Recent Blog Posts

The amazing members of ActiveRain produce hundreds of blog posts every single day of the year.  There is a wonderful mix of all things real estate and beyond for your reading pleasure.

This board rolls all day long with the newest blog posts to our site. You’ll find some diamonds in the rough on this page, so check back often to peruse the blog roll and learn from our committed community of real estate professionals.

The newest blog posts on ActiveRain

Owning a home comes with a lot of joy and responsibility. Many homeowners are looking for improvement projects that they can do themselves. There are a few options that rise to the surface. Take a look at some of the fun projects that most homeowners can do at home!Perform Routine Maintenance on the HVAC SystemOne of the top projects that homeowners can perform involves routine HVAC maintenance. In order to make sure the HVAC system is running appropriately, it is important to service it regularly. Even though there are a few tasks that have to be left to those with the right training, there are other tasks that the homeowners can do themselves. This includes wiping off the breaker, cleaning the exterior, and even cleaning the blower with a vacuum.Seal Home Areas Contributing To A Draft...
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Most people have heard the saying that it might be a good idea to refinance if mortgage rates drop. For those who might not know, refinancing is essentially taking out a new loan to replace the old one because the new loan has a lower interest rate.This could shorten the time span of a long time and reduce monthly payments, or save money on the total cost of the home. At the same time, refinancing is not right for everyone. How can homeowners determine if refinancing is right for them? Do They Qualify?Just because there are lower interest rates available does not mean that homeowners are going to qualify. It is important for homeowners to make sure they qualify for lower interest rates on their home loans. Be sure to conduct a quick credit check to clean up inaccuracies on the credit re...
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Refinancing your existing mortgage may provide you with the opportunity to lower your interest rate, reduce your mortgage payment and adjust your loan term. For those homeowners who have lived in their home for more than a few years, pulling equity out of the property for everything from a luxurious vacation to making home improvements is a tempting potential benefit.However, with property values and interest rates adjusting frequently, you may wonder if now is the best time to refinance your mortgage.Using Equity From Your RefinanceOne factor to consider when debating between refinancing now and waiting relates to pulling equity out of your home. If you need access to the cash now for home improvements or other purposes, refinancing now may be ideal. Even if you do not need access to y...
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If you’re in the process of buying a new home, you’ve likely heard the term “closing costs” in regards to the many different fees and taxes that you’ll be required to pay during the purchase process.In this post we’ll look at a number of these closing costs and what you will be expected to pay when you buy that next dream home.Taking out a Mortgage? There Will Be Fees AttachedIf you’re taking out a mortgage to finance the cost of buying your home you’ll end up incurring a variety of fees. Nearly all lenders will charge a mortgage application fee, which covers the cost of processing your application and all of the necessary paperwork.You’ll likely have to pay for a professional appraisal of the home as well, as the lender will want to ensure that they aren’t lending you more than the hou...
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When it comes to finding a home, this is an exciting time. Many people love looking at houses; however, the reality is that people also need to think carefully about how much house they can actually afford. Buying a home is a big decision and for many people this is going to be the most expensive purchase they ever make in their lives. Therefore, it is important to take the time to get this decision right. There are plenty of ways for people to calculate how much house they can actually afford. With a budget in mind, this will make the shopping process easier.The 28 Percent RuleOne of the top ways that people can figure out how much house they can afford is called the 28 percent rule. This is a simple formula that states that the house should only spend 28 percent of their gross income ...
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If you’ve had some trouble getting approved for a mortgage recently, you’re not alone. Many individuals face mortgage challenges due to past blemishes on their credit reports or a personal financial crisis that resulted in bills not being paid on time.In this post we’ll share three quick tips for sprucing up your personal credit before reapplying for a mortgage. With a bit of luck and hard work you can be on your way to purchasing that new dream home.Pay Off Your Credit Cards And Lines Of CreditThe easiest way to improve your credit score and prove that you can afford your mortgage payments is to eliminate other forms of debt from your monthly budget. If you have outstanding credit card, student loan or other debts, get them paid off as quickly as possible.You’ll also want to avoid taki...
