Posted by Sandra Tessier on 8/15/2017

Purchasing a home is a sign of new financial responsibility for many people. The leap into homeownership is a big and important step. Finding a home and securing a mortgage isn’t easy. Getting ready to take on a mortgage can require a lot of research and education on your part. Before you get too confused, you’ll need to learn the basics of a mortgage and what you should know before you apply. 


Be Prepared


This is probably the best advice for any first time homebuyer. Find some good lenders in your area. You can sit down with a lender and talk about your goals. The bank will be able to explain all of the costs and fees associated with buying a home ahead of time. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you head into a purchase contract without any surprises. 


What’s Involved In A Loan? 


Each mortgage is a different situation. This is why meeting with a lender ahead of time is a good idea. Your real estate agent can suggest a mortgage lender if you don’t have one in mind. No one will be happier for you than your real estate agent if you have a smooth real estate transaction. You’ll be able to walk through the mortgage process step by step with a loan officer and understand the specifics of your own scenario.


What You’ll Need For A Mortgage


There’s a few things that you’ll need to have ready before you can even begin searching for a home. 


Cash For A Down Payment


You’ll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that you’re ready to buy a home. It’s recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan initially.   



A Good Working Knowledge Of Personal Finances


You should have an understanding of your own finances in order to buy a home. Not only will this help you save, but it will help you to ensure that you’re not going to overextend yourself financially after you secure the mortgage. To get your finances in order, honestly record all of your monthly expenses and spending habits, so you know exactly what you can afford.   


The Price Range Of Homes You’re Interested In 


If you have an idea of what kind of home you’d like, it will make your entire house shopping experience a lot easier. You’ll be able to see exactly what you can afford and how much you need to save. When your wish list equates to half-million dollar homes, and you find that you can only afford around $300,000, you don’t need to go into shock! It’s good to have an idea of how much house you can afford and what it will get you. When you do a little homework, you’ll discover that buying a home isn’t such a hard process when you’re prepared!





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 8/8/2017

Cleaning a medium sized house single-handedly could take three hours. It only gets worse if you clean up after a spouse and two or more children. Forget trying to clean the way your mother or grandmother cleaned when you were a kid. Your life is probably different from your mother's and grandmother's. You might be juggling a job,homeschooling your children or managing your own business.

Here's what a housekeeper can take off your shoulders

Whether you work in or outside your home, it wouldn't be a surprise if you put in more than 40 hours a week. The last thing you need at the end of a grueling workweek is to have to clean the house. Over time, the added chore of housecleaning could cause you to feel overwhelmed. Help could come in the form of a housekeeper.

Depending on the agreement that you make with a housekeeper, the professional who cleans your house can do several things. Among the tasks that a housekeeper could perform for you are:

  • Cleaning carpet and hard wood floors (Don't expect a housekeeper to buff hardwood floors. If you want the housekeeper to perform this type of work, state that upfront before you and the housekeeper enter into an agreement.)
  • Dusting and cleaning furniture
  • Washing clothes and bed linen
  • Cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, including mopping floors
  • Washing windows (This is another item that you may have to clearly state that you want completed before the housekeeper starts working for you.)
  • Folding laundry and ironing clothes

Getting more from a housekeeper

To get more work completed by a housekeeper, you may need to hire a live-in housekeeper. Alive-in housekeeper might watch your children for you, in addition to cleaning your home. A live-in housekeeper also might prepare meals. Be prepared to pay more for a live-in housekeeper. Also, have a designated living and sleeping space for the housekeeper.

Should your elderly parents or grandparents live with you, let your housekeeper clean your parents' or grandparents' living space. Purpose of hiring a housekeeper is to relieve you of work, to free you up to do other things.

If you love to entertain, ask your housekeeper if he would be willing to clean the area that you are going to entertain in, both before and after the event. Don't assume that your housekeeper will be available to clean for you after his regular work hours. Respect your housekeeper's personal time. If you value your housekeeper and show it, you could develop a true friendship with this person.

Go with a housekeeper you trust. Do a background check on prospects before you hire a housekeeper. Ask friends, relatives and colleagues to suggest a housekeeper for you. Make sure that the housekeeper is good with children if you have kids. The housekeeper won't babysit, but will need to be patient with kids to make the working relationship rewarding. If your housekeeper is good but is afraid of cats or large dogs, let your pets go outside or into the basement while your house is being cleaned.





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 8/1/2017

Your household appliances are among those most expensive items in your home. If you're looking to buy or sell a house having modern, stainless steel appliances can improve the aesthetic and increase the value of a home. If you're thinking about replacing old appliances, this guide will show you how to find the best deals without sacrificing quality.

Plan ahead

Many of us are of the mindset that we'll think about replacing appliances once they no longer work. This approach, however, leaves no time for planning and searching for the best deals. If your refrigerator stops working you don't want to end up walking around an appliance store at the mercy of their prices and selection, trying to buy a new one before the meat in your freezer thaws. Stay updated. If it's time to start thinking about replacing an appliance, give yourself time to look for deals. Sign up for email lists from appliance stores or set up price-drop alerts on sites like Amazon. Find the right brand. Even if you don't buy your appliances online, you should use the internet to find the right brand for your needs. Compare their models and prices so you'll know what to look out for when waiting for a good deal. Read the reviews. Your best friend when shopping for new appliances will be the customers who leave reviews of their experience on sites like Amazon and Best Buy. If an appliance is on sale at a great price but the reviews are poor, you might know why the company is trying to get rid of them quickly.

Read the fine print

If you're buying online, make sure you carefully read the shipping and returns policy. With a purchase as expensive as a washer or dryer, you want to make sure you know exactly how much you'll be paying. When it comes to guaranteeing the performance and lifespan of your appliances, there are protection plans offered by the store, manufacturer warranties, and even third-party companies who provide appliance insurance. Compare various stores' protection plans and various manufacturers' warranties to see which one fits your budget but also provides the best protection.

