Your Financial Health

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How to look after your financial health in times of uncertainty

Financial Health

During these uncertain economic times, many people are having difficulty paying their monthly bills. Whether you fall into that group or not, it’s important that you take steps to protect your financial future. Here are some considerations to take today to save you from budgetary burdens tomorrow.

  1.  Prioritize Your Expenses

The first and most important step to safeguarding your savings is to decide which bills are most vital to your livelihood. This worksheet from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help make those tough decisions a little easier.

  1. Cut the Excess

Once you’ve prioritized your expenses, you’ll have a good sense of what you need and what you don’t. Anything that falls into the latter category should be discontinued until a later date, and anything considered a necessity should be revisited each month to make sure it still belongs there.

  1. Know the CARES Act

The government’s $2 trillion emergency stimulus package is loaded with important information for US citizens. With benefits like eviction relief, a moratorium on foreclosures, and the opportunity to defer or reduce mortgage payments, the CARES Act has a lot to offer beyond a stimulus check.

  1. Try Negotiating

From landlords to cable providers, many bill collectors are showing extraordinary empathy during these unprecedented times. If they can’t defer or reduce your fees, they may be willing to add some other kind of incentive as a show of good faith. As the adage goes, “You’ll never know unless you ask.”

  1. Consider Your Credit Cards

Charges, whether recurring or one-off, can add up quickly on your credit card statement. Take the time every week to review your statements in detail and identify those one-off charges that are adding up. Then, consider which recurring bills are worth keeping and which should be cut. Lastly, consider calling up your credit card company to renegotiate annual fees or interest rates.

Additionally, don’t forget that refinancing your mortgage or shopping around for better rates on home insurance may lighten your financial burden. If you’d like to learn more about the low-cost, high-value options available through me – Keller Mortgage and Keller Covered – let me know.

These suggestions are only the beginning. If you’d like to discuss more ways to strengthen your bottom line, shoot us a text or phone call at any time. We may not have all the answers you’re looking for, but we will do whatever we can to find them.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Best Power Tools for DIYers

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Get Ready to DIY!

Tools

Now more than ever, DIY projects are everywhere you look. It seems like everyone is trying to be productive with the little extra free time on their hands, and hardware stores still have lines out the door. If you are just getting into the DIY world and are realizing some of the basic hand tools just aren’t cutting it anymore, it may be time to invest in some smaller power tools that work best for the do-it-yourself enthusiast.

 

1. 10” Sliding Miter Saw

With this tool, you can cut baseboards, frame out a door, and even more. Getting the saw with the slide allows you to cut more significant pieces.

2. Nail Gun

While a hammer and nail approach can work for most DIY projects, you will save yourself time and energy when you invest in a nail gun and air compressor. If you are into reupholstering, you may also want to consider a staple gun.

3. Rotary Sander

If you plan to strip any word surface, invest in a rotary sander. There are plenty of models available under $50 that will save you more time than you could have imagined.

4. Jigsaw

If you love making or updating wood furniture, a jigsaw may be a great addition to your tool bag. The jigsaw allows for cutting various shapes and detailed cutting.

5. Cordless Drill

The cordless drill should be one of your very first DIY tool purchases. You can use the drill for just about everything, from hanging shelves to drilling holes.

6. Air Wrench

The air or impact wrench is essentially a power socket wrench. This wrench is great when you are dealing with tight lug nuts and bolts or stripped screws. They give a high degree of torque without a lot of exertion on your end.

7. Circular Saw

If you need a fast and efficient way to make straight and bevel cuts, you will want to add the circular saw to your list of tools. They can be used by hand or mounted.

Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas to be creative. The time to start is now and have fun!
Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

Home Entertainment For the Whole Family

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Homeentertainment

Home Entertainment For The Whole Family!!

One of the best things that we can do right now to protect both ourselves and our friends and neighbors is to stay home. Unfortunately, there are only so many times that you can watch Tiger King or listen to your kids sing along with Elsa on Disney+. You need something new to do, and it needs to be something that the whole family can enjoy while you’re all staying safe at home.

There are some unique opportunities available right now that may never be available again once this is all over. They provide experiences that the whole family can enjoy that aren’t just the same old TV shows. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few activities that you might consider that would give your family some new things to do.

A Virtual Reunion

With record numbers of people working and doing schoolwork at home, more people are using video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams than ever before. These services aren’t just for work, however. You can use them to get in touch with family from around the country, and even schedule a “virtual reunion” to catch up and check in with each other. This can be a recurring event, letting you stay connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic. You may even grow closer as a family despite the distance.

