Home-Buying Turned into Ten Simple Steps

Sometimes the difficulty and complexity of the buying process can be horribly frustrating. So many home-buyers wish that the whole thing could be as easy as a game of Monopoly but sadly, it usually does not work that way. However, trying to make it appear more simple, Realtor.com has prepared a road map of the home-buying process divided into a ten-step process. These are the things you typically need to be aware of a prepared to do when buying a home:

  1. Choose an agent: find an agent that you are comfortable working with by asking for referrals from your friends and family. Pick one that communicates well, has your best interest at heart, and puts you first.
  2. Find a lender: ask your agent to recommend a lender to you, they will have a lot of experience and can help you make the right choice.
  3. Clean up your credit score: now that you have a lender, you will be able to get guidance on improving your credit report.
  4. Apply for mortgage pre-approval: having a pre-approval letter in your hand will greatly strengthen your offer on a home that you like!
  5. Create a home wish list: after getting pre-approval you will have a better idea of what you can afford. This way you can come up with a list with a few ‘musts’ and a few ‘wants’.
  6. Search the listings: take tours of all the homes that interest you and narrow down to the ones that meet your wish list.
  7. Make an offer: pick the one that you love most and your real estate agent will help you through the offer process.
  8. Get final mortgage approval: once your offer is accepted, you will be able to work with your lender to get final approval for your mortgage.
  9. Do your due diligence: get your home inspection done and, if there are issues, negotiate with the current owner to either fix them or cut costs.
  10. Attend the closing and be prepared to sign a ton of paper work!

 

Check out the original article here:

http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-buying-process/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest

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Eight Awesome Ways to Welcome Spring

Happy Monday all! I hope you all had an amazing weekend! Spring has arrived but even if it doesn’t feel like it is spring quite yet where you live, that doesn’t mean you can’t prep yourself and your home for the arrival of spring. Sometimes when you change your surroundings, your mood will be significantly affected. So why not bring spring to you? You can embrace spring by doing these eight different things that will enhance your enjoyment of the arrival of the sun and flowers. Check out some suggestions, given by HGTV, below:

  1. Swap out the heavy throws and bedding for lighter and cooler options that work better with the warmer weather.
  2. Stock up on seasonal drinks which means not buying as much red wine and stouts and, instead, switch to rose and fruity cocktails.
  3. Accessorize with warm weather prints like palm trees and fill your house with brighter colors. Doing this can change the whole feel of the room.
  4. Break out the spring scents. It is time to retire the pine and cinnamon scents and replace them with citrus and fruity scents.
  5. Wake up your windows even if it is not warm enough yet for you to open them up because you can still prep them for sunnier days. You can add screens, dust of the sills, and pick more light weight curtains.
  6. Bring nature inside by placing flowers all around your home. Fresh florals indoors just about scream spring!
  7. Wipe away the grime of winter off your floors especially if you live in a place with snow. Wipe away the ice and snow and salt residue.
  8. Prep your closets for warmer weather by trading out your winter clothes with your spring and summer ones.

 

Check out the original article at HGTV.com:

http://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/8/8-ways-to-usher-in-the-start-of-spring

 

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Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Don’t forget, it is spring cleaning time. However, cleaning supplies can be very expensive. Good news is there are tons of natural and simple ingredients from your pantry that can be used to make homemade cleaning supply products so you can save your money while saving the environment. They are quick and easy to make. Check out some of the great information below provided by HGTV:

Best Products to Use:

Diluted white vinegar

Undiluted white vinegar

Baking soda

Rubbing alcohol

 

If you are unsure how to go about combining these items or what items work best with what surfaces, then check out the more specific recipes below. They have recipes for each area of your house you might need to clean including glass surfaces, all purpose areas, and glass areas that need some tough love. These are some great recipes from HGTV for environmental and budget friendly cleaning products that will work really well:

Homemade Spray Cleaner
Try this recipe to harness the cleaning power of white vinegar. Mix in a spray bottle:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

