Understanding Interest Rates

If you are in the market for a new home, or it is time to refinance your mortgage, there is no doubt you have been looking at the current interest rates.  But with all the financial jargon and the multitude of lenders and mortgages available, understanding your options can really be confusing.  Here are some simple facts about interest rates and how they affect your bottom line.

Do Your Research

As with any major decision, knowing the facts about the housing and financial markets before making any major decision is of vital importance to protecting your investment.  Review online the national mortgage rates for different types of loans.  There are a number of sites where you can find this information, or you can ask your REALTOR® to point you in the right direction.  In general, fixed rates will be higher, but as they don’t fluctuate over the term of your loan they may be a better choice for those who need the stability of fixed payments.  Also when comparing interest rates, be sure you are comparing the APR, or Annual Interest Rate, to ensure that your comparisons are on equal ground.

Also keep yourself informed on some of the riskier options that may be out there.  ARMs, interest-only mortgages, no-doc loans, and 100 percent mortgages are some of the more aggressive loan types out there.  They may be appropriate for your situation, but they present more risk for the lender, and are not always a wise financial choice.  They also often come with higher interest rates that may return to haunt you later.

Preparing Yourself To Get The Best Rates

Understood or not, ultimately we all want to get the best interest rates for our mortgage in order to save money.  No matter what type of mortgage you choose, there are a few steps you can take to get the best rates.  You can reduce your rates by:

-Saving a sizable down payment

-Establishing a pattern of paying your bills on time

-Reviewing your credit report and correcting any errors

-Shopping around with multiple institutions and different types of lenders

Armed with these simple facts, you can protect yourself from bad financial choices and remain aware of the steps you should take to get the best interest rates.


Buying A Home Long Distance

The process of purchasing a home can be a complicated and stressful experience, but if you have to purchase a new home in another city the experience can become even more complicated.  Whether you are relocating for a job, retiring to a dream location, or are just looking for a change, purchasing a home long distance has a whole separate to-do list on top of the already long list of things that need to be done to purchase a new home.  Here are some tips to make purchasing a home long distance a little easier, and still get the home of your dreams!

The Internet Is A Powerful Tool!

The internet is a powerful research tool for learning more about virtually any topic, and purchasing a home is no exception.  From finding a REALTOR® to searching properties, the internet is a great aid in finding a home.  It is also a great resource for finding information about potential lenders, home inspectors, and all the other extras involved in buying a home.  Though the internet is a great resource in the real estate market, like any information you find online, it is always important to be sure it is coming from a reputable source.  Finding Web sites that are run by professional REALTORS® or real estate organizations is your best bet for reliable information.

Hire A Local REALTOR®

Your best approach is to be sure you have an agent in your prospective area on your team early on.  They can certainly direct you to some great online resources and help you determine which are accurate and up-to-date.  They are also a great resource for finding out which neighborhoods would be a good fit for you and your family, and the local amenities that are available to you.

In general, buying a home long distance can have its obstacles, but with a little research on your part and the help of a professional REALTOR®, you can make the transition to both a new home and a new city easier and stress free.


Ten Most Forgotten Items During A Move

When moving day arrives, there’s nothing quite like the nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something.  But, don’t let the moving blues get you down because there are a few tricks that you can use to make sure that you don’t leave anything behind.

A good rule of thumb is that the last things that you use are likely to be those that are forgotten, so make sure to do a final check through the house before leaving.  As you are packing in the days leading up to the move, make a checklist of the items you need to remember to pack.  If all else fails, use the following checklist to help you retrieve ten of the most forgotten items during a move.

Lawn Mower.  Although this is not a small item that’s easy to miss, it is easy to forget your lawn mower because it’s likely to be stored in an outbuilding or other location outside of the home.

Medicine.  When travelers go on vacation, their medicine is one of the most commonly forgotten items.  Therefore, it just stands to reason that it may also be easily overlooked during a move.  Because most medications are kept in a medicine cabinet, they are unobvious at a glance.

Tools.  We use tools for everyday fix-it projects, but we rarely think to pack them.  Tools are important but, because they are not something that’s used on a daily basis, they are easy to miss when packing for a move.

Flashlight.  When the electricity is out or you find yourself out after dark, these handy gadgets are a necessity.  Moving day, however, often finds families in the dark when it comes to realizing they have forgotten their trusty flashlight.

Bathroom Plunger.  It’s not a glamorous essential, but it is a necessary one nonetheless.  Because a plunger is intentionally made to be unobvious when stored in a bathroom, it’s easy to overlook on moving day.

Coffee Maker.  If you or someone in your family is a lover of caffeine, your coffee maker is a kitchen essential.  Because it’s likely to be one of the last things that you will use before leaving the home, it’s also likely to be forgotten.

Toilet Paper.  Speaking of one of the last things that you will use before you leave the home, toilet paper is it.  Pack it or buy it when you get there but, either way, this is one kind of paper that you can’t afford to forget.

Car Keys.  If you are using a U-Haul to take your belongings to your new home, it’s extremely easy to forget your primary or secondary set of car keys.  Do yourself a favor and make a note to take them along.

Fire-Resistant Security Box.  Most families have these, but many forget them during a move.  Although most fireproof boxes are purchased to house important papers, such as deeds, titles and other essentials, they can be overlooked if they are stored in an inconspicuous place.

Bills.  Believe it or not, bills are easy to forget.  Most people think about the obvious items that they can see, but it’s too easy to accidentally shuffle in some new bills with the old ones and simply discard them.  If this should happen, simply call the lender and ask for another statement or make a payment arrangement online or over the phone.

How To Care For Your Lawn

If you love your lawn, it’s only natural that you would want to give it the proper care to help give it a healthy appearance.  After all, your landscape is one of the first things that people will notice when they arrive at your home.  Your lawn can either make or break your curb appeal.


If you have weeds, remove them with the proper tools or by pulling them out of the ground manually.  An important part of grooming your lawn is mowing it regularly to give it a manicured appearance.

Feed Your Lawn

Yes, even your yard gets hungry and what it craves more than anything is water.  Most experts recommend that one thorough watering each week is preferable over a light misting every other day.  When it comes to feeding your lawn, the best time of year to fertilize is during the spring.  This is when your lawn begins to grow and its beautiful shade of green begins to come alive, which is why it’s important to make sure that it has all of the nutrients that it needs to enjoy the warm months ahead.

Treating Bald Or Bare Spots

What happens when your lawn begins to dry out or shows signs of brown spots?  It could mean a number of things, but treating it properly will help to get your yard sparkling again.  One way of doing this is by planting seeds so that new grass can grow.  Before doing this, make sure to loosen the soil so that the seeds will have a healthy start.  Your other option is to bring in sod, which is commonly used for larger areas that are in need of a quick fix.  Just as you would loosen the soil for seeding, it’s important to do the same for sod so that it can properly attach to the surface of the lawn.

Pest Control

Your lawn is a reflection of your home, but it’s also a potential haven for pests.  It’s important to pay close attention to the plants and/or flowers that you choose for your landscape as certain types can deter pests, while others may actually attract them.  If in doubt, ask a local gardening expert or a representative at your local home improvement store for more information on this topic.  If you develop a pest problem, there are products designed to protect your landscape and permanently rid the pests of your space.