A group of coworkers having fun at work.

Find Inspiration Anywhere: Office Edition

Updated June 1, 2018 . AmFam Team

Pursuing your dreams doesn’t have to be an after-hours activity. Utilize these tips to keep your dreams in motion even while you’re at your day job.

5 tips for turning your office into a space for dreaming.


Unless you’ve landed your dream job (if so, congrats!), chances are your office isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to pursuing your dream. But does it have to be that way?

Odds are you’re probably sitting at your desk or in your cubicle for a big chunk of every day. So why not make the best of it? With positivity, inspiration and fun, your office doesn’t have to be the place your dreams are put on hold.

Check out these 5 tips for turning your office into a place that supports your dream pursuit and enhances your lifestyle!

Create Your Space. First task — make your office a place that’s visually appealing to you. Whether you have a desk, cubicle or entire office at your disposal, make the most of it! Fill it with items that inspire you, reminders of your loved ones, items that cheer you up — anything that gives off good vibes. After all, you’re there 8 hours a day, why not make it a space that represents your unique interests?

Consume Inspiration. Kick-off your day with a little bit of dream inspiration. Whether that’s subscribing to e-newsletters that pertain to your dream or checking out a new post from your favorite blogger, signing up for inspiring content with your work email is an easy way to make sure you’re starting the day off right.

Put It Front and Center. Saving up for a trip? Print out pictures and hang them around your desk so you’ve got a constant reminder of what you’re working towards. Trying to master a new language? Tack up conjugation tables and rotate them out each week as you master them. There are tons of innovative ways to keep your dream pursuit top of mind every day — just take the time to inspire yourself!

Lunch and Learn. Instead of eating lunch hunched over your desk, dedicate your lunch break to working towards your dream. Tackling small tasks like budgeting your finances, reading a chapter of a book, doing research or sneaking in a brief workout can make a huge impact over time — as long as you stick to it. It’s a perfect and easy way to commit to working towards your dream every day, without taking precious extra time out of your work schedule to do it.

Take Breaks. Remember the phrase: “We work to live, not live to work.” Write it down, put it in your phone, memorize it — whatever you have to do. Taking breaks throughout the day is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s healthy! Get outside, take a walk around the building, chat with a coworker even if it’s just for a few minutes. And take your vacation days — ALL of them. More times than not, you’ll come back with the renewed inspiration and energy to tackle your day-to-day like never before! 

No matter how demanding your work schedule gets, it’s never a good idea to push your dreams aside. With the right mindset, drive and support, your goals are more obtainable than you think! Use these tips to make work a place of inspiration and inch closer to your dream every day. You’ll be surprised at the progress you make!

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    Start with the “One Percent Rule”

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    Understand the formula

    If the total purchase price of the property is $200,000, rent should be no less than $2,000 per month or one percent of the total cost. Likewise, a $600,000 purchase price for a multi-unit rental property should meet or exceed $6,000 per month in total monthly rent earnings.

    Get the purchase price right

    When factoring in the purchase price, remember to include closing costs, property taxes and insurance. One way to better estimate these costs is to use an online closing costs calculator which can approximate appraisal fees, home inspection fees, application fees, prepaid interest among a host of other out-of-pocket expenses that can up your purchase price, sometimes by thousands.

    Factor in repair costs now

    Because real estate investing as a landlord requires the space to be “habitable” upon tenant occupancy, you may need to make certain repairs or upgrades before renting the property. As a result, you’ll want to add the total cost of these repairs into the purchase price.

    Consider the “Class” of the Neighborhood

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    One good way to check out an area — specifically if it’s an investment that requires some traveling — is to use Google map’s street view. Is trash left out on the front lawn? Do neighbors maintain their property? What can the cars parked on the street tell you about the demographic? Here are details on the four distinct neighborhood classes real estate agents use to classify a region:

    Class A neighborhoods

    High income neighborhoods, combined with a home that is move-in ready will usually get an A class rating. Because homes are expensive in these neighborhoods, and their higher than average tax burden, real estate investors usually won’t buy a home there because the one percent rule fails the test. Tenants in these areas tend to be very reliable, high-quality renters.

    Class B neighborhoods

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    Class C neighborhoods

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    Class D neighborhoods

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    What is a cap rate?

    A cap rate determines a profit ratio that a property can generate. It’s best used as a quick way to compare investment opportunities to determine which one is the better value. Start by dividing the total of one year’s rent by the current market value of the home which should include costs and upgrades required to get the space habitable — you can’t rent the place if it’s not livable, right? The resulting percentage is your cap rate. The higher the rate, the better your annual profit margin.

    How to Calculate the Cap Rate for an Investment Property

    Although the cap rate’s a useful tool to quickly analyze the relative value of comparable real estate opportunities, it’s used as a rough guide to qualify properties for consideration, given the state of today’s current market climate. First, estimate your property’s overall purchase price:

    Figure the acquisition value

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    Calculate one year’s rent

    If you’re collecting $2,000 per month, you’ll have twelve payments at the end of the year, or $24,000. This figure is your gross annual income.

    Account for half a month’s vacancy

    Because turnover typically requires some painting and repairs, it’s fair to consider that half a percent (two weeks’ worth of rent) of your total annual income will be deducted to cover the mortgage payments. Assume that your new tenant will cover the remaining pro-rated rent for the other half of that month. Once the vacancy amount is deducted, the result is your gross operating income.

    • Gross annual rental income: $24,000
    • Less the cost of vacancy: -$1,000
    • Gross operating income: $23,000

    Factor in operational costs

    These costs will include money required to keep the property habitable, like paying for trash collection, making repairs, fees from property management, and landlord insurance. Let’s put that cost under fifty percent of the gross operating income, or $9,300. Some years it will be more, some less.

    • Gross operating income: $23,000
    • Less operating costs: $9,300
    • Net operating income (NOI): $13,700

    Divide the NOI by the total value of the property:

        $13,700 
    ---------------------  =  0.0685 or 6.85 % - That's your cap rate.
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    The capitalization rate for this investment is 6.85 percent annually. If another property under consideration returns a higher cap rate like 8.23 percent for instance, you may want to explore opportunity with the higher annual yield in order to maximize your profit potential.

    What is considered a good cap rate?

    Generally, a cap rate between 8% and 12% is considered good. However, an optimal cap rate is really going to depend on several factors including location, risk and current rental income. For example, in high-demand like big cities, a cap rate of 4% may be considered good.

    Reach Out to Your Agent Today

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    This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

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