Lynn D'Avolio
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/13/2018

With school loans at an all-time high, and growing for each passing generation, many homeowners are ready to shoulder off any and all debt as quickly as possible. If you’re in this camp and looking to aggressively pay down debt there are a few options available when it comes to paying your mortgage off.

Seller concessions.

Also known as seller contributions, are where the seller agrees to pay a portion of the closing fees for the buyer. This can include title insurance, inspection fees, and processing fees. If the seller is looking to sell the house quickly they may consider agreeing to seller concessions.

Government options for loans.

Energy-efficient Mortgage (EEM) was created to help homeowners renovate to add environmentally friendly features to their home. So if you’re looking to install double-pane windows or update insulation this could be the loan for you.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans offer lower closing costs, smaller down payments, and a fair interest rate.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans can be applied to homes in rural areas, regardless of if they are a part of a farm. You may qualify to apply for zero down payment and loan payments will be at a fixed rate.     

There are also many local programs offered at the state and city level. A quick Google search for loan options for your area should set you in the right direction!

Plan to Refinance

Down the road, you can refinance for a fifteen year home loan instead of thirty. You’ll pay off your loan in roughly half the time and save money on payments towards interest.

Throw It Everything You’ve Got

You’ll want to check with your lending company first as some have penalties for payments outside of the loan terms. However, if possible, making an extra payment either regularly or time to time will help cut down the overall time it takes to pay off your loan.

For example, you can make one extra mortgage payment each year or tighten up your day to day budget and apply what your savings towards your loan. Many homeowners get creative and take on side gigs to create the extra cash necessary to make additional payments.

If you don’t have that room to flex you can also always apply any bonuses, tax refunds or windfalls that come your way. This also makes a bigger impact when paired with regularly scheduled extra payments.

Aggressive debt payoff strategies aren’t for everyone. And that’s okay! However, if you’re looking to live a debt free life and enjoy your home knowing it’s been paid in total these tactics are for you. With some strategy and creativity, you can find plenty of ways to make the process go quickly and smoothly.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/6/2018

Everyone uses a slightly different set of guidelines when it comes to food safety, but some people's standards are a bit more "flexible" than others. The perfect example is the so-called "five second rule." If you're not familiar with it, that "rule" states that if you drop food on the floor (or ground) and pick it up within five seconds, then it's safe to eat!

In some cases, you can wash and safely eat food that has fallen on the floor, but it depends on the condition of the floor and what type of food you're dropping. While some mothers may jokingly say, "My kitchen floor is so clean you could eat off it," eating food that has fallen on the floor can be somewhat risky.

Although the 5-second-rule has its humorous side, food safety is a very serious subject. Making sure that perishable food is properly prepared, cooked, and refrigerated is one way to help keep your family healthy. There's also a psychological benefit to being careful with food safety: When you and your family know that your food is fresh, safely stored, and properly prepared, it helps give you peace of mind and makes mealtime more of a pleasurable experience.

Basic Food Safety Tips

One way to keep track of food freshness is to pay attention to expiration dates and other information printed on food labels. Another step involves putting your own labels on perishable foods and leftover food containers. "When in doubt, throw it out," is also a good policy to consider.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DOH) offers a number of helpful food safety guidelines to keep in mind and discuss with your family. To reduce the chances of cross-contamination and harmful bacteria growing on food, the agency recommends the following practices:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before preparing food
  • Wash food preparation surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards after each use
  • Wash the outsides of fruits and vegetables to help remove bacteria and other impurities
  • Promptly refrigerate food and follow recommended storage times and refrigeration temperatures
While there are a lot of safeguards to be aware of when preparing, handling, and storing food, the DOH breaks it down into four easy-to-remember categories: "clean, separate, cook, and chill." A couple related topics worth researching and keeping in mind  are minimum cooking temperatures for meat and recommended refrigerator storage times for perishable food (often three to five days).

As an afterthought, the other advantage of putting dates on your food packages and leftover containers is that you avoid wasting food by throwing it away prematurely.

Healthy food preparation and storage does involve heightened awareness and sometimes creating new habits, but preventing food poisoning and other digestive ailments in your family is well worth the effort!





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 1/30/2018

Buying a home is a life-changing event. As such, the decision to purchase a residence should not be taken lightly.

For homebuyers, it is paramount to get as much help as possible so you can discover a terrific house at a price that matches your budget. With support from an expert real estate agent, you should have no trouble acquiring a residence that meets or surpasses your expectations.

But what does it take to find the right real estate agent to assist you during your search for the perfect home? Here are three tips that every homebuyer needs to know.

1. Ask Family Members and Friends for Guidance

If a family member or friend recently bought a home, he or she may be able to provide real estate agent recommendations. Family members and friends are trusted sources, and their real estate agent recommendations may help you speed up the process of finding your dream house.

Your neighbors also may be able to real estate agent suggestions. They should be able to provide details about what it was like to work with a particular real estate agent so you can plan accordingly.

Of course, you should still perform plenty of research into a real estate professional's background and expertise before you hire this individual. Be diligent during your search for a real estate agent, and you can employ a real estate professional who will go the extra mile to help you discover a great house.

