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Archive for March, 2013

Staging Your Home During The Winter Months

Staging your home for a quick sale can be a time-consuming task, even more so during the winter months. Not only does one have to contend with other homes on the market, and numerous buyers, but the weather can HOMEpresent a problem in terms of access to the home and the cleanliness of the interior. In some areas this is not really a big deal. Places like Arizona and Florida do not have to contend with snow and ice. In order to ensure your home shows to its full capacity during the winter months, here are some good things to do.

Access to a home is crucial during the winter. Sidewalks and driveways can easily become danger areas as ice and snow can turn even the nicest yard into a skating rink. Its a daily task to ensure that the driveways and walkways are clear and safe. Keep aBEFORE good supply of rock salt or another de-icing agent on hand. The last thing you want is a prospective buyer to slip on their way to the door. Remember if people have to trudge through knee-deep snow to reach your front door, it won’t look good for you as a seller. Keep the driveway shoveled and de-iced at all times. It’s also a good idea to clear snow off the eaves and edges of the roof. Make sure there are no dangers to the visitors to your home.

Keeping the inside of a home clean while the weather is cold and snowy presents a different challenge. This is compounded if your LIVING AREAhome is a popular showing. With numerous people coming in during a day, it’s a great idea to have plastic shoe covers to help stop the problem of snow and dirt getting tracked into your home. During the cold months is a great idea to keep the house warm and inviting. If you have a fireplace, light it. The ambience and warmth will help visitors to stay longer and explore all that your home has to offer. Ideally you would like your home to be as inviting and interesting as possible. The winter months give a homeowner the opportunity to showcase their homes during the dreary winter weather. It’s a chance to turn your home into a winter palace that will interest buyers from the moment they see it.


Atkins And Intestinal Problems

The major complaint of those who use the Atkins diet is the intestinal problems that are associated with reducing carbohydrates. These problems can include constipation and diarrhea. These symptoms can happen ATKINS DIETto anybody at some point, but those who follow a low-carb diet are especially prone.

Most commonly dieters will experience diarrhea during the early days of induction. This is a result of the body getting rid of excess carbohydrates. It also marks the beginning of the ketosis process. So in actuality, experiencing diarrhea at the beginning of the diet is a good thing. It indicates that you are on the road to becoming a fat burning machine.

Constipation is a side effect of lack of fiber in the low carb diet. Whole grains, legumes and fruit are the normal sources of dietary fiber, and they are all restricted on the Atkins diet’s initial phases.

However, you shouldn’t be scared off from the low-carb way of life because of these issues. There are simple solutions that can prevent and help with these symptoms and allow you to continue with staying on the diet plan.DIET

The first tip is to make sure to include the proper amount of low-carb vegetables in your daily diet. In the induction phase, you can eat up to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is roughly equal to 3 cups of salad vegetables. Some people are tempted to use their carbohydrate grams on cheese or artificially sweetened soda. Eating acceptable vegetables is a vital part of maintaining intestinal health while following the Atkins plan. It’s also important to drink a minimum of 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day and get exercise. Both of these steps can help with intestinal programs.

If you are experiencing constipation specifically, then there are many methods for relief. When you switch from a diet full of processed and refined sugar products, your body will need some time to adjust to this new FISHway of eating. You’ll need to make sure to up your fiber intake with acceptable vegetables and fruits (certain fruits are allowed after the initial induction phase). You can also try a fiber supplement like sugar-free Metamucil.

Make sure you are eating enough fats and oils. Constipation can be a result of too little fat in your diet. Adding tablespoon of olive oil or flax oil to salads or other vegetables can help your intestinal health. Also, try to incorporate a variety of vegetables in your salad. Pale iceberg lettuce does not have much fiber in it. Try dark green lettuces or have a serving of dark green steamed veggies (broccoli, asparagus or spinach are good choices).DIET PLAN

If these tips don’t work, try cutting out all salt from your diet for a couple of days. This includes pickles, mustard, diet soda, ham, bacon and bottled salad dressing. This will decrease your fluid retention and sometimes helps with bowel movements.