Museum and Zoo Tours

Even though museums and zoos are currently closed to the public, a number of high-profile museums and zoos have started offering virtual online tours for free. You can go online and view great works of art, watch animals relaxing during their downtime, and even see unique things like puppies getting to run wild in an aquarium. On top of these custom experiences, many zoos and similar facilities have webcams focused on specific exhibits that you can check out throughout the year.

Learn Something New

To help families pass the time, many online learning platforms are offering extended free trials so that people can pick up new skills or learn interesting things while in self-isolation. On top of that, some teachers and experts are streaming free courses on Zoom and other platforms as well. There is a wide range of content available for both kids and adults, meaning that there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Start (or Join) a Book Club

Reading is a great way to pass the time, and you can share that with the family by starting a family book club. The premise is simple: Everyone picks out a book, and once a week you get together and discuss what you’re reading. Even younger children can participate; let them pick out a book that they want you to read, and at the meet-up you can let them show off the book and tell everyone about it.

If you want a bit more social interaction with your book club, you can also look into online book clubs that are a bit closer to traditional book club offerings. These can have members from across the nation or around the world. Some of them operate on dedicated websites, and others use social media groups. Either way, there should be options available for most readers.

Listen to a Story

Even if you don’t feel like doing all of that reading, there are a good number of authors and celebrities doing podcasts and videos in which they read a variety of books or stories. Quite a few of these are aimed at children, but some of them are more tailored to adults as well. Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) has even recently launched a video version of his podcast Levar Burton Reads with a wide range of content.

A Night in at the Movies

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be able to take the family out to see some of the many movies that would be in theaters right now. But that’s not possible now that all the theaters are closed. So instead, movie theaters are adapting. Special digital rentals are now available for recent box-office hits that ordinarily wouldn’t be available for rental yet, so that a wider audience can enjoy them. And some movies that were scheduled for early summer release, such as Trolls World Tour, are also making their debut via digital rental. So pop some popcorn and enjoy these new and recent blockbusters all from the privacy and safety of your own home.

Find out your Free No Obligation Home Value today – Get Now!

#greatlakeshometeam #KW1 #motherdaughterduo #homeentertainment

 

Six Tip to Staying Productive While Working At Home

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Creating A Productive Atmosphere While You #STAYHOME

workplace

In countless homes across the country and the world, there has been a major shift to working from home – even for students. If you are working from home and trying to manage your children being home and doing school work, you may be at a loss when it comes to ensuring productivity. With a television across the room and no boss or teacher hovering, distraction comes easily. Here are six tips to create a space that enables productivity!

1. Light up your space

Letting in as much natural light as possible to your at-home work space is the first step to making a better place to get things done. Your body works best with natural light because of circadian rhythms, which tell your brain to be awake and productive when natural light is around you. Natural light will help you feel alert and the vitamin D you will get from opening those windows will help boost your immune system.

2. Add minimalist decor

You don’t want to crowd your work space, but it is important to decorate your space in a way that you will enjoy. Having a clean, organized space with a few quirks that will make you smile – like a favorite photo. Make sure any items you will need, like pens and highlighters, are within reach, so you are more motivated to stay put!

3. Make your work space only a work space

It is important to train your brain to differentiate when it is time to work and when it is not. When we drive to work or school, it is natural for us to switch into ‘working’ mode, but when we work from home, it is hard to get into that mode. By only sitting in your work space when it is time to get things done, you will train your brain to be more productive when you are in that space. Keeping work related projects out of site will help reduce relax and recharge your batteries.

4. Manage your cell phone use

While you may need your phone to make work calls or check in with your teacher, it is important to set boundaries and stick to them. If you find yourself constantly wanting to scroll through social media instead of getting work done, try download an app that will limit your social media access each hour. If you don’t need your phone for work or school, try keeping it in a box across the room.

5. Manage your work hours

While you are working from home manage your work hours as you would at the office especially if you have a flexible schedule like us. Start you day at the same time, take a lunch at the same time and/or breaks and your end when you are supposed to. Go for a quick walk to stretch your legs.

6. Avoid feeling isolated

Utilize various communications to break up your day:

    • Phone
    • Zoom
    • Email,
    • Messenger
    • Facebook live
    • Bombbomb

This is different times with different rules, we all need to make sure we are staying positive, staying connected and we will get through this together!

We are here to help! If you have a real estate question or need…we are only a phone call away!

 

Mentor 4 Bedroom Ranch For Sale

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This renovated ranch home is much larger than it looks. Two newer Air Conditioners added and a newer furnace added as well. All new flooring Luxury Vinyl tile and carpet. The huge family room is open to the kitchen and adjoining enclosed patio. Newer windows and slider. All interior doors are new and most others as well. All the bedrooms have large closets. The master bedroom is huge with sitting area. Newer LED lighting and electrical panel. Large 2 car garage.

