Monthly Archives: May 2014

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

According to Realtor.com, these are the top 5 ways to boost your credit score, before applying for a loan.

When you are ready to buy a home, your lender will take a long look at your credit scores. Those numbers will play a big part in the terms the lender offers.

If you have bad credit, you may struggle to get approved at all. Even if you have fairly good credit, a few points could mean a difference of thousands of dollars of interest. Boosting your credit scores before you apply for a loan can help you get better rates, and there are a few ways to pull it off.

Check For Errors

A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission found one in five consumers had at least one error on a credit report. Some of those errors were big enough to damage the consumer’s credit score. The good news: The credit bureaus have to investigate and remove or correct any errors you find.

Order a copy of your credit reports from all three credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. By law, you are entitled to a free copy every year through AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you have the credit reports in hand, comb through them and dispute any errors you find with the particular credit bureau. The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate and remove errors.

Pay Down Credit Card Debt

While any debt has an impact on your credit scores, credit card debt is weighted more heavily than revolving debts such as student loans or auto loans. Paying down your credit card debt can boost your credit scores. Most experts say you should aim to keep your credit card debt at no more than 10% to 30% of your available credit limit.

Ask For Forgiveness

Under the FICO model, bill payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. Even one late payment is enough to drag down your scores, but you may be able get the black mark removed simply by asking your creditor. Known as a “goodwill deletion,” the creditor may be willing to remove the late payment information if you have an otherwise spotless history with the company. However, creditors aren’t usually willing to do this if you have a history of late payments.

Keep Your Old Accounts Open

If you are working on improving your credit scores before you apply for a mortgage, you may be tempted to cut up your old, unused credit cards and close the accounts. Don’t! That will backfire. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score. By closing your oldest accounts, you are shortening your overall account length, which will only hurt your credit score. Instead, once you pay off a credit card, tuck it away in a drawer and keep the account open to keep building on your credit history’s length.

Pay On Time, Every Time

Once you have taken steps to lessen the damage of your past, do not let history repeat itself. Aim to pay all of your bills on time each month. Every timely payment you make will add to the positive history on your credit report. Over time, you will see your scores improve across the board.

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Allergy-Free Sleep in the Bedroom

According to Realtor.com; For years we’ve known how important sleep is to our health, but when you suffer from allergies, sleeping can be a frustrating and less-than-refreshing experience. From everyday dust to more serious problems like bed bugs, there are dozens of irritations that affect the quality and soundness of one’s sleep. Luckily, most of these issues can be eliminated or prevented by following a few easy steps.

Step 1: Check the Bedroom’s Humidity

Humid air is a breeding ground for mold spores and dust mites, so if your bedroom’s humidity level is greater than 50 percent, then you need to do something about it. Using the air conditioner or a dehumidifier throughout the summer months will remove a lot of the excess moisture from the air and help you sleep better at night because dust mites and mold spores won’t be as active in the low-humidity environment.

Step 2: Use Bed Bug-Proof Bedding Encasements

Bed bugs and mites can quickly grow from a pesky nuisance to an all-out infestation and this will wreck havoc on you if you’re an allergy sufferer. In addition, you’ll also find yourself suffering multitudes of nightly bites which produce red, itchy welts. To reduce the chances of bed bugs and other critters from taking up residence in your bedroom, cover your mattress and boxspring in bed bug-proof encasements and make sure they are sealed completely. For even more protection, bug-proof encasements are also available for pillows, comforters and other bedding products.

Step 3: Install Vent Filters

Changing the filter in your furnace on a regular basis is an important step in keeping your bedroom allergen-free, but in some cases, this isn’t enough. Individual filters are available that are designed for installation over each vent. By adding this additional layer of filtration, you’ll stop even more allergens from entering your living space.

Step 4: Wash Your Bedding Often

If you suffer from allergies, then you should wash your bedding in very hot water every 10 days. The water needs to be between 120 and 140 degrees to kill any mites and/or allergens. You can also purchase specially-made detergents designed to eliminate allergens regardless of the water temperature if you’re looking to save money on your hot water usage.

