A recent study found that nearly half of Americans would not be able to come up with just $400 in savings if they had an emergency or needed the funds. That doesn’t sound very optimistic. We asked four different experts to share their best savings tips. Here’s what they had to say.
Expert: Irina Pankratova
Experience: 16 years
With the proliferation of online services that help you find a house or complete your own real estate transaction, some buyers and sellers have begun to regard real estate agents as costly and nonessential. Some people don’t understand what agents do and wonder whether they can do it themselves to save money. We asked experienced and knowledgeable realtor, Irina Pankratova, to share a few tips on why you should consider working with an agent.
How an agent can benefit a seller?
An experienced agent has the knowledge and will use it to position your home to sell at the highest possible price. They will provide you with marketing materials and use proven selling systems. Professional virtual tours and photography, wide internet exposure, home staging advice, buyer feedback and private showings, counteroffer and negotiation expertise, suggestions for dealing with low appraisals… These are just some of the services that you receive by hiring a professional agent.
How an agent can benefit a buyer?
A buyer’s agent will provide you with sufficient information to purchase a home and professionally negotiate on your behalf. An agent can tell you about listings before homes are available to the public, provide comparable sales from the tax roll, suggest pricing strategy, prepare a strong offer that presents your property in the best light, review documents for loopholes and obtain disclosures. By the way, even if you are buying a new house from the builder, I strongly advise that you use your own agent.
Professional negotiation is key. Real estate agents have to negotiate with sellers, builders, closing agents, brokers and all parties involved. Agents can negotiate a seller down on price or help a seller avoid costly repairs.
The purchase contract is created to protect you and ensure that you are able to back out of the deal if certain conditions are not met. But contracts can be hard to understand, especially when they are changing every few years. You can lose your deposit if it is not done properly.
An experienced real estate agent deals with the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis and knows how to use the contract to protect you, whether you’re buying or selling your home.
Don’t undervalue an agent’s connections
Professional agents will have an entire arsenal of experts ready to help you through every stage of the home-selling journey. Whether you need repairs, inspections, a lender or legal insight, a good agent should be able to connect you with the right people.
While there are certainly people who are qualified to sell their own homes, the process is not as simple as many people assume. Working with a real estate professional can bring a lot of peace of mind during a major transaction, whether you are buying or selling. And it can ultimately leave you with more cash in the bank. When trying to hire a realtor, be sure to do your homework. Finding out how long the real estate agent has been in the business and what type of reputation they have is always a good idea.
Company: Smart Energy Solutions
Address: 1331 Terminal St., West Sacramento, CA. 95691
Experience: 17 years
The thought of replacing your windows might seem costly. You might wonder why bother replacing them if they are functioning fine right now. We will share two ways you can save money by replacing your old windows. Our experts in this field are Vladimir and Andrew Valulchik, owners of the well-known and trustworthy company “Smart Energy Solutions”.
This company has provided quality service and reliable products throughout the Greater Sacramento and Bay Area for more than a decade.
1. New windows can lower your utility bills and cut down on noise.
Old windows can be a significant source of heat loss. New, energy-efficient windows are more air-tight than traditional, single-pane windows. New windows prevent outside air from getting in and inside air from getting out. Energy-efficient glass may also have a special coating that blocks heat from entering your home in the summer and keeps heat in your home during the winter.
2. Increase your house resale value and improve its appearance.
Replacing your windows can increase the value of your home when you move. Potential homebuyers may be willing to pay more for a home that is energy-efficient because it offers the promise of energy savings for years to come. Replacing your windows with new energy-efficient windows can return up to 72% of the project cost upon resale.
Replacing the windows in your home is a good investment, and offers a strong return for what you spend. In fact, it’s one of the most valuable home improvements you can make.
Company: Augmentum Accounting
Expert: Yuriy Kudelin
Experience: 7 years
You may be earning just enough to pay taxes, you may be skilled enough to file your own returns, and you may even know how to use the right software tools to handle the task by yourself, but there are still many reasons why it’s wiser to hire an accountant. We asked Yuriy Kudelin, an accounting expert, how you can save money if you hire a knowledgeable accountant.
