5 upgrades for under $5,000 to put your home at the top of every buyer’s list

 

(BPT) – It's a sobering truth of real estate that sellers often have to spend money to make money. Even if your home is relatively new, you still face costs associated with getting it ready to show, such as repainting interior rooms or hiring professional cleaners and stagers. If your home could use some TLC and updating, spending as little as $5,000 on key upgrades could improve its appeal for buyers – and ensure a speedier sale at a better price.

Here are five upgrades you can make for under $5,000 to help put your home at the top of every buyer's must-see list.

 1. Upgrade your entryway – Replacing an old, dated or worn entry door can be a cost-effective way to ensure buyers get a good first impression when they walk in your house. Whether you choose a fiberglass, wooden or steel model, installing a new entry door can cost a few thousand dollars, yet the return on investment at the time of resale can be significant. A fiberglass entry door returns about 72 percent of its investment, while a steel door recoups more than 100 percent of its value, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report.

Enhance your new door with attractive plantings, fresh paint and clean windows around the entryway to create a memorable, attractive entry for just a few thousand dollars.

2. Increase natural light – More buyers are becoming aware of the mood- and productivity-enhancing benefits of natural light, and homes with big, bright windows have always been in demand. Adding windows to a room can be a costly, time-consuming affair. Not so with adding a skylight. For well under $5,000 and in just a day or two, a professional can install an Energy Star qualified, solar powered no-leak fresh-air skylight, like those from Velux America. Professional installation costs nationally ranges from around $900 to $2,325, with an average of $1,400, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

The low installation cost will leave you plenty of budget to enhance the skylight upgrade even further with energy efficiency-boosting solar-powered blinds. The skylight and blinds are operated by remote control and the blinds are available in designer colors and patterns to enhance your décor. The products, as well as installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit to further reduce the cost of the improvement.

The most popular rooms in the home for fresh air skylights are baths, where they provide privacy in addition to natural light, and kitchens, where they vent cooking odors and humidity naturally while brightening this much-used workspace. Visit http://www.veluxusa.com to learn more.

3. Beautify a master bathroom – Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. Making a few cosmetic upgrades to even a small master bath can help increase a home's appeal and value. For less than $5,000 you can easily repaint, upgrade faucets, replace old cabinet hardware and add decorative touches like designer towels.

If you've already done all that, take a look at the floor or countertops – two cost-effective upgrades that can wow buyers. Since counters don't make up that much square footage in most bathrooms, replacing them with granite can cost just a couple thousand dollars. Tile flooring is also a relatively inexpensive way to improve a bathroom's look and usability.

4. Heat things up in the kitchen – Kitchen remodels can offer high ROI for sellers, but a full remodel may be outside your budget. If you've already done the obvious – like repainting and decluttering – it's time to look for a few more cost-effective improvements that will appeal to buyers.

Just as in the bathroom, swapping old faucets and cabinet hardware with new designer options can enhance the appeal of a kitchen. Shabby, outdated appliances can hinder a speedy sale, so consider replacing them with new ones. You don't necessarily need to install top-of-the-line, high-priced appliances to make a good impression, either. Newer, Energy Star qualified appliances represent savings for buyers down the road.

5. Lavish landscaping – No single aspect of your home has a greater impact on a buyer's first impression than the landscaping. A great front yard sets the tone for the rest of the home, appealing to buyers on a number of levels, including beauty, practicality and savings.

With $5,000, you can accomplish a lot in terms of landscaping. You can sod a small front yard, add decorative planting beds to a lush lawn, or even install shade trees that will both beautify the yard and enhance the home's energy efficiency in summer. Decorative concrete stamping of walkways and driveways is another cost-effective way to improve a home's curb appeal.

Whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market, no one wants to see their home linger long before selling. A few simple upgrades can help ensure your home gets plenty of attention this season.
 

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10 questions for the builder of your energy efficient home

(NC)-Do you want to know if your new home is energy-efficient? Here are some questions to ask your builder:

1. How do I know your homes are truly energy efficient?

2. Since all builders must meet the requirements of the building code, what makes your homes different from other builders’ homes?

