Home Offices: Five Tips and Techniques for Productivity When Working from Home

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“The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” –Stephen Covey

Today, with more and more freelancing careers and jobs available, more and more individuals have elected to work from home.

While it is true that a home office does not exactly afford you the conveniences of a conventional office, it allows you the unique leverage of being flexible with your own time. Unfortunately, this can be both bane and boon. After all, imagine working in a place where the bedroom is pretty much accessible all the time and where you might potentially get distracted from time to time. As a result, most individuals who work from home have faced the distinctive predicament of balancing their work productivity and their home life. It is precisely this dilemma that prevents some individuals from either, producing quality work or finishing all their tasks on time. With this in consideration, it is best to reconcile your work priorities (in conjunction with fixing your schedule) with your daily routine at home.

Indeed, working from home sounds like a dream, but it is not as easy as some think it to be. If you have ever decided on installing a home office—whether that may be in an empire east condo or elsewhere, here are some of the things you ought to keep in mind in staying productive:

1.) Keep your workspace and personal space separate

It has always been a well-regarded fact that you should separate your work life from your personal one. In the same regard, your workspace should not encroach your personal space and vice versa. Doing so will create a vicious cycle wherein you cannot distinguish one from the other which would be counterintuitive to your productivity endeavor. Watching Netflix while you are working is an easy avenue for distraction and your efficiency would suffer as a result. Allocating time to one or the other would be more difficult. With this in mind, ensure that you create an environment that has a boundary (either mentally or physically). Designate it for work and only allow items required for the completion of such to be there. This means you should probably not put a TV in and block all the streaming websites from your computer when it is work hours.

2.) Organize the clutter

Some people have found that they can work better amidst the clutter. In fact, it seems as if they have formed a unique affinity to it that they could not function without a semblance of disarray on their desks. However, even if you do love clutter, you should still consider organizing it. Apart from creating a more conducive work environment, it helps you locate your work essentials better. Purge your desk from all the things you do not need—this includes papers and documents that need recycling. Find homes for your pencils and pens and while we are at that, organize the files in your desktop as well.

3.) Get dressed for success

Even while you are working from home and not entertaining any clients otherwise, it would still be best if you got up and got dressed for success. Why? It puts you in the right mindset. If you persistently work from home wearing the clothes you slept in, then you are definitely doing it wrong. Make it a habit of waking up early and getting dressed as if you were heading to a meeting or working in an office. It helps you get your mind on track and have your gears set and ready for the day. After all, an integral aspect of ensuring that things get done is having the appropriate mindset for it.

4.) Designate working hours

To legitimately feel like you are working, designate working hours and do not just designate them for show, dedicate them to work tasks solely. In the time frame, you allow yourself to work, do not allow yourself to get waylaid by distractions and focus on the task at hand. Much like how an office sets working hours for their employees, so should you for yourself. If you are living with your spouse or children with you, ask them not to disturb you (save for emergencies) during your designated working hours. Lastly, do not cut time—especially if you are not yet done. Only allow yourself an early work dismissal if you are already done with everything you are supposed to do. Until then, work and focus.

5.) Ditch your phone

On designated working hours, put your phone away to minimize distractions. Having your phone with you means you welcome distractions—whether that may be from a call from an old friend or sending a Youtube video to your wife. In this regard, you do not have to work very hard not to be tempted. Moreover, having your phone with you means you can easily access social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook—a counterintuitive measure when it comes to productivity. Sure, you might argue that you can multitask, but you are only deluding yourself. You might be doing a myriad of things at once, but your mind can only ever focus on one thing. Furthermore, if you wish to produce quality work, it is better not to divide your attention and concentration.

Indeed, while working at home is akin to opening yourself up to a myriad of distractions, it is nonetheless possible. You can still be productive even when you are working from a makeshift office. However, it requires a little more commitment, discipline, and determination on your part. After all, as according to Robin S. Sharma, productivity is actually less about what you do with your time. But rather, more about how you run your mind. Integrate the tips above into your daily work routine, and you will see a significant improvement in your productivity. After all, you might just be working from home in a makeshift office, but that does not make the work required (and produced) any less real.

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Smart Investments: Four Things You Should Do Before Buying a Home

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“There is something permanent, and something extremely profound in owning a home.”-Kenny Guinn

 

Owning a home is known as one of the well-regarded milestones in life—so much so that it is in fact, considered a keystone of wealth and stability.

