What You Should Know Before Trying to Obtain Credit

good credit vs bad credit 300x300 What You Should Know Before Trying to Obtain CreditIn today’s world of credit there are primarily three 800 pound gorillas that lending institutions use to determine your creditworthiness, how much credit they will afford you, and how expensive that credit will be in the future. In addition to lending institutions, insurance companies also look at credit when assessing insurance risks and determining insurance rates for auto, home, health, and life insurance. It is therefore critical as a consumer; you monitor your credit regularly.

The three gorillas are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. In Colorado, and many other states, consumers are entitled to a free credit report annually (annual credit report.com). It is recommended that each consumer take advantage of these three free credit reports each year. My suggestion would be to check one agency approximately every four months so perhaps one in early January, one in early May and perhaps one in early September. This way, if there are any discrepancies, like identity theft, or a creditor has inappropriately reported a transaction, you are able to take action quickly. These discrepancies can adversely affect your credit causing your credit score to be calculated incorrectly. This may also increase your insurance, or if you are applying for a loan significantly affect the terms you would be offered in the loan.

The three credit reporting agencies each have different ways they score your credit. These measures are generally called a FICO score. Fico scores vary between credit agencies and are based upon a proprietary algorithm, which has been established by each of the credit reporting agencies. There is a wealth of information about FICO scores and a BLOG where you can ask questions on My Fico Beware that My FICO wants money. If you want to find out about your FICO score free use Credit Karma

These tips can help you find the home you are dreaming of by qualifying for your loan first. If you have, questions about how to shop for a good lender give us a call. At Terry Robinson— the Early Group, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the very best in customer service. We can be reached, if you would like to buy or sell your dream home, at 303-748-3838 or info@early-group.com. Our web site is The Early-Group

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership and more.  Early-Group

When it comes to owning a home, there are several benefits that tax payers may take advantage of when filing their itemized return. Here are just a few to consider when preparing your taxes:

  • When purchasing a home, some closing costs may be deductible. Discount points and origination fees are tax deductible to the buyer. If these apply to your mortgage.
  • If you took out a loan to purchase your home, the mortgage interest is typically deductible in the year in which it was paid. This adds up quickly in most federal tax brackets. Your deduction may be limited if certain circumstances apply in higher tax brackets, or if you took out a mortgage for reasons other than to buy, build or improve your home.
  • Real estate property taxes also provide a tax benefit. In the year you purchase the home, you are entitled to deduct the real estate taxes paid on your settlement statement either to an escrow account or directly to the taxing authority. You may continue to deduct property taxes annually during your home ownership.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) may also be deductible when your down-payment is less than 20 percent. Several changes took effect on June 3, 2013 regarding cancellation and increases to the annual MIP, so it is best to consult your accountant or tax preparer to ensure you accurately claim any deductions
  • Do you work from home? If you have a home office that you use only for business, you may have a deduction for a portion of some items such as mortgage, insurance, utilities or other expenses relative to the office space. There are many considerations when deducting home office expenses, and it may or may not be a benefit to you based on your occupation and overall business use.
  • When selling your home, there are potential tax deductions as well as possible implications to consider. Some closing costs may be deductible including and not limited to real estate commissions, title insurance, legal fees, and surveys. Capital gains or losses may apply, and your tax expert can advise you on determining your basis and adjustments.

Some online resources that may be helpful regarding other home ownerships tax benefits include the Internal Revenue Service or National Association of Realtor (NAR).

A recent item to note regarding married tax filings… A new federal ruling now recognizes married same-sex couples just as their heterosexual counterparts for federal tax purposes regardless where they ultimately live. The Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, including income as well as gift and estate taxes, but this ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships/civil unions. This covers couples who marry in one state and move to another that may not recognize their union. As a result, lawfully married same-sex couples no longer have to declare themselves unmarried on federal income tax returns, and spouses will not have to pay tax on health insurance benefits received through a spouse – an average savings of $1,000 tax per year for same-sex couples. Changes could be especially significant on estate taxes, where spouses benefit from tax advantages. For more information, the Wall Street Journal published a review.

Disclaimer: The links to articles and resources here are only to be used for informational purposes. Tax payers should always seek professional advice on financial and legal matters from a tax preparer, accountant, attorney or other legal counsel.

How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your Home

How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your Home.  One of the biggest improvements that you can make to your home is to bring in more natural light.  Sunlight is a powerful mood enhancer and a home design that brings in a lot of natural light will automatically look and feel much more pleasant. Not only will it boost your mood, bringing in natural light will also increase the value of your home.

So how can you shed some light on your home’s interior?  Here are a few ways:

Add More Reflective Surfaces

Whenever you add a light and reflective surface to your home, you increase the number of times that daylight bounces around inside the room.  Try painting your ceilings and walls with light or off-white colours. Matte finishes are actually better than glossy surfaces, as they reflect light in all directions at once. Add some metal accents and some mirrors to the space, which will also reflect the light.

Move Your Furniture Around

Do you have furniture that is blocking natural light from coming in? Move your furniture away from the windows so that it will not get in the way of the sunlight streaming into your home.

