Homestead Exemption

Every tax season is a nightmare. This little tidbit of knowledge can help ease the burden of taxes this year. This tax season save money on your home with the Homestead Exemption. It is an exemption of the assessed valuation.

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A homestead is any structure, condominium or home located on owned or leased land as long as the individual lives in it. It can include up to 20 acres as long as it is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to residential use. The exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation thus lowering your taxes. Not all homes qualify; only the principal residence of the homeowner.


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To qualify you must be a resident of Oklahoma and the homeowner that resides on the property by January 1st with the deed executed before January 1st and filed with the County Clerks Office before February 1st. You may file it for two years up to the delinquency date. Once you have applied for and granted the Homestead Exemption then you do not have to continue applying as long as you continue to occupy the homestead home.


pexels-photo-296886.jpegYou may even be able to apply for an additional exemption if you qualify for the original homestead exemption and are head of the household. There are several options including county, school, disabled, optional percentage and senior tax exemptions. This is potentially another $1000 if your total annual income did not exceed $20,000 the previous year. Apply today from our Oklahoma County Assessor site.

 

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Easy Instant Pot Soups for Winter

It’s the perfect time of year for staying indoors, drinking mulled wine and reading books that you’ve been meaning to get to. With cold weather comes the best hot recipes that satisfy the soul and nothing does that better than a hearty warm soup. These recipes will kick start your winter watch-fest or read-in.

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Simple Veggie and Beef:
This easy recipe will take only 20 minutes and then be ready to enjoy. 

  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen Lima beans
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set your Instant pot to sauté setting.  Cook meat and onions until brown and onions are soft.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to the Instant pot.
  3. Add lid and set to sealing.
  4. Click the manual button and set the time for 4 minutes. Allow it to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then do a quick release
  5. Remove lid, stir, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot with your favorite rolls and enjoy!

 

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Zuppa Toscana:
I don’t know about you but I am obsessed with Italian soups. They get it right every time. One of my personal favorites is Zuppa Toscana. The flavor and potatoes make for a satisfying dinner.

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Hot Italian Sausage, Use 1 hot and one mild if you don’t like spice
  • 3 Strips of Thick Cut Smoky Bacon, chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 4-6 Medium Potatoes, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth, low sodium
  • 1 Bunch of Kale** chopped, with rib removed
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
  1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode, and when it says Hot, add the olive oil.
  2. Add the sausage and brown it, stirring a few times. If you can get a good browning on it the flavor will be even better! Add the chopped bacon. Stir. Add the onions, stir them in.
  3. Add the oregano. When the onions start to look translucent, add the minced garlic, or add using a garlic press, and stir. Pour in the broth, stirring, and make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to get up any brown bits. Add the potatoes.
  4. After adding the potatoes, check to make sure the contents don’t go over the Max Fill line marked on the inner liner. Cancel Sauté mode.
  5. Close the lid, set the steam release knob to Sealing.
  6. Set to Manual (or Pressure Cook), and choose 5 minutes* (High Pressure).
  7. After cooking cycle ends, allow a 10 minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release).
  8. Manually release the rest of the steam and when the pin in the lid drops, open the lid.
  9. Add in the kale, (or thawed spinach, if using) and stir well. Cover and let heat through for 5 minutes or so to soften the kale. If using spinach, just stir it in and proceed to the next step. Stir in the heavy cream. Serve!

 

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup:
A classic that is rich and gratifying. This is practically the only thing I order when at Panera. It’s too good to pass up. This is a Panera copycat so by making it at home I can save a lot of money.

  • 8oz cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tbs franks red hot sauce (optional)
  1. Place chopped onion, carrots, broccoli, and chicken broth in the Pot. Place on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes.
  2. Do a quick release and stir in milk or heavy cream place pot back on saute until comes to a low boil about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and hot sauce.
  3. Serve with bread or crackers.

Soups are the go-to for a night at home before a evening of Netflix and board games. These will start your evening off right with old recipes that can create some new traditions.

 

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Gym Free Work Outs

It’s January and time to own up to those New Years resolutions. My resolution is to have no excuses to not work out, especially on days I can’t get to my gym or know it’s going to be super packed because everyone else decided to start working out again in January. In honor of those gym free days I resolute to work out from home. That’s right. I’m going to get creative and tone up from anywhere! Here is my January plan for at home or office fitness so you can follow along.