There is much to be said about finally purchasing your own home and the myriad of feelings that come associated with it. Accomplished and successful are just a few of the words described used to accord this momentous milestone, but it cannot be argued that purchasing and owning a home is one of the many dreams of many individuals. Why? Because apart from being the most significant investment you will probably make in your life, owning a home is commonly regarded as a hallmark of a truly financially responsible adult. Moreover, purchasing a home is not something any (or every) average working individual can do. In fact, even just saving for the first down payment itself would be considered a feat by many blue collared workers who would live paycheck to paycheck just to finally attain that dream. With all these considered, it is only inevitable for one to be a bit more thorough and meticulous when it comes to scouring the real estate market for prospective properties. After all, if you are going to be pouring in a significant chunk of your savings into this investment, then it is vital to get not only the right home but the right price with the right financing as well.

After all, there are only a few things in this world that is more expensive than a house. Fact is you might probably just be spending for one home in your lifetime.  To successfully find the right home for you, a lot of preparation is required. The logistics in doing so is not something you can accomplish within a month. In fact, it makes the most sense to start years before you are actually ready to buy that home. However, for practical reasons, most individuals would not plan nor think that too far ahead. However, whether you are looking to buy a lot for sale in Angeles City in the next two years or sooner, here are some of the things you can do to ensure that the process goes as effortlessly as possible:

Start Saving

Whether you are planning to buy a home three or five years from now, so long as it is a definite plan of yours, you should definitely start saving for that home now. Sure, there might be a myriad of programs designed for first-time homebuyers to afford low down payments and with flexible payment schemes. However, even if these offers seem enticing, it is always best if you came up with a down payment. In that regard, at least you can show your future lenders that you are a financially responsible individual. Try to aim for at least 10% of the total purchase cost (aiming for more is better). Take note: The more money you put in for down payment, the bigger your breathing room in terms of payments would be.

Be aggressive

It does not matter whether this is your first or sixth house, if you have quite a lot of money to invest, the odds of getting what you want are significantly increased. The moment you have finalized your decision to buy a home, make sure you have a tough stance as regards your budget. No one is asking you to lead a parsimonious life, but cut all the needless and wanton spending. Make small sacrifices such as refusing to dine out on weekends or giving up on your occasional splurges. These may seem like insignificant expenses, but if you stacked them altogether, you would see how your expenses would easily accumulate.

Know your budget

After you start saving, it would make sense for you to come up with a budget—a realistic one that allows you to still live your life as comfortably as you can. Remember, when it comes to buying a home, you would not only be paying for the land and the structure itself. Things such as taxes, mortgage, and monthly payments are also things you have to consider in drafting your budget. Another thing worth mentioning is that most lenders would want your mortgage payments to be no more than 28% of your monthly pay. With this in mind, you can set the upper end of your budget utilizing that same number. However, if you think this is a bit too much (especially if it wipes your savings entirely), come up with a feasible number that allows you to still live comfortably. It is imperative to come up with a number as this will ensure you would know what houses would be worth looking at and which ones you can pass over.

Be reasonable with what you want

Most people would love to live in spacious mansions but are not financially capable of affording it. In this regard, you should be realistic with what you want and reconcile that with your needs. If you have a realtor, it is important that you communicate what your wants are to them. These are the things that you can compromise on later should they be unavailable. On the other hand, you also have to make certain concessions for the things and aspects that you do not want—especially if these can be easily changed. To make this step easier, furnish your realtor with a needs and wants list. In conjunction to that, provide them with a dream house list. However, keep in mind that when a house fits in and checks all of the categories you have in mind, you have to be open to negotiating and making a few compromises here and there. Keep in mind: No one really gets their absolute dream house unless they build it from scratch. So again, be realistic, practical and flexible. Do not reject a house outward just on the basis of a  single perceived flaw. Make room for and be open to adjustments as well.

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Practical Living: Three Ways to Make Money off Your Homes

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“Successful people make money. It is not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do.”-Wayne Dyer

If you have been looking for a creative way to defray your monthly mortgage or utility bills, the answer might just be right in front of you. While you might have never thought of your home as a possible income earner, the world has come up with a multitude of ways you could actually earn by the side simply by taking advantage of what you already have.