Step 5: Get Rid of the Bedroom Carpet

The bedroom’s wall-to-wall carpet provides great hiding places for mites, excess dust and bed bugs. Get rid of it and install hard surface flooring instead and you’ll breathe much easier. You can use some throw rugs to help soften up the space if you prefer, but if you do, treat the rugs with an anti-dust mite powder or spray.

Step 6: Vacuum the Bedroom Frequently

Having a hard surface floor in the bedroom will make it easier to clean and vacuum, so do this often to help prevent the formation of dust bunnies. If you don’t already own one, you should consider upgrading your vacuum to one that features a HEPA filtration system because it not only traps the allergens but also filters the air as it exits the vacuum.

Step 7: Get Rid of Plush Bedroom Furniture

Bed bugs and dust mites love hiding in the crevices of plush furniture, so don’t keep any cushioned loungers or other items of furniture in your bedroom. If you must have additional furniture in your bedroom besides your bed, choose only leather, vinyl, wood or rattan furniture because bed bugs cannot live on the surface of these materials.

Step 8: Remove Dust Catchers From the Room

Bedrooms surprisingly have dozens of items that can collect and trap dust, from fabric drapes to books to stuffed animals. Get rid of everything that collects dust so your bedroom will be easier to clean and less likely to house dust mites. Instead of drapes, use vinyl vertical blinds or shades, but be sure you dust or vacuum them often as they can also collect dust if not cleaned on a regular basis.

Step 9: Place a HEPA Air Cleaner in the Room

Placing a HEPA air cleaner in your room will help remove a great amount of dust and allergens from the air. Choose one that suits the size of your bedroom and run it according to the manufacturer’s directions. You should also clean the appliance’s filter as recommended by the manufacturer to get the best results.


Suffering from allergies will cause you to have to make several lifestyle changes if you want to keep your reactions to a minimum. Since we spend a third of our life in our bedroom, this is one of the most important areas you need to keep allergen-free. Following these steps will help reduce the levels of dust or allergens in your bedroom so you can sleep easier and more soundly every night.

3 Biggest Turn-On’s For Homebuyers

According to RealtyTimes.com, these are the top 3 “turn-ons” for homebuyers:

1. Curb Appeal

2. Space

3. Updates

5 Biggest Turn-Off’s For Homebuyers

According to RealtyTimes.com, these are the top 5 biggest turn-offs for homebuyers:


1. Overpricing For The Market

2. Smells

3. Clutter

4. Deferred Maintenance

5. Dark, Dated Décor

Moving Checklist | A Timeline For Your Upcoming Move

8 Weeks Out

Get organized: Set aside a folder or file where you can put all your move-related paperwork. Dedicate a notebook as your moving notebook for all your notes.
Start sorting: Decide what to keep, discard or donate. If you’re moving to a smaller place, be aggressive in your decision making.
Research moving companies: Go online to check for moving companies with positive reviews. Ask friends and family if they have any references for moving companies. Take a week or two to research ? you’re not in rush mode quite yet.

7 Weeks Out

Get supplies: Buy packing materials – boxes, tape, markers and bubble wrap.
Plan a garage sale: As you go through your possessions, you’ll find things you don’t want to move. It’s a perfect time to lighten your load. In the process, you’ll make a few bucks at the garage sale to spend on moving expenses.

6 Weeks Out

Notify schools: If you have kids, tell the staff at their schools of the impending move. Get copies of their school records and check into the enrollment process at the schools near your new residence.
Medical records: Check with your doctor to get copies of your family’s medical records.

5 Weeks Out

Book a moving company: Thanks to your research, you are ready to pick your movers. Pick a company you feel confident with and confirm the date, time, and details of your move.

4 Weeks Out

Start packing non-essentials: Begin boxing up the things you won’t need right away. Make sure to label the boxes.
Notify utilities: Start the process of closing out utility service at your current place and getting utilities set up at your new residence.
Notify your landlord: If you’re moving from a rental, let your landlord know. Find out when you can have your security deposit returned.

