Lallis and Higgins Blog

Nominate Now! The Best of the South Shore

- Thursday, February 25, 2021

Small and local businesses are the lifeblood of the South Shore and we know, now more than ever, how important it is to support your favorite businesses like Lallis & Higgins Insurance. For our annual Best of the South Shore, we invite you to nominate Lallis & Higgins Insurance as well as the best restaurants, shops, services and other businesses in the region. This is a great opportunity to make sure your favorite business is the go-to spot for everyone on the South Shore. The results of BOSS 2021 will be promoted from Summer 2021 - Summer 2022.

Make sure your favorite business is featured on the Best of the South Shore ballot!

There will be two rounds of voting a nomination round and a finalist round. Nominations will be open from February 6th—February 28th. Help your favorite business become a finalist by inviting others to nominate them for BOSS.

To nominate Lallis & Higgins Insurance for BOSS, click here.

It's easy to do. Simply click the "NOMINATE" button and fill in your email address. Continue and complete the registration form (You MUST register to vote). Afterwards, you’ll receive a confirmation email which will contain a link that will allow you to auto login each day to vote again if you wish. For businesses with more than one location, please indicate the address of your #1 choice in the town field.

Let the nomination begin!


Office Ergonomics: So You Can Feel Your Best

- Monday, February 22, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Office Ergonomics

A comfortable work space can help you feel your best. Give your sitting work area a makeover with this visual guide to office ergonomics.

If you sit behind a desk for hours at a time, you're not doomed to a career of neck and back pain or sore wrists and fingers. Proper office ergonomics — including correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture — can help you and your joints stay comfortable at work.

Ready to give your work space a makeover? Get started making your sitting workstation comfortable with this visual guide to sitting workstation ergonomics.

Chair

Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust armrests so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.

Key objects

Keep key objects — such as your telephone, stapler or printed materials — close to your body to minimize reaching. Stand up to reach anything that can't be comfortably reached while sitting.

Keyboard and mouse

Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use. If possible, adjust the sensitivity of the mouse so you can use a light touch to operate it. Alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving the mouse to the other side of your keyboard.

Telephone

If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck.

Footrest

If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest. If a footrest is not available, try using a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead.

Desk

Under the desk, make sure there's clearance for your knees, thighs and feet. If the desk is too low and can't be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs. If the desk is too high and can't be adjusted, raise your chair. Use a footrest to support your feet as needed. If your desk has a hard edge, pad the edge or use a wrist rest. Don't store items under your desk.

Monitor

Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm's length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor an additional 1 to 2 inches for more comfortable viewing. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.

Mayoclinic.org


Make Your Apartment More Secure

- Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Have you wondered what additional security measures you can take at your apartment complex. You don't own the place, so what can you do besides lock the door? There are security measures you can implement in and outside of your apartment to help ensure your safety.

Get to know your neighbors and landlord.

Being familiar with your surroundings is very important. By knowing who your neighbors are and what they look like, you'll be able to identify someone who shouldn't be near your property.

Add extra locks to your doors and windows.

Always secure all points of entry into your home when you arrive, and before you leave. If you are not comfortable with the current locks on your door, install additional hardware on your doors and windows after receiving permission from your landlord. If you have a sliding door, keep a solid bar in place that will prevent the door from opening.

Install an apartment-friendly security system.

There are actually security systems made specifically for apartments! These cameras and motion detectors do not require drilling holes, so your security deposit will be safe. Like most security systems, you can control them on your smartphone or computer to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

Practice intercom security.

If your apartment has an intercom system, be cautious if you get a buzz, and weren't expecting company. Experts say it's better to leave your name off the intercom system because then, burglars won't have as much information to work with. Never buzz someone in without talking to them first. If you don't know them – don't allow them to enter the building!

Use a security checklist before signing the lease.

Write up a checklist and go through the apartment to make sure it's up to your standards. Be sure all the locks and windows are functioning properly. If you have a storage unit outside or connected to the unit, make sure it's secure and ask your landlord if they will provide a new lock for you. Also confirm that the landlord has changed the locks since the previous tenants.

