Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Simple and Fun Easter Treats!

This Easter, surprise your loved ones with cute and tasty treats - without spending hours in the kitchen!

Try some out with your family this holiday!

Spice up your sugar cookies with a little icing and sugar eyes.  Create delicious ducklings and bunnies!

Wrap up some goldfish with plastic and ribbon to create colorful carrots!

Dip Nutter Butter cookies in icing and decorate for adorable and crunchy chicks!

Top Reeses Pieces with icing and candy eggs. Top with gummy string to make a delicious Easter basket!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Keeping Your Home Safe While Away

It's spring break season and while you may have already created a packing list and found a sitter for the dog, you may not have thought about how you can keep your home safe while you're away.

There are a few simple things you can do to protect your home and belongings while out of town. Use our checklist below to help you stay on track.

1. Don't advertise your travel plans on social media.  You're excited about your trip but wait to share with the world until you get back. You never know who may see your post and it could be someone without the best intentions.

2.  Use your neighbor as a resource! Ask if they'll occasionally park in your driveway and if they'll move your trashcan away from the street after pick up.  It's good to have a trusted friend keep an eye on the house and let you know if anything seems amiss.

3.  Contact your local resources such as the post office to hold your mail and the police to do a vacation check while you're away.

4. If you have an alarm system alert the company that you'll be away for an extended period.  Don't leave any valuables out in plain sight and double check that all the doors are locked before leaving.

5.  Put a timer on your electronics to have your outside lights go on at night (without staying on all day).  Some can be controlled by your smartphone or your alarm company.

What tricks do you use to keep your home safe while you're away?

Friday, March 10, 2017

A First Step Before Buying

Spring is peak home buying time and all indications point to a busy season already underway.  This means that if you're serious about buying a new home you need to set yourself apart from the competition and act fast when you find just the right home.

To do this - get pre-approved before you start home shopping.

A pre-approval letter is obtained from a mortgage company before you have a specific home in mind. You'll provide some basic employment and income information and the bank will run a credit check. Once this is complete you'll receive a pre-approval letter with an amount the bank is committing to loan you.

So what does this mean for you as a buyer?

-  Once you find a home you want your offer will be stronger if it comes with a pre-approval letter

- A pre-approval letter will help you with your search as you know how much home you can afford and what your monthly budget would be

Be aware that a pre-qualification letter is not the same as a pre-approval letter.  A pre-approval letter is a firm commitment of a willingness to lend up to a certain amount. Be sure to specify what you are looking for when you talk with your lender - and happy home buying!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Making Moving Easier

You've searched for just the right home. It's almost complete and moving day is right around the corner.  Then reality sets in.  You have to pack and move!  While this ranks as one of the major stressors in life there are ways to make it easier. Plus always remember your end goal - your brand new home!

Here are a few tips to make moving easier.

1.  Label, label, label - write down what is going in to each box and which room it should be delivered to. Use color coordinating stickers for extra help.

2. Downsize wherever you can. Now is the time to get rid of the cd's you haven't listened to in 3 years, or the t-shirts that just don't fit like they used to.  Collect up as much unused material as you can and donate it to a local agency like Goodwill or the Salvation Army

3. Look for free moving supplies.  Check grocery and liquor stores for free boxes.  Ask friends who have moved recently if they have any boxes left. Use t-shirts and towels to wrap fragile items.

4.  Move your hanging clothes with ease by using a trash bag.  The clothes will stay together and you can just place them right back on the rack.

5.  The heavier the item the smaller the box! Pack weighty belongings in smaller boxes to make transport easier.  Use suitcases with wheels for items like books or tools.

What tricks do you use to survive a move?  Remember, your new home is worth it!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Garage Organization Tips and Tricks

Garages were initially intended to house a very specific item...your car! These days you're more likely to see cars on the street or in the driveway than in the garage. Garages have been used instead as glorified storage spaces filled with boxes, yard equipment and unused kid toys.

With a little work and planning you can take back your garage and use it for storage of your stuff AND your cars!

Storage is important so plan ahead by cleaning out what needs to be stored and what can be donated or thrown away. Purging is always a good first step!  While you're at it, sort your items into categories that can be stored together such as yard tools, appliances, toys, keepsakes, etc.

- Use peg board to hang and organize your tools
- A magnetic strip can be used to hold onto small metal pieces
- Use labeled drawers to organize items that can be grouped together

Outdoor Toys/Sports Equipment:
- Organize by sport and store in plastic crates
- Use bungee cords to create a ball holder
- Place hooks or nails on the wall to hold bats and rackets
- Hang bikes with hooks to keep them off the floor and taking up space

Holiday Decor and Keepsakes:
- Utilize garage shelving - you can change the sizes to meet the needs of your boxes or crates
- Don't forget the vertical space above your cars - shelves can be installed here too!

If all else fails rent a small storage space for those items you just can't bear to be without.

What tips do you have for keeping your garage organized and clean? Do you keep your cars parked inside or out?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tax Benefits for Homeowners

Being a homeowner has a lot of perks - especially at tax time.  Homeowners are eligible for several tax breaks that may ease your payments due to Uncle Same. Talk with your tax preparer to see if you are eligible for any of the following homeowner tax write-offs.

- Deduct your monthly interest payments - the majority of your monthly mortgage payment

- Paying for mortgage points

- Did you relocate for a job more than 50 miles away? You can write-off some of your moving expenses.

- Sell a home so you could move into a new one? Ask about tax breaks related to selling costs!

- Deduct the amount spent on annual property taxes

- Did you make any modifications to your home to make it more energy efficient? Those costs may be deductible too!

Owning a home may make your tax filing process a little more complicated - but it's worth it! Talk with your tax professional to make sure you get all the tax benefits from owning a home!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sell Faster with Staging

Looking to sell your home so you can move into your brand new Paradime Construction home?? Staging can make all the difference! It's important to make your home appealing to a wide variety of buyers and little things can make a big impression!

- Think neutral: While your taste may lean more towards bright colors and splashy prints - try to tone it down so potential buyers can picture their style in your home

- Make your home less personal by removing family photos or children's artwork

- Declutter your space to make rooms look bigger and help the eye move more easily around the room

- Bring in natural light! Open your blinds, pull back shades and lighten up the heavy drapery

- Keep scents from being overwhelming. Allergies or sensitivities make lighting a bunch of candles or artificial scents a no-no. Do keep your house clean and avoid cooking before a showing.

- Clean, clean, clean! Help home shoppers see your home for what it really is - without the mess!

- Take photos of your home and look at them from the perspective of a possible buyer. What would make you take a second look?  What might be a distraction or take away from the appeal of your home?

What tips do you have for staging your current home?