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Are you thinking about buying a new house or condo? If so, you’ve likely given some thought to your mortgage and as to how you can pay as little as possible in order to own your new home.Below we’ll share four easy steps that you can take to ensure you start out with an affordable monthly mortgage payment.Make A Large Down Payment On Your HomeThe easiest way to reduce your monthly payment is to invest as much as possible in your down payment. The less you have to borrow, the less you’ll be required to pay back.If you can put a sizeable amount down on your home you’ll find that your monthly payments are going to be very manageable. You’ll also save a lot of money in interest.Maintain A High Credit ScoreWhen a lender assesses your financial history they’ll take an in-depth look at your cr...
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There are a lot of people who are looking to improve the home in which they live. One of the top ways to do this is to renovate the building; however, it is also important for everyone to make sure they know exactly what they are doing before they get started. There are several questions that everyone should ask before they start a home renovation project.Is The Home Worth Renovating?One of the top reasons why people renovate a home is that they think this is going to increase the value of the home. While this is certainly possible, everyone has to run the numbers and make sure they are either going to recoup their investment when they sell the home or that they are going to be in the home for a long time before they sell it. If the home is worth renovating, then it is fine to proceed.W...
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For many people, their biggest monthly bill is their mortgage payment. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of people who are looking for ways to reduce their monthly mortgage payment. The positive news is that there are several ways to do so.By putting some of these tips to use, everyone can find a way to pay less every month on their mortgage, helping them save money for other expenses such as a new car, college expenses, or that next vacation.Shop Around Before Getting A MortgageFor those who are still in the process of buying a home, it is a great idea to shop around and see what the options are. Even though there are rates advertised in the industry, it is always a smart idea to visit multiple potential lenders and see what they are offering. Then, with mul...
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There are lots of people who have heard that one of the top ways to ensure the best mortgage rate possible is to refinance. At the same time, it is critical to make sure that this process is planned out accordingly.Therefore, there are a few steps that everyone has to follow to make sure they are able to handle the mortgage refinancing process in a smooth manner that leads to the best rate possible.Ask If A Refinance Is The Right StepThere are a lot of people who assume that a mortgage refinance is a financial win; however, it is important to keep the added costs in mind. For example, the refinancing process is going to lead to another closing. When this happens, there are going to be closing costs that must be considered.Therefore, the refinancing process could lead to a higher mortgag...
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It is important for everyone to diversify their investments. When people hear this term, they usually think about diversifying their investments across stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. In addition, it is also a prudent idea to leave the traditional financial markets and look for other sources of wealth as well.This includes real estate. Without a doubt, this has been a challenging year. At the same time, those who are looking to build wealth should consider purchasing a house this year. There are several reasons why.Mortgage Loans Are At Historic LowsThose who have checked mortgage rates recently have probably found that they are close to historic lows. Therefore, a lot of people who would otherwise not be able to afford a home might be able to purchase a home at a relatively low price....
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As a pet owner, you’re probably just as excited to see how your pet loves the new house as you are yourself. It’s fun to watch as your pets explore the new digs. But moving can be stressful for pets. Here are some tips for making the move as stress-free as you can for your furry loved ones!Acclimate Your Pets To A Pet CarrierIf you travel infrequently, your pets may not be used to being inside the confined space of a pet carrier. Help them get used to it by placing it on the floor near where they sleep. Put some of their favorite toys or blankets inside and encourage them to spend time in there. Once inside, bring Fido or kitty for a short ride in the family car; just once or twice around the block is plenty. Do this a couple of times a week and always reward them afterward with a treat...
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One of the most significant factors a mortgage lender will review when you apply for a new mortgage loan is your credit history and rating. While some people have stellar credit, others have a troubled credit history with lower scores.If you fall into the latter scenario, you may be wondering how lenders will assess your credit situation when you apply for a mortgage in the near future.Reviewing Your Credit ScoresInitially, lenders will review your credit report to determine your credit scores. Your scores will have a direct impact on the interest rate that you qualify for or if you qualify for a loan at all. There are prime mortgages for good credit borrowers and sub-prime mortgages for those with a blemished credit rating.If your scores are too low, however, you may not qualify for a ...