3. How do your building techniques reflect the latest developments in housing technology?

4. What steps do you take to improve the energy efficiency of the homes you build?

5. Can you predict what my energy costs will be?

6. What makes your homes more environmentally friendly than others?

7. Do you participate in the Government’s  energy efficiency initiatives for new homes?

8. Do you affix a government-backed energy label to your home?

9. Do independent, licensed professionals inspect the energy efficiency of your homes?

10. Do you build homes that receive an EnerGuide rating of 83 or higher or its equivalent?

If you aren’t getting the answers you want, then you better think twice about your builder.

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Escape from reality by creating at-home retreats


Life is hectic. And although technology has made our lives easier to multitask and stay connected, it also means that no matter where you go, it’s hard to fully escape. While traveling to a remote island to get away for peace and relaxation would be a wonderful retreat, you can easily avoid the hustle and bustle of your daily routine by creating peaceful escapes throughout your own home.

 
Bliss in the bath

 
The bathroom is the only place where you can shut the door and have complete “you time” with little to no interruptions. “As people’s lives get busier, multitasking is the norm – and our time in the shower is no exception,” says Jack Suvak, senior director of market research and insights for Moen. With 54 percent of respondents to a recent survey on showering behaviors saying they have children living at home, a shower means a bit of precious alone time, and people take full advantage of the peace to think about the day, their lives and more.

 
To add a bit of bliss in the bath, add a spa-like shower with multiple spray settings to meet every mood. The Moen Caldwell Shower Combination offers a spa of multiple sprays and a variety of spray patterns – creating the perfect shower retreat. The collection features an incredible selection of options – both a five-setting wallmount showerhead and a five-setting handheld showerhead with five unique spray settings. And the best part? It won’t cost a fortune.
“It’s been interesting to watch how the bathroom – and the shower in particular – has become a therapeutic retreat in homes of any size,” says Rebecca Kolls, senior director home strategist at Iconoculture, a Corporate Executive Board company. “Living today is a juggling act. Consumers want balance, peace and tranquility, and that is now as easy as stepping into the shower. An effective showerhead brings an experience that’s as good as it gets – the golden ticket for relaxation whenever someone wants, or needs, it.

It’s a step away.”

 

It’s time to truly enjoy your shower and create the ultimate getaway. After all, you deserve it. And the multiple spray settings of the Caldwell collection are perfect for everyone in the house, with a slide bar that allows users to easily adjust the handheld showerhead up or down to the preferred height with just the push of button.

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Zen in the den
The TV is blaring, the phone is ringing off the hook, and power cords from everything from the Blu-ray, to the Wii, to the table lamp are refusing to stay neatly tucked away. Your den area might be a go-to hangout place, but it’s still easy to create peace among the chaos.
De-cluttering is one of the simplest things you can do to create order and a sense of calm. Remove items that haven’t been used in months and get rid of furniture that serves little to no function. The less clutter your den has, the better you’ll feel. It’s also important to open the windows whenever possible. Less mess and fresh air can easily change the outlook of a room.

 
Perfection on the patio

 
Don’t let that drab patio furniture or lackluster backyard get you down this season. A few pieces of bright colors can really change your outlook. Start off by planting flowers to spruce up the look of your space – no matter how small. Even if you don’t have a yard to put them in, flowers can be housed in pots, on balcony railings and even hung from the ceiling. They are the perfect addition of color and soothing smells.

 
Another great idea is to update your seating areas on your patio. A comfortable rocker, glider or lounge chair could be the perfect addition to create an inviting area for you to escape in a book or relax and unwind socializing with friends. If you already have seating, create an attractive and comfortable update with seat cushions, which can be found for reasonable prices at local retail stores and even outlets – giving your wallet a break.
Follow these tricks, and you’ll be on your way to feeling great, inside and out.

 
For more information about Moen and its products, call (800) BUY-MOEN or visit moen.com.
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Job searching skills to help boost confidence

Before your confidence begins to wane, it can help to remember that the skills applied to a search for employment can strengthen performance on the job. “With a thoughtful and determined approach to finding employment, you can not only help yourself stand out from the crowd but you’ll also hone skills that will help you succeed on the job,” says Gizelle Ortiz-Velazquez, director of Career Services at Brown Mackie College – Miami.

Persistence is key

Rarely does anyone secure a position on the first attempt. “Looking for a job takes determination, patience and persistence. Candidates must look at job opportunities every day and use multiple resources, such as networking, online job boards, professional organizations and social media sites,” Ortiz-Velazquez says. Your persistence will apply to success on the job as well.

