Friday, December 30, 2016

Working Out in the New Year

One of the most common New Years Resolutions is to lose weight and get in shape after the Holiday splurges of cake, cookies and extravagant dinners!

You can do this without buying an expensive gym membership or even clearing out your office to make a home gym.

With just a few pieces of equipment you can effectively and efficiently work out at home.

1. Resistance Bands

2. Workout Mat (Yoga Mat)

3. Jump Rope

4. Adjustable Dumbbells

5. Kettle Ball

Store your equipment in an ottoman or with some dedicated shelves.  For hidden space stick it under the bed.

If you're looking for what to do with your equipment simply put on a YouTube video or go to the many fitness channels available on Roku or Apple TV.

What are your fitness goals for this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Quick Christmas Treats

Merry Christmas!  The shopping, get-togethers, travel, and holiday parties have arrived. With only a few days to go it may feel overwhelming - but no fear! We have quick festive treats you can put together without ever turning on an oven.

So relax and enjoy this wonderful time of year!

Take regular brownies and make them festive with green icing, sprinkles and candy cane accents!

For a sweet treat that's healthy too - use grapes, bananas, strawberries and marshmallows!

Snowmen liven up any party with donuts, mini chocolate chips and candy corn 

Roll up cranberrie, feta cheese and onion in a tortilla for a tangy treat

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Interest Rate Increases

According to the latest reports, the Federal Reserve is planning a series of gradual increases to its federal fund rate - a decision that will lead to an increase in interest rates for home mortgages.  While this has made for glaring headlines for some - the real concerns about this change are over rated.

The housing industry has been aware for years that the current interest rate levels were unsustainable and put into place only to assist a struggling housing market.  Housing is now back on its feet and will be able to weather gradual changes to the interest rates.

So what do you do as a buyer?  Plan.

Evaluate your budget in light of possible interest rate increases. A good rule of thumb is that for every .05% increase in interest rate, there is a $100 increase to the monthly mortgage payment cost on a 30 year mortgage - for a home that costs about $300,000.  This may help you plan for your monthly payments depending on what price home you are looking to buy.

Ensuring that your credit score is is in the best shape possible is one way to lower the cost of your mortgage.  Pay off any outstanding debts before looking to acquire a mortgage and don't make any other large purchases prior to buying a new home.

Save more!  Save more for a down payment to help offset any additional monthly payment costs due to increases in interest rates.

The best way to prepare for changes in the housing market is to understand your total financial picture and talk with financial companies and builders you trust.  Ask the experts for their opinion and learn from their experiences in the always changing housing industry!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shopping for New Homeowners

Looking to shop for the new homeowners in your life? There are great ideas everywhere!  Finish off your Christmas shopping with this list of homeowner gift ideas.

1.  A Welcome Mat - Spruce up the entrance of their new home

2.  Return Address Stamp - A thoughtful way for them to send out "We've Moved" letters

3. Personalized Cutting Board - Personalize a common kitchen need - cutting boards!

4.  Garden Basket - Include necessities like work gloves, hand tools and watering can

5.  Throw Blanket - Nothing cozies up a new home like throw blankets - seasonal patterns welcome

6.  Homeowners Manual - Full of useful information on common warranty issues

7.  Basic Tool Set - Screwdrivers, a hammer, nails and pliers

8.  House Plant - Something low maintenance would be best

9.  Christmas Ornament - New homeowner ornament for the tree

10.  Movie Basket - Help them enjoy their new home with popcorn, a movie and favorite candy snacks

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Helping During the Holidays

Christmas is a magical time of year for many - full of visits with family, gifts, favorite meals and memories.  For some, however, it's a time of need, want and sadness. There are many ways to share your blessings this holiday season. You may just find that giving back is the best gift you give all year!

The Salvation Army - We all know the familiar sound of the bells and the sight of the red kettles. The money donated to The Salvation Army goes to supporting the homeless, hurting and hungry all year long.  They also have an Angel Tree program where you can adopt a local child in need and provide clothing and gifts for Christmas.

Toys for Tots - A program run by the U.S. Marines, Toys for Tots collects toys for underprivileged children and distributes them in the community where they are collected. To find a drop off location for your donations visit HERE

St. Jude Children's Hospital - During the Holiday season, St. Jude Children's Hospital makes a push for donations to support their continued efforts at fighting childhood illness and disease. There are many ways to donate and even Holiday themed merchandise to purchase. Click HERE to find out more.

Disaster Relief - The recent wildfires in Tennessee have hit many in the Southeast hard as the locations of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are treasured vacation destinations for many.  Financial donations are most needed and can be given in many ways including through the Red Cross HERE