Monthly Archives: November 2019

Last Minute Thanksgiving Hacks!

DHREA 25/11/2019

With Thanksgiving just days away, the “how am I going to get this all done?” anxieties are inevitably going to start to kicking in. But before you start agonizing over a dozen things at once, we might have a few solutions right here for you:

1. No rack? No problem. 

Use large carrots and celery sticks as a makeshift rack on which to cook your turkey. This is especially helpful if you’re using one of those aluminum disposable pans, which don’t come with a rack.

 

2. Get a head start on the spuds.

Peel potatoes for mashed potatoes hours ahead of time (or even the night before) and leave them in a mixture of lemon slices and water in a salad spinner with the cover on. When it’s time to boil the potatoes, just pull up on the inner basket and they drain themselves. Toss the lemon, add the potatoes to a pot of water and you’re good to go.

 

3. Kitchen shears are your secret weapon.

Use them for more than cutting butchers’ twine and opening bags of pecans. You can quickly cut green beans, snip herbs, and trim excess fat off of the raw turkey.

Cutting up herbs with kitchen scissors.

 

4. You don’t need a food processor to make pie dough.

Place flour in a pie plate and, using a box grater, grate frozen butter into the flour. You get the perfect little “pea-sized” crumbs that every recipe is talking about, no pastry cutter, butter knives, food processor, or sweating necessary.

 

5. Put your melon baller to work on apples.

Yep, you can use a melon baller to core apples for pie. You won’t mangle the fruit and even little kids could help. It also works for pears, which are often too soft to core.

 

6. Salt is the key to chilling wine faster.

Put a handful of salt in a bucket of water and ice to chill wine in a fraction of the time. The salt allows the mixture of ice and water to be colder than just ice and water alone, plus the water is a more efficient conductor of cold than just ice.

 

 

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
743 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
239 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

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Winterize Your Vehicle

DHREA 22/11/2019

 

 

Traveling for Thanksgiving next weekend? Maybe your work commute is a little longer than you’d like, especially in the looming cold weather. No matter the reason for your commute or travel, one thing we can’t deny…winter is coming.

One of the most overlooked assets we tend to utilize winter care on is our automobiles! Here are some great tips and tricks to prepare your automobile for the best, and potentially worst, Pittsburgh winters can give us.

Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

  • Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  • Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
  • Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
  • Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
  • Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
  • Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
  • Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
  • Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

Update the emergency kits in your vehicles with:

  • A shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Matches
  • Extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Blanket(s)
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt and sand
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Fluorescent distress flag

 

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
743 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
239 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

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Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog! Locked vs Floating Mortgage Rate: Which Is Better?

DHREA 19/11/2019

Mortgage rates have been relatively consistent, but don’t let that get you too comfortable. Rates are changing all the time…by how much, and whether it will be in your favor, we cannot say. We can make intelligent guesses, but we can’t predict with any certainty.  

However, that doesn’t mean that you are entirely powerless when it comes to taking charge of the mortgage rate you qualify for. 

You hold a lot of power, including the ability to qualify for a lower rate by improving your credit score, buying points, and exploring the rates of various home loan options. 

And here is another idea for getting a low mortgage rate in an uncertain market: get a floating mortgage rate. 

Bookmark this post for future reference and read on to understand the difference between a locked-in rate versus a floating rate. 

Locked and Floating Mortgage Rate Compared

Mortgage Rate Lock

“Locking” a mortgage rate means the interest rate won’t change from the time we offer it to you until the closing of your loan. When the rate rises—as they’re expected to—your rate won’t budge. Sounds great, right? It is! 

However, you should know that there are a few stipulations to a mortgage rate lock, such as:

  • Closing within the predetermined time frame
  • No changes to your mortgage application
  • Rate lock timeframes range from 30 to 60 days, though longer terms are sometimes available. 

Even with a locked rate, some circumstances can still cause a locked rate to adjust, namely:

  • You change the type of mortgage or the amount of your down payment. 
  • Your home appraisal is higher or lower than expected. 
  • Your credit score changes. 
  • There was trouble documenting your additional income such as bonuses or overtime

There is also a fee associated with locking in a rate, and the longer the rate lock term, the higher the fee. Plus, if the rate drops, you won’t be able to take advantage of the lower rate—unless you have a “float down” option.

What is a Float Down Option?

A “float down” option means that you’re able to reduce your interest rate if market conditions cause rates to drop during your lock term. This mortgage rate option is dependent on the daily market fluctuations. So if the interest rate goes up by the time you close on your mortgage, you’ll lose some buying power. 

But if the rate falls, you’ll gain some buying power. 

Choosing to float your mortgage rate is considered riskier because one can’t truly predict what rates will do from one day to the next. But the potential for savings is very attractive, which is why many mortgage applicants choose it. 

When Should You Choose to Float? 

When rates are decreasing steadily from week to week, it might be a good idea to float it. There’s a chance you’ll get a better rate when it’s time for the loan transaction to take place. 

On the other hand, if rates a less steady or are moving higher, then you’ll want to lock in your rates.  

How much can a rate impact your monthly mortgage payment? Let’s look at an example. A mortgage payment on a $200,000 home at a 4.5 percent interest rate would be $1,013. However, at a 4.75 percent interest rate, the payment would be $1,043. 

That $30 difference that adds up to nearly $400 over a year!

Need more personalized guidance about interest rates and which you should choose based on the current market? Call Tara Mortgage Services, your local mortgage experts!

(This blog was originally published at tara-mtg.net)

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
743 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
237 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

Read More

Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog: How Identity Theft Affects Your Home Loan Approval

DHREA 13/11/2019

It makes everyone cringe at the mere possibility of it — identity theft. Unfortunately, about 1 in 15 Americans are victims of it. And the way most find out that it’s happened to them is when their credit is pulled, and they notice something suspicious. Indeed, identity theft can even negatively affect your home loan application. Here’s how identity theft affects your mortgage application and the steps you can take to help you get approved despite the fraud.