“In life, we don’t always get the results we want the first time we try to solve a problem. We have to try again, look at the problem in a different way and look for the answer in different places,” Ortiz-Velazquez continues. “Just like using multiple resources for a job search, employees must learn to use multiple resources to solve problems on the job.”

Clear, focused communication is a must

When interviewing, effective oral and written communication skills are a must. “Different companies recruit and interview in different ways. The process often varies from company to company, and can include phone screening, Internet screening, email communications and face-to-face interaction,” says Ortiz-Velazquez. The successful candidate must be prepared for all of them.

She advises candidates to speak or write clearly and stay focused on the topic. At every step in the process, prospective employers evaluate each candidate’s ability to communicate. Once employed, effective communication skills can prove invaluable.

“On the job, different employees prefer different forms of communication,” Ortiz-Velazquez says. “It is important to communicate effectively and convey necessary information well whether communicating face to face, over the phone or in writing.”

There is no substitute for professionalism

Whether an employee or a prospect, it is important to remember that the way people conduct themselves outside of the workplace is a personal reflection on them.

“During a job search, most candidates take great care to ensure that they are dressing, communicating and representing themselves professionally,” Ortiz-Velazquez says. “On the job, however, employees sometimes get comfortable in the work environment and become less professional over time. This can lead to a less than professional reputation and hinder future opportunities.”

Social media websites present a forum to be considered with an eye toward professionalism. Ortiz-Velazquez advises job candidates and employees alike to remove personal information and never post questionable images or negative information about a coworker, boss or the company.

“We’ve all heard the story about the employee that called in sick and then later the same day posted a smiling photo of himself while sitting at a sporting event,” Ortiz-Velazquez says.

Those out there looking for employment can take heart in the skills they apply to the search. Those same strengths can help them succeed when they accept a position. And once employed, Ortiz-Velazquez reminds everyone to “remember that every day on the job is an interview and screening process for an employee’s future.”

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Creating curb appeal on a budget


The arrival of summer has many homeowners outside planting, preparing the patio for cookouts, and taking evening strolls through the neighborhood. Often, this extended outdoor time brings on a desire to improve a home’s curb appeal.

 
But home improvement projects can be expensive, and many homeowners are still wary about spending money on renovations, despite the improving real estate market. So what’s the best way to spruce up the appearance of your house without breaking the bank?

 
There are many budget-friendly exterior changes that will make a big difference in curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders, whether it’s applied to the entire house or just on the front door. If your house is painted a neutral color like white or cream, be adventurous and try an energizing red or soothing aqua on your front door; the pop of color will add appealing interest.

 
While a landscaping overhaul can be very expensive, window boxes or planters are an easy and cost-effective way to add natural beauty to your home’s facade. Learn how to build a container garden that will provide extra dimension and color to a front porch or patio.
Take a look at your house from the street. Do your windows look bare? Try adding shutters, but make sure they are appropriately sized. Buying shutters that are smaller than the windows they flank is an all-too-common mistake homeowners make, which leads to the windows looking disproportionately small.

 
And if you have a garage, don’t overlook the importance of a good-looking garage door. A garage door can account for up to 30 percent of a home’s exterior that is seen from the street, so having an attractive one is vital to good curb appeal. But, like shutters to a window, a garage door should be appropriately matched to its house’s architectural style. Not sure which door fits your home the best? Try out the handy Door Designer tool at http://www.amarr.com, which lets you choose from six different home styles and then matches an appropriate garage door based on that style.

 
Of all these budget-friendly improvement projects, a new garage door will give you the best return on your investment and provide the most value for your home. Over the last few years, surveys conducted by the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report indicate that installing new garage doors has been the project moving up the most in the rankings.

 
Most people, to some degree, factor in resale when making their home improvement decisions. Both structural and decorative curb appeal is important when it comes time to sell a home, bringing in a larger number of prospective buyers and making it more likely that they will make the purchase.

 
According to principals at Smykal Renovations, a contracting firm in suburban Chicago, curb appeal projects “may not have the ‘wow’ factor of a major kitchen remodel, but [they] pay off more in the end.”