Diarrhea should not be a problem after the first week of the Induction plan. However, on rare occasion, it does persist longer. First, analyze your diet. If you are eating low carb protein bars or other sugar-free products, eliminate them. They may contain sweeteners like glycerine, sorbitol and malitol which are known to cause diarrhea and gas. Homemade low carb desserts may also be a cause of problems. Most of them use maltodextrin, an artificial sweetener used in baking. Maltodextrin is made from corn and can cause problems for some people.

VEGGIESIf you are not used to eating raw vegetables everyday, this may be a cause of diarrhea. Understand that your body will adjust to the vegetables and the intestinal side effects won’t last forever. Make sure you are chewing your raw vegetables thoroughly. Also, using lightly steamed vegetables rather than raw can be a solution to this problem.

Intestinal problems are common during the first portion of the Atkins diet. Keep in mind, however, that these problems will go away within the first few weeks of the new way of eating. If the problems persist, try the previously mentioned tips to get relief.

Mortgage Rates, Which One Is Right For You And Your Needs?

Many homebuyers choose adjustable rate mortgages for the initial financing on their home purchase. Rising interest rates and other terms can be confusing to the borrower.

MORTGAGEAdjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are loans in which the rate varies. Adjustable rate mortgages loans will follow how interest rates rise and fall. There are many reasons why a consumer might choose an ARM, but they can be risky loans. One reason a consumer might choose an adjustable rate mortgage is the rates are generally lower in the beginning than a fixed rate loan. If you expect to be in your property for a short time, say for 5 years, then an ARM with the first 5 years fixed can be a good choice.

There are three main types of ARM loans offered by lenders. They include: A 5/1 ARM loan is where the payment is fixed for 5 years adjusting for the remaining 25 years. When you get a 3/1 loans payments are fixed for three years and adjust for 27 years. The 2/1 ARM is fixed for two years and adjustable for 28 years.

An adjustable rate mortgage works like this. It is usually fixed for a certain amount of time initially, anywhere RATESfrom 1 month, 5 years or something in between. After this period the loan then becomes adjustable according to the published  “index”, such as LIBOR Prime rate, Cost of Funds Index, or other index plus a margin, which is the lender profit.  If the index rises, your rate rises. If it lowers, your rates should fall. There is a lifetime cap on the amount interest can increase over the life of the loan. What happens when there is a sudden higher mortgage rate? You have some options when it comes to dealing with higher rates.

The most common is to refinance to a mixed rate mortgage. If you have enough equity built up and can afford the higher payments this is a good option. Watch out for prepayment penalties in your current mortgage. Be sure to know what the costs of refinancing are and how they will affect your loan.

LOWAnother option is the talk to a reputable credit counselor. They may be able to help you lower your payments, deferring the unpaid interest. This will increase your loan balance though. On other debts try to work out a lower payment plan to offset the higher mortgage payment.  Or persuade your lender to agree to forbearance or have them postpone the increase to a future time when you will be able to pay.

You can also sell your home. List it with a real estate agent if you have the equity to pay commissions and costs of the sale. Or sell it yourself.  Deed your house to the lender in a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure agreement. You will receive no money for your equity and your credit will be adversely affected.HOME

Of course foreclosure is an option, but it’s not desirable. The worst thing to do is to do nothing. When choosing an adjustable rate mortgage, be aware that rates could increase over the life of your loan. Your payments can rise and you may need to make adjustments in your other debt. If you plan on living in the home for only a short time, an ARM might be the best option in financing your new home.