After all, when it comes to making money, it is always best to squeeze cash out of things that you already do or already own. Presently, our home is considered one of the most underutilized pecuniary resource. Most individuals would not even regard it as a potential cash cow but rather one that needs constant spending. However, our houses do not merely have to be places of shelter where we live in; it can potentially generate cash and revenue. However, a word of warning though as apart from being creative, you also need to compromise for a bit. After all, earning a little money on the side would also require the appropriate sacrifice from you. So, whether you are living in an Avida Asten unit or elsewhere, here are some of the excellent ways you can take advantage and make money off your homes:

1.) Host a foreign exchange student

If you have a spare bedroom in your house, put it to good use by renting it out to foreign exchange students. Apart from getting a paycheck by the end of each month, you would also be hosting interesting house guests who would potentially become your friends. You can even jack up the price a bit if you are willing to provide them meals, do their laundry, give them rides and a private bathroom. As arrangements are normally short term, you do not have to worry about giving up the spare bedroom in your homes for far too long. However, if this is the type of commitment you cannot see yourself doing, you might as well give it a test drive by listing your homes for short-term rentals such as in Airbnb and host travelers while they are visiting your country.

2.) Board pets

If you have a natural affinity for our four-footed friends, then you can put that bit of extra space in your homes to good use. Consider boarding pets in your home when their owners have somewhere else to be during the day. In turn, you would look after them until such time that their owners would come back. Simply build a traditional kennel in your backyard and have a list of the services you wish to offer. Your fees can depend on the type of pet you have to sit for. Think of it as an animal day care where if you get enough reviews, you can even expand it to grooming and pet walking.

3.) Rent out your shed

It does not necessarily have to be your shed. It can be your attic, your garage or even your basement so long as the available space is inhabitable and unoccupied. This can serve as your primary motivation in cleaning out the clutter you have accumulated over the years as well. Not only would this space be cleaner and clutter-free, but someone would also be willing to pay you just to live in it. You can even convert all that extra junk you have cleaned up into cash by hosting a yard sale. After you have spruced up, measure the space, install some necessary furnishings, snap some photos and then list it online. You can designate it either as a storage rental space or bedroom spacer—whichever you prefer.

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Real Estate Investment: Three Excellent Reasons Why Your First Home Should be an Investment Property

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“I will forever believe that buying a home is a great investment. Why? Because you cannot live in a stock certificate. You cannot live in a mutual fund.” –Oprah Winfrey

Owning a home has been considered as a keystone of wealth and stability—so much so that finally purchasing your own place to live and renovate as you place has been universally recognized as a milestone. If you are on the market for your first home and are relatively young, it might be wise and more financially prudent to consider turning your first home into an investment property. While most prospective homeowners do not think of investing in real estate until they have acquired and purchased their second or third home, it is actually more financially sound if you started much sooner. Sure, in light of the recent economic climate of the Philippines, one might be skeptical of the profitability in real estate investments and might be a little hesitant in this endeavor—especially considering that this is the first home you buy.

However, to allay your fears of being unable to defray the cost of your first home, know that renting it out is an excellent option for paying it. By transforming your home into an investment property, you can effectively leverage your subpar credit and turn your responsibility into an investment. It requires a bit of shrewdness, good business acumen and a whole lot of patience. So, whether your first property is a condo unit in Verdana or elsewhere, here are excellent reasons why your first home should be an investment property:

1.) You are young

Independence can be quite the fickle thing. Sure, you feel nothing but euphoria once you have realized that you are now finally on your own and to top all that, you are still young and able. Living on your own set of rules, living wherever you want and buying whatever you want might seem like a tempting way to spend your early twenties, but it is not exactly financially sound. If you have other goals in mind, living the life can get old pretty quick—especially when you are living in a downtrodden apartment unit when you know you could do better (you just cannot afford it as you are frivolously spending your money). Cut costs and save money so that you can build credit as you will need this to qualify for a mortgage loan. When you are much older, you will have more significant obligations that would not allow you to cut costs as often as you can do so now.

2.) You will have another source of income

You might think that your salary is enough, but the extra money is always welcome right? By purchasing property that you intend on renting out, you are effectively creating another source of funds. With time and good marketing strategy, you would then be able to profit from your investments the moment you find tenants. You can then use the cash you earn in defraying other debts and bills or reinvest it in your property. Indeed, renting out your property creates positive cash flow for you, and it would always serve as a contingency whenever you do need extra funds or would lose your job.