 
So don’t let budget constraints keep you from improving the appearance of your home’s exterior. There are many low-cost changes that can be made that have a big impact on how your home looks. Whether you’re making these changes to enjoy for yourself, or to make your home more marketable, the summer is a great time to get outside and focus on curb appeal.
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Do you buckle up your kids? New research shows one in four parents don’t

(BPT) – Most parents know that kids are safest in a car when buckled up. But there are situations when families decide to take a risk by not buckling up their children on every ride. A new survey reveals one in four parents admits to not buckling up their child in the car.

The “Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time” study released by Safe Kids Worldwide, funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, surveyed more than 1,000 parents, focusing on families with kids ages 10 and younger to learn more about their habits when buckling up their kids. Surprisingly the research found that younger, more educated, and affluent parents are more likely to take a risk and ride with their kids unbuckled in a car.

“The number of children dying in car crashes has declined by 58 percent, but this research shows that the trend toward buckling up kids on every ride could be heading in the wrong direction,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “We want to remind all parents that it’s important to buckle up their kids every time, on every ride.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death to children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 679 children ages 12 and under died in motor vehicle crashes, a third of which were riding without a child safety seat or seat belt that could have saved their lives. In addition, older children are more often unrestrained in fatal car crashes compared to younger children.

When properly used, car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The “Buckle Up” study showed that while some parents and caregivers may be diligent about buckling kids up in most cases, they sometimes bend the rules in certain circumstances, including during driving a short distance, during overnight travel, or as a “reward” for a child.

“One-third of children who die in car crashes are not buckled up,” says Carr. “It only takes one time riding in a vehicle without buckling up for a life to be changed forever. There is no reason important enough to take the risk.”

The findings also showed some disturbing trends about what type of parents are taking the most risks. For example, 27 percent of younger parents (ages 18-29) said it would be acceptable to ride with a child unbuckled for short rides compared to 19 percent of older parents. More affluent parents and parents with graduate degrees were also more likely to find it acceptable to not buckle up their kids.

Safe Kids Worldwide encourages all parents and caregivers to follow these tips to keep kids safe in vehicles:

1. Buckle up on every ride, every time.

2. Talk to the adults who will be driving your kids about buckling them up.

3. Check that the car seat, booster seat or seat belt fits your child and is used properly.

If you’re unsure or are having trouble installing your car seat, download a car seat checklist or attend a car seat inspection event where a nationally certified child passenger safety technician can help or even double check your work. Parents and caregivers can visit http://www.safekids.org to locate an event in their community.

Courtesy of BPT

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Weathering the storm: disaster preparedness tips for small business owners

(BPT) – As a nation, we learned several hard lessons following the recent natural disasters in Oklahoma and along the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged East Coast. While we often think of the devastation inflicted upon individual community members, we can’t overlook the effects that natural disasters have on the backbones of our local economies: small businesses.

If a small business can’t resume operations within 10 days following a natural disaster, the chances are it won’t survive, according to Bolt Insurance Agency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and of those that do reopen, 25 percent fail within one year. What’s more, many small businesses do not have disaster preparedness plans in place, according to FEMA.

After a category five tornado hit Oklahoma in May, thousands of small businesses in the area struggled to recover. More than 6,000 companies in Moore, Okla. – a region heavily populated with small businesses – were affected, compromising sales of more than $1.4 billion according to a report by Dun & Bradstreet. Eight months after Hurricane Sandy hit, businesses in New Jersey and New York are still trying to get back on their feet. In New Jersey, nearly 19,000 businesses sustained damage of $250,000 or more, and total business losses neared $8.3 billion, according to findings from the National Hurricane Center report.

“Natural disasters pose serious threats to small businesses’ sustainability and survival,” says Tony Pica, senior vice president and Mid-Atlantic Business Banking Group executive market president, Northern Virginia at Capital One Bank. “We know that a single storm can produce billions of dollars in damage, which hurts local economies and causes too many small businesses to fail. Our recent-Small Business Barometer-survey shows that small businesses are feeling optimistic about their financial futures, which is great news. However, we don’t want these businesses to undermine their chances for long-term success and growth by being unprepared. It is essential for local businesses to be ready when disaster strikes – whether it’s a fire, hurricane or tornado.”

Capital One offers these tips and guidelines designed to help small businesses prepare for and mitigate damage caused by natural disasters or other unexpected emergencies:

1. Identify an alternate location: For many business owners-the recovery process after a natural-disaster-can be lengthy. Consider moving employees to an alternate work site, such as a satellite office or hotel ballroom. Whatever location you have available, make sure to equip it with critical equipment, data files and supplies.