3 Weeks Out

Strategize your food situation: Use up food items that you don’t want to move. Plan ahead to have nothing left in your freezer by your move date. Same goes for your pantry – make a plan to consume anything that’s already open.
Pets and plants: Make arrangements to get your animals and plants to your new home.
Change your address: Complete a change of address form on the USPS website. Notify banks and credit cards of your new address.
Transfer insurance: If your current home is covered, check with your agent to transfer the policy to your new home.
Take care of your car: Have your car serviced, especially if you’re embarking on a long-distance move. Check with your car insurance company about transferring your policy.

2 Weeks Out

Pack with a vengeance: Now’s the time to start boxing up most everything left in your home. Again, make sure to label everything to ensure a smooth transition at your new place.
Coordinate your valuables: If you have jewelry, heirlooms or other valuable items, sequester them from the main move. You don’t want valuable items mixed up with your other packed items. Keep them in a safe place so you can transport them yourself.
Make a clean move: If your new place needs a thorough cleaning, make arrangements to have it scrubbed before you arrive.
At your disposal: Properly dispose of any items that can’t be moved such as cleaning materials, propane, or paint.

1 Week Out

Confirm and confirm again: Check in with your mover to confirm the time and date of the move.
Pack an essential kit: Prepare a suitcase with items you will need right away at your new place. Take it with you. Don’t load it on the truck.

1 Day Before

Keep important documents handy: Make sure to have any documents related to the move at the ready.
Defrost and clear: Clean out your empty fridge and freezer. Check your cupboards and pantry for any open food items.

Moving Day

Work with your movers: Help your movers by identifying fragile or large items right away. Be there when the movers load your items onto the truck. You’ll be responsible for verifying that they loaded everything, so it’s vital that you’re there to coordinate and answer questions. Sign the bill of lading when you’re satisfied that everything is accounted for.
One final sweep: Before the movers pull away, do a final check of your home to make sure nothing was left behind.

SOURCE: Realtor.com
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6 Tips to Position Yourself as an Ideal Tenant/Renter

According to Realtor.com, here are six tips to help position yourself as a desirable tenant:

1. Gather Evidence

Most landlords will require potential tenants to fill out a rental application. Be proactive and show up to your first meeting with the landlord with all of your information in hand. This should include details on how to reach you, current landlord information, employment history, as well as contact information or letters from personal references.

Establishing that you have a good credit score by obtaining your credit report in advance can be helpful, too. Landlords check credit reports, references and employment histories to determine whether potential tenants will be reliable in paying rent.

Having all of these documents ready ahead of time is a way to demonstrate that you will be a responsible renter.

2. Be Punctual

Your ability to arrive at an appointment on time is an indicator of whether you will meet rental payment deadlines.

3. Dress to Impress

When it comes to selecting a tenant, landlords admit that first impressions matter. A clean, pressed outfit helps to illustrate that you are likely to keep a home neat. It might be wise to make sure that your car is equally presentable. As you pull up to a property, some landlords will see your vehicle as another indication of how well you would take care of their property.

4. Offer Incentives

A good way to show a potential landlord that you are serious about renting a place is to come to your meeting with cash or a checkbook so that you can immediately put down money for any application fee or deposit. If you have a pet, you also can suggest a higher security deposit as reassurance that your furry friend won’t wreak havoc in the home.

However, be cautious about putting down a large security deposit before signing a lease. Scammers sometimes use the guise of collecting fees and a security deposit upfront to take your money.

Offering to sign a longer lease also can be attractive to landlords who want to reduce turnover.

5. Communicate Clearly

During the interview, speak clearly and confidently to emphasize how you will be a good tenant. A landlord wants a tenant he or she can communicate with should problems arise. Yet the landlord is not seeking someone who will yammer on or constantly contact him with minor annoyances about the apartment that the tenant can resolve.

6. Maintain Your Image

Selling yourself as a stellar tenant shouldn’t end once you have secured a rental. Make sure to pay your rent on time, keep the apartment clean, and do not make excessive noise that disturbs the neighbors. Especially don’t do anything that would violate the lease terms, such as bringing home an animal when your lease says “No pets.”

By being a model tenant during the landlord interview and, hopefully, after you move in, you can have greater certainty that the landlord will value you when it comes time to sign or renew the lease, or return your full security deposit.