1. Saves you time (and time Is money)
As a business owner, you need to focus on your business, right? You should delegate some tasks to others in order to grow and expand your business model. Otherwise, it’s not a business, it’s self-employment. Keeping your accounts up to date with a professional accountant helps you understand which of your business investments yield the greatest returns so you can be more strategic. According to the latest statistic from the Business Insider, over 70% of business owners are using an accountant! Why? Because it’s cheaper for them to outsource their tax chores to a professional, so they can use the time they save to make money doing what they enjoy. Also, skillful accountants know the latest changes to the tax code. That is why they can help you make the best choices about how and when to spend and save money!
2. Know and use all the loopholes
Finding legal “loopholes” in the tax code or in other parts of your business (credit cards, reimbursement, etc.), is exactly what a good accountant should do! Of course, the word “loophole” may carry emotional baggage, as it is often associated with negative and unethical behavior, so this could seem like a controversial statement. Here’s the truth about “loopholes” … they’re built into the tax code. They’re also called “legal deductions”. So, if you hire an experienced professional, you will have more opportunities to grow, develop your business and manage your finances with maximum savings.
3. Apps, Credit reimbursement and other tricks
Business leaders who are committed to hiring extremely competent, qualified, and highly efficient candidates are often most successful. If you hire the right person, you will see positive results almost immediately. The experienced accountant will advise you of the best apps for the easiest tracking of your travel miles, business costs, documents, etc. Your accountant can save you as much money as possible and you will be able to reinvest those savings in your business again.
A competent accountant can help you become a better businessperson. You can save time, money and avoid a lot of stressful situations, while growing your company and achieving your business goals.
Company: A+ Heating & Air
Expert: Kirill Lukichev
Experience: 15 years
Running the air conditioner during summer months can make an electricity bill skyrocket, but the alternative isn’t pretty, either. Therefore, we asked Kirill Lukichev, owner of A+Heating & Air, about effective ways that can save you money and significantly lower your utility bills.
1. Install a programmable thermostat
The biggest benefit programmable thermostats offer is the cost savings. So, one of the most energy-efficient things you can do is set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature that won’t make your unit work too hard, but will still make you feel like you’re sitting pretty. Also, make sure to set the thermostat off in the peak hours (usually from 5 p.m. till 8 p.m.) That easy trick will reduce your energy bill. It makes sense to have a system that does it for you automatically, so you can set, and forget. And, of course, save you money!
2. Make health your number one priority
We all know the saying that we are what we eat. But only a few of us realize that one of the most important things in your overall health is the air that you breathe. Every day as you breathe the air inside your home, you also breathe dust particles, dander, pollen, perfumes, pollutants, and even mold. If those items find a way into your air ducts, the problem intensifies. Sealing your ducts with the new AEROSEAL Technology helps eliminate access, so these contaminants stay out of your circulating air. In addition, I highly recommend to invest money in the good air purifier with a UV Light option. UV air purifier can help you avoid these issues by eliminating all the contaminants in the air. An UV air purifier works great against common bacteria and viruses, such as those that cause tuberculosis, measles, the flu and even the common cold. By reducing your exposure to these germs, you’ll have a much better chance of staying healthy. You can test the quality of the air in your home and, with the help of our experts, find the best way to make it cleaner!
3. Consider Insulation & LED lights
When you think of insulation, you probably think about how insulation can keep your home warm in the winter. In reality, though, insulation is beneficial for your home all year round! Did you know that a home that is under-insulated or not properly insulated can lose between 20% and 30% of its energy? Air leaks around your windows and doors or in your attic or basement can waste your energy. That means that your heater and your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep your home warm or cool (and a harder-working HVAC system means a higher energy bill). With proper home insulation, you can keep your home efficient and keep your energy bills down.
Another great way to save your money is switching your home or business lighting to LED because it is energy efficient and lasts much longer. You probably don’t know that if you are using old-fashioned, incandescent light bulbs, more than 80% of the electricity they use is turned into heat rather than light. Therefore, LED is a great investment if you want to spend less on electricity and keep your house cooler at the same time.
You can dramatically reduce your energy costs if you address your problems with professionals. When you choose A+Heating & Air, you choose the best quality systems with the best price and the best installers around. We also offer a special rate of 0% APR with 18 equal, monthly payments. Remember the wise saying: A penny saved is a penny earned!