Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 11/18/2015

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isnít always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Donít close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time youíve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  





Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 9/16/2015

Could condo living be for you? For many condominium living can be an attractive alternative to a single family home. The price per square foot of a condo is often less than a single family home. Before you make the leap to condo living make sure to do your homework to see if it truly is the best choice for you. Here is a checklist of a few things you may want to consider before signing on the dotted line.

  • Condominiums have monthly maintenance fees.
  • Check with the condominium association to see what the annual increase in the monthly maintenance fee has been for the past few years.
  • What is the percentage of residents are current with their monthly association payments. Look for about ninety-seven percent of the development's residents to be current with their monthly payments.
  • What percentage of the association fees are dedicated to a reserve fund. A good number would be at least 10 percent of the association's annual budget.
  • What are the condition of the condo's roof and major mechanical systems? When were they last replaced or repaired. When the condo requires big upgrades, costly "special assessment" fees are passed on to the homeowners.
Most importantly try and talk to some of the residents. They can be your most valuable resource for learning about the development's pros and cons of the condominium development.





Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 8/12/2015

An Open House can be an integral part of selling a home. Not every home is a candidate for an Open House due to factors like market conditions, location or condition. If you are planning an Open House there are some helpful hints to ensure you have the most successful Open House on the block. Here are some tips on how to have the perfect Open House:

  • In most communities, Sunday afternoon is typical and expected.
  • Two hours is also typical.
  • Avoid conflicts with holidays, community celebrations or special events such as the Super Bowl.
  • If possible try to be aware of the weather forecast, although this may be difficult to do.
There are some things you can do prior to your Open House to help it succeed. At least one week prior to your first Open House:
  • Host a brokers only Open House. Agents and brokers will preview your home and identify possible buyers they have for your home.
  • Make your home look as large as possible by moving large pieces of furniture into storage.
  • Remove items not included in the sale. Remove the chandelier you got for a wedding present and the bookcase that fits so perfectly it looks built-in. If buyers don't see it, they won't want it.
  • Take Fido with you. Make arrangements for your pets to leave the house when it is being shown.
  • Two to Three Days Before Your First Open House Clean the house top to bottom. Get in every nook and cranny, wipe down the walls, windowsills, vacuum the corners and baseboards and yes wash those windows.
    • Clean and buff your appliances, that includes the stove inside and out.
    • Launder all the bedding, towels, rugs and other fabrics in your home.
    • Touch up spots on the walls.
    • Sweep and clean out the garage.
    • Mow the lawn, sweep the sidewalks, and clean up the bushes and flowers.
    24 Hours Before Your First Open House
  • Air out the house by opening the windows.
  • Make your home smell delicious by baking bread or apple pie.
  • Go through each room one by one and try to look for last minute fixes.
  • Add an arrangement of flowers.




  • Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 4/29/2015

    Buying property can definitely be a very lucrative investment. However, before you decide on buying and selling real estate, you have to have a good understanding of the markets. In other words, if you are looking to buy so that you can sell down the road to make a profit on your real estate, then you are better off achieving this when the housing market is slow, as there is less demand for buying houses, thus forcing sellers to lower their prices. This in turn will allow you to get a home at the lowest price possible, and then being able to sell it at a higher price once the markets begin to move again. Of course, investing in real estate is not only about the current conditions of the housing market. In addition, you also have to look at other factors such as the location the real estate will be in, the condition of the real estate, and the reason why the owner is looking to sell. In the end, buying and selling real estate carries the same risks as any other type of investment, and the only way to avoid these risks is through proper research. More importantly, you will be spending a good amount of money on real estate compared to other types of investments, and so you want to make sure that your money is well spent. By keeping these valuable points in mind, you will be able to find the right property to invest in.





    Posted by Lori Ann Lacey on 1/28/2015

    There is a lot to know when it comes to senior housing.†Thinking about future housing arrangements can be a stressful topic for both you and your family. There are so many options, types of housing and so much to know. In order to find the best fit you will have to learn about the different types of senior housing available, which choices may be best for you, and how to navigate the terminology. A great resource SeniorHousingNet has created a glossary of commonly used terms and the different senior housing and care choices available. You can find it here.