Robin V. Wish - Real Living Suburban Lifestyle Real Estate

Posted by Robin V. Wish on 7/2/2018

If you work from home either full or part-time, you may want to give the home office deduction a go on your taxes. The problem with this deduction is that it can be tricky. 

Are You Eligible?

Your workspace needs to meet the criteria for business use. You need to use your work space regularly and as your principal place of business. If you don’t work from home as a self-employed individual, your employer must require you to work from home due to a lack of office space or other circumstances. The keywords in this part of the clause are “exclusively, regularly, and must.”

First, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of your home that’s used for business. This means that if your office is 100 square feet and your home is 1,000 square feet, you use 10% of your home for business. If you own the space you’re living in, you can deduct 10% of the mortgage interest that you pay each month. Keep in mind that you can’t double dip either. This means the amount of mortgage interest that you deduct on other parts of your taxes is reduced. If you rent your home, you’d deduct the percentage off of your monthly rental payments. 

Home Office Maintenance

If you own your home, you are able to deduct a portion of your property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses that are associated with your home office space. These expenses vary because some are direct such as the expense of you painting your office. Others are indirect. Home insurance applies to your entire home, so you would only apply a portion of that to a deduction. For the direct expenses, you are able to deduct the entire cost. 

For the indirect expenses, you’ll go back to applying the percentage of your home that is used for work. This means if we’re working with a 10% figure, you are able to deduct 10% of your utilities, 10% of your home insurance premiums, and so on.

If you rent, you can still deduct many of the same things that homeowners can from your taxes for a home office expenditure. The only thing that you’ll lack as a renter is the ability to write off things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. Know that you’ll be able to write off a portion of your renter’s insurance. 

The Complicated Stuff: Depreciation

You are able to depreciate the value of a home office as your home ages. It’s not always necessary to do this, so you should consult your tax professional before you decide to make this type of deduction. Equipment in your office, such as your computer, can be claimed as a depreciation over time as well. 

The important thing when it comes to your home office tax deduction is to do your homework. You don’t want to miss out on important savings!

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Posted by Robin V. Wish on 6/20/2016

LED light bulbsRecent advances in ‘smart home” technology impact building trends. Innovative builders are incorporating comfort and convenience, all with just the touch of an app.

Say Goodbye To The Home Office. Although more and more people are telecommuting and working virtually, the space consuming home office is becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the days of bulky space grabbing PC towers and big electronic components. Cloud storage has eliminated the need for space for shelves and filing cabinets. The abundance and ready availability of mobile technology eliminate the need for large, separate home offices.

Today’s smart homes feature pocket offices or small areas specially designed to accommodate a laptop and mobile device charging station. Many kitchen designs incorporate a workspace with a wall-mounted touchpad to control household activity from drawing a bath to scheduling dishwasher and laundry appliance operations for off-peak times when low electricity rates apply.

Glorious Kitchens And Grand Baths

Home buyers demand grand, distinctive spaces with a heightened interest in master bathrooms fitted with jumbo showers with body sprays, rain heads, steam cabinets and touchscreen technology to control lighting, music, water pressure as well as room and water temperature.

Kitchens that celebrate eye-catching islands with digitally controlled cooktops, app-controlled appliances, built-in beverage centers and other smart home technology elements that showcase the kitchen’s role as family gathering place are an integral element in today’s home designs.

Elegant Electronic Wine Rooms

Once found only in the catacombs of the dwellings of the very rich, in-home, digitally controlled wine rooms gain popularity in new construction plans. Often tucked under a grand stairway or as a retreat off the main dining room, these private “man caves” are digitally equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems, alarm systems, entertainment centers, soundproofing, ventilation systems that by-pass the main house system, and humidity, moisture and temperature storage for vintage wines, liquors and fine cigars.

Owners can relax and savor a cigar without offending others in the household or draw guests an icy cold brew or hot beverage from built-in keg taps or beverage brewers.

Built-in wine rooms or owner retreats, replace the home office or den as a place of solitude to escape the flurry of household activity and the demands of the outside world.

Home Entertainment Theaters Or Media Rooms

Space once used for the “family room” or den in older construction has a new purpose as defined by today’s building trends. The home entertainment theater, also known as the media room, provides a designated space for creating a true cinematic experience complete with drop-from-the-ceiling viewing screens, the finest in surround sound, mood lighting, and room temperature controlled with just a flick of a switch on your favorite mobile device.

Home Gyms

The growing trend in physical fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has given rise to the popularity of incorporating a home gym or physical fitness room into building design plans. In upscale designs, this area is often designed as a complete “mini-suite” equipped with a full bath, sauna, steam room and hot tub or physical therapy tub with all room functions controlled by an app activated by your smartphone.

Design features may include an infinity lap pool, digital scales, and cardiovascular monitoring with a recording feature to keep track of your physical fitness goals and progress. If you include different types of exercise equipment such as a tread climber, elliptical machine, exercise bike or stair master with digital controls, smart home technology allows you to synchronize and record the time spent daily on each activity as well as the number of calories burned in total.

Many smart homes include intercom and visually invisible camera interaction between rooms. Now you can get a full workout while monitoring that the baby is sleeping soundly, and the rest of the household is running smoothly.


With a smart home, you are only limited by your imagination. If there is a function in your home that operates electronically, your electrician or technology consultant, working with your builder, can incorporate it into your smart home design.

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Posted by Robin V. Wish on 11/9/2015

With the recent growth in telecommuting, home offices are also becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. Home buyers are looking for a place where they can work, a place to pay bills or simply surf the net. Investing in a home office will help you now and may pay off later. Have you always dreamed of a home office? Do you have an office that is overrun with papers? A home office is usually the place where junk finds its home. Getting that room into a place where organization is king can be easier than you think. Implementing an organizational system that has you working in peace with everything at your fingertips is easy if you follow these simple tips. 1. Choose the space. Think of all the things that you'll need to work comfortably in your home office. You want to make sure the space will allow for your desk and chair and anything else you will need in your office. 2. Organize your space. Part of organizing means decluttering. If you have three staplers, six pairs of scissors you will need to get rid of anything extra. Clutter is very distracting and reduces efficiency. Identify a space for all the necessities. You need to identify a place for the printer, file cabinet, reference books and supplies. 3. Schedule the date and time for your office organization. Set aside a specific time and date to plan your space. If you have lots of files and file cabinets, make a decision on how much you want to get done in the initial session. You may need to plan several dates to complete the whole task. 4. Reorganize. Clean and organize your office at the end of each day. It will only take a few minutes and keep you on track to staying organized. Plan on reorganizing your office every three months or so. By planning your home office space and getting it organized you'll enjoy it more. Your work will be better, you'll appreciate being at home, and you'll have the perfect place to work--your home. Now focus on success!