty commonplace in most newer apartment complexes. Still, some are offering computers, printers, larger open areas with desks, comfy couches, and conference-style rooms for tenants to work privately. This trend started as a way to encourage human interaction between people who work from home. It may still be offered in some communities, taking into account social distancing and health guidelines.

Garden-Style Apartments

Working from home may be less stressful than going to an office every day, but we all need to take time out for relaxation. Garden apartments are unique compared to concrete highrise apartments and may allow for a more zen-like work from home experience. They’re typically surrounded by lush greenery and sometimes genuine gardens that can provide a sense of calm after a long day of work.

Pre-Furnished Apartments

If you’re looking for the ideal pad for a digital nomad-lifestyle, finding furnished apartments or temporary furniture for your next short-term destination is a must! After all, without quality furniture, you won’t be comfortable in your temporary space, and buying new furniture after each move is a quick way to put a dent in your savings account!

Turn to CORT for help decking out your new, temporary digs with whole-apartment furniture rental. We’ll turn any place into a furnished space, setting up your stuff before you move in and picking it up at the end of the lease.

Upgrade Your WFH Lifestyle

Whether you’re working from home in a small apartment part-time or full-time, it’s essential to have a relaxing and comfortable living space. From built-in office nooks to dedicated co-working spaces, apartment complexes are finding new ways to get remote workers’ business. Find available apartment units that fit your needs with ApartmentSearch. Check out our free search tool today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

5 Ways to Make Your Home Office Work (Even if It’s Your Kitchen)

WFH is the new normal for many Americans. Here’s how to get your workspace functioning well — and looking great.

With social distancing mandates in effect across much of the country, many people working in industries deemed “non-essential” are doing their work from home. And while the constant stream of COVID-19 news, in addition to caretaking or homeschooling responsibilities, can make it hard to stay focused on work, modifying your space can help. An organized and visually appealing work area can help you feel more productive — and more relaxed.

Here are five tips for elevating your home workspace.

Commit to your space

For those of us who don’t have a home office — which is a lot of people — work-from-home routines can easily get derailed. Designating an area for work, even if that place is the bill-paying area in your kitchen, is a way to stay in your routine and get yourself in the work mindset. Whatever spot you choose, just make sure it feels like a dedicated and functional work area. That means adequate lighting, a comfortable chair — the right height for typing without strain — a seamless tech setup that allows you to take and make video calls without having to fiddle with plugs or wires, and an overall lack of clutter on your desk and the surrounding area.

Declutter

This seems obvious, but let’s level with ourselves: When do we really get around to cleaning our desks? Well, now’s the time. Decluttering requires some commitment, but it feels great when you’re done. Toss anything that needs to be thrown out, pair like items with like, contain those stray pens in one nice decorative cup, and make sure you have all your workday essentials close at hand and non-essential items moved elsewhere.

Curate an inspiration board

Now that you’ve set the stage, it’s time to look ahead. And that wall you’re looking at beyond your laptop should inspire you. This is as good a time as ever to put together an inspiration board and fill it with what makes you happy, from images of your favorite people and pets, to pics of your goals (like that fabulous vacation you are going to take once we’ve all gotten through this tough time!). And yes, you can put your to-dos and important reminders up there too — but keep the focus on the positive and uplifting, and keep it right in your line of sight.

Do a background check

If video calls are part of your new day-to-day, think about what your colleagues are seeing behind you — like that pile of laundry or those mostly empty wine glasses. Keep things clean and uncluttered. And if you have the space, show off your style. Some good background options might be your favorite art piece, interesting souvenirs or a not-overly-stuffed bookcase. Lastly, remember lighting: Your space should be adequately lit, or it’ll look like you’re dialing in from a submarine.

Set the mood

Never got your dream office? This is your moment to create an inspiring space. We bet scented candles aren’t allowed in your regular workspace, but you get to make the rules at home. Aromatherapy diffusers are another option if you’re worried about curious kids or pets. And now your playlist can softly waft overhead rather than through earphones. Similarly, set out some healthy snacks to avoid refrigerator trips, and nosh away. It’s OK for your home office to feel like your home, and especially now, it’s important to take time to indulge yourself with some creature comforts that feed your soul and make you feel calm and inspired.


Want more home inspiration?

Visit Porchlight, your source for DIY, decor, and a look inside quirky and creative unique homes.

Source: zillow.com