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Week 1: An at home Crossfit regiment. It seems a very intense for me so I am going to try this simple Crossfit style workout from the comfort of my own abode. It is 10 lunges, 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 sit-ups and 10 jumping jacks. Repeat this 4 to 5 times in a row to complete your workout. Sounds fairly easy.



 

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Week 2: I will try a new workout each week to stave off boredom. I like to switch it up. Also you don’t want your body to acclimate to one workout. This week is called the Five, Ten, Fifteen. We will do 5 push-ups, 10 crunches, 15 squats, rest for 10 seconds, then 5 lunges, 10 reverse crunches, and a 15 second plank. Repeat this 5 times per day.

 


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Week 3: 5 minute Pilates Abs. 10 single leg stretches for each side, 10 criss crosses for each side, 10 double leg lowers, 10 scissors, 10 back extensions, 10 double leg stretch. Repeat daily. Can be used as an alone ab workout or added to the end of your usual routine.

 


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Week 4: Super Girl. This one is going to be intense. It’s called the Super Girl. If you get online you can research all kinds of workouts named after super heroes. It’s kind of awesome and will make you feel like you can conquer a genetically mutated monster afterwards. It is 20 squats, 20 knee tap reverse lunges, 40 punches, 10 one arm plank jumps, 10 alternate arm/leg planks, 10 Super Girl stretches, 10 reverse crunches, 10 raised leg crunches, 10 scissors. (See more here)

If you can make it through this, then you can make it through the entire year of gym-less fitness on those days you couldn’t get yourself to your favorite gym. Of course, all workouts should be followed up with a well balanced diet. Tell us how you’re doing on your gym free goals and give helpful advice in the comments so we can conquer January guilt together.

 

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New Year, New House

It’s already the New Year people and it’s time for big ideas and big changes. There is the one thing that has been on your mind for a while now but can’t seem to get started. Now is the time. Those homes you have been eyeballing secretly, following the buyer’s apps, and drooling over those historic district houses, well now is the time to act.

Make your New Year’s resolution to treat yourself
to a well deserved new home.
You’ve survived through 2017 so you’ve earned it.


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Why is the New Year a good time to buy? Tax Deductions. Start this year off right with huge tax deductions that are ready to be taken advantage of. Next year you will thank yourself while filing in February. I know it seems like a long way off now but so did the end of 2017, am I right?


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In addition to the usual perks of buying, the holidays and New Year make everyone a little more jolly. The freshness of the New Year may make people nicer as you start your journey into purchasing. Your real estate agent will be more attentive due to slow traffic; the seller may be easier to negotiate with in the spirit of the season. YOU will be less stressed and more easy-going in light of the exciting prospects of ownership.


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Not many people shop for houses this season so many sit on the market for a long time. This will save you money by getting a great deal in a slow market. Sellers will be thrilled to negotiate and sell to you after waiting a spell on a bid.


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It’s better than renting. On rentals you are essentially burning your money each month. Buying is an investment that will eventually make you money if you ever decide to sell your home.

Make your New Year work for you, make your new year’s resolution to own.

 


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time to Buy

Winter gets a bad rap. It’s known for the cold, bad driving weather and terrible hair days from the elements. Despite the negative connotations, it does have some upsides and one of those include a great time to purchase a home. If you are toying with the idea of purchasing then consider these points.

First of all, someone moving in winter probably needs to leave his or her property quickly for job relocation. These owners are more willing to negotiate which benefits the buyer because the buyer can get a better deal. To say what everyone is thinking, they are desperate. Which is good news for you. On the flip side, do not list your house in the winter if you are trying to get the most out of the sell. Bargain hunters are on the prowl for a good fixer upper.

House prices are annually at an all time low in the winter season. The buyer will get more purchasing power and get more bang for your buck by purchasing at the end of the year. This is due to lower level of listings and preoccupation with more pressing motives such as holidays and family.

Touring homes in winter can be rewarding. Right away you can tell if the windows are drafty, if the central heating and AC are working, or if your feet are already freezing on the hardwood floors. This can save you costs in the future and make huge impacts on your future daily life.

Winter may just be your season this year.

 

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