Types of Identity Theft And How It Affects Your Home Loan Application

There are many types of identity theft. While all are serious, only one can hamper getting a home loan. With financial identity theft, a criminal is using your identity to get approved for credit. While a $300 shopping spree probably won’t affect your ability to get approved for a mortgage, it could lower your credit score and change the mortgage rate you qualify for.

However, fraudulent charges of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars are sure to halt your loan approval and here’s why:

Part of getting approved for any loan is demonstrating that you can be trusted to pay it back. And, essentially, that’s what a credit score shows. The higher the score, the more financially responsible you appear to be, and the more lenders will trust that you can and will pay back the loan.

So when it comes to mortgage approval, you can imagine how much weight your credit score carries. And if your credit shows that you have a $12,000 debt that’s currently in collections, that’s a red flag that no lender wants to see.

Home loan denied. Well, for now, anyway.

Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story! While it’s not a fast process, there are steps you can take to help clear up the crime from your credit history and get you well on your way to home loan approval.

What You Can Do If You’re a Victim

First thing you want to do it report the crime to the police. You’ll also want to file an affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. Sometimes, a copy of the police report and the affidavit is all that the underwriter needs to move your application towards approval. Unfortunately, even with proof of a crime and loan approval, your rate may remain on the higher end of the scale because rates are determined when you first applied for the home loan.

Now we come to a fork in the road. Accept the higher rate and move forward with the home purchase. Or wait until everything gets cleared from your credit history and start the process all over again.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you decide to purchase now, you’ll have the certainty of buying in the current favorable conditions. Your rate may be high now but, then again, it could be high later too. The market is changing all the time, and we cannot predict what your future rate would be.

However, if you decide to take the extra steps to clear your history and wait to purchase, you’ll have the peace of mind that you are getting the best rate based on your actual credit score. Your rate may also be lower than it was the first time around, possibly saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Plus, you also have to consider the housing market. The availability of homes for sale in your price bracket may not be the same in six months. Are you willing to wait and see?

Identity theft isn’t something that’s fixed overnight. After you’ve filed a police report and an affidavit with the FTC, you still need to submit copies to the credit bureaus. This will trigger an investigation and should also stop them from showing the fraudulent info on your report. The time it takes for your report to be completely cleared varies quite a bit. It can take as little as weeks, but in some cases, it’s taken years.

We hope that you are never a victim of identity theft, in any form. However, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to buying your dream home even if this does happen to you. Do you know what rate you qualify for? Contact us today to see how low your rate can be!

(This blog was originally published at tara-mtg.net)

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
743 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
234 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

Read More

Tips for Ensuring a Smooth Move for Seniors!

DHREA 01/11/2019

Moving can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone some of our great seniors. Here’s some tips to make their move as easy as possible.

1. Communication and Choice

Seniors can be emotionally vested in the home they’re leaving, and it’s expected that there will be sadness and apprehension about the move. It can be a tough conversation to have with your aging parent, but give them time to grieve the change and talk about where they will be living and why they are moving, in order to help make the transition smoother. When seniors are asked to leave their longtime homes, a frequent cause of distress is their perceived loss of control, so give your loved one as much choice as possible as they plan and implement the move.

2. Plan Effectively

Before families begin the sorting and organizing process, it will help to have a visual of what they are getting into. What rooms need to be furnished? How many square feet is the new residence? Writing for AARP, Ann Goyer recommends plotting the floor plan of your loved one’s new home on graph paper, and suggests cutting out pieces to represent furniture.

3. Enlist Relatives

This will undoubtedly be a big job, so enlist help from your family. Encourage siblings or other close family members to take a few days off of work. Even children and younger members in the family can participate. Surrounding your senior parents with loved ones who are supportive and encouraging could help ease the emotional stress of moving as well.

4. Sort and Organize

Moving your elderly parents will involve downsizing. Go through the house item by item with your support team. You can categorize objects to make the process easier: items to be moved, keepsakes to be left with family, items to be sold or donated, and items to be thrown out. Don’t allow yourself to become a packing robot lacking feelings. Honor the emotional attachment to personal belongings and allow your senior parent to reminisce as you help sort out their possessions. Remember, these are not just things you’re moving; they’re memories. Also, be open to your own emotions, especially if this was your childhood home.

5. Clean and Repair

After the organizing and packing is complete, there is work that still needs to be done. Whether the house is going to be sold, rented or passed on to another relative — the general requirements are the same. The house should be cleaned, and they should consider making any required repairs now before any get worse. It’s better to take care of maintenance issues all at once rather than dealing with them later while the house is for sale (or after renters move in).

6. Plan the Moving Day

There are a few different strategies for moving your senior loved one into their new home. A full service mover is the easiest way to go, but also the most expensive. They will load everything, deliver to its destination and put things in place. We looked at quotes from movers and found the cost of moving the contents of a two bedroom home across the country exceeds $6,000.  Families can save some money on the move by using a self-service mover, which means their family will load the moving truck, but the cargo will be hauled by a professional mover.  Then there’s the do-it-yourself (DIY) option where you can rent a moving truck or trailer. But, even the DIY option of renting a U-Haul or Ryder is not cheap: a move from Atlanta to Los Angeles in a 26 foot truck could exceed $3,000 when you factor in gasoline.

Of course, each family’s circumstances are unique, so we’re hesitant to give blanket advice. However, I hope these tips help you better plan and execute your elder loved one’s next move!

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
738 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
227 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

Read More
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