3.) Having tenants is not so bad

Most prospective homeowners balk at the idea of turning their properties into investment ones as they are under the misguided notion that having tenants in your property would equate to stress and disarray. This is not always the case—after all, one isolated case of a nightmare tenant should not cause you to lump them all together as bad renters. You might be surprised how awesome living with a tenant can be most especially if you start establishing a friendship with them. In these cases, tenants are more likely to treat their units with better care and would even help with the maintenance and look after it whenever you are not around.

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Home Buying: What Kind of Homebuyer are You?

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“If I were asked to name the benefit of the house, I should say the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, and the house allows one to dream in peace.”-Gaston Bachelard

Just as there are different types of houses, so is there a diverse set of homebuyers one would encounter in their lives—especially when you are in the real estate industry wherein you deal with these sorts of clients every single day. However, determining what kind of home buyer you are, should not be the job of your real estate agent but yours as well. After all, identifying the type of home buyer you are would significantly narrow down your options when it comes to choosing homes and would make the entire process a lot easier, simpler, more streamlined and straightforward. Furthermore, having an awareness of the sort of buyer you are would enable you to find out not only what you need and suits you, but what befits your budget as well.

So, before you zero in on a Makati Condo for sale, try to assess what kind of buyer you are first. In any case, below is a list of descriptions about homebuyers out there. Take a gander at them and see if any of them best describe you before you take that plunge in buying real estate:

1.) Move-in Ready

At a moment’s notice, you can move in. As a consequence, it is only natural for you to wish to move in as soon as possible. You are dead set on an immediate move-in—so much so that you do not really have the luxury of time to wait. In fact, you would much rather look for a home that is already built than wait several months to have it erected and built from the ground. If you find yourself relating to this kind of buyer, check full-furnished properties where all you would really need to do is move-in sans the shopping (or shipping) of furniture. Before deciding to move out, prepare a list of what you must have in your home so that have an idea where you will commence your search.

2.) Fixer-upper lover

You are the type of homeowner who has an ardent proclivity for making dilapidated properties look fresh and new again. In fact, you are never deterred by any renovation, reconstruction, and maintenance work. If anything, they challenge and motivate you to try out some new ideas. If you have a penchant for home improvement projects and find that kind of work ensnaring, then you would most likely fall for a fixer-upper kind of house. If you can relate to these, scour your location for some foreclosed properties that might appeal to you. However, do not forget to create a grand master plan to aid you in creating the final look for your home.

3.) Tiny House Hunter

You love adopting a minimalist lifestyle that you are hardly bothered by houses of diminutive size. In fact, you find them subtly charming and a lot easier to decorate and style. You do not wish to spend so much money on extra space you probably will never need and merely make do with what available space you can. Moreover, you love redecorating now and then and you find it easier to do when you are living in a tiny home. If you are this type of homebuyer, perhaps finding a studio-type condo would be your best choice. After all, you have everything you need just in a single room.

4.) Life-time Buyer

Starter homes are a thing of the past, and you no longer feel like it is something you should be investing in—especially since you are starting to grow out your family. You want a home that would last you—not only for years but until your retirement and when your hair eventually turns grey. If you are this kind of buyer, check for properties that are strategically situated near business districts, entertainment hubs and schools as well to ensure the optimal growth and development of your family.

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Home Living: Four Reasons You Need Homeowners Insurance

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“It is a privilege to wake up in this house that existed before us, and will exist after us.”-Tim Cuppett (homeowner)

Without a doubt, our homes are bastions against outward elements—a place we can call our sanctuary, if you may. It is universally considered as a protective shelter and more often than not, it is symbolic of all the years of hard work we have done in order to erect such a place. Moreover, it also happens to be one of the most significant investments we would probably make in our lives. In this regard, it would only make sense to protect it adequately and ensure that should anything untoward occur, you and your family would not be left without a roof over your head. And the best way to sufficiently protect your homes is to have it insured with homeowner’s insurance.

Yes, you might have thought that this is another recurring expense on top of the exorbitant amount you have already paid for the home itself. But the truth of the matter is, if you cannot afford home insurance then you cannot afford a home. You could never tell what might happen, and if a fire razes your homes, you would be left without a shelter and without your belongings which are a scenario rendering you close to destitute. Your home is precious, and for that reason alone you should protect it. Any damage done could leave lasting financial and emotional consequences—let home insurance mitigate it. In any case, if you have been hoping to buy a condo in Avida Towers Centera or elsewhere, it is best to review the reasons why you should insure your home:

1.) Natural disasters are a dangerous reality

Just four years ago, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, particularly in the Visayas area. The aftermath of the hurricane left many Filipinos homeless, and as such, most of them were not able to rebuild their homes until much later. We would never know when a natural disaster could occur—whether that may be an earthquake, fire, typhoon or anything similar. Should this be the case, we should ensure that our homes are protected so as not to leave ourselves and our families homeless.

