Thursday, March 31, 2016

Renting vs Buying

Renting vs. buying - a dilemma for many interested in entering the housing market for the first time.  Zillow has compiled an index that calculates how long a person would need to live in a purchased home before buying it would make more financial sense than renting.  For people planning on staying in the same location for a few years - this is an important figure to understand.

According to the Zillow report, living in a home for at least 1.9 years would make it more financially advantageous to buy rather than rent. This number, the "Breakeven Horizon" of 1.9 years has remained unchanged since the end of 2014.

Out of the top 35 housing markets in the country - the longest Breakeven Horizon is 4.5 years in Washington D.C. and the shortest is 1.3 years in Dallas, Texas.

To read the full report and understand more about the Breakeven Horizon visit HERE

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Quick Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning may not be everyone's favorite activity but it is an important way to maintain your home and keep its value with minimal effort.

In order to get the most cleaning done in the least amount of time we've provided some cleaning hacks that may just help move quickly enough to enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  • Clean your kitchen sink with half a lemon to remove water stains and add a fresh, citrus scent.
  • Dust baseboards with dryer sheets to prevent more dust from piling up later.
  • Use a rubberband to attach a towel to the end of the broom. Use this to reach high up places and remove cob webs or dust.
  • Remove clutter. Simply organizing makes your room feel cleaner.
  • Don't forget to clean your dishwasher! Put a dishwasher safe cup filled with white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a cycle through.
  • Tackle your grimy and foggy shower glass with equal parts of vinegar and dish soap. Spray over glass and let sit for two hours to reveal shiny, sparkly clean! 
  • Use glass cleaner to make your stainless steel appliances shine.
  • Use a squeegee on carpet and furniture to remove pet hair.

How do you spring clean? Any tips or tricks that work for you?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tasty Easter Treats!

Are you hosting friends or family this Easter? Think outside the egg and spice up your usual dinner plans.  Take a look at some unique ways to have a very "hoppy" Easter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Making Sense of Mortgages

Often one of the most intimidating parts of the home buying process is applying for a mortgage.  To help diffuse some of the mystery surrounding this step, we've provided definitions for some of the most commonly used mortgage terminology.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) - A type of loan where the interest rate changes periodically based on a standard financial index
  • Closing Costs - Costs to both the buyer and seller that occur during the home buying process. This includes items such as fees, insurance, escrow and taxes
  • Down Payment - A portion of the purchase price of the home that is paid up front without financing
  • Escrow - An account where money for taxes and insurance is held until it needs to be paid
  • Fixed Rate Mortgage - As opposed to an ARM, a Fixed Rate Mortgage has an interest rate that does not change for the duration of the mortgage
  • Good Faith Estimate - An estimate of closing costs provided to the buyer from the lender
  • Principal - The amount of debt that needs to be paid, not including interest
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - Sometimes required if the buyer cannot provide at least a 20% down payment, PMI protects the lender against possible default
Which financing terms do you struggle with the most?  We can help provide information to make the process less intimidating!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spring Decor

Nothing says Spring like a brightly decorated door welcoming you in!  Think outside the typical wreath with some unique ways to spruce up for Spring!

Utilize dollar store flip flops for a fun way to adorn your entrance

Rain boots, ribbon and fake flowers make a cheery display

A wreath made from a brightly colored garden hose is a fun twist on an old stand-by

Flower baskets are an easy way to incorporate Spring color