 

Homemade Glass Cleaner
Try this recipe to harness the cleaning power of rubbing alcohol. Mix in a spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Try the following formulations for spring cleaning or tough chores.
Strong Glass Cleaner
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon clear, nonsudsing ammonia
Strong All-Purpose Cleaner
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 tablespoon clear, nonsudsing ammonia
1 tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid
2 cups water 

 

Check out the original article below for more awesome homemade cleaning supply info and tips:

http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/9-homemade-cleaning-products

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Raise Your Credit Score Quickly for Better Mortgage Rates

The higher your credit score is the more likely you will be approved for your mortgage and obtain better interest rates on it. So, this leads many people to ask the question: how can I improve my credit score quickly before I apply for approval or pre-approval on my mortgage? It’s a really good question to ask. Of course, there is no instant way to suddenly increase your credit score but there are a few things you can do right away that will make a difference. If you follow the tips listed below from Trulia, then your credit score will likely be affected in about 30 to 60 days.

  1. Request a copy of your credit report and look for errors: if you find any errors then you should dispute it.
  2. Write a negotiation letter to your credit bureau: ask if a late payment report can be removed by any chance.
  3. Lower your credit utilization to decrease your debt-to-credit ratio: lower your spending and increase your credit.
  4. Don’t apply for multiple forms of credit in a short time: each time you request a new form of credit there will be an inquiry and too many of those in a short amount of time may decrease your credit score.
  5. Settle late payments – then automate your payment schedule: if you have trouble remembering when payments are due then set up automatic payments so you don’t acquire anymore late payments.

I hope these help with your current financial planning and you can get the best rates possible for your mortgage. Don’t give up and keep working on it since having a good credit score can make so many things in life easier. If you need more tips then you can find even more detailed information at the link below.

Check out the original link here:

https://www.trulia.com/blog/how-much-does-it-take-to-raise-your-credit-score/

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Two Upcoming Events

Hey guys! I’ve got some good news for you. Did you know that I have two awesome promotional events coming up soon? It is perfect timing too because they are helpful during the stressful time of tax season! I am always looking for ways to help you out.

The first one I need to tell you about is my 2017 Tax Season Cash Giveaway! All you need to do to win 1,000 dollars in cash is enter the drawing by filling out an entry below before April 13th. The winner will then be announced on April 14th so you can pay your CPA and still have a party to celebrate the end of the stress. Fill in the attached form below with your name, phone, address, and email address. Afterwards, you can choose to either mail it in, fax it in, or email it in. Chase those IRS blues away!!! How big of a difference would 1,000 dollars make to your tax season woes? A huge one, most likely. So, enter today!

The second event I need to tell you about is another one of my FREE paper shredding event. I will be holding it on Saturday, May 6th which will be perfect timing so you can get rid of all those old tax returns and documents cluttering your home. Just stop by my office on Saturday, May 6th with all your documents and I will have a professional shredding company will be there waiting to shred all your private documents into discernable bits and pieces of paper at absolutely NO COST. You’ve got to come by!!!

Here is further info for that including times and the address of my office:

Free Paper Shredding Event

Saturday, May 6th

10 am until 1 pm

740 Garden View Court

Encinitas, CA

92024

Check out the flyers for both events below:

 

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Spring Cleaning

 

Today is the first day of spring and you know what that must mean: it’s time for spring cleaning! Even though it usually takes a lot of effort, but it is well worth it in the end and it is a very satisfying process. And, of course, we can count on Martha Stewart to make it significantly easier for us. She has provided us with an article that includes a printable checklist that also has information on cleansers, stain removal, fabric care, and storage. After printing out and looking at the checklist, create a realistic schedule based on the checklist.

 

These are a few of the amazing tips she offers for your spring cleaning plans:

  • Wipe Walls and Ceilings: Vacuum around the edges and corners of the floor and ceiling. For stubborn surface grime on the walls, use a solvent-free degreaser.
  • Dust Books and Shelves: Take everything off the shelf and wipe down each book individually and dust the shelves completely.
  • Clean Upholstered Furnishings: Take the cushions off the furniture and beat the material to remove dust. Then use the vacuums crevice tools to clean under the seat cushions.