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You may have more options than you think when it comes to securing a mortgage for your new home. While many buyers opt for conventional financing, another option or program might be a better choice for you, depending on your personal and financial situation. Learning more about FHA, USDA, and VA loans ensures you get the best possible deal for your mortgage and that you secure the loan that you need for your new home. Here’s what you need to know about these useful mortgage options.FHA LoansThese are traditional mortgages that are backed by the FHA: when you take out an FHA loan, this government agency is insuring the loan. This makes your loan more appealing to lenders who might otherwise feel your credit or income history is not strong enough. An FHA loan is available to a wide range ...
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The better your credit score, the better the mortgage interest rate for which you should qualify. That can mean thousands of dollars saved over the life of the mortgage. If your credit score needs improving, get started prior to your search for a new home.Pay Bills On TimeThe simplest way to boost your credit score is by ensuring your bills are always paid on time. Nothing harms a credit score more than late payments.Check for Credit Report ErrorsCheck your credit reports for any errors. These issues are not uncommon, and can really impact your score. Each of the three major credit card reporting bureaus –Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion –will provide you with a free annual report.Credit Utilization RateLook into your credit utilization, or CU, rate. The CU rate is another big credit s...
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If your personal budget is similar to many other people’s budgets, your home mortgage payment is by far the largest expense that you pay for each month. In fact, this payment may easily account for 20 or 25 percent or more of your take-home income.Understandably, you may be focused on trying to pay this expense off early. By focusing on this payment, you can build equity and may be able to achieve financial security more quickly. You simply have to find a way to put aside a bit of extra cash regularly so that you can make extra payments, and there are few easy ways that you can consider.Use Your Tax RefundFirst, if you are one of the many taxpayers who receives a refund each year, consider setting aside some or all of this refund to reduce your outstanding mortgage balance.Some taxpayer...
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Upgrading your rental doesn’t need to cut deeply into your profits. You can add curb appeal and help prospective tenants see your rental as their next home by making some simple changes. The following upgrades are all things that a handy landlord can do without needing to hire professional contractors.1.  Decorative Switch PlatesReplace ugly cream switch plates with either stainless steel models or decorative designs. Fancy switch plates for light switches and electrical sockets cost very little, yet make any room look nicer. The best part is, you can do the replacements yourself, using only a screwdriver.2.  Flower BedsBeautiful flower beds make any rental look more inviting. You can enhance curb appeal by planting inexpensive perennials around the front of the rental and along the pat...
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By Roy Kelley
(Realty Group Referrals)
Monthly Payments for Maryland Taxpayers with Children Most Maryland taxpayers with children will start receiving $300 monthly payments beginning July 15 as part of the federal American Rescue Plan approved earlier this year to spur an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Taxpayers will receive payments of $300 per month for children between ages 0 and 5 and $250 children age 6 to 17. The payments will continue through the end of the year, with the remainder of the tax credit being applied to your 2021 tax bill. The total payment allowed under the Child Tax Credit is $3,600 for children 0 to 5 and $3,000 for children 6 to 17. Families qualify for the credit if their income is below $75,000 for single filers, $112,000 for people filing as head of household and $150,000 for people...
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By Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy
(Napa Consultants)
The family was playing in the water, or had walked up to the Spot (a local landmark on Linden Avenue) for burgers and shakes.  It was a Julia Child favorite. We smiled at their chair arrangement, sizes and colors. We guessed that they had two girls (pink polka dot chairs) and a little boy (blue chair).  Could the dark blue be Mom & Dad, and the other two friends? grandparents?   We were heading home...Happy Wednesday!
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By Patty Clark, Helping Families Move with Care
(Morningside Homes, LLC 720-231-5200)
Looking for a simple way to determine if a rental property will give you the rate of return you want?  This modified annual property operating data may be just what you've been looking for. There are many different rates of return that investor's consider to determine whether a property will generate the yield that they expect.  Sometimes the simplest of calculations can tell you whether you want it or not and if you get the other things like tax advantages and appreciation, it just makes it that much better. The first yield we will look at is commonly called the Cash-on-Cash rate of return.  It is calculated by dividing the initial investment, usually down payment and closing costs, into the Cash Flow Before Tax. To arrive at Net Operating Income, it is simply taking the gross schedul...
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