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Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/23/2019

Working from home can be both distracting and unproductive. It's easy to forget about the work that you're assigned to do and reflect on the household work right in front of you. Be more productive when you are working from home by applying these habits to your daily routine.

Get dressed for work.

Working in your pajamas all day can be an appealing thought, but it can lead to unproductivity. By getting dressed and ready to work, you’re sending yourself a mental reminder that this time is set aside for your career. Prepare your outfit as if you’re going to meet with a prestigious client. You’ll quickly lose the temptation to lounge around. Get yourself out of the pajama mindset and get ready to own the day! 

Create a designated workspace.

At first, working from the couch seems comfortable, but it can lead to many distractions. Most of your time on the couch is probably spent watching television. Trying also to make it a place to conduct business is nearly impossible. Remove the temptation to grab the remote by having a designating place to work. You can create a home office in a spare bedroom by adding a desk and office essentials. If you don't have the additional space, work from the dining room table. Wherever you decide to set up your office, create an area free of distraction with endless opportunity for productivity.

Set boundaries.

It may a challenge to rid yourself of the day to day distractions of your home life while working. Set boundaries for yourself by scheduling the times you're working, and the times you're "home." Enforce these boundaries with your friends and family by letting them know that you won't be free for impromptu chats during work hours. Also, enforce this boundary with yourself to ensure you aren't overworking and can clock out of work. Setting this boundary will free you of frustration for your lack of productivity during the day.

Cultivate productivity 

Keep your mind focused and ready by adding the necessary tools to your workday. Try working to instrumental music to fuel creativity and focus. If you don't work well to noise, purchase some high-grade noise-canceling headphones to prevent interruptions. Get organized in your workspace to save time spend looking for necessary items. Having a clean, organized space will reduce stress while working and also benefit your workload.

Working from home doesn't have to be unproductive. Apply these simple habits to your day-to-day work life and anticipate your most excellent idea to arrive soon. If you're having trouble creating a workspace, call a local interior designer who specializes in home offices to take your workspace to the next level.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/16/2019

After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.

Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.

To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.

1. What needs to get done before my closing date?

Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.

Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.

You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.

2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?

You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.

Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.

3. What do I need to bring to my closing?

Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.

If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.

Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.

A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.

Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/9/2019

If you plan to sell your house, you should be proactive. Because, in most cases, a proactive home seller is a successful home seller.

With a proactive approach, a home seller can find unique ways to differentiate his or her house from the competition. That way, this home seller can boost his or her chances of a quick, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices for proactive home sellers.

1. Upgrade Your Home's Interior and Exterior

Ensure your house looks great both inside and out. By doing so, you can guarantee your residence will make a long-lasting impression on homebuyers.

When it comes to improving your home's interior, it pays to mop the floors, wipe down the walls and ceilings and perform assorted home interior maintenance. If you need extra help along the way, you can always hire a professional home cleaning company as well.

To upgrade your home's exterior, you should mow the lawn, remove dirt and debris from walkways and perform any necessary home siding repairs. Remember, your house only gets one chance to make a positive first impression. And if your home's exterior dazzles, it will increase the likelihood that a buyer will want to set up a home showing.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

What you paid for your house a few years ago is unlikely to match your home's value today. Luckily, a home appraisal can help you set a competitive price for your residence from day one.

During a home appraisal, a professional appraiser will examine your home's interior and exterior. He or she also will evaluate assorted housing market data and use all of this information to provide a property valuation.

After you receive a home appraisal report, you should review the report findings closely. By leveraging all of the report data, you should have no trouble establishing a competitive price for your residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to be a proactive home seller, you need to work with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you accelerate the home selling process and ensure you can get the best price for your house.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home and will teach you about the home selling journey. Plus, he or she will learn about your home selling goals and guarantee you can accomplish your aspirations.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to set up home showings and open houses, promote your residence to potential buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you have home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to answer them.

There is no need to take a wait-and-see approach to selling your home. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a proactive home seller.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/2/2019

Once you’ve made up your mind that you want to buy a house, either to decrease your rent or increase your income, the next hurdle will be choosing the right property. You will find no shortage of glossy brochures or recommendations from all sides telling you why this flat or that house is best for you. So, which of the many voices should you pay attention to? Here are some guiding principles to help you make the right choice:

What are your home ownership goals?

Why do you want to buy a house? Do you want to live in it for the rest of your life, or is it just a place to start as you save up for your dream home? Is it your retirement paradise or is it an investment that you will flip for a profit after a year or two? Alternatively, you could just be in the market for a getaway cabin for your family.

Problems or challenges you’re dealing with in your current residence may contribute to some of these goals. Put them down in a list as some of the criteria any potential new home has to meet.

What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?

If you’re buying a dream home or retirement retreat, this will be particularly important as this is where you’ll be spending the rest of your life. You want to live in a place where your neighbors hold dear the same aesthetic values as you. If you enjoy your peace and quiet, you might not want to live in an area where residents are allowed to hold loud parties until the wee hours. 

How seriously is security taken in that neighborhood? How clean is the area? Is there a management committee or neighborhood association that looks into such issues?

Have you exhausted your options?

Before you seal any deal, ask yourself, “Can I do better?” You may have found a house that nearly checks all your must-have boxes, but there could be one down the street that does the same at a considerably lower asking price. Don’t assume there’s no better deal out there. Be willing to keep looking even if you feel you’ve been scouring the market for too long.

Write down your home ownership goals and hold them up against all the homes you’re considering for purchase. Make sure your real estate agent understands your goals so they can help you find the best home.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Julie Shanks on 5/26/2019

If you're planning to purchase a home in the near future, one thing's for sure: You've got your work cut out for you! However, when you finally find the house of your dreams, the time and effort will be more than worth it!

Your to-do list will include calculating how much you can afford to spend on a house, obtaining a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender, and eventually comparing loan estimates.

One of the first things home buyers usually need to do before getting too caught up in their real estate search is to check their credit score. Your credit report, which is basically a detailed profile of your credit history, plays a major role in your ability to get approved for a mortgage and obtain favorable interest rates. Consumers are entitled to get a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Before applying for a mortgage, it's highly recommended that you check the accuracy of your credit report. If it contains mistakes, inaccuracies, or obsolete information, that could affect your ability to get a mortgage -- or obtain favorable interest rates and terms. Fortunately, errors can be disputed and corrected by the appropriate credit reporting company.

The Impact of Your Credit Score

The most widely used scoring system to determine a borrower's ability (and willingness) to stay current on loan payments is called a "FICO score." Depending on your credit history and bill paying habits, your FICO score can range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. If you're wondering how your FICO score stacks up against other homebuyers and consumers in the U.S., the median FICO score was recently in the neighborhood of 721 (although that number fluctuates). That means 50% of borrowers are above that score and 50% fall below that mark.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the best mortgage interest rates are generally offered to borrowers who have earned FICO scores in the mid- to high 700s. If your credit score falls between the high 600s and the low 700s, the interest rates available to you may be somewhat higher.

Those who are saddled with a credit rating below the mid 600s may have difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. If you're in that situation, your real estate agent or loan officer may suggest applying for an FHA loan rather that a conventional loan. Although FHA loans can be more expensive, the standards for getting approved are more lenient. These government regulated and insured loans also allow for a more affordable down payment of as little as 3.5 percent, as oppose to the "typical" down payment of between 10 and 15 percent.