Author: Ashley Bryant

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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2 Nov 2017

Leaf it to us– here’s what to do with fall leaves

As soon as the brightly colored leaves start to blanket yards, many homeowners start to dread the falling foliage because it usually means one thing: It’s time to dust off the rake. Not sure what to do with the mounds and mounds of leaves taking up residence on your lawn? Try these suggestions. Leaf removal tips Use a tarp If your aversion to raking is pretty strong, consider using a brown tarp to do the heavy lifting. Just don’t leave the tarp out for too long, as it will likely kill your grass and annoy your neighbors! Mow Looking to kill two birds with one stone? Get rid of leaves when you use the bag attachment on your mower. Make sure to clear up any...
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31 Oct 2017

6 ways to inexpensively update your kitchen

Thank you, Chip and Joanna for giving us all kitchen envy. Perhaps the only good news out of the recent announcement of your show coming to a close is that our bank accounts will now finally get some much needed rest. But despite the dynamic duo’s departure from our television screens, I have a feeling that America’s obsession with updated, open-concept kitchens won’t come to an end anytime soon.  And that’s okay, because I’ve rounded up six tips to help you get the kitchen of your dreams, without breaking the bank.   Cabinets Want to make your heart skip a beat? All you need to do is invite a contractor to give you a quote on brand new cabinets. Cabinets are easily...
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26 Oct 2017

The lowdown on the pre-approval process

Just like a significant other will force you to DTR sooner or later, as a serious home buyer, you’ll need to get pre-approved before you take the relationship with your Realtor to the next level. Don’t let the term pre-approval give you cold feet: Yes, a pre-approval requires some effort on your part (just like a healthy relationship), but in the long run, getting pre-approved before you shop for homes works in your favor, trust me. Why get pre-approved A pre-approval scrutinizes every aspect of your creditworthiness and determines exactly how much you may borrow under a specific mortgage program. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great way to distinguish your offer in a highly competitive, low inventory market. What you’ll...
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12 Oct 2017

Everything you wanted to know about closing costs

When you’re buying a home there’s tons of new terms and processes you’ll be learning as you go, so it’s likely that upon hearing your Realtor utter the words “closing costs” for the first time, they went in one ear and out the other. And if that’s the case, don’t feel bad; suffice it to say, you’re not alone— a survey released last week found that over half of all first-time home buyers were surprised by the closing costs required to close on their soon-to-be home. Keep reading and you won’t be able to claim ignorance the next time these words find their way into a conversation. Closing costs: Explained I won’t waste any time beating around the bush here— closing...
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5 Oct 2017

6 things you must do this fall

There’s no doubt about it, fall is my favorite season. From the boots and scarves to the crisp air and the pumpkin-flavored sips and snacks— fall should be year ‘round, as far as I’m concerned. Make the most of the lower temps and breathtaking scenery this year by toting the family along to some of the best fall activities the Carolinas have to offer. Here are my picks for fall fun. Scarowinds Each October, the theme park known for causing big screams gets even louder when it's transformed into SCarowinds. Round up the kids and be brave as you come face-to-face with over 500 monsters, ghosts and goblins. Not into being scared out of your mind? Take the boo hoo out...
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14 Sep 2017

Buying a home? Learn about your down payment options now

If you’re in the market to buy your first home, you’ve likely heard about the down payment you’ll be required to come to the table with. If, upon hearing this, your first thought was to plot a scheme to rob the nearest bank, don’t do that— I hear that’s frowned upon in many social circles. Instead, why don’t you take a breath and read through your options. Because you’ve certainly got options, and lots of them, when it comes to down payments. Conventional loans Available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, these government-backed loans offer borrowers some pretty appealing mortgage options. Qualified buyers can purchase a home with as little as 3 percent down thanks to the good folks at Fannie...
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8 Sep 2017

7 Ways to inexpensively update your bathroom

Have a 1950’s era bathroom but don’t have a chunk of change lying around to help bring the bathroom into the modern age? No problem— here are seven inexpensive ways to bring that pink tile-laden space into the 21st century. Tile Tile— whether you’re using it for floors or walls— can add up pretty quickly. Luckily, there’s a couple ways you can have your cake and eat it too with this more expensive material. Try shopping at big-box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s for tile. Hitting up these supercenters as opposed to shopping for custom tile can save you a pretty penny. If you have to go with custom tile, consider using it just as a border. Beadboard has recently...
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24 Aug 2017

5 ways to improve your credit score

When I was young and naive, I thought having a credit card was synonymous with being a mature adult. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the retailers I frequented (I’m looking at you, Target), I was just a little too naive to handle the responsibility of actually having one. Fast-forward to purchasing a car on my own after college and realizing that credit cards (and how you treat them) will come back to haunt you. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but when you go to buy a car or even a house, you can bet your less-than-positive credit habits will show up in the form of increased interest and more conditions. Have a sneaking feeling you might need to help your...
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