She, also, talks about:

  • Wax Wooden Furniture
  • Ensure Fire Safety
  • Wash Window Screens
  • Clean Window Treatments
  • Wax Non-Wood Floors
  • Dust Home Thoroughly
  • Reseal Grout Lines
  • Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs

And here is some spring cleaning advice straight from me:

  • Listen to loud music while you clean to make it fun
  • Dance while you listen to loud music while you clean to make it even more fun plus it’s a good workout
  • Make it a team effort- clean with your roommate or your significant other or your kids, it will get down faster and make it more enjoyable
  • Don’t try to do it ALL at once – break it up over several weekends otherwise you will get too worn out

 

You can find more tips and the printable checklist at the following link:

http://www.marthastewart.com/267295/spring-cleaning-checklist

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Best Irish Recipes for an Authentic Celebration

Top O’ the morning to ya!!!

I thought I would add a little Irish flavor to my greeting as today is a very special day for those on the Emerald Isle. Today is the celebratory day of the lovely, green country of Ireland! St. Patrick’s Day is a favorite in a lot of the western world. It is not only the Irish who toast to Ireland’s patron saint on this day but parades go on in many major cities all over the world. If you are thinking about have a St. Patrick’s Day get together or even a big blow-out party, I found this great BBCFood article for you with some amazing and authentic Irish recipes.

Firstly, it is extremely important to make drinks a priority at your party, otherwise it won’t be genuinely Irish. Ireland does very well in both drink production and drink consumption. Three million pints of Guinness are brewed every day in Dublin. And the famous stout is an excellent pair with various foods; even chocolate. The original article even features 10 different Guinness cocktails including a combo of the stout and Champagne. Of course, you can’t forget the Irish whiskey which is very different than Scotch and Bourbon. The most popular of these is Jameson. Jameson can be added to creamy desserts. Nothing tastes better than Jameson-infused ice cream.

Check out the article here:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-throw-st-patricks-day-party

And take a look at these awesome recipes:

  1. Mussels steamed wider cider and bacon: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4823/mussels-steamed-with-cider-and-bacon
  2. Smoked Slamon and potato cakes: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5092/potato-cakes-with-smoked-salmon
  3. Irish soda bread: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1432/irish-soda-bread
  4. Slow-cooked Irish stew: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooked-irish-stew
  5. Parsnip, potato, and St. Gall cheese gratin: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1779/parsnip-potato-and-st-gall-cheese-gratin
  6. Irish coddled pork with cider: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5575/irish-coddled-pork-with-cider
  7. Champ OR colcannon: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1665/champ AND https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2649/colcannon
  8. Irish apple tart: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1780/irish-apple-tart
  9. Guinness pudding: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4857/guinness-pudding-with-whisky-cream
  10. Boxty with bacon, eggs, and tomatoes: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10422/boxty-with-bacon-eggs-and-tomatoes
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Create a Yoga Sanctuary in Your Own Home

Our everyday lives can be extremely hectic and stressful. Sometimes you just want to escape from it all. The problem is that right when you get home, the craziness just continues. There is always more to do and it can feel like there is never a way to escape it. What if you had a space dedicated to complete and utter relaxation in your home? Wouldn’t that be amazing? We are all aware of the excellent benefits that come from yoga, journaling, and meditation so it’d be a wonderful solution to have your own dedicated spot for yoga that is peaceful and serene. HGTV provides a great article on some of the essentials you will need to make your own little yoga studio possible.

