Author: Ashley Bryant

12 Apr 2018

Learn how to buy a home with gift funds

Remember when you were little and Grandma or Grandpa asked you what you wanted for your birthday? You likely handed them a JCPenney or Sears catalog with one or two (or 10, if you’re being honest) dog-eared pages of toys you’d like to add to your growing collection. These days the answer to that same question is probably a little easier: You’d like cold, hard cash. Why? Because being an adult is expensive, Grandma. And because you’ve been dying to give your roommate a 60 day notice and get your own place. Using gift funds to purchase your first home? Then you need our guide. Who can you receive a gift from? If you’re going the Fannie, Freddie, or VA Mortgage (conventional loans) route,...
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13 Mar 2018

6 ways to save for a down payment

Chances are you’ve heard a rumor that buying is actually cheaper than renting, so I’m here to set the record straight: In the long run, buying actually saves you a whole lot of cash. Of course, if you’re a newbie to the career world and just starting to learn what it’s like to not pay overdraft fees, (thanks, college) buying a home is likely easier said than done. So how do you go about saving for a home? Keep reading; you may discover it’s easier than you think. Learn about your options, first First things first, it’s a good idea to meet with a mortgage consultant to figure out what loan options are available to you. As a first-time homebuyer, you likely...
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8 Mar 2018

6 most common mistakes homeowners make when hiring a General Contractor

Whether you’re getting ready to tackle your outdated kitchen or fixing up your home to sell, you’ll likely need to lean on the expertise of a general contractor to get the job done. Here are the six most typical mistakes homeowners make when it comes to working with a GC and how you can avoid them. Not getting referrals Don’t go with the first contractor you google, but rather ask around for a better experience. Ideally, your efforts will hopefully provide you with a list of three to four candidates. If you’re unable to get referrals through trusted sources, use sites like Angie’s List, Houzz or NextDoor to help you find the right person. Just be sure to evaluate these recommendations carefully...
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23 Jan 2018

Thinking about buying a home? Do this first!

For many, the first stop on the train to homeownership is looking for homes online. But what if I told you that thought process was all wrong? Contrary to popular belief, smart homebuyers resist the urge to start thumbing through properties on their favorite home buying app before they have all their ducks in a row. Wanna be like your smart counterparts? Keep reading and ace this whole home buying thing. Build up your savings This might seem like an overly obvious first step, but many first-time buyers don’t realize just how much savings they’ll actually need. Beyond the down payment— which can range between zero to 20%, with a myriad of options in between depending on what loan program you can...
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18 Jan 2018

Winter curb appeal hacks

The winter months can be a great time to sell—inventory is low and demand usually outweighs the amount of homes on the market, creating a seller’s paradise. And if you’re selling your home, you know what good curb appeal can do to help sell your home. Making your home visually attractive is easy in the spring, summer and even fall, but the winter—now that’s tricky! Struggling to spruce up your front yard this winter? We’ve got tips below. Add some color Despite Jack Frost’s imminent debut, some flowers do best in the winter months. Take advantage of blossoming buds like pansies or camellias and place them in large pots around your front door. Don’t have a green thumb? Embellish your front door with...
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9 Jan 2018

5 Easy ways to winterize your home

During the winter months when the temperatures dip below freezing it can feel like you’re playing a never-ending game of catch up to try and keep your home warm. So rather than watch the Benjamins fly out the doors, windows, nooks and crannies of your home, follow the advice below. Change filters frequently If it feels like your thermostat never shuts off, dirty air filters could be the culprit. Make a mental note or set a reminder on your phone to change your air filters once a month. Tired of climbing up and down the ladder to change filters on a monthly basis? Consider switching to a more permanent solution with an Electostatic or a HEPA filter. Eliminate drafts Locating and sealing energy-draining drafts...
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14 Dec 2017

Conquer the closing

Reaching the closing table is like hearing the two minute warning in the fourth quarter at the Super Bowl— you’ve come this far; all you’ve got left to do is run the ball into the end zone. Itching to be in your new space sooner rather than later? Keep reading because we’ll let you in on everything you ever wanted to know about what to expect when you reach the closing table. Prior to closing Review your loan documents Theoretically, closing day should come and go relatively pain free, but that’s not to say some folks have had a less than pleasant experience. Make sure to stay in close contact with your loan officer in the weeks prior to closing day. I’ve heard stories...
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5 Dec 2017

7 ways to entertain your holiday guests

Would you guess that it was Benjamin Franklin who coined the old truism, “Fish and visitors stink after three days?” I was sure this popular expression was uttered after an exasperated newlywed hosted her in-laws for the first time, but regardless, if you’ve ever housed visitors for an extended time, I know you can relate to the truth Mr. Franklin speaks. So instead of dreading the thought of occupying friends and family this holiday season, here are seven ideas to combat the feeling of wanting to bang your head against the wall once day three rolls around. Holiday at the Garden Each year, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden transforms its grounds into a dazzling holiday wonderland. If 600,000 twinkling lights won’t make you...
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16 Nov 2017

Understanding mortgage terms

You know when you meet up with friends and some members of the group are really close and basically have their own separate language? You feel left out, right? Don’t let that same uncomfortable feeling creep in when you go to buy a home. Know the ins and outs of the mortgage lingo with our help. ARM An adjustable rate mortgage has interest rates that fluctuate based on market conditions. The good news with an ARM is that the initial fixed interest rate is typically lower than a comparable fixed-rate mortgage. The less than favorable news here is the fact that the fixed interest rate does expire after a certain amount of time and is then affected by the market— keep in...
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14 Nov 2017

Kitchen cleaning hacks

As a self-proclaimed neat freak, I can appreciate a good cleaning tip or two. And with the holidays right around the corner, I’m kicking up my cleaning game. Looking for ways to deep clean your kitchen before you invite the masses over for a Thanksgiving feast? You can be sure to impress even your most OCD family member with these tips. Vent hood Go ahead find the vent hood in your kitchen. Chances are you’ve never even seen this thing, let alone attempted to clean it. This one’s easy: Just grab some borax and treat the vent hood to a nice relaxing soak in hot water. It’ll be as good as clean in an hour or so. Oven Nobody wants to pull...
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