Learn how you can transform your credit score with this week’s upcoming advice.

Are you considering making a major purchase, like buying a home, this year? If so, your credit score will likely come into play. An understanding of the basics can help you effectively monitor and manage it.

Credit Score 101
Your credit score will usually range from 300 to 850. It’s derived from an algorithm that takes into account several factors, including payment history, the total debt owed and length of credit history.

Lenders use this three-digit number to predict risk and the likelihood that you’ll repay your debt on time. The higher your credit score, the less risk you are and the lower your loan terms will be. For example, a person with a “good” credit score of 700 may have a lower interest rate and smaller required down payment than someone with a “poor” credit score of 400.

How to Improve Your Score
If you don’t have much credit history or you have a few negatives on your report, consider these strategies to increase your score.

  • Pay all of your bills on time. Late payments can negatively impact your score.
  • Pay off debt where you can. The less debt you have, the lower your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Keep your credit card balances as low as possible, aiming to use no more than 30 percent of your available credit. And pay off as much as you can each month since higher balances can sink your score.
  • Review your credit report at least annually, and keep an eye out for mistakes and identity theft.
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New Year New Home

Did you avoid having a holiday party because not all of your friends or family would fit in your home?  Are you thinking about a bigger home; or maybe you realized it is time for a smaller home?

Is 2016 the year you find a new home?  You may be thinking January is not a good time to buy or sell!  Call me I will walk you through what the market is doing in your area.  Let’s explore your options and your needs.    I will let you know what your current home is worth and if the home you have always imagined yourself in is available.

Let’s make this this the year you find your dream home.  

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Click the link below for your free home value report:

http://cloudcma.com/api_widget/100237886913c0e552b512dd16535341/show?post_url=cloudcma.com&source_url=ua

 

12 Days of Energy Savings

It is that time of year again the holidays are here!!  I thought I’d share this really helpful article I found on how to reduce your energy costs this holiday season.  I hope this helps you enjoy your holiday just a little bit more.

We’re getting in the energy-saving spirit this holiday. During the next 12 days, we will be sharing tips to help you save energy and money at home during the holidays. Check back every day for a new tip!

DAY 12: DRIVE YOUR WAY TO FUEL SAVINGS

Whether you are driving across town to do errands or across the country to visit family, fuel costs can add up over the holidays. One way to reduce fuel consumption is to empty your car after all your driving trips — an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could increase gas costs by up to $.08 a gallon.

DAY 11: PLUG HOLIDAY DECORATIONS INTO POWER STRIPS

From holiday lights to listening to Christmas carols on repeat, the holidays can take a toll on your home’s energy consumption. Even when you aren’t using lights and electronics, they still draw small amounts of energy — at an average cost of $100 a year for American households. Plug your electronics into a power strip and turn it off to reduce your energy bills.

DAY 10: INSTALL A LIGHT TIMER

When decking your house in holiday lights, use timer controls to lower energy consumption and save money. Timer controls allow you turn lights on and off at specific times, while staying in the holiday spirit.

DAY 9: USE LED LIGHTS

This holiday, light up your home with LED lights. In addition to being sturdier and more resistant to breakage, LED holiday lights also last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It only costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights.

DAY 8: SAVE ENERGY IN THE KITCHEN

Between holiday baking and meal preparation, your oven is probably working overtime. Cooking alone accounts for 4.5 percent of your home’s energy use, and when factoring in other kitchen appliances, your kitchen’s energy use can be as high as 15 percent. By taking simple actions in the kitchen — like using the right-sized pots on stove burners to save about $36 annually for an electric range or $18 for gas, and using the oven light to check on a dish’s progress to prevent heat loss instead of opening the door — you can entertain in style without raising your energy bill.

DAY 7: PURCHASE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES & AN ENERGY STAR BATTERY CHARGER

If you are buying gifts that require batteries, consider purchasing rechargeable batteries — which are more cost effective than disposable batteries — and an ENERGY STAR charger for them. In the U.S. alone, more energy-efficient battery chargers could save families more than $170 million annually.

DAY 6: BUY ENERGY STAR ELECTRONICS

Are computers, TVs or other electronics on your wish list this holiday season? Be sure to ask for ENERGY STAR home electronics for instant energy savings. Depending on usage, anENERGY STAR computer can save 30-65 percent more energy compared a computer without this designation.

DAY 5: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUNLIGHT

Use sunlight to your advantage this winter. Open curtains during the day to allow sunlight to naturally warm your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

DAY 4: PREPARE YOUR WINDOWS FOR WINTER

Before you curl up on the couch in front of the window this holiday season, be sure to take steps to reduce heat loss. Weatherizing your windows can reduce drafts, and installing storm windows can cut heat loss through your windows by 25-50 percent. Explore more tips forsaving energy on your windows.

DAY 3: MAINTAIN YOUR FIREPLACE

It isn’t the holidays without a crackling fire, but don’t let your energy bills go up with the smoke.Proper chimney maintenance — like sealing your fireplace flue damper, caulking around your hearth, and installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system to blow warmed air back into the room — will help keep warm air in your house and cold air out.

