Tag Archives: tips

10-Step Guide to Buying a House


  1. Are you ready to be a homeowner?
  2. Hire a Realtor®
  3. Get pre-approved
  4. Look at homes
  5. Choose a home
  6. Get funding
  7. Make an offer
  8. Get insurance
  9. Closing!!
  10. What’s next?!

5 Lessons From First-Time Home Buyers



  1. Mortgage meltdown — never count on your financing until it’s final/closed…
  2. Count your costs — keep track of your mounting costs and fees…
  3. Budget time & money for repairs — they’ll cost you, in more ways than one…
  4. Multiple visits are okay — don’t be shy if you want to re-visit the home…
  5. Learn (& love) thy neighbors — it can make or break your living situation…

Protect Your Family: Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure

•Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure incidents increase during the winter months and CO is often called the ‘silent killer’.

•CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that, when inhaled, combines with the blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen, which can lead to illness or death.

•According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, municipal fire departments across the country respond to more than 60,000 CO incidents each year.


Click on the link below to read more:
[via Lakeshore Weekly Newspaper]

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.

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

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.