Our Real Estate Blog
You've won!Congratulations! By reading this article you've won an all-expenses paid trip to the destination of your dreams. One of the most common scams affecting homeowners come in the form of phone calls, mail, or even door-knockers informing you that you've won some kind of prize. Unless you've specifically entered to win a certain prize, you can almost be certain that this is a scam.
Identity crisisWe've often heard of the dangers of identity theft, but homeowners in particular are an at-risk demographic. Identity thieves attempt to steal your personal information in order to commit fraud or crimes. To avoid identity theft, be responsible with your mail. Always shred mail with personal data and be sure to have someone take care of your mail for you when away from home for extended periods.
I noticed your roof needs to be repairedMany scams come in the form of people knocking on your door to offer a great deal on a service. People who solicit you and ask to be let into your home or onto your property to "inspect" part of your home should never be allowed in. They may actually be a roofer attempting to convince you to repair your roof (regardless of whether it needs to be repaired). Or, they could be a would-be burglar scoping out your residence. These scammers will attempt to sell you anything from "subsidized" and "energy efficient" home energy products all the way down to fixing imagined water/moisture issues in your basement.
Make $60k a year working from home!Work-from-home jobs do exist, and they're growing in number as technology makes it easier and more efficient than traveling. However, some job offers are too good to be true. Be wary of job offers that require you to enter personal information like your social security number before ever having met the employer. Many of these "too good to be true" jobs can be spotted when they ask you for money to get started. They may say to need to pay for your own training but then can make thousands, or will ask for a company buy-in that will pay off later. Regardless, never give money to a potential employer.
I came to read the metersSomeone in a safety vest with a name tag and clipboard knocks on your door and says they're from the energy company, water company, etc. They seem legitimate and tell you how important it is to have your meter read. The might even say you're eligible for a refund or subsidy. It's important to always ask representatives to show you their ID or ask them to call and make an appointment before letting them enter your home.
Two thirds of American homeowners are somewhere in the process of paying off a mortgage. It may seem like common sense that everyone should try to pay off their mortgage sooner rather than later. However, there are circumstances when it benefits a homeowner more to hold onto their mortgage longer.
In this article, we’ll offer some tips on paying off your mortgage, when you should refinance, and offer some tools that will help you along the long road to debt-free homeownership. If you’re a homeowner and find yourself asking these questions, read on.
I can afford to pay more each month on my mortgage, but should I?
In many cases, paying off your home as quickly as possible saves you money in the long run. A shorter loan term means less interest applied to your loan which could save you thousands of dollars in accrued interest.
What many people don’t think about is whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If your mortgage interest rate isn’t too high, you might be better off allocating that extra income toward investments or retirement funds where they could earn you more in the long run.
This technique is typically most beneficial for younger homeowners. In your 20s and 30s you stand the most to gain from long-term investments, especially tax-benefitted retirement funds. Ultimately you’ll have to do the math, which is tricky because circumstances change; markets vary, our income goes up and down, etc. However, a good starting place is to determine whether you could earn more in retirement and investments than you could by paying off your mortgage sooner and therefore saving on interest.
I’ve owned my home for a few years now, should I refinance?
One way this can be accomplished is by refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which often darry slightly lower interest rates. This option is designed for people who have improved their credit and increased their income since signing their first mortgage.
Math isn’t my strong suit. How can I figure out my finances?
Use this mortgage calculator for determining how much you would save by making extra payments.
This refinance calculator will help you understand the potential benefits of refinancing your mortgage.
To determine how much you could earn through investments (rather than paying more toward your mortgage) use this helpful tool.
You might be able to increase your savings by creating a better budget for yourself. This website will help you make a detailed budget and hold yourself accountable each month.
Staying in shape during the winter time isn’t easy. Colder weather means less time spent walking outdoors, jogging, or riding a bicycle. The days grow shorter and we get tired earlier when to sun is already on its way down as we leave work at night. All of these things combine to make it difficult to maintain fitness during the winter months.
Luckily, we live in a time when we have access to several great fitness resources right from our own home. In this article, we’ll cover some important tips to keep you moving this winter.
Skip the expensive machinery
As many fitness practitioners will tell you (except the the ones selling them on TV), most “home gym” systems are overpriced, difficult to move, take up a ton of room, and will probably turn into a hanger for your laundry after a few months.
Instead of spending a ton of money on exercise machines, go out and buy a good roll-up exercise or yoga mat and a couple weights.
The internet is your trainer and motivator
Many of us who buy gym memberships do so thinking that paying for something monthly will motivate us to use it. It’s easy to slip out of your schedule, however, and find yourself paying for a service you don’t use. Gyms that charge low monthly membership fees often have hefty cancellation fees. These gyms sign so many people up and then depend on them not to come every day, otherwise they would be extremely overcrowded.
Save your money, and try out various free routines on YouTube. There are videos in several different areas of fitness including yoga, pilates, dance, strengthening and cardio workouts, or even hula hooping.
Don’t let impossible ideals ruin your good time
Fitness should be fun and rewarding. If you want to stick to it, choose an activity that you enjoy and don’t dread doing every day. If you can’t think of a physical activity you actually enjoy (trust me, I’m with you), then make your exercise something you look forward to by listening to your favorite podcasts while you do them.
So much of our consumer culture depends striving for an impossible to reach body standard. It can be hard for us to ignore, since women and men alike are taught these standards from birth. But to have the best results from your exercise, it should come from a place of pride and enjoyment in yourself and your body, not shame.
Make it social
If you aren’t great at holding yourself accountable (you aren’t alone) or just have more fun doing activities with others, making your routine a social act is a great way to make it a more rewarding and worthwhile experience. You can get your significant other, children, or even a rambunctious dog involved in staying active through the winter.