2. Customer preparation: Make sure your customers know what to expect from your company in the event of a prolonged-disaster-displacement. Publish backup business or store locations on your website, and make sure your customers know your company’s emergency contact information for sales and service support, and alternative methods for placing orders and payments.

3. Document your property: Take pictures of your property before a-disaster-strikes. This can help insurance companies assess the damage from the storm, and ensure you get the help you need.

4. Be prepared to meet emergency cash-flow needs: Make sure your bank accounts include emergency funds, and keep enough cash on hand to handle immediate needs. Issue commercial credit cards to essential personnel to cover emergency business expenses. Use online banking services to monitor account activity; manage cash flow; initiate wires and pay bills; reduce dependency on paper checks and the postal service to send and receive payments; and make night depository drops as early as possible if a threat is imminent.

5. Identify tools needed for business to continue: Prioritize critical business functions and how quickly these must be recovered.

6. Employee preparation and communication:-Make sure that you not only have reliable methods of communicating with employees during a disaster, but that your employees are informed and knowledgeable about the company’s emergency plan. Make sure that contact information for employees, key customers, important vendors and suppliers, and insurance companies are not just backed-up but accessible electronically for employees.

7. Recovery: Once your business is running again, compare what happened against your company’s-disaster-preparedness-plan. Capital One offers a-Disaster Planning Checklist-to help small business owners assess their own plan, and minimize the impact of a-disaster-should one happen again.

For more helpful information on managing a small business, visit http://www.capitalonesmallbusiness.com.

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Room to spare



We are so often cluttered with the stuff from grown children that gets left behind as they get established elsewhere on their own. They like to have the unpaid additional storage space in a parent’s home or they just don’t want to make any decision about what to do with their things. So, their things are left taking up lots of precious space, even though the stuff may not be so precious to anyone anymore.

What to do with a spare room:

1. Dump the junk- Don’t waste that spare room with an accumulation of junk. It won’t go away on its own. Make a plan to clear out the clutter and disperse of the goods to people who can better use them. Your home’s square footage is too valuable not to be using it.

2. Guestroom- Create a spa-like retreat for your guests. Include reading materials and brochures for local activities. Have some hotel-like amenities ready to go in a decorative basket so they feel welcome, knowing you have thought of their needs.

3. Craft or hobby room- You finally have a place to do your scrapbooking, sewing, or painting! Let this room be your private studio where creativity flows.

4. Gifting- Have a room just for gift giving. Keep ribbons, gift bags, tags, and wrapping paper in the room along with any items you have purchased ahead of time for gifts. Don’t forget the scissors and tape. So whenever you need a present, it will be a snap to put one together.

5. Exercise room- This does not mean you have to have all the big equipment that you find at a gym, but if the area is designated as a workout space, you are more likely to do your yoga, palates, and strength training. Clear out the room and put your yoga mat, weights, TV, audio equipment and workout DVDs in it.

6. Home office- Instead of letting paper pile up on your coffee table or kitchen counter, set up an area to pay bills and answer mail. Put everything you need for these activities in the room including a desk, stamps, stationary and pens. Create a simple filing system and get a jump on tax preparation for next year.

7. Mediation room- Oh to have some peace and quiet-create it! Don’t allow anything in this area that doesn’t bring you peace and tranquility. Some suggested contents include a water fountain, floor cushions, candles, incense, and chimes. Selected reading and audio materials will also set the mood. A serene start or end to you day, or a quick getaway to rejuvenate.

8. Room to spare, room to share- create that media room, music, pool, puzzle, card or board game room and invite friends over for a night of fun and hospitality.

9. Renovators rescue- Use the empty room as the spare room to hold addition furniture, etc. when you are renovating – flooring especially is difficult as you need room to move all your stuff. When all your renovations are complete, rework your spare room into one of the above suggestions.

Often your spare room can be used for several of these purposes. So next time you walk by that room, stop a moment to think about the possibilities. Take the next steps today to give that spare room some real purpose and turn it into a room that will give you a feeling of satisfaction and relaxation.

 

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Upcycling: Breathe new life into decor with a dash of DIY inspiration

(BPT) – If you’ve ever looked around your house and gotten the urge to purge, you might consider pausing and first thinking about how you could transform that old, damaged piece of furniture or outdated light fixture into a fresh-faced showpiece for your home.