2.) Man-made risks can cause a lot of damage

Much like natural disasters, manmade risks are fortuitous events. Although you may have armed your homes to the teeth with security cameras, surveillance systems and the like, manmade risks such as thefts, terrorism, riots, arson, etc. still pose a threat to the security and protection of your home. Home insurance, albeit only some of them, provides you with the assurance that reparation would be provided should any of manmade untoward events occur. However, should your insurer not provide this benefit, you can always add an additional fee for this benefit.

3.) Everything has value

Depending on your insurer, home insurance usually provides coverage for two things: the construction of the home itself and the contents within. Unfortunately, some items might not fall into the category of essential items that would need to be insured. Many of us would have items that have sentimental value, jewelry or maybe even some art installations and paintings that might have had cost us a fortune. To ensure you have everything you wish covered, read your policy and coverage and opt for a rider or two.

4.) It gives you peace of mind

Last, but certainly not the least having insurance gives you peace of mind. In this regard, you would be able to sleep well at night knowing that should any unforeseen circumstance occur that might cause you to lose your home, you and your family will be able to ride the tide with insurance. Remember, peace of mind is priceless, and so is your home. You should regard it as more than a structure of four walls and selected paint—it is a sanctuary that cultivates relationships and offers its inhabitants utmost protection.

 

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Three Things You Wish You Knew Before Getting Your Own Rental Apartment

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“Being able to own yourself is a blessing. When dependent on other beings for survival your chances to breathe slims, own yourself.”-Author Unknown

If you have lived by yourself for a significant amount of time, there are lessons and realizations you will inevitably develop. More often than not, it is these very same insights that would make you a little warier the next time you choose a rental apartment. From predicaments with your bills to unreasonable landlords and neighbors, living in a rental unit by itself is already a host for a myriad of problems that can potentially catch you unaware. However, while there is no certain way for you to be prepared for every possible dilemma that might arise, there are a few things you might wish to know before signing your very first rental or lease contract.

Although the prospect of living by yourself for the very first time—away from family and friends can be incredibly thrilling, this rush of euphoria would not last very long—especially when you become overwhelmed by obligations and responsibilities. As the last vestiges of newfound ecstasy fade, you would soon come to heavy burden that is entailed with living alone. However, this is not to deter you—but rather to prepare you of what life is like when you are on your own. So, whether you are looking forward to being billeted in a swanky address such as Avida Asten or elsewhere, as long as you are going to be living alone here are some things you should keep in mind:

1.) You cannot pick your landlord

Regardless of what anyone says, when it comes to rental units, the most important relationship you develop is the one with your landlord. This means that you can get into a really tight snag if you have a landlord that is quite difficult to deal with. Unfortunately for you, while you might be able to select the apartment you wish to rent, the same cannot be said for the owner who is renting it to you. Should you decide to move in, you will inevitably have to deal with them. Choose wisely and carefully. Know that whatever apartment you choose, the landlord comes with it too.

2.) You cannot pick your neighbors

Much like you cannot pick your landlord, it is virtually impossible for you to be selective with your neighbors either. Regardless of whether you scout the place thoroughly and select an apartment based on the neighbors you are going to be rubbing shoulders with, you can never be meticulous enough with who they are. After all, it is not up to you who rents out the apartment but the landlord. So, if you only have a wall separating you from your neighbor, you will inevitably be subjected to the caprices of your neighbors—and the noise would be the least of your worries.

3.) Pretend you are buying a home

Apartment renters often overlook even the most significant stuff in a rental unit in their jubilation of finally finding one that caters to their need. Unfortunately, this creates a myriad of problems that the renter could have prevented just by asking in the first place. A majority of apartment renters do not even think of asking whether the water heater was replaced in the last 6-8 years if there any mold problems or when the building was re-roofed and the like. Although this queries sound like they are best asked by potential home buyers, it would not hurt to ask these things—especially if you intend on renting for a significant amount of time. If you want a unit that is in good condition, it is best if you asked questions.

 

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