DAY 2: INSTALL A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

Don’t pay for warm air that you aren’t using. By installing and setting a programmable thermostat, you can save money on your energy bills — lowering your thermostat 10-15 degrees for 8 hours can save 5-15 percent a year on heating bills. If you are traveling this holiday, be sure to program your thermostat for energy savings.

DAY 1: GET A HOME ENERGY AUDIT

This holiday, give the gift of energy savings by purchasing a professional home energy audit for someone. A home energy audit helps you pinpoint where your home is losing energy — and what you can do to save money — by checking for air leaks, inspecting insulation, surveying heating and cooling equipment and more. By making upgrades to your home following a home energy audit, you could save 5-30 percent on your energy bills. For more information, check out Energy Saver’s home energy audit resources.

 

Online resources:   http://www.energy.gov/articles/12-days-energy-savings

7 Reasons To Own a Home

Hello DFW!

Check out this great article I found on REALTOR Mag’s website. It list’s 7 great reasons for you to own a home instead of renting.

  1. Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

 

Online Resource:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/7-reasons-own-home

Digital Marketing!

8Blog Pic Hello DFW! As we all know, digital marketing now a days is universal that consumers have access to information anytime they want it. Digital Marketing is an interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers.

Digital Media is an ever growing source of information where consumers are exposed, not just to what other people or your company says about your brand and believe it or not, they are more likely to believe them than you.

Here are some digital marketing tips for us Real Estate Agents.

Top 8 digital marketing tips for real estate agents

  1. Be yourself. People can sense a phony from a mile away. Your online profile is the first thing most potential clients will see, so make sure it is exclusively you.
  1. Hire out when needed. You have a lot on your plate. Don’t be afraid to hire out work that you don’t have time to dedicate to, or that you simply aren’t stellar at — it’s OK.
  1. Find a niche. “Specialize: find what works best for you and become an expert at it,” one respondent suggested.
  1. Start small and add on later. Take baby steps and start with one tactic. Maybe that’s building out your Facebook or Instagram account. Once you’ve mastered one tactic, build on with another.
  1. Be consistent. Your virtual brand, your social media publishing and your blogging should all be consistent so clients can find you and feel as if they know you.
  1. Get to studying.“Study leaders who have done it before you and piggyback off of their suggestions and style.”
  1. Be patient. Marketing, especially organic tactics, don’t make an impact overnight. Keep at it.
  1. Use technology in your favor. Whether it’s a virtual social calendar or email marketing platform, utilize it to its highest capabilities for the biggest return.

Online resources: http://www.inman.com/2015/09/29/top-8-digital-marketing-tips-for-real-estate-agents/

DFW Gardening Tips!

7bHello DFW! Gardening is a smart way to put your backyard to use, and maybe even get some great veggies for the grill or fresh fruit to serve at breakfast. Check out these four tips before you plant any seeds, and you’ll be on your way to a thriving garden. Here are four tips every Dallas-Fort Worth homeowner should know to make their gardens flourish.

Growing a garden in the backyard of your DFW home is a great way to spend some time outdoors and bring fresh produce right from your soil to your kitchen table. Put these gardening tips in play to create and maintain a flourishing garden.

4 Smart Gardening Tips for North Texas

  1. Follow Instructions. It’s tempting to tear into all the various seed packets without pausing to read the directions. You might be thinking: How hard can it be to plant some seeds? But any successful gardener knows that the directions printed on the seed packets should not be ignored. This is especially true when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
  1. Keep an eye on the weather. It’s safe to say that Texas weather is unpredictable. When you’re growing a garden, this means you need to stay flexible. Cover your plants when the temperatures take a sudden dip, and make sure plants get plenty of water during hotter days. If anybody knows the secrets to a beautiful garden, it’s the people at the Dallas Arboretum.
  1. Tend to your soil. Think growing a garden is only about what you have planted? That’s not the case. You also need to pay attention to the quality of your soil. In Dallas, soil can often become dry and nearly impossible to maintain plant life. Get your soil tested every couple of years so you know if it’s nutrient deficient.
  1. Be mindful of bugs and other pests. The items you’re planting and growing in your Dallas garden just might be a favorite of certain kinds of pests. Keep them at bay by using nontoxic insecticide every couple of weeks. If you notice damage from other types of pests — like squirrels or gophers — you might try a low-voltage shock fence. This will train the animals to steer clear of your garden.

Online resources: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/4-smart-gardening-tips-for-north-texas/

Tips: Home Staging for DFW Homeowners

6b Hello DFW! Did you know that studies show that buyers form their opinion within the first 15 seconds upon entering a home or a property for sale? To achieve best results house or property staging is the best solution! Why? Because it doesn’t only helps sellers impress the potential buyers but also aids in pricing the property right! Here are some tips for DFW Homeowners!

Staging a House: 5 Tips for DFW Homeowners

Staging a house is a big undertaking. It takes hard work both indoors and outdoors. These tips can help get you started. For additional help, you can consult a local interior designer who specializes in staging.

