Thursday, December 16, 2010

Need an Idea for Christmas?

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! 36% of first time homebuyers recieved help from family for down payment. This is up 28% from last year according to the National Association of Realtors. Maybe you should ask Santa for a down payment for a new home for Christmas. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Big Changes Coming!

There is change in the (very cold) air. I've just come from a class with instructor George Bell to learn about significant changes to several North Carolina real estate forms. Effective January 1, 2011, all new buyer and listing forms will be in effect. What does this mean for you? Good things. IF your agent and mortgage lender fully understands the new forms. While some of the change are just wording, there are major changes to the structure of the contract, including VERY IMPORTANT DATES. As in, these dates can make the difference between you being able to get your earnest money back or not if a transaction does not work out.

I, of course, would love to help you and your friends and family with their real estate needs. But if not me, PLEASE make sure that your agent is VERY familiar with these changes. Your money and your real estate transaction depends on it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

Oh how I love this time of year! While I would not say I'm obsessive (you know who you are), I am very enthusiastic about Christmas. Things have been a bit crazy lately, but the tree is going up this weekend come hell or high water. If only I could wave a magic wand and my living room be painted before that happens! But, alas, that may take a true Christmas miracle.

Let's get one thing straight right now. WHITE lights ONLY! Color is meant for shiny ormaments and wrapping paper, not lights on a tree, bush, shrub, porch or banister. You can have them in your yard, but I won't be having them in mine. No matter how much James wants it. Luckily there is no fear that "Mr. 80%" will get them up. Not to mention, those might have "disappeared" after I moved in!

Yay for the holiday season! What is your favorite part? Decorating, cooking, visiting family, shopping? I do not discriminate--I like it all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tightening the Belt

While my belt might get a little tighter over the impending holidays, that's not what I mean! Loan guidelines are going to start getting tighter. USDA and FHA guidelines are raising their minimum FICO scores from 620 to 640. Also, after six months of hovering, interest rates have gone up about 3/8 pt. this week.

What does that mean to you? The belt is tightening. It's more important than ever to maintain (and improve) your credit score by lowering your credit card balances, making sure payments are on time and not living beyond your means if you plan to buy a home. Increased interest rates mean loans are more expensive, and to keep a payment the same amount, your buying power decreases. Or said a different way, the sales price you can qualify for will decrease.

This is likely a trend we will continue to see, so if you are thinking of buying a home, there is no time like the present!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

She Has a Vision

I have a friend, also named Jennifer, and she has a vision. Not the crazy weird kind, but she can see the good in things that are bad. Er, things that look bad. As in ugly. Like these chairs she had in her garage forever... boy were they ugly. And I'm talking Mother-in-Law ugly (literally, they were her MIL's).

Now? Utterly fabulous! I am stunned at what a little paint and fabric can do! Now if we were talking houses, I could have seen it. That's MY thing, after all. But HER thing is turning ugly, old, out-of-date into something you will totally want in your house!

Cornice boards, throw pillows, a lamp--what ever you need, she can do it. Check out her blog!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Safety Has No Holiday

A friend forwarded me an article about home safety, which is a good reminder for all of us. Here's a recap:

1. Light is a deterrent for burglars. That includes lighting outside and around your home, as well as interior lighting. Leave a lamp on, or install motion lights outside.

2. Be aware of providing hiding places. Large shrubs, bushes and trees can be a perfect place for a Creeper McCreeperstein to lay in wait for you.

3. Consider an alarm. There are many options, including ones that don't require a land line.

4. Lock your doors! This seems like a no-brainer, but lock all your doors all the time. Install deadbolts if you don't have them, and solid doors. Additionally, put a dowel rod or broomstick in the track of a sliding glass door for added security.

5. Don't neglect your home when you are out of town. Have a neighbor or friend collect mail, turn lights on and off, and give your home a "lived-in" look. You can also have the USPS hold your mail. Don't forget, crooks can use your mail to steal your identity!

6. A fire-proof safe is a good idea for important documents. Passports, seldom-used credit cards, and legal documents like a will. You may not realize it, but if you die, your safe deposit box is sealed, so that is NOT a good place to put your will.

7. Man's best friend! Not only are dogs great companions, they also hear more than we do. They can help deter a burglar from breaking in, for the price of some kibble and a bit of dog hair.

8. Documentation of your home. In the case your home is broken into, it's important for your insurance company to have clear records of the contents of your home. List of specific items, including brand and model numbers, which is kept in a safe deposit box or at someone else's home. I'd be happy to come to your home and make a video for you!

Don't be caught unaware--take these simple steps to protect you and your family. You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Raleigh is a Great City to Raise a Family

The internet says it, so it must be true, right? Just kidding--but all the things that us Raleighites love about our area is what makes it a great place to live. We have affordable housing, good schools, four true seasons and low crime rates. Who do you know that wants to relocate to Raleigh?

10 Great Cities For Raising Families.