Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 5/22/2019

It’s a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that it’s always a good time to start saving.

In this article, we’re going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.

Choosing the right savings account


Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.

Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.

Enter the online bank. Since online banks don’t have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.

So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But let’s talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.

Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits

Saving isn’t just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, it’s preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.

While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.

Prioritize high-interest debt now

Have student debt or a car loan that’s keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.

For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.

Make a real budget

Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word “budget.” However, it’s more useful as a noun.

Creating a real budget, whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.





Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 5/15/2019

For those who recently bought or sold a house, it may be only a matter of time before you need to pack up your belongings and move them to a new address. As such, you'll likely need to figure out how to properly pack your artwork to reduce the risk of damage while moving.

Luckily, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of packing your artwork prior to moving day.

Let's take a look at three best practices for packing artwork.

1. Use Acid-Free Tissue Paper

Acid-free tissue paper offers advanced protection against moisture – a serious problem that may cause artwork to fade or deteriorate.

You should have no trouble finding acid-free tissue paper at any store that sells moving and packing supplies. Plus, acid-free tissue paper usually is inexpensive and can make a world of difference as you pack up your artwork.

Ideally, you'll want to wrap an entire piece of art in acid-free tissue paper. This will offer immense protection until you unwrap your artwork once you reach your new home.

2. Take Advantage of Specialty Boxes

Specialty moving boxes are available for artwork. Pick up a few of these boxes, and you can pack your artwork accordingly.

Use caution as you place artwork inside a moving box. Ensure the artwork is secure inside the box before you seal the box as well.

Also, don't forget to label all moving boxes, including those that contain artwork. Place a "Fragile" label on boxes that contain artwork to further minimize the risk of damage during your move.

3. Store Artwork Carefully in a Moving Truck

When moving day arrives, you'll want to do everything possible to guarantee your artwork travels safely from Point A to Point B. If you place artwork on its edges and in a spot where it won't fall over inside a moving truck, you can limit the chance that your artwork will get damaged while in transit.

In addition, you may be able to wedge artwork between heavy objects in a moving truck. That way, you can secure your artwork throughout the moving cycle.

If you require extra help as you pack your artwork and other belongings, it often pays to hire a professional moving company. This business employs friendly, knowledgeable moving experts who can help you streamline the process of getting all of your belongings to a new address.

Lastly, a real estate agent is happy to put you in touch with moving companies in your area. This housing market professional understands the challenges associated with packing artwork and other items and can provide plenty of support as you get ready for moving day. Furthermore, a real estate agent will ensure anyone can achieve the optimal results during the homebuying or home selling cycle.

Simplify the process of packing up your artwork – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can quickly and effortlessly prepare your artwork for moving day.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 5/8/2019

You want to stay healthy and in shape, or get back into shape, but your busy life doesn't necessarily allow the time to join a gym or go for a long run every day. Between the kid's activities and taking care of your home, how do you find the time to take care of yourself? The good news for you is there are a lot of ways to burn calories built right into your home and home maintenance routine. Below are some ways to take care of yourself, your home and your family at the same time.

Number One. Cleaning. 

Cleaning activities around the home are great forms of exercise as well. Split up your cleaning projects over a few days each week to rack up those burned calories and keep your home in tip-top shape at the same time. Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming are fantastic for breaking a sweat and getting your heart-rate up there. Scrubbing shower walls, tub basins, sinks, and kitchen counters will help you burn and work those arm muscles.

Number Two. Tidying Up. 

It may not appear like it, but small motions burn plenty of calories. Folding and putting away a couple of loads of laundry will add a few more burns to your count each week. Changing sheets on the beds in your home and making beds daily also contributes to those small motions that keep you in shape.

Number Three. Yard Maintenance.

Maintaining your yard offers several opportunities for exercise. Similar to sweeping, raking your yard weekly is an excellent way to work out your arms and legs. Gardening puts your arms to work and burns more calories. If you have a small to medium size yard or are an ambitious person with a large yard, push mow your lawn. It will really get you driving your body and exercises many muscle groups. 

Number Four. Have Fun with Your Family. 