-          Pick a spot in your home and then outfit it with the proper gear

  • A yoga mat
  • Support blocks
  • An essential oil diffusers to emit your favorite fragrances throughout your dedicated spot
  • Mirrors are essential and great for checking your alignment or posture
  • Blanket for support or comfort in meditation

HGTV also includes several great workouts in their article like:

-          A morning wak-up routine

-          A mid-morning refresher you can do at your desk

-          A lunch break for strength and focus

-          An afternoon stretch for at your desk

-          An evening relaxation routine

You can even tour an attic yoga studio, so check out the original article here:

http://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/how-to/how-to-sneak-in-yoga-throughout-the-day

Try your best to squeeze time into your day to visit that sacred space and find peace within your hectic life. Self-care is extremely important to your ability to continue functioning optimally. If yoga isn’t the answer for you then perhaps you can create a crafting space or a reading space. But make sure to create a space that is dedicated solely to you, your self-care, and your relaxation. It is vital to your mental and physical health.

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Consider Your Health When Picking a Neighborhood

It can be a constant struggle to get healthy as it tends to be all about those small decisions you make every single day. Sadly, it is not as simple as waking up on January 1st and deciding to be healthy. It’s about that decision to take the stairs instead of the elevator one day at work. Or grabbing a banana in the morning rather than sugary cereal. Each day you need to be conscious of the decisions you make to stay active. That is why where you live can have such a big effect on your health and activity habits. The neighborhood you decide to move to could either significantly contribute to the improvement of your overall health or hinder your progress. These are some great tips from Trulia about things you ought to look for and take into consideration when choosing new neighborhood:

  1. Look for sidewalks and bike lanes: you will be much less likely to walk or bike places when it is completely impossible to find safe places to do so without the risk of getting hit by a car.
  2. Don’t underestimate a lush tree canopy: trees have been proven to help contribute to a healthier neighborhood; the beauty and shade of trees encourage outdoor activity.
  3. Look for neighborhoods with greenways, community gardens, and trails: the more access you have to nature, the more often you will get out into nature.
  4. Observe neighborhood social connections and activity levels: if the people that surround you are active then you will be much more likely to follow suit.
  5. Scout out parks, sports courts, and places to play: this will encourage your kids to be active and give free options for exercise that don’t include a gym membership.

Check out the rest of the tips at Trulia’s website:

https://www.trulia.com/blog/how-your-neighborhood-makes-healthy-happy-home/

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Explore Encinitas’ Hiking Trails

Hiking can be the perfect way to welcome spring. With the daylight savings time change, we will have brighter evenings after getting off work. Why not take advantage of that with a nice long hike before dinnertime? It can be an amazing de-stressing tool after a long hard day at work. Whether you prefer to stroll or jog, it’s a great idea to get some fresh air.

Encinitas has 40 plus miles of trails that can be enjoyed by hikers, dogs, and horses. If you have not had the opportunity to explore any of Encinitas’ amazingly beautiful trails, then you ought to check them ought as soon as possible. Encinitas has three different trails with their own unique characteristics. You can find excellent trail maps for Olivenhain Trails, Manchester Preserve Trails, and Encinitas Ranch Trails on the website link below.

These are some of the tips, guidelines, and rules that the Parks and Recreation department provides on Encinitas’ website:

http://ci.encinitas.ca.us/Resident/Parks-Beaches-Trails/Trails-Open-Space

Trail Tips for Encinitas Trails

1. Carry water with you on your hike or ride on the trails
2. Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
3. Make sure to complete your hike or ride while the sun is still out
4. Know the length of the trail you’re hiking or biking on
5. If taking your dog, please make sure they are on a 6-foot leash
6. Many trails are adjacent to private property, so please be courteous to property owners
7. Please follow the trail courtesy signs- generally, cyclists yield to all other trail users and hikers yield to equestrians.
8. Report any issues or concerns to the Parks & Recreation Department at 760-633-2740 or encinitasparksandrec@encinitasca.gov

General Rules for Encinitas Trails

  • Trail hours are sunrise to sunset
  • No littering or dumping. Please use the trash receptacles located along pathways or dispose of your refuse when you leave
  • Dogs must be leashed. People must pick up after their pets
  • No fires or smoking
  • No camping
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