KEEP YOUR HOUSE SMELLING GREAT (EVERY SINGLE DAY)

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Fresh Smell   Have you ever walked into someone else’s home and were overwhelmed by how incredible it smelled? Or maybe you couldn’t wait to leave because there was a not-so-great scent as soon as you entered? Often, we become so accustomed to the way our own home smells that we don’t notice if the scent is bad or good. It can be frustrating to wonder what others think about the scent of your home. If you feel like your house doesn’t always smell fresh, follow these steps to make sure that it smells amazing all the time

ELIMINATE BAD SMELLS

  • Empty garbage cans regularly
  • Clean out your refrigerator once a week
  • Sprinkle baking soda or carpet deodorizer before vacuuming
  • Open the windows when the weather is nice
  • Invest in an air purifier
  • If you have pets, brush and bathe them often
  • Get rid of old musty towels
  • Use a daily bathroom cleaner spray to prevent mildew smells
  • Pour a little drain cleaner in your sinks on a weekly basis to get rid of any unwanted scents

ADD NEW SCENTS

  • Add a few drops of essential oils on your air filters
  • Use linen spray daily
  • Burn candles
  • Use a wax melter
  • Use homemade potpourri in your crockpot
  • Place car vent clips in your air conditioner vents
  • Buy fresh plants for your home
  • Invest in good-smelling cleaning products with scents you love
  • Use an essential oil diffuser

Looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate? Let Great Lakes Home Team help you. Contact us at 440 299-5137 or greatlakeshometeam@gmail.com. Visit us at greatlakeshometeam.com to search for your dream home.

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

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durable floors

Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips, and everything in between – your kitchen is often one of the most used rooms in a home. Your kitchen floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won’t be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, we are listing our favorite kitchen floors that will help keep them low maintenance while keeping a balance between style and functionality.

CERAMIC TILES

Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions. They come in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen.

DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and is a long-lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of concrete can be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock which allows it to remain durable and long-lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you’ll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind that it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material which helps it to be more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It’s tough to refinish because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. These floors also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement-quality linoleum in your kitchen or it may begin to curl when faced with humidity.

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. The lifespan of vinyl generally tends to run from 7 to 10 years before it starts showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean!

Don’t want to replace your flooring? You can always give us a call and we’ll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love!

http://www.greatlakeshometeam.com

#homeremodeling  #kitchenflooring  #loveyourkitchen #greatlakeshometeam

Residential Property Disclosures

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Residential Property Disclosures

When selling your home, you’re obligated, by law, to disclose certain information about your property. Most states require that all sellers complete a written property disclosure form. Ohio is one of those states. Majority of the forms have a required set of questions that must be answered.

THE BASICS

Most states require sellers to complete this form when listing for sale. Nearly all of the questions are a basic yes/no/unknown response. The questions will address material facts, major defects, special disclosures, and federal disclosures. All forms vary by state and require different information.

MATERIAL FACTS

These include the age of the property, it’s condition, known problems, and defects. These are all of the information that would influence a buyer’s decision to purchase your home. These disclosures require you to address known defects, things that are reasonably apparent, to ensure you don’t knowingly hide a major defect.

MAJOR DEFECTS

All major defects MUST be disclosed. For instance, fire or flood damage. If your home’s electrical system isn’t up to code, and you’re aware of this, it must be shared with potential buyers. Repairs you have completed, as well as improvements and upgrades, should be noted as well.

Since all states have varying federal and special disclosure laws, it’s imperative that you reach out to a local real estate agent to get assistance with the sale of your home. Great Lakes Home Team with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast is here to help you through the entire process. Jody Finucan and Danielle Dooley are only a phone call away!

 

Tips To Get Settled In A New Home

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Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute.

CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES

Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim.

CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE

Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everyone has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings.

SET UP UTILITIES

Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move.

REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL

You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get them in and settle.

REGISTER YOUR CAR

If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates.

CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Join sites like Nextdoor.com or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community.

GETTING YOUR MAIL

Have you updated your address from all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else.

FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS

If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Add them into a contact book that’s easily accessible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

Make sure you have all the correct numbers in the case of an emergency. This can also include doctors, the local police station, a vet, etc.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with or someone you know to buy, sell or invest in real estate. We are only a phone call away…440 299-5137.

greatlakeshometeam.com for a list of homes for sale.

Home Buying Myths

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Home Buying Myths

Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation. Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let’s go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don’t hinder your ability to purchase!

CREDIT SCORES

Though it may come as a surprise, you don’t need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580. Although there are other required stipulations to qualify for the loan, you don’t need a perfect score in the 700’s or 800’s to get approved for a mortgage.

DOWN PAYMENTS

You don’t have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you’