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.

Santa’s Landing Pad, Tips For Winter Roof Maintenance

Santa’s Landing Pad, Tips For Winter Roof Maintenance. It’s that time of year again when the weather outside gets frightful but the holiday cheer is delightful. You’ve probably got a lot on your mind during these busy winter months, but make sure that you don’t neglect the roof of your home.  Taking care of your roof is an important part of home maintenance and you don’t want to suffer a leak or any other problem during the cold months.

 

So how can you make sure that Santa and his sleigh have a solid and well-maintained landing pad when they touch down at your house this year? Here are some tips that every homeowner should know:

 

Check Out Your Gutters

 

Your gutters are an important part of your roof, because they allow water to flow away from the roof surface before it causes rot and damage. During the winter, your gutters will be more likely to get clogged with fallen leaves, snow and ice and can get blocked if they are not cleared out.

 

Get a ladder and a friend to hold it for you and clean any leaves, debris and dirt from the gutters. Flush the gutters out with a hose afterward to ensure they are clean. If your gutters have become damaged or leaky, you can use gutter sealant or fibreglass resin to patch up the hole.

 

Trim Back The Trees

 

If you have a lot of trees and vegetation overhanging above your roof, it’s a good idea to trim it back before the winter months. At the moment, it might not be touching your roof – but once it is weighted down with snow or blown around by the wind it might do some damage.  When hiring a tree trimming service, get a few different quotes from a range of contractors so that you can be sure that you are getting the right price.

 

Inspect Your Roof For Weak Spots

 

A roof inspection can save you from a lot of roof damage, which could get even more serious when the weather gets colder and wetter. Start by performing a visual inspection of the inside and outside of your roof.  Look around for any missing tiles and make sure that the gutters are allowing the water to drain freely from the roof. This can be done while walking around your property with binoculars.  If you spot something that looks suspicious, you can hire a professional roofer to take a closer look. They will be experienced and will know what to look for, so that they can find the weak spot and fit it right away. A roof inspection will cost you, but it is a lot cheaper than paying for a new roof!

 

These are just a few important maintenance tasks that you can perform in order to ensure that your roof is in tip top shape to welcome the winter season – and a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer! For more handy tips and info about your home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

 

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.

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away

5 Important Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars When You Are Away.   Any family would feel violated after coming home to a ransacked house. Burglars look for specific things when choosing a home to break into, and many homeowners are unknowingly inviting criminals through the front door.  Below are five ways you can avoid drawing the eyes of thieves and deter your home from becoming a target.

Beware Of Selling To Strangers

If you’re wanting to sell items on Craigslist or another internet-based classified ad website, attempt conducting your transactions outside of the home.  If you must meet at home, screen the person over the telephone to ensure that they are truly interested in the item you’re selling. Thieves have been known to make appointments just to check out your home.

Be Careful If You Tweet About It

Not all of your friends protect their social media information, or may not have the most virtuous acquaintances. If you share your upcoming vacation or big event, then a mischievous friend of a friend will know the perfect time to forcefully check out your home.  Learn how to limit your social media posts to only your trusted contacts.

Mind Your Trash

Be careful when it comes to taking out the garbage, especially around holidays. Criminals will drive around nice neighborhoods and specifically look for empty boxes of high-price items. Then all they have to do is wait for you to leave the house before they force their way in and nab the goods.  Break down boxes and conceal them in garbage bags or trash cans.

Prepare For Your Vacation

Make sure when you leave on vacation that you put a few lights on timers and have someone collect your mail. A home that is obviously vacant is every burglar’s dream.  And if you’re on an extended holiday, ensure you also hire someone to take care of the lawn – overgrown grass is a no-one-is-home indicator.

Secure The Safe

Just because you put your valuables in a safe doesn’t mean they’re secure. If the safe isn’t installed in a wall or bolted to the floor, then a burglar can just carry it through your front door. They can figure out how to break into it later.  Make the additional time investment to ensure your safe can’t walk out the door.

With a little common sense and by following the advice above, you’ll reduce the risk of your home being targeted by burglars. If you would like more information about keeping your Colorado home secure, call your trusted real estate professionals Terry Robinson, Stephanie Foster, Mike Fuentes, Christi Patrick or Deborah Oakes today.



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