Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Boost Your Credit Score

Follow these tips, and watch your credit score soar.

Pay your bills on time
This may seem like a no-brainer, but just one late payment could negatively affect your credit score for years. However, if you regularly pay your bills on time, your score will improve dramatically. For example, someone with an average credit rating of 707 can raise their score by as much as 20 points by paying all their bills on time for one month.

Eliminate late payments
If you do make a late payment, try contacting the creditor to ask for a good faith adjustment that will eliminate the late payment on your credit report. Be patient and understanding when calling, though. It may take more than one phone call, and if you're rude, you'll probably be denied.

Keep balances low
The closer your balance is to zero, the more favorable you'll be scored. Keeping your credit use less than 30% of your credit limit is the best way to achieve a good score. Maxing out your credit cards could lower your average score by as much as 70 points.

Don't cancel your cards
Canceling an account won't make it go away; a closed account still shows up on your records. In fact, unless the account was opened less than two years ago and you have over six credit cards, closing an account can hurt your score. Credit scoring software assumes people with longstanding credit are less of a risk to default on payments.

Remember to check your credit score before asking for a loan. There are ways to improve your score, but the best way to increase those three little digits is to pay back on time and in full.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Breaking News:

Federal Reserve cuts interest rates a half-point to 4.75 percent

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Homebuying Blunders

Here are some of the most common buyer mistakes- and how to avoid them:

Not doing your homework.

It sounds simple, but there are times when people don't take advantage of resources like the Internet. When deciding to make a purchase as important as buying a home, you have to do your research. With the wealth of information available today, make sure that you prepare before talking to an agent.

Not choosing the right location.

You've heard it before: location matters. But there are times when buyers don't put enough consideration into this vital home-buying factor. In order to find the right place, you need to prioritize what you want in a new location. Are you looking for a short commute to work, nearby restaurants and shops or the best schools in the area? Be sure to have your priorities laid out before you begin your search.

Not looking at the big picture.

Too often, home buyers get caught up in one feature or amenity that a particular home offers. But you need to think big picture and always consider everything — especially livability. For example, if the curb appeal looks great, but the home's layout doesn't really fit your needs, you should continue looking.

Not being patient.

Buying a home is a huge decision, and it shouldn't be made hastily. Being impatient can possibly lead to making a decision you'll later regret. Be sure to take as much time as you need — that way you'll know you're getting what you really want.

While these aren't all the mistakes home buyers make, they should provide some guidance as you transition from summer and start exploring your home-buying options.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Resale Value: A Determining Factor

Everyone has their own idea about how the perfect house should be. But there are often overlapping ideal qualities that most buyers will look for in their dream home. Here are a few things to consider for strong resale value in your new home:

House Size

A house's value is usually determined by others near it in its neighborhood. If you buy a larger house in the neighborhood, its resale value will be lower. Conversely, if you decide to purchase a smaller or medium-sized house in a neighborhood filled with larger homes, these larger homes will pull up the value of your own. Decide whether it's more important to live in a nice neighborhood and a small home or a less-desirable neighborhood and a large home.

Bedrooms, Bathrooms & Closets — the Numbers

Three- to four-bedroom houses tend to be the most popular choices. If you can shoot for this range your home should have a good resale value. It's also become the norm to have at least two bathrooms — one in the master bedroom, one for everyone and at least a half bath for visitors to wash up in. Each hallway and nearly every room in the house should be equipped with a closet. The homes with the most spacious closets (think walk-ins for bedrooms) are typically the most desirable.

Home with a View

A beautiful view definitely helps the resale value of any home, but also consider how future buyers might feel. You won't want to raise the price based on the view and assume every buyer will feel the same way about it. Typically, the most desirable are mountain views, beach views, cityscape views and horizon views.

When looking at houses and properties, don't forget to keep in mind how they might sell in the future. Your home is a big investment, and a careful purchase now will help give you extra funds to move up in your next home purchase.

For more information, call me today!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School Home Organizing

Back to school is always a struggle. After the first couple of weeks, things are bound to be lost, forgotten or "eaten by the dog." Eliminate the confusion by following these great tips for keeping your home organized (and your brain un-frazzled) throughout the entire school year.

Color Coordinate Your Kids
Use each child's favorite color to color code all of their belongings. The blue folders belong in the blue backpack with the blue pencil case, and so on. Keep a color-coded folder for yourself and include updated immunization records and other vital documents and store it in a convenient place. Photocopy the form the school sends home every year and file it away — no more wasting time looking up phone numbers and addresses year after year!

Create Calendar Central
As the school year goes on, your kids will sign up for various extra curricular activities. Most of the time, they can't keep their own schedules straight, however, you're expected to be responsible for everyone. Invest in a pre-printed wipe-off board (with plenty of room) and use color-coded markers to keep everyone's schedules straight. Post it at a central location, like the refrigerator or the front door, and make sure everyone checks it either before going to bed or walking out the door in the morning.

No More Lost Papers
Each child should have their own three-tiered wire basket located near calendar central. Tell your kids to sort their papers into forms needing signatures, important documents (fund-raisers, school policies, PTA info) and art and awards. Make sure they empty their backpacks of these papers as soon as they walk in the door.

By following these tips, the school year should fly by smoothly, and your home should stay organized and clutter-free. And you'll have more time to enjoy life without worrying about lost documents or forgotten schedules.