Author Archive

The Mortgage: Start to Finish

Congratulations! You’re looking to buy your first home. You know what that means: an appreciating asset, a place to put down roots… and a mortgage. That last one seems a bit daunting. How do you go about getting a mortgage? What do you do? Will you end up buried in paperwork? Well, here to put your mind at ease, is the entire mortgage process, from start to finish, a “Mortgages 101”, if you will.

Step 1: The Application

Once you’ve found the lender that best fits your needs, you’ll complete a loan application. The lender will help you through this process, including what documents you need to have on hand for financial assessment. They’ll then verify your information and ask for additional info if need be. (more…)

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Life Hacks Designed to Make Moving Easier

Moving can be a nightmare. The longer you’ve been in your current place, the more things you’ve acquired, which need to be packed up, loaded into trucks, and unpacked. There are heavy items, fragile items, important items that can’t get stuck in a box for any length of time, and much more. What can you do to make the whole process easier? Here are a few life hacks to get you through without as much stress and hassle.

Keeping vs. Discarding

Before packing everything up, go through all of your stuff and decide what you really need when you move, and what you can do without. The complete set of your favorite TV series on DVD is probably something you’ll want to keep. But Grandma’s old 25-volume set of Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia can probably be thrown away. (more…)

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10 Steps to Becoming More Water Efficient

California is currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Everyone’s working to conserve. But water conservation is important no matter where you are. How can you do your part to save water? Here are 10 tips you can follow.

Take Shorter Showers. This is the first step everyone lists, and with good reason. Your bathroom in general accounts for around 75% of your home’s water usage. And a typical shower uses 2.1 gallons of water per minute. So showering for 10 minutes can waste over 20 gallons. Keep showers to around 5 minutes or so, and you’ll cut your water usage considerably.

Check for Leaks. Have a plumber check your toilets, faucets, hoses, and any other water sources in your home for leaks, and repair them. Depending on the severity of the leaks, this can save you up to 200 gallons of water per day. (more…)

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How to Make Buying Your First Home as Simple as Possible

Buying your first home is a huge milestone, and an incredible feeling once it’s completed. During the process, though, it can be kind of daunting. As an FTHB, how can you make things as simple and painless as possible? Here are a few tips.

Check Your Credit. When you apply for a home loan, the bank will run a credit check to see what your financial situation is, and how likely you are to make your mortgage payments on time. So that there are no surprises, do your own credit check first. There are a number of sites that offer a free credit report that you can look over. If it turns out your credit score is too low for a regular loan, you might consider applying for an FHA loan, which caters to those with lower credit scores and allows for a much lower down payment. (more…)

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Three Alternatives to Your Average Grass Lawn

Maintaining a grass lawn takes time and effort even under the best of circumstances. It needs to be watered regularly to stay green, and mown regularly to keep it from becoming overgrown. But in California lately, both of those tasks are getting harder and harder. Gas prices are soaring, making it more expensive to operate a gas-powered mower.

More importantly, though, the state is also in the midst of what’s turning out to be the worst drought in over a millennium. Therefore, watering the grass must be done sparingly, and keeping it green and luscious is off the table. So what can you do to keep your lawn green and luscious in the midst of these crises? Here are three grass alternatives, that look great, but require less maintenance. (more…)

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Breaking Down the Basics of Refinancing

Breaking Down the Basics of Refinancing

Breaking Down the Basics of RefinancingMost homeowners have heard about mortgage refinancing in ads or from friends and family, but may not completely understand what’s involved with the process. Refinancing offers many financial advantages, so you should get to know the basics to determine whether it’s a smart option for you. Here are some answers to the most common questions people ask about refinancing and how it works.

What is refinancing? Refinancing is when you make certain changes to the existing loan on your home, essentially creating a new mortgage through the process. You’ll actually pay off the old financing arrangement by applying your existing equity and you’ll obtain different terms on your interest rate, monthly payments and loan duration. (more…)

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7 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Credit Score

Whether you’re looking into buying a home soon or will be considering it in the future, it’s smart to stay on top of your credit score. Not only is your credit report important for obtaining a low interest rate, but a good one is essential if you want to qualify for financing. The goods news is that, even if you’ve had some problems in the past, there are ways to strengthen your credit score in advance of making a large purchase. Here are a few simple tips on how to do it.

Keep a close eye on credit card balances. One primary number that factors into your credit score is how much you have compared to how much you use. Try to maintain a 30 or lower utilization ratio, i.e., use about 30% of your available credit to avoid a negative impact on your score.  (more…)

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Are Investment Homes Worth the Investment?

You’re thinking of investing in another home. You can rent it out to tenants and make some extra money, hardly without any work or effort on your part! Seems like a dream come true. But is it really? What can you expect out of an investment home? What are the benefits, and what do you need to be careful of? In short, when are investment homes worth the investment?

A Long Term Investment

The first thing to be aware of is that investment homes aren’t a get rich quick scheme. The process can take decades. It needs to be well-researched and planned out in advance, so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. What kind of home are you buying, and what’s the neighborhood like? How much can you reasonably charge in rent? How long will it take to make back your investment and yield a profit? (more…)

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