Re-Financing to Consolidate Debt

Some homeowners opt to re-finance to consolidate their existing debts. With this type of option, the homeowner can consolidate higher interest debts such as credit card debts under a lower interest home loan. The interest rates associated with home loans are traditionally lower than the rates associated with credit cards MONEYby a considerable amount. Deciding whether or not to re-finance for the purpose of debt consolidation can be a rather tricky issue. There are a number of complex factors which enter into the equation including the amount of existing debt, the difference in interest rates as well as the difference in loan terms and the current financial situation of the homeowner.

This article will attempt to make this issue less complex by providing a function definition for debt consolidation and providing answer to two key questions homeowners should ask themselves before re-financing. These questions include whether the homeowner will pay more in the long run by consolidating their debt and will the homeowners financial situation improve if they re-finance.

What is Debt Consolidation?

The term debt consolidation can be somewhat confusing because the term itself is somewhat deceptive. When a homeowner re-finances his home for the purpose of debt consolidation, he is not actually consolidating the SECURITYdebt in the true sense of the word. By definition to consolidate means to unite or to combine into one system. However, this is not what actually happens when debts are consolidated. The existing debts are actually repaid by the debt consolidation loan. Although the total amount of debt remains constant the individual debts are repaid by the new loan.

Prior to the debt consolidation the homeowner may have been repaying a monthly debt to one or more credit card companies, an auto lender, a student loan lender or any number of other lenders but now the homeowner is repaying one debt to the mortgage lender who provided the debt consolidation loan. This new loan will be subject to the applicable loan terms including interest rates and repayment period. Any terms associated with the individual loans are no longer valid as each of these loans has been repaid in full.

Are You Paying More in the Long Run?

When considering debt consolidation it is important to determine whether lower monthly payments or an overall increase in savings is being sought. This is an important consideration because while debt consolidation SAVINGScan lead to lower monthly payments when a lower interest mortgage is obtained to repay higher interest debts there is not always an overall cost savings. This is because interest rate alone does not determine the amount which will be paid in interest. The amount of debt and the loan term, or length of the loan, figure prominently into the equation as well.

As an example consider a debt with a relatively short loan term of five years and an interest only slightly higher than the rate associated with the debt consolidation loan. In this case, if the term of the debt consolidation loan, is 30 years the repayment of the original loan would be stretched out over the course of 30 years at an interest rate which is only slightly lower than the original rate. In this case it is clear the homeowner might end up paying more in the long run. However, the monthly payments will probably be drastically reduced. This type of decision forces the homeowner to decide whether an overall savings or lower monthly payments is more important.

Does Re-Financing Improve Your Financial Situation?GAME

Homeowners who are considering re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation should carefully consider whether or not their financial situation will be improved by re-financing. This is important because some homeowners may opt to re-finance because it increases their monthly cash flow even if it does not result in an overall cost savings. There are many mortgage calculators available on the Internet which can be used for purposes such as determining whether or not monthly cash flow will increase. Using these calculators and consulting with industry experts will help the homeowner to make a well-informed decision.

Tax On Foreclosure Properties

The impact of the housing market and the tighter lending standards has put the homeowners into a dilemma. Lending crisis continues to shake out, it has affected homeowners particularly those who have used creative UNDERWATERmortgages. Long-time homeowners who refinanced their properties based on increased value too could find themselves in tax trouble with foreclosures.

The increasing foreclosure rate in the country resulted from the collapse of the subprime loan market. These Subprime loans were sold forcefully to gullible borrowers. Today the real value has suffered and equity has taken a record beating. According to the recent data it exhibited that neighborhoods with home prices less than $250,000 are taking the worse beating, on the other hand, higher-prized communities remain relatively unscathed.

As debt cancelled by lenders is considered taxable income, taxpayers who lose their homes might be left with a higher than expected tax liability. It is reported that there might be some legislative relief from D.C.HOUSING MARKET

President George W. Bush announced his support for a proposed amendment to provide relief from discharge of indebtedness income for taxpayers who lose their primary residences to foreclosure.

The President calls on congress to change a key housing provision of the Federal Tax Code so it does not punish families who are forced to sell their homes for less than their mortgage is worth. The current tax law counts cancelled mortgage debt on primary residences as taxable income. The President also proposes temporary relief to ensure that cancelled mortgage debt on a primary residence is not counted as income.

Bush’s proposals would make it easier for adjustable rate mortgage holders to refinance using the recourses of the Federal Housing Administration, a Depression-era agency created to help low and moderate income SOARAmericans to afford homes.

An estimated 60,000 homeowners are behind payments because their mortgages have reset. They can refinance with FHA-insured loans, as they do not insure refinanced loans from borrowers who are currently delinquent.

As part of the mortgage package, Bush said he would support legislation currently pending in Congress. This could temporarily change tax law to let homeowners avoid paying taxes on forgiven debts in loans restructured by financial institutions. He also urged the Congress to modernize and improve FHA so more homeowners could qualify for mortgage insurance. This programme will only benefit those with good credit who have lagged behind refinance for a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) secured loan.FORECLOSURE

This relief is proposed only to give homeowners a time-out from foreclosures. The scheme does not guarantee recovery to all consumers and community organizations that have been urging for a six-month foreclosure freeze. This scheme focuses more on rescue loans and the release of more funds for credit counseling agencies. The freeze will only provide suffering homeowners time to get their bearings.

The government tries every way it can to control the rise in foreclosure rate. Bush’s proposal is to help delinquent borrowers avid foreclosures.

Home Selection, The Right Fit For Yourself And Your Family

When shopping for a home, there are quite a few things that can snatch your attention.  When you look at a home, it’s very easy to fall immediately in love with it.  New homes are clean, decorated perfectly, and many are CHOICEwhat you pictured in your dreams.  If you don’t shop the smart way though, you’ll end up like many other home owners and find faults shortly after you move in.

When you look at your potentially new home, you’ll want to check and see if you can fit your furniture in the way you want.  A lot of homes these days are configured so that the furniture will only fit in one position.  Often times, this leaves a television or other device in a weird location, sometimes making your furniture nearly impossible to fit through the doors.  This is surely something to bear in mind, as you certainly don’t want to have to buy entirely new furniture.SCEENERY

You’ll also want to be sure that you get the right home for yourself and your family.  Even though you may be a young couple now, you may want to get a house with enough room in case you decide to have kids later on down the road.  If you don’t get a big enough house and end up having to move, you’ll find that moving with kids is a hard task indeed.  If you have babies when you move, you’ll find moving to be even more difficult.

Once your children start to leave home, you may want to look into getting a smaller house.  The choice is entirely up to you, and what will work the best for your needs.  Anytime you purchase a house though, you’ll want to think about the size of your new home and consider the future needs of your family as well.  This way, you’ll have everything covered for years to come and won’t have to look into getting a new home.

NEW CONSTRUCTIONYou may also want to look at any extras as well.  Things like a pool and a hot tub may be a great thing to have, although you should look into the money that regular maintenance will cost you as well.  There are a lot of things that may be great to have along with your home, although you should always look at long-term costs before you purchase.

Location is also something you’ll need to consider as well.  Some prefer to live out in the country, while others prefer the city life.  Some prefer to be close to stores and such, while others prefer to be miles and miles away.  The location of a home is very important, and in most cases will have a big impact on the price.  Living in the city will cost quite a bit of money, although a home out in the country can cost just as much if there is a lot of land included with the property.WITH A POOL

Whenever you decide to buy a house, there is a lot of things that you’ll need to consider.  Buying a home is no easy feat, with a lot of things you’ll need to decide on.  If you give yourself enough time and plan out your budget and the type of home you want, you’ll have plenty of time to make that very important decision.  You never want to rush the process, as you could end up with a home that is less than perfect.  If you take your time and look at several different houses, you’ll end up in your dream home before you know it.

First Time Buyers – Working Your Way Up The Property Ladder

You’ve moved in, you’re paying your mortgage; you’re ready to finally breathe out…Congratulations! You are BUYER TIPSnow a homeowner, and should be enjoying the change. Now you’re firmly on the property ladder, you can start to make the most of your new status.

With sound judgement and a little luck, the next move you make will be up the way. While the economy is stable and house prices continue to rise, your property will be gaining value year on year. The difference between what you paid and the new value is your ‘equity’, and if all goes according to plan, you should make a bit of profit when you come to sell your house.

However, you don’t have to sell up to take advantage of your equity. Second mortgages and mortgaging are covered elsewhere in the guide, and show how you can take advantage of your property’s worth. Meanwhile, sound managementREALTOR of your investment covers two areas:

Tend Your Finances

Keep an eye on the market. If your circumstances change, you may want to change mortgage too. Make sure that you have some kind of insurance protection in place, like payment protection or salary cover. This means that if you suddenly lose your job or fall ill, your mortgage payments will be covered and you’ll have one less thing to worry about. You may also want to take out contents insurance – which can cover your possessions against accidental damage and loss as well as theft or break-ins.

HOME BUYING MAZELook After Your Home

You should be paying buildings insurance, which covers the fabric of the building including its structure. If you live in a flat or shared building, there may also be factor’s fees to pay. (Sometimes your buildings insurance is covered by the factor.) If you notice any problems, such as leaks or damp patches, investigate them straight away. Problems left untreated can become much worse, and could affect the value of your property. HOME BUYING MISTAKESGet a tradesman in to ascertain the source of the problem, and give you an estimate of the cost. Check with your insurance company whether they will cover the bill – policies often come with lots of loopholes and clauses

Consider Resale

When planning any home improvements or redecorating, bear in mind that you may want to sell your property at some point. For any alterations to the fabric of the building, check with your local authority to see if you need planning permission or a building warrant.

Should I Refinance My House – Benefits Of A Cash-out Refinance

If you need extra funds for large purchases, or simply want to obtain a better interest rate on your home loan, refinancing may be a good option. Today, many homeowners are taking advantage of a cash-out refinance.

REFINANCEThere are several advantages to refinancing a home. Moreover, refinancing also involves certain pitfalls. Before choosing to refinance your mortgage loan, carefully consider the benefits and risks.

What is a Cash-Out Refinance?

A refinancing is an approach that involves creating a new mortgage loan. You have the option of refinancing with your current lender or choosing a new mortgage lender. When refinancing, the old loan is replaced, and you begin making mortgage payments to the new lender.

Homeowners refinance for many reasons. Because of low mortgage rates, refinancing for a low rate is perfect for lowering monthly payments. Additionally, those with an adjustable rate mortgage usually refinance to acquire a low fixed rate.

Refinancing is also beneficial for obtaining extra funds. The option of cash-out refinancing involves creating aINTEREST RATES new mortgage, while borrowing some of your home’s equity. Hence, the new mortgage amount will exceed the previous amount. For example, if the old mortgage was $100,000, and a homeowner refinance and borrows $10,000 from the equity, the new mortgage principle totals $110,000.

Benefits of a Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance is ideal for homeowners needing extra funds for large expenses. For example, if your home is older and requires several upgrades, a cash-out refinance is great for financing the project. Moreover, the funds received may be used to start a business, plan for retirement, payoff personal debts, college expenses, etc.

Risks Involving a Cash-Out Refinancing

SAVINGSThe money from a refinance is received at closing. The funds are dispersed as a lump sum of money. In most cases, homeowners may borrow up to the home’s equity. While tempting, it is important to avoid borrowing too much money. Because a cash-out refinancing increases your previous mortgage principle, your monthly payments may also increase.

Prior to applying for a cash-out refinancing, make sure you can afford the additional expense. For example, you must pay closing fees. You have the option of including the closing fees in the mortgage. However, this will also increase the total mortgage principle. To avoid the risk of foreclosure, the new mortgage amount and payment should fit comfortably into your budget.