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But make a list and check it twice

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You can build your real estate portfolio starting with your own house.

The holidays are a great time to create your list of wants-and-needs for a new home.
While you are at it, also ask yourself a question: Should you rent out your existing house instead of selling?

Recent news shows that buying is cheaper than renting. When you turn that around it means rents are up for property owners. And you could be one.

A study by Trulia.com shows that, in 100 of the largest metropolitan areas, buying a home is cheaper than renting. Averaging all areas, buying a home is nearly 35 percent cheaper than renting.


In some areas, there is a dramatic difference. In New Orleans, buying is 52 percent cheaper than renting.

The study took into consideration down payment, taxes, insurance, and utilities. It assumed that the buyer would live in the home for seven years.

That’s good news for potential buyers. But it is also good news for property owners who want to lease their homes.

If you have a personal mortgage and have lived in your home, you can rent it out without getting another mortgage. This is important because investment mortgages have higher interest rates and down payments ranging up to 25 percent. Conclusion: If you want to build a real estate portfolio, it is less expensive to live in a home and then rent it out instead of buying a home as an investment property.

One potential stumbling block here is that you have to qualify for another mortgage. Lenders will consider your debt-to-income ratio and another mortgage could pose a problem. One possible way to overcome this is to establish a lease before you go to the lender.

According to Zillow, lenders will want to see you have some property management experience before they count the lease as income.

You might want to consider a professional leasing service for your property to find qualified renters.

However, if you do qualify for a second mortgage, you will have some tax advantages related to depreciation and the deduction of maintenance expenses, and the deduction of your mortgage interest.

Beyond that, it is a matter of homework. Consider whether your home is rentable in your area. Larger homes might not be marketable.

Look into rental rates in the area.

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Grow your wealth: protect your finances from inflation

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The cost of just about everything is on the rise. Here are a few ways to protect your finances from the effects of inflation.

• Examine your spending and make a budget. Shop strategically and cut costs in certain areas to counteract rising prices.

• Find ways to reduce your debt load. Pay off high-interest debt like credit cards, lines of credit, and personal loans.

• Diversify your investments. Stocks and mutual funds offer the best chance of beating inflation over the long term.


• Increase your active and passive income. Ask for a raise at work and find creative ways to bring in more money.

Finally, consider the big picture and don’t make drastic changes based on current inflation or changing market conditions.

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Dare to DIY: Tackle small projects yourself

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Does your home need a little sprucing up? Are you having trouble finding a professional to do the job with the ongoing labor shortage?

If you want to refresh your decor, repaint the walls or install a backsplash, do it yourself. With the right tools, high-quality materials, professional advice, and a little elbow grease, you’re sure to create something you’re proud of.

Visit local home improvement and hardware stores, tool rental centers, paint retailers, flooring stores, and more to find everything you need for your renovation project.

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Why you should hire a professional wedding planner for your big day

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Planning a wedding is a full-time job. Have you considered hiring a professional wedding planner? Here are a few ways a pro can make your wedding day perfect for you and enjoyable for your loved ones.

• Schedule and budget. Wedding planners have timetables and finances down to a science. They’ll relieve you of all uncertainty, from timing your invitations to ordering the cake.

• Insider knowledge. A pro knows which vendors best suit your preferences and needs. Moreover, since your planner brings them steady business, you may get better deals.

• Personality management. You need someone to advocate for you when interpersonal conflicts arise. Be it the guest list, the seating plan, or a problematic relative, and your wedding planner will handle uncomfortable conversations for you.


• Quality control. A pro ensures nothing gets overlooked. They may also have unique and fun ideas you may not have thought of.

Investing in a professional may save you money on your overall wedding costs. Talk to a wedding planner near you to relax and enjoy your special day.

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The benefits of vinyl flooring

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Are you renovating your home or building a new abode? When it comes to flooring, keep in mind the undeniable advantages of vinyl.

Multiple qualities
This versatile material has been gaining popularity in the world of interior design. Modern vinyl flooring has the following benefits.

•It’s cost-effective compared to other floor coverings
• It’s easy to maintain
• It’s scratch- and scuff-resistant, making it suitable for high-traffic areas
• It’s waterproof, making it practical for bathrooms and kitchens
• It can be made to look like natural stone and wood
• It’s warmer underfoot than other types of flooring materials like tile
• It’s available in several formats, including rolls, tiles, and strips

Visit a flooring retailer near you to discover the versatility of vinyl flooring.


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How the envelope budgeting method works

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The envelope budgeting method uses a cash-based approach to help people who struggle with sticking to a budget to be more mindful of their spending. It allows you to see how much you spend physically.

Start by dividing your income into different spending categories, such as bills, groceries, savings, gas, and entertainment. You can tailor your categories to your specific situation. However, don’t forget to create envelopes for irregular expenses, such as taxes, insurance, and gifts.

Then, assign a certain amount of cash to each category. There’s no set amount. Your dollar amount in each envelope should reflect your needs and personal goals. For example, if you spend $100 weekly on groceries, put $400 in the monthly grocery envelope.

Once the envelope is empty, you can’t spend any more money in that category until the new budget period begins. If you have money left over in any of the envelopes, you can either keep it in that envelope for next month or remove it and add it to your savings account or emergency fund.


This method can easily apply to a budgeting app if you no longer use cash to pay bills.

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Touchless appliances for the kitchen

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If you have a smart speaker in your home, you may already benefit from hands-free technology while you cook. You can use voice commands to set a timer or listen to an online recipe. Today, there are plenty of touch-free appliances that promise to optimize hygiene while increasing efficiency in the kitchen.

Sensor lights
Indoor motion detector lighting offers the same convenience and security as the lights you install on your home’s exterior. In the kitchen, you have the added benefit of keeping messy hands off of light switches. The automatic shut-off feature saves energy, too.

Faucets
Touchless faucets are available in various styles, finishes, and price points. Some even have voice control to let you adjust water volume and temperature.

Dishwashers
Hands-free dishwashers come with doors that you knock to open. They include safety features to prevent accidental activation when a person or pet bumps into it.


Refrigerators
Handleless refrigerators open with the touch of a knee or elbow. Since current models are built-ins, you must hire a professional to install them.

Cabinets
The classic touch-latch cabinet door is a simple hands-free solution you can install yourself. Get a professional to build a sophisticated electronic cabinet closure system for a more high-tech approach.

Get in touch with a local contractor to ensure your new appliances are installed and working correctly.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Feb
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Feb
4
Sat
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Feb 4 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
Feb
6
Mon
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 6 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
7
Tue
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
8
Wed
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Feb
9
Thu
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
10
Fri
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
11
Sat
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 11 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
12
Sun
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 12 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]