Add A Glass Door

Is there anywhere in your home where you can exchange a solid door for one with glass in its design? This will allow the light to flow through the doorway and increase the feeling of brightness in your home.  There are plenty of glass doors with superb security features, so they will be just as safe as any other door. Also, if you have a yard or a patio to look out on, adding sliding glass doors will be a great way to let the light in and enjoy the view.

Expand Your Windows

Is it possible to increase the size of any of your windows? If yes, the windows on the south side of the house, will bring a significant amount of sunshine into the home.

Add A Skylight

Adding skylights to your home will bring a lot of natural light into the interior. Also, they are much more private than windows because anyone passing by will not be able to see through them. They also add overhead lighting, so that you will not need to use electricity during daylight hours.

These are just a few ways that you can let the sunshine in and bring more natural light into your Colorado home.  If you have any other home questions, please contact your trusted real estate professional at the Early-Group today.

Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household Items

The Early-Group Gives You…Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household Items.

Every week the trash truck comes to pick up our garbage and unwanted items, which are promptly taken to landfills. Instead of filling landfills and just buying new items to stuff our homes, we can help the earth and recycle everyday household items.  Below are a few fun and creative ideas for recycling things around your home that you might be ready to trash.

Coffee Table Into Bench

If you just purchased a new coffee table, don’t give away the old one — repurpose it. Find a space in your home where you could use some additional seating, like at the end of your bed or in the entryway.  Push it up against the wall so that any drawers and shelves are facing out. Then add some cushions and pillow. Tada; a bench!

Copper Piping Into Bathroom Hardware

Whether you’re going for a modern industrial look or a French country theme, old copper piping can add an attractive and interesting conversation piece to your restroom. Utilize a U-shaped piece of piping as a toilet paper holder and long pieces of pipe as towel racks. Polish the copper and then seal it with spray lacquer so that it keeps its sheen.

Light Bulbs Into Decorations

Recycle filament light bulbs with a fun little craft project for your children. Grab paint, twine, glitter and glue. You can make flower pots and hang them in the yard as a simple green accent. Use the twine to create loops for hanging.

Pillowcase Into Shopping Bag

Take an old or vintage pillowcase, lay it flat and cut the top corners off of the open end. You’ll want to cut the corners off in a half-C shape so that that there is only about a two-inch strip left in the middle at the top. Sew that two-inch strip together and you’ve got your handle. This reusable shopping bag rolls up tight and is easy to wash.

Drawer Into Dog Bed

The size of your animal will dictate the size of drawer you should repurpose. A cat might like a kitchen drawer while a bigger dog would use a large dresser drawer. Strip the wood off the drawer and repaint. Remove the hardware. Maybe stencil your pet’s name on the front of the drawer. Then create a mattress using foam, batting and a soft and durable material.

Before getting rid of that broken side table or trashing those carry-out chopsticks, take a second look and tap into your creative side to see if you might be able to recycle and give them a second life.

3 Easy Tips To Protect Your Deck This Winter

3 Easy Tips To Protect Your Deck This Winter.   Barbecue season is all but over, and you won’t be spending as much time out on the deck. Don’t let it get you down, though. Spring will be here before you know it. There are a lot of things that can wear down and damage your deck, so protect your deck and make sure it stays in tip top shape over the winter.

Cover The Furniture

You want your deck to look as good in the spring as it does now. The first step is to cover all the furniture (don’t forget the grill!). Cover everything with commercial furniture covers or just use a tarp. Be sure that the covers fit snuggly. They won’t do any good if they’re blowing through the neighbor’s yard. If you’ve got the space, make room in the garage for the deck chairs and table. They’ll last longer if you store them indoors for the winter.

Give It One More Good Cleaning

Dirt and dust can get trapped in the wood over the course of the summer, not to mention dog slobber or barbecue sauce. If you let these things stain your deck all winter, it will be a pain in your neck to get them out in the spring. Make sure to give your deck a thorough cleaning before it gets too cold.

You can use a pressure washer to spray away all the dirt. However, be careful not to splinter your wood, as pressure washers are powerful. Another option is to scrub the deck down with a brush.  There are several commercial cleaners to choose from, but don’t get one with bleach. You don’t want your wood to fade. If this sounds like too much work, consider hiring someone to give your deck a professional cleaning.

Moisture Is The Enemy

Rain, sleet, and snow will seep into the cracks of your deck all winter. They can cause discolor, warping, and even cracking. Now is the perfect time to use a waterproof finish to seal all the little cracks in your deck and keep out the moisture all winter. There are a wide variety of finishes to choose from. Choose a darker or lighter finish to give your deck a new look.

We’re leaving behind the days of barbecues and swimming pools, and replacing them with wool socks and fireplaces. Over the winter you can’t give your deck as much attention, but you can make sure it stays healthy and strong until spring. A good deep cleaning and a fresh new finish are your keys to avoiding cracking, warping, fading, and mold. Put in the time now, and you’ll extend your deck’s life by years.



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