Pamela Warren's Blog
It’s a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score.
Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources
You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be.
Checking Your Score
Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the user’s credit report and score. You can’t see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus. Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up.
How Are Credit Scores Calculated?
Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. It’s pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered “good” or excellent” credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.
When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?
Before you apply for any large loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You don’t want to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. It’s easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.
There are many different ways to upgrade and create the perfect outdoor space. You can upgrade what you already have by adding simple things to it, you can accessorize, or you can overhaul the entire area by starting from scratch. It’s always a good idea to take these three approaches and use a mix of the strategies.
Go For Durable
Sometimes many different types of patio furniture end up being a little stuffy and high maintenance. While these sets can be beautiful, they may not be practical to suit your needs. If you live in an area where you need to put away your furniture for the fall and winter season because you don’t have use of the outdoors, plan accordingly with the type of outdoor accessories that you buy.
You’re better off going for value and finding durable, yet stylish furniture that will stand the test of time. Otherwise, you’ll be replacing your furniture every year without fail. Go a bit more traditional than bold and work your outdoor style around that.
Choose Your Colors First
If you start with furniture, you’re left to figure out how to accessorize. There’s no rule that says you can’t find the accessories you want first before you begin to buy furniture. Find your cushions and outdoor rugs first. Then, move on to finding furniture that meshes well with those colors and styles.
Use The Outdoors To Accessorize
Whether you’re replacing your existing patio furniture, or just looking to recreate your space, you can use more than throw pillows and an outdoor rug to accessorize. Find planters that match well with the style you’re looking to achieve. Add in greenery and flowers that will only accent the look. There are a number of options of the types of planters that you can choose from hanging plants to large pots to planters on pedestals. Get creative with your plants and spice up your space. Is your outdoor space near your vegetable garden? Be sure to highlight your hard work and use that as a sort of focal point for your entire outdoor space.
If you’re spending a lot of time outside grilling, you’re going to want a table and chairs available, so there’s no need to truck food in and out of the house each night for dinner. It also would be a good idea o have some storage for food prep items like grilling tools, extra plates, and more just to keep everything you need in one place. These storage items are an important piece to your outdoor space. Whether you are primarily using a deck, patio, or the pool area, thinking practically can really be a big help in decorating.
Buying a home is a big change. New surroundings, new town and sometimes even a new state. And these things take time to get used to.
But there’s one thing you want to adjust to as quickly as possible - your new budget.
You already know that with a move comes lots of expenses and fees. However, there are a lot of long-term changes you might not realize to take into consideration until they show up in your mailbox.
One is your mortgage payment over the years. Okay, I know you know that your mortgage payment has changed. But what you should consider is how to plan to make that payment each and every month. Sometimes life happens and we don’t have a great month and sometimes we have a string of not so good months. It’s best to come up with a plan now to prepare yourself if anything should happen
It’s recommended to keep three months worth of living expenses saved and put to the side for emergencies. Perhaps you already have money set aside and need to increase this amount to reflect your new lifestyle. And if you don’t have any set-aside, it’s wise to start a savings plan now. Even if you are only able to put aside a small amount each month, your total will grow over time as you stick to the plan.
Home insurance, property taxes, and homeowner association fees/dues. If this is your first time owning a home these will all be new expenses for you and ones you don’t want to catch you by surprise. And if it’s not they are certain expenses you will need to account for. Be sure to add these to your budgeting software of choice ASAP.
Seasonal budget changes. Throughout the seasons you may find significant changes to your expenses. If you have moved to a larger home you will probably find you have higher utility bills, especially in those months where you need to run the furnace or A.C. However, there are also yard maintenance costs to take into consideration. Does your new home have a pool, lots of landscaping or a snowy climate? Ease upfront costs by estimating expenses and create an account to put money aside each month to spread these costs throughout the year.
Another account to consider building up throughout the year is for emergency repairs and renovation projects. Replacing appliances, a roof, porch or pool lining are not expenses we typically expect and can easily shell out for. At least, not without some planning ahead of time. Setting up an account to add money to each month for these specific costs can help ease your mind and feel on top of things.
Selling a home in a buyer's market may seem like a major struggle, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time.
Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your house so you can get the best price for your residence, even in a buyer's market.
To better understand how to succeed in a buyer's market, let's take a look at three factors that every home seller should consider before they list a residence.
1. Your Home's Condition
What is the current state of your home? Ultimately, your home's condition will play a key role in how quickly you can sell your house, regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.
Before you add your residence to the real estate market, it often is a great idea to complete a property appraisal. This evaluation will allow you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses and prioritize home improvement projects.
Furthermore, there are many quick, easy ways to enhance your home's interior and exterior.
Removing clutter from your home offers an excellent option for those who want to free up space inside a residence. Or, you can always trim the hedges, remove dirt and debris from walkways and perform other home exterior tasks to bolster your house's visual appeal.
2. Your Timeline
When do you need to sell your home? If you're in a hurry to sell your home, you'll need to proceed cautiously, especially if you're operating in a buyer's market.
In this scenario, you'll want to establish a competitive price for your home from the get-go. This will require you to analyze the prices of similar homes in your area so you can better understand how your house stacks up against the competition.
If you have several months to sell your home, you may be able to wait out a buyer's market. In the meantime, you can always complete assorted home improvements to upgrade your house both inside and out.
3. Your Housing Market Expertise
How do you intend to get the best price for your home in a buyer's market? You may need extra help along the way. Lucky for you, a real estate agent is happy to provide you with the assistance you need to succeed.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to sell a home in a buyer's market. He or she will be able to help you prep your home for the real estate market so you can speed up the home selling journey.
Usually, a real estate agent will promote your house to potential homebuyers, keep you up to date about offers on your house and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. This housing market professional also can provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations at each stage of the home selling cycle.
Remove the guesswork that is commonly associated with selling a home in a buyer's market – use these tips, and you should have no trouble generating plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.
Whether you’re shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.
With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features you’re looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.
In this article, we’re going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house you’re looking at to get a better idea of whether or not it’s the perfect match for you and your family.
1. Re-read the listing
If you’re like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.
Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listing’s pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.
2. Do your online research
The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:
School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what your options are for your child’s education. It’s often a good idea to check out the local schools’ websites to see what
Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but it’s a good place to start.
Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--you’ll want to know what’s in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things you’ll want close by.
Street view. While we’re on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.
Crime ratings. Don’t get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area you’re moving to is a safe place
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, don’t be shy when you arrive. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be a burden in someone else’s home. But remember--if you’re considering living there someday you’ll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.
Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!