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21

July

6 Ways to Save on Paint Projects

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paintDon’t let the high cost of paint discolor your renovation plans! Paying more for paint doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get better quality, better colors or better coverage. Plus, you have a whole slate of opportunities to save.

Calculate the coverage. To prevent buying too much paint, retailer and manufacturer websites offer online calculators. Determine how many gallons will be required for the linear footage you want to paint and the number of coats you plan to put up.

Take it online. Follow manufacturer and home improvement retailer social media accounts and websites for coupons, rebates, and news about sales.

Make it monochromatic. Using a single color throughout your home can save lots of money. A five-gallon container of paint is usually significantly less than five single gallons. Keep one color from getting boring by using pops of color in your decor.

Optimize the oops. “Oops” or “mis-tints” are containers of paint that have been returned by other customers and are often heavily discounted. If you find a great color but only a gallon is available, buy a second at regular price and mix them at home to achieve consistent color.

Wait and save. The week before a three-day holiday weekend is often a good time to buy paint on sale as retailers anticipate holiday home improvements.

Can the primer. While some contractors like to use a primer, many self-priming paints have improved enough to skip the priming process.

Homeowners starting summer renovation projects that require a do-it-yourself paint job will want to keep these money-saving tips handy.

Sources: Consumer Reports, The Spruce

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10

July

Q&A: Mortgage Insurance

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couple celebrating new home handing keys and moving boxes

Question: What is mortgage insurance and how does it work

Answer: Mortgage insurance lowers the risk to the lender of making a loan to you, so you can qualify for a loan that you might not otherwise be able to get.

Typically, borrowers making a down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price of the home will need to pay for mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance lowers the risk to the lender of making a loan to you, so you can qualify for a loan that you might not otherwise be able to get. But, it increases the cost of your loan. If you are required to pay mortgage insurance, it will be included in your total monthly payment that you make to your lender, your costs at closing, or both.

There are several different kinds of loans available to borrowers with low down payments. Depending on what kind of loan you get, you’ll pay for mortgage insurance in different ways:

If you get a conventional loan, your lender will arrange for mortgage insurance with a private company. Private mortgage insurance rates vary by down payment amount and credit score but are generally cheaper than FHA rates for borrowers with good credit. Most private mortgage insurance is paid monthly, with little or no initial payment required at closing.

If you get a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, your mortgage insurance premiums are paid to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA mortgage insurance is required for all FHA loans.  It costs the same no matter your credit score, with only a slight increase in price for down payments less than five percent. FHA mortgage insurance includes both an upfront cost, paid as part of your closing costs, and a monthly cost, included in your monthly payment.

If you don’t have enough cash on hand to pay the upfront fee, you are allowed to roll the fee into your mortgage instead of paying it out of pocket.  If you do this, your loan amount and the overall cost of your loan will increase.

If you get a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan, the program is similar to the Federal Housing Administration but typically cheaper. You’ll pay for the insurance both at closing and as part of your monthly payment.  Like with FHA loans, you can roll the upfront portion of the insurance premium into your mortgage instead of paying it out of pocket, but doing so increases both your loan amount and your overall costs.

If you get a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) loan,  the VA guarantee replaces mortgage insurance and functions similarly.  With VA loans, there is no monthly mortgage insurance premium. However, you will pay an upfront “funding fee.” The amount of that fee varies based on:

• Your type of military service
• Your down payment amount
• Your disability status
• Whether you’re buying a home or refinancing
• Whether this is your first VA loan, or you’ve had a VA loan before

Like with FHA and USDA loans, you can roll the upfront fee into your mortgage instead of paying it out of pocket, but doing so increases both your loan amount and your overall costs.

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10

July

How to Keep Your House Cool this Summer

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pexels-photo-195915Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you stay cool and comfortable in your home during the dog days of summer!

1.      Keep the sun out: This simple change seems so simple, but it will make a big difference! Close your shades to prevent direct sunlight from coming in. According to Family Handyman, up to 30% of unwanted heat comes through your windows.

2.      Close some vents: Closing vents in rooms that are naturally cooler (AKA- your basement) and other rooms that you aren’t regularly in, will force more cold air elsewhere in your home.

3.      Take advantage of a fan and ice: Putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan will chill the air being produced by the fan. It is a great trick to cool off quickly when coming inside from the hot outdoors.

4.      Change your bedding and clothing: Focus on cotton or dry wick fabrics. Check out buckwheat, cool foam, or gel pillows that won’t hold body heat like a conventional pillow.

5.      Re-set your fan, so it rotates counter-clockwise: Believe it or not, the counter-clockwise rotation creates a wind-chill breeze effect (Energy Star).

6.      Turn on your exhaust fan and bathroom fans: They may be a bit noisy, but they will pull the hot air out of your home.

7.      Light the grill: Avoid turning on the oven. If you are looking for other options besides the grill, try making a cold pasta salad or utilizing your crockpot.

8.      Make the switch to LED: Fluorescent light bulbs use 90% of their energy in the heat they emit (Center for Sustainable Energy). So if you haven’t made the switch to LED, there is no better time.

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09

June

Mortgage Education: “What’s the Point?”

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Whats-the-Point-InfographicFor a lot of homebuyers, there is a steep learning curve when purchasing a home. When it comes to getting a mortgage, it may feel like you are learning a whole new language.

One of the terms that cause a lot of confusion with homebuyers is “Points.”

Freddie Mac created an easy to use infographic that considers three important questions — interest rate points, credit rate points and discount points — to help you and your clients get the point on points.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL INFOGRAPHIC

Remember, everyone’s situation is different so give us a call today to see what’s best for you.

Source: Freddie Mac, Link

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06

June

Q&A: Spotting a Spoof Site

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apple-iphone-smartphone-desk

QUESTION:
How can I tell if a website is real or spoofed?

ANSWER:
Just because a site looks official, doesn’t mean the information on it is accurate. Some telltale signs of spoof or fake news and product websites include:

  • No clear source of information. The absence of an author byline, or scant information in the About Us and Contact Us pages could be indications of a fake site.
  • No supporting resources. Links or footnotes are not provided to studies, and reports mentioned as proof or links provided don’t support the article.
  • Odd grammatical errors, overuse of exclamations points and lack of proofreading in promotional emails and website pages suggest a lack of professional care, accuracy, and attention to detail.

If you’re not sure about the validity of a news site, check out claims on FactCheck.org, Snopes, the Washington Post and PolitiFact.

If you are unsure about the validity of a product site, check out Consumer Reports or the Better Business Bureau to vet products and companies.

Source: FactCheck.org

Some of the material contained in this article has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, financial, real estate and/or mortgage advice.

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