Get your timing right

Like any industry, the appliance industry operates on a calendar of new model releases and sales on older models. Around September and October companies tend to unveil their latest models and lower prices on the older models. To beat other deal hunters, shop on Thursday. That's the day many stores mark down sale items for the weekend rush. But you'll get there first. There are a number of holiday sales that stores participate in as well, such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President's Day. And, of course, there are the hectic Black Friday sales.

Don't judge a book by its cover

When it comes to appliances, appearance isn't everything. Manufacturers often try to up the appeal of appliances by giving them colorful paint jobs or other aesthetic features that don't affect the function of the appliance.   Now that you know how to get the best deals start searching and comparing prices. Don't forget to use the powers of negotiation and price-matching, and go find the home appliance of your dreams.  





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 7/25/2017

When you decide that you want to buy a home, you probably hope it will all happen overnight for you. There’s some bad news though. It can take between 6 weeks and 6 months to buy a home! It could take even longer if you face a few roadblocks or inventory happens to be low in your area. There’s so many variables when it comes to getting a place to live that everyone has a different experience during their home buying process. 


A Long Road


Even if you decide to buy a home today, and find a home you love tomorrow, there’s a bit of a “grace” period before you actually get to own the home. There’s many different steps that you’ll need to complete in order to successfully secure a home.  


Pre-Approval


The first step that you need to complete when you want to buy a home is that of getting pre-approved. The lender will look at your debts, income, and credit history in order to get a complete financial snapshot of you. With this information, the lender will be able to tell you just how much house you can afford. This will be given to you in the form of a maximum loan amount. If your loan amount is $300,000, you can’t be shopping for $400,000 homes. The pre-approval process generally only takes a few days, but everyone’s circumstances are different.


Get An Agent


Before you even start on the house search, you’ll need to find a real estate agent who can help you on your home search and knows how to secure the home transaction. Do a little research on agents in your area. You can also ask around amongst your family and fiends to see if they have recommendations. Who you pick for your agent can have an impact on how smooth your home search process and transaction will be. 


Start Searching For A Home


Start your home search online. With today’s technology, online home searches save those shopping for a home a lot of time. By simply looking at details and listing descriptions, you can narrow down the number of homes you‘d like to see in person. The online home search is a way to screen homes and eliminate the ones that you have no interest in. 


It never hurts if you are driving around and see a “for sale” sign. You can take down the address and look it up later. If you’re interested, you can always set up an in-person showing with your realtor.               


How Much Time Should You Expect To Spend? 


When it comes to how long you’ll be searching for a home, you’ll need to be realistic. If you’re only doing casual weekend searches, it could take a bit more time than if you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule. Then, you have the final steps to look forward to which include:


  • Negotiations
  • Mortgage underwriting
  • Escrow
  • Closing


All of these final steps can take varying amounts of time from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Patience and diligence are indeed requirements when it comes to buying a home.





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 7/18/2017

A keen eye for exquisite furniture, wall hangings, flooring and accessories enlivens an entire home.  An overwhelming feeling that bad things will occur if you don’t hold onto certain household products could rob you of less and less living space. The inner push or demand to hold onto belongings could also develop into hoarding habits.

Signs of hoarding generally start during the teenage years. A relationship breakup,death of a parent, significant lifestyle change due to an injury or illness or another major event are reasons why people start hoarding. Events such as a stroke, infection or a brain injury can also kick off hoarding.

The sooner you seek help, the better, as early treatment could make it easier for you to begin to heal. You could also keep your home from losing its value. Catching yourself early is important. It could be the brake that stops you from journeying too far into the disease. Read through these signs to see if you’re engaging in hoarding habits so that you can seek support, maintain your home’s value and keep moving forward.

  • Saving newspapers, letters and magazines to the point that they are overflowing off a coffee table onto the floor or piled in the kitchen sink
  • Shoes, clothes, dishware and other items filing the bathtub or oven
  • Buying and storing items that you never use but feel as if they are a necessity
  • Placing items in large garbage bags but never discarding the items
  • Feeling threatened if someone ask you if they can help you remove items that you haven’t used in years
  • Living in an unsanitary home and feeling as if you don’t have the strength to clean up even though you know rooms in your house are cluttered, unsafe and unsanitary

Steps That Could Stop Hoarding Habits

  • Schedule 30 minutes to an hour a week to toss out items that you have not used (For example, you could toss old or outdated food in the garbage once a week.)
  • Only buy products that you need. Avoid stocking up on products. (You could use the money that you would have spent to stock upon items to build a savings account.)
  • Pick a date when you will clean your home and stick to the date. (If you live with relatives, ask them to help you clean.)
  • Play soothing music while you clean and discard of unused items.
  • Talk with a friend in person as you clean and toss items out that you no longer use.
  • Catch yourself if you start compiling reasons why you need to keep an item you don’t use.
  • Join a support group and hear how others are overcoming hoarding.

Hoarding habits may take years to become deeply rooted. However, once they do you could be living in a home that has furniture, boxes, toys, pictures and canned goods piled several feet high on the floor. Your home’s sink, counters, stairs and window ledges could also be covered with clothes, pets, accessories and food.

It reaches the point where you and your guests may find it difficult to move or walk. City officials could contact you to discuss your well-being and the condition of your home. To steer clear of hoarding habits, which can be a means to feel safe and as if unwanted changes have not really occurred, practice active listening.Honestly consider a relative’s or friend’s comments that you are holding onto items, as if you doing so could keep you from letting go of someone or something you feel you have lost. .




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