Don't leave anything exposed on your property.

If you have a porch and a patio, do not leave any valuables outside. This provides easy access to burglars, who can quickly take the valuable and run. Also shut blinds on your windows while you're away – you don't want to expose valuables you have inside your home, either!

Purchase renter's insurance.

Help ensure your items are protected with renters insurance! If you do have the misfortune of experiencing a burglary in your apartment, a renter's insurance policy can cover possessions that were stolen after paying a deductible.

Hopefully you feel a little more confident knowing there are extra precautions you can take when it comes to your apartment and security.

Source: foremost.com


Renting an Apartment? Things to Consider

- Monday, February 08, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

It's no secret that apartment hunting can be stressful. It can be hard to find the perfect one that meets your checklist, and that's within your budget. If you are looking to rent, here’s a couple things to focus on:

Find out how to pay rent, and how late fees are calculated.

Most properties nowadays have an electronic payment option, and will charge a small fee for doing so. In that case, it may make sense to write a handwritten check to your landlord.

Will the maintenance workers enter your apartment without notice?

Because you don't own the apartment, some landlords have very loose rules on whether their employees have to tell you when they're stopping by. Make sure your landlord will give you a heads up before someone enters your apartment.

What is their guest policy?

Having a friend from out-of-town stay over for a few nights is fine, but some landlords have policies against anyone staying longer than two weeks.

Find out if you can sublet the apartment, or what the penalty is for breaking your lease.

Life's full of surprises, and you may run into a situation where you need to move ASAP. Some apartments are strictly against subletting, and it could be a serious breach of your contract. If you leave on bad terms, this could mean you just lost a future rental reference.

Can you make changes to the apartment?

Adding some fresh paint and putting your own personal touch on the apartment could end up costing you at some complexes.

What utilities are included in the rent?

This could make or break your decision on your 'dream' apartment. Renters are usually left to pay electric, gas, internet and cable — but it's different at every complex.

Does the landlord require you to obtain renters insurance?

Your landlord should tell you before you sign the lease whether they require you to have this. Renters insurance is important to have even if the landlord doesn't require it.

What is the parking situation?

This is another big one. Find out if it's included in your rent or not. If parking isn't provided, what are the alternatives?

Finally, don't be overwhelmed.

Enjoy the apartment hunting adventure and do your research before signing. You can check out more questions to ask during the leasing process here. From everyone here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance, have a safe and stress-free renting experience!

Source: foremost.com


Tax Tips for Accidental Landlords

- Monday, February 01, 2021
Tax Tips for Accidental Landlords

Did you become a landlord this year by accident? Unforeseen circumstances like job relocation, downsizing, or home inheritance may have put you in this category. Now that tax season is underway, the Internal Revenue Service won't see your "accidental landlord" status as an accident. In fact, if you rent any space for 15 days or more, you'll need to report your rental property and earnings on your federal income statement, according to the IRS.

Here are three tips to help steer you in the right direction as you file your taxes as an "accidental landlord" this year.

Gather records of your income and expenses

Record your rental income earnings from the prior year and all cash-related expenditures on the property on IRS 1040 Form Schedule E. Things like property taxes, energy costs, association fees, maintenance, legal fees (if a lawyer drafted your rental contracts), ad costs to rent the space, and repairs are now deductible because your home is a rental property and not a personal residence. In recent years, there's been an increase on rental property audits,1 so be sure you have receipts and proper documentation to support your deductions in case you're audited.

Exclude security deposits

If you have a hefty deposit that was returned during the taxable year, don't forget to leave that out of your statement.

Take depreciation

Tax pros who have real estate experience may be able to help you calculate your annual allowance for wear and tear. Taking depreciation helps offset any drop in property value.

The IRS states that if you meet the following requirements below, your property is eligible for depreciation:

  • You own the property.
  • You use the property in your business or income-producing activity (such as rental property).
  • The property has a determinable useful life.
  • The property is expected to last more than one year.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional as each property and landlord situation is different. A study by the Government Accountability Office shows that about 25% of rental property owners over-reported their net income from rental real estate — you don't want to be part of that statistic!

foremost.com



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