2. Search the Web

A simple web search of a real estate agent's name may enable you to learn a lot about this individual. In fact, a web search often provides a great way to find out about local real estate agents quickly.

Although a web search may help you examine a variety of real estate agents in your city or town, it is essential to fully evaluate a real estate professional's credentials.

If possible, search for client feedback about a real estate agent. This may help you determine whether to move forward with a particular real estate agent or shy away from this housing market professional altogether.

3. Meet Directly with Several Real Estate Agents

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, nothing beats a one-on-one meeting.

Set up meetings with several local real estate agents. By doing so, you can get a better idea about whether a real estate agent can help you accomplish your homebuying goals.

It often helps to make a list of questions to ask a real estate agent before you meet with him or her. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision.

If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face meeting, don't hesitate to hire this professional. Remember, the sooner you start working with an expert real estate agent, the sooner you may be able to purchase your dream house.

Use these tips, and you can hire a first-rate real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 1/23/2018

Home insurance is something that every homeowner needs, but not necessarily something that everyone understands. It’s a great idea to have homeowner’s insurance because it protects your home and all of your possessions. Yet, this insurance is in fact a requirement. Mortgage companies require borrowers to have this protection when they buy a home. You’ll need protection for the amount of what is deemed the “fair value” of your home. This fair value is usually based on the price of purchase. Some renters are even required to have insurance for their property. As stated above, this type of protection is a smart idea. 


What A Home Insurance Policy Covers


The terms of home insurance can be very confusing. Most policies will cover damage to the outside of your home. This will include vandalism, fire, lightning, hurricanes, or down trees that may hit the home. The insurance company will estimate the amount of damage and provide you with funds so that the damage can be repaired. In extreme cases, your home may need to be completely rebuilt. Home insurance does not typically cover floods, earthquakes and home maintenance issues. You may need separate policies or extended policies to get these items covered based on where you live. The interior of your home is covered by home insurance as well. This includes clothing, appliances, furniture and electronics if they are destroyed by something that affects your home. 


Off-Premises Coverage


Some home insurance policies have coverage that includes items that belong to you, no matter where you are when something happens. If you lose jewelry on a trip to Europe, for example, you can get a homeowner’s policy that will cover that. This type of coverage does have strict limits, however, so don’t expect your insurance company to give you 100% of the value of your gold necklace that you lost in Paris! This type of coverage is great for items like engagement rings. 


Liability


Your homeowner’s insurance also includes a liability clause. This includes injuries that occur on your property that have been caused by you or your family. This will even include any problems caused by pets in the home. Beware that insurance companies can limit this type of coverage based on the type of dog breed that you own. Insurance companies may even decline to cover you based on the type of dog you own. If a dog bite does occur on your property and you have a breed that works within the insurance company’s limits, you’ll be covered. If anyone is hurt on your property and files a lawsuit, you’re protected.     

 

Rates


Your insurance rates will be determined by many factors including the neighborhood, crime rates and the climate of the area. Before you choose a place to live, you may want to investigate the insurance costs before you settle on a place to buy.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 1/16/2018

What does it take to generate interest in your home from the right homebuyers at the right time? Marketing is paramount, and using all of the marketing tools at your disposal will make it easier for any home seller to connect with prospective homebuyers consistently. Today, many high-quality marketing tools are readily available to home sellers, including: 1. Social Media Facebook and other social networks now empower home sellers to share details about their residences with homebuyers from around the world. Furthermore, social media is free and easy to use, making it a powerful tool to add to your home selling arsenal. Social media, of course, only ranks as an effective marketing tool if you understand how to leverage it properly. For instance, you'll want to include high-resolution photos of your home with any social media content. You also will want to respond to homebuyers' questions quickly as these queries are posted on social networks, as this may help your home stand out in a crowded real estate market. 2. Virtual Tours Imagine what it would be like if a homebuyer could take a walk through your home even if he or she were many miles away. Thanks to virtual tours, home sellers are able to offer homebuyers a distinct home showing experience, one that is sure to make a long-lasting impression. Before you set up a virtual tour, be sure to consult with a real estate agent. This professional will be able to help you stage your home properly and ensure it looks great to any prospective homebuyer during a virtual home showing. 3. Email Updates Work with your real estate agent to ensure your home is included in any email blasts that he or she sends out. By doing so, you'll be able to maximize your marketing reach and ensure that many homebuyers can learn about your residence immediately. Any email notification should include relevant information for recipients. Therefore, you should ensure that information about your home is included only in email blasts that go to homebuyers who are likely to be interested in your residence. For example, an email blast that is sent to luxury homebuyers should not include information about a tiny house that is now available, as this residence is unlikely to generate significant interest. On the other hand, highlighting your two-bedroom house in an email update sent to first-time homebuyers and small families may be ideal. By doing so, you may improve your home's chances of garnering substantial attention from homebuyers without delay. The home selling process continues to evolve, and thanks to best-in-class technologies, home sellers possess advanced tools they can use to showcase their residences at all times. Discover the benefits of first-rate technologies and be sure to use them as part of your home marketing efforts. With these tools, you'll be better equipped to accentuate the positives of your residence to homebuyers globally and boost your chances of obtaining multiple competitive offers for your house as well.