  1. Pull Furniture Away from Walls and Windows – In lived-in homes, it’s common practice to arrange furniture like easy chairs and sofas against a wall.
  1. Strive for a Gender-Neutral Master Suite – The tastes of prospective buyers may vary, and you want your home to appeal to as many folks as possible.
  1. Paint Over Vibrant Walls with Chic Neutral Hues – That rich red accent wall could turn away buyers. If you have walls with bright, vivid colors, paint them a fresh, clean neutral color.
  1. Increase Appeal with Unused Spaces – If you have a small room that serves only as a catchall for clutter or an unused spare bedroom, bring in pieces and decor to make the space seem more functional.
  1. Illuminate Your Home with the Right Amount of Lighting – Lighting is important for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. In addition to high-wattage overhead lighting, use table and floor lamps to add more light. Placing a lamp can help draw attention to beautiful furniture and focal points in a room.

Online resources: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/staging-a-house-5-tips-for-dfw-homeowners/

Tips on How to have a Relaxing and Comfortable Room

5bHello DFW! It has been a tradition that when we arrange our rooms in our homes, we focus on how it will look or show our friends how stylish we can get without realizing that we are neglecting the comfort that we are aiming for in every room in our homes especially our bedrooms. I have great news for you! Here are some guidelines that will help you quickly have a room where you can truly relax!

Arranging a Room for Comfort

Purpose. When you first begin arranging a room for comfort, you need to think about its purpose. What is the room going to be used for? Is it going to be a living room or a bedroom? Perhaps it will be a study or a game room. Since each different kind of room has its own purpose, it only makes sense that you should know what that purpose is. When you have it in mind, then you can begin to decide what will be comfortable for that room and what won’t.

What is comfortable to you? The biggest factor in arranging a room for comfort is to decide what is comfortable for you. While you may end up sharing the room with other people, such as in a living room, there is only one person who really needs to feel comfortable in that particular room: you. Think about what makes you comfortable and create a list. Presuming that the different items on your list work well together, use it as a starting point for decorating your room.

Start big. When arranging a room for comfort, start with the big items first and work your way towards the smaller items. This means that you first begin with the couches, televisions, beds, and so on before proceeding to the smaller accessories in a given room. This can help you avoid over crowding and ensuring that you do not have a cluttered feel to any given room.

Go with the flow. Keep in mind that all rooms have a traffic flow and to truly have a comfortable room, you need to plan accordingly. When you place your items in the room, keep in mind where most people will walk and move and avoid placing any items in these “traffic lanes.” Try placing the items where you want them, but be willing to move them around and to try new things, if necessary.

Online resources: http://home.tips.net/T008046_Arranging_a_Room_for_Comfort.html

How to Give Your Grass a Breath of Fresh Air

4bHello DFW! What is Aeration? It involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots.

This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. Lawn aeration brings oxygen, water, and nutrients directly to grass roots, which helps make your lawn green and lush. It’s a critical part of spring and fall lawn care and gives roots the vital boost they need.

Lawn Aeration Basics

Lawn aeration pulls 2- to 8-inch soil “plugs” out of the ground, leaving holes that allow water, air, and nutrients to reach grass roots, and lets new seed germinate in a cool, moist environment. Hard clay soils need to be aerated more often than sandy soil. A soil test will tell you what type of soil you have.

John Dillon, who directs lawn care at New York City’s Central Park, says aeration helps lawns by:

  • Allowing oxygen to reach the root zone, which invigorates lawns
  • Relieving compaction by allowing established grass and seed to spread into plug holes
  • Controlling thatch buildup
  • Reducing water runoff

Aeration Tools

You can aerate by hand with an aerating tool ($20), which looks like a pitchfork with two hollow tines. Step on the tool’s bridge and drive the hollow tines into the earth. It’s slow-going, but good for spot aerating small patches of lawn.
You also can buy an aeration attachment ($60) for your garden tiller, but the tool slices the lawn and doesn’t actually remove plugs.
Most lawn aeration is done with a self-propelled machine known as a core aerator. About the size of a large lawn mower, a core aerator has hollow tines or spoons that rotate on a drum, removing soil plugs as you guide it from behind. This tool is available at most garden or rental centers for $15 to $25 per hour. Plan two to four hours to aerate an average quarter-acre suburban lot.

Timing is Everything

Aerate after the first frost has killed weeds, but before the ground has become too hard. It’s a good idea to spread grass seed after you aerate, so make sure you’re still able to water your lawn for two weeks after you aerate, which will help the seed to germinate.

Online resources: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/lawn-aeration-tips-tools/preview/

Good Afternoon All!

You are cordially invited to the 1st Drive-In Movie and Food Truck Night At River Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care in Coppell!  Please join us on Saturday May 2nd at 6pm  to have a blast enjoying the one and only Casablanca on the big screen, and eating  yummy food from Fried Ribs And More To Go, our Food Truck vendor! Bring yourself, bring your kids, and bring your families!!

Please R.S.V.P to this event so we can save a space for you!  The invitation is attached and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email or call me!

Warmest Regards- Christi GreeneHousing Trends eNewsletter - April 2015 Issue_Page_1 Housing Trends eNewsletter - April 2015 Issue_Page_2 UpdatedDrive-IN Movie night at RO