Now for the fun one. Find special ways to have fun with your family that also give your body a workout. Play tag with your kids in the yard, jump rope or design a hopscotch grid and play along with them. Wrestling with your dog, playing fetch or engaging in a game of tug of war (with dogs or kids!) will also give you a workout. Combining family time and exercise is a wonderful and rewarding way to get yourself into shape. 

Even if you think you're too busy for the gym, there are plenty of ways to find opportunities to exercise built right into your home life. Combine these with healthy and contentious cooking at home, and you won't even miss the gym.





Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 5/1/2019

No home is complete without a bathroom. Bathrooms are in daily use and so requires renovation occasionally. Before you renovate your bathroom, there are some important things to consider. Some of what you should think about when renovating your bathroom is as follows:

Select Elegant Fixtures 

This is very important because it affects the overall feel of your bathroom. You should be aware of the fact that small margins can make a huge difference. Therefore, it is better to renovate your bathroom with quality and beautiful material to bring to make it look appealing. You can consider a freestanding bath if your bathroom is large enough. This will make your bathroom look classy and creates an aura of elegance.

Sit in the Bath Before you buy it

In this case, bigger is not always the best. A 1500mm can accommodate most people. It is wrong to assume by sight so lie in it to be sure it works for you. The essence of doing this is to make sure it has enough space for you to stretch without any discomfort. Also, if you are buying a double-ended bath, you should check if you can comfortably sit on it. It might seem obvious, but it is advisable to sit on it. It can be very frustrating if you buy a bath for two and you discovered at home that it can only fit one. 

Select durable flooring 

Durable and water-resistant flooring is ideal in this case. Some of the materials to consider are marble, stone, and ceramic. When selecting your bathroom flooring material, you should have in mind that your bathroom floor is always in contact with the most challenging conditions in the home, often wet and with regular activity. Well-sealed, hard wearing flooring is essential for the bathroom’s wellbeing. You should do adequate research to know how best to care for your bathroom floor. 

Build a shower Area

A built-in shower area can be of great value. Also, when you build an open shower area, you give your bathroom a unique look and make it appealing to guests. Apart from the well-designed drainage, an excellent showerhead and shower enclosure can make the bathroom attractive and stylish. 

Hang a Stylish Mirror 

You should always have a mirror in your bathroom. It is essential for both beauty and practicality. You can make your bathroom more beautiful by adding a well-designed mirror. Apart from that, it can also provide an illusion of space.

Check your home supplies store for the best bathroom tubs and flooring materials to see how they look and feel before buying.





Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 4/24/2019

If spending money to make money on your property seems counter-intuitive, you might attempt to sell your home “as-is” and keep your money for the new place. After all, most of those homes featured on renovation reality shows are in worse condition than yours; and those buyers intended to gut the place for a complete makeover anyway.

Just know that the offers you receive will reflect the needs of the buyer, so you won’t get top dollar unless the property is in an extremely desirable area. Still, it might make sense to sell as-is for a discount if your situation is difficult or you’re strapped for cash. Conversely, selling a home that isn’t up to code reduces your buying pool. FHA and VA loans require a home to meet minimum property standards to secure the loan.

Another consideration is how much you still owe on the property. Unless the investment for repairs and upgrades is more than your remaining mortgage, it is probably worth spending to bring your property up to code. A qualified real estate professional can help you prioritize your repairs to those necessary to get it sold, or market it to buyers looking to renovate to raze the home.

So, who buys as-is?
Investors often purchase property intending to “flip” it; that is, to renovate a distressed property and quickly resell it to recoup expenses and make a profit. Typically, investors want the “bones” of the property to be sound, so foundation and structural issues are less appealing to them.

Another type of investor wants the property for its proximity to business or industry. Their goal is to have the property rezoned for commercial purposes or to build multi-family structures on it instead. If the area around your home is transitioning to commercial or multi-family dwellings, your professional real estate agent can guide you to this type of investor.

Less common is the buyer that wants a project or fixer-upper on which to put their own stamp. Some fixer-uppers buy for nostalgia (they lived in the home/area as a child) and others for what they know the area can become. Their goal is to restore the home to its former glory while adding newer amenities. As opposed to flippers, these buyers often intend to live in the home while working on it, or once the work is complete.

If you determine that selling as-is is the best option for your situation, discuss the issue with your agent. She can warn you about what to expect for offers with your home in its current condition and help you set a fair asking price based on its location and the market trends in your area.