Not only are you doing something good for the environment – and likely your pocketbook – by restoring something, you’re embracing your inner creativity. You can make a truly one-of-a-kind decor piece, tailored to your personality and style.

This notion of restoring and reusing items that would otherwise be cast aside to the junkyard or thrift store is called “upcycling,” and it’s a trend that has caught on quickly, especially in home design. With a little inspiration, creativity and the right tools, you can tackle countless decorating projects with things you already have around your home. And the best part? Upcycled pieces make for great conversation starters, often tell a good story and can even be sold for a much higher price than you put into them.

So where do you start? Here are some helpful tips for tackling your own upcycling projects.

Start with a little inspiration

Take a look through magazines, home design blogs and websites to gather inspiration. Look for pieces that catch your eye and have the same structure and “bones” as the items in your home that you’d like to restore.

For example, DremelWeekends.com is filled with inspiring and low-cost do-it-yourself projects, tool recommendations and step-by-step instructions to help you transform just about anything while bringing a new perspective to home renovation and decoration. You can even sign up to receive weekly project inspiration right to your email inbox.

Shop around without breaking the bank

Decorating your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Look around your basement, attic, or at yard sales and consignment shops for free or inexpensive items that you might be able to breathe new life into. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” would apply here. Do your best to look beyond an item’s current condition and let the inspiration you’ve gleaned take over as you see its full potential in a different light. If the piece has some defects, don’t immediately overlook it. Sometimes perfection and personality can be found in the imperfection.

Secrets of upcycling success

The secret to any do-it-yourself project is to plan ahead. Beyond finding the inspiration for a project, gather the supplies and tools you’ll need, read up on step-by-step instructions, dedicate a roomy workspace where everything is at your fingertips, and be sure to carve out time to focus on the project.

But the No. 1 secret of upcycling success is to be patient and not get discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s OK to make mistakes because sometimes you’ll uncover hidden beauty during the process. The important part is that you find the whole experience of restoring and reusing rewarding.

Courtesy of BPT

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How to make working at home work



When deciding to set up an office at home, one challenge many workers face is determining what computer to use – or purchase. Apple and Windows-based PCs are the two staples, and everyone has a preference on which system they prefer. Sometimes it’s the user interface of one over the other that’s preferred, and in other cases, how chosen programs perform on each platform determines what type of computer workers purchase. And often, workers just want to seamlessly blend in with the office environment, and purchase the same system for home.

With Parallels Desktop for Mac, the difficulty of choosing between the two platforms is obsolete. This software enables users to run all operating systems like Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Google Chrome OS and more on a Mac without rebooting. This allows an at-home employee to easily switch between the system provided on work computers and the home computer, even if they’re running different operating systems.

This allows at-home workers several benefits:

* If you have a Mac and a PC, then Parallels Desktop software can simply move your entire PC onto you Mac so you have everything on one computer. If you don’t have a PC, its wizard lets you simply add Windows and other operating systems to your Mac so you can do everything on one computer.

* Save money because there is no need to repurchase software you already own. All of the PC applications you invested in can simply be moved to your Mac and run in Windows via Parallels Desktop.

* Run both Windows and Mac systems at the same time, allowing you to work in a Mac program while using a Windows platform.

* Copy and paste between documents running in both operating systems easily – which is not possible if you must reboot your Mac to change between OS X and Windows applications.

Another challenge working-from home employees face is taking the business on the road. Those who are self-employed often don’t have the luxury of bringing business into the home office, and have to make the office mobile. This requires updating technology so email, documents and files can all be accessed from either a smartphone or tablet.

Another option is to access your computer remotely, allowing you to do everything you’d be doing at home while away. Parallels Mobile for iPad and iPhone lets you remotely access and run all of your Mac and Windows files and applications when you’re on the go.

One final challenge is being able to handle the business errands without having to leave the office – or home. Banking, setting up conference calls or ordering supplies can all be done electronically using websites and downloadable apps. This technology allows a home-worker to make business deposits, connect with clients and have supplies delivered to the door – without having to leave.

Seamless connection is key to working at home, because any interruption in getting technology to work is lost time, and potentially lost business. Apps, using the same computer programs you’ve always used through Parallels Desktop for Mac and mobile devices will help any at home worker to keep all connections with the office and clients going strong. Mac users can download a free trial of the software at http://www.parallels.com/desktop.

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