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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 10/18/2019

Understanding how your credit score goes together and how to improve it is a bit of a murky subject. The advice out there is not always consistent and depends on the financial viewpoint of the source. However, there are concrete factors that do go into the calculation of a credit score and when you understand what ingredients go into the mix, you can cook up a sweet situation for yourself. To begin, you will need to understand the many financial terms that you will encounter.

Learning the lingo 

A credit utilization, or utilization ratio, is how much of your total available credit is open for use. Most of the advice you find states that a ratio under 30% is good, but a better number is under 15%. Revolving credit cards are those accounts that you can leave a balance on and roll it over month-to-month, paying over time. Examples of these would be your major name cards, some gas cards, and department store cards. Installment plans are your auto, home loans, and student loans. Charge card credit accounts are those that you pay in full each month. An example is American Express Charge Card versus American Express Credit Card. Service credit accounts are those you have an agreement with, like your utilities or cell phone service provider. In the end, having a mix of credit types helps to raise your credit score. 

Helpful hints for credit scores

Another thing that helps your score is the age or history, of your credit accounts. Age counts for a percentage of your creditworthiness. The older your accounts are, the better, proof that time is on your side. Closing accounts can raise your ratio, so be careful about what you decide to do with paid-off credit cards or lines of credit. Even though you are not going to use that account, you may want to leave it open at a zero balance to help keep your ratio low. Apply for new credit only when you need to. For example, when buying a vehicle or a home, having too many inquiries for new credit in a small period can lower your score. Paying on time is a tremendous way to keep your score in a desirable range. Pay on or before the due date, every month. Keeping an eye on your utilization ratio so you can be sure to keep your score where you want.

Take the time this month to calculate your credit utilization ratio.




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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 10/11/2019

Do you ever look at pictures of dream homes online and wonder what yours is missing? The answer probably lies in a cohesive design style. All homes are built around architectural and design principles. Whether you realize it or not, there are probably at least two or three interior design styles that would perfectly complement your homeís architecture, giving it that dream houseĒ appearance that we all wish we could achieve.

In todayís post, Iím going to cover some of the top interior design styles, from time-tested classics to contemporary trends that are sure to stick around for decades to come.

Mid-century modern

Minimal, but not barren. Reserved, but not sterile. Mid-century modern, as the name suggests, began to take shape in the mid 1900s. Youíve probably seen mid-century decorations dozens of times, especially if youíre a fan of TV shows like Mad Men.

Mid-century furniture has some of the most creative, while still tasteful shapes and textures. Egg-shaped chairs and wide, minimal sofas are highlights of this style. However, one of the most defining features is the use of wood. Exposed wood in furniture, floors, walls, and ceilings give the home a warm and cozy feeling in spite of its modern decoration. It really is all about balance.

Industrial

One of todayís most commonly used design trends, especially in urban areas, is the industrial home. Industrial homes use a great deal of white, stainless steel, and classic red brick to give the home a factory vibe.

While this may seem off-putting, once you see an industrial home youíll immediately recognize the appeal. Industrial design appears clean well put-together. With the use one or two bold colors, itís also easy to showcase fun decorations that are used sparingly throughout the home.

Shabby chic

A more recent design trend, shabby chic, takes influence from a number of other trends over the years, combining them into something that is both cozy and clean.

Most people associate shabby chic with vintage items painted white and then stuck into a corner somewhere with fairy lights dangling off of it. And, while this style does leave room for fun lighting and getting creative with paint, itís core really lies in repurposing items whose era has gone by and giving them new life.

Contemporary

Contemporary design is what we call the amalgamation of todayís design trends that have yet to be identified as a particular style. At one time, mid-century modern was contemporary. And, someday, todayís style will be given another name and its place in the interior design history books.

Contemporary design uses modern principles but take some artistic liberty. Curved lines, and patterns that may be seen as too noisy for modern design find a home in contemporary styles.

Similarly, furniture choices are geared more toward comfort than aesthetics, making contemporary a more livable alternative to modern styles.




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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 10/4/2019

After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.

Hire an expert home inspector Ė you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.

Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.

2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal

Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.

Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.

3. Prepare for Closing Day

As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.

Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.

If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.

A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.

Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase Ė collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.




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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 9/27/2019

Baking sounds like a lot of fun, especially when you see the outcome of your culinary creation. The hard part is when you have to deal with the spills, dirt and other remnants of your gastronomic exercise as you figure out how to clean the oven. The high temperature of the oven doesn't even make the job easier as everything seems welded into the pans. Little wonder many people shy away from this task. But with a few helpful tips, you may find out that cleaning an oven is not as tough as it sometimes looks to you.

  1. Empty the oven. Remove everything you have in the oven and put them out. Oven racks, thermometer, trays; everything is coming out. That makes it a lot simpler to clean.
  2. Mix your baking soda into a paste. Add up a few spoons of baking soda into a bowl and then mix with a few spoons of water, until you have an even consistency. Depending on the size of your oven, you may need a more significant mixture. Now coat the insides of your oven with this paste, avoid the heating elements while doing so. Pay extra attention to the particularly greasy areas.
  3. Wait. Leave the mixture to sit in the oven for at least twelve hours. You can do this in the evening and let the mixture stay put all through the night. After the 12 hours, the baking soda will have turned into a brownish color. You can use this period to also soak your oven racks and other washable parts in a bowl of warm water with dishwashing liquid
  4. Wipe down the oven. After the twelve hours are over, spread some vinegar gently over the paste and allow them to interact. Time helps to make the paste much easier to scrape off. Now use a damp washcloth, or if the mixture is still too hard, use a spatula or piece of plastic to scrape the paste off. Don't forget the corners and crevices; you should get the entire baking soda paste out.
  5. Do a final wipe down. Spray some more water and vinegar into the oven and then wipe down again until all the baking soda remaining has been removed. Dry your oven racks and then replace them, and your oven is as good as new. 

Congratulations, you just cleaned out your oven. Donít know where to get baking soda and vinegar? Check your local grocery store.




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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 9/20/2019

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, weíre going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyerís experience.

If youíre interested in learning the steps youíll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, youíll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. Youíll want to make sure the area youíre moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but itís an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house youíre looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount youíll be approved for. Youíll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you donít open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. Theyíll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you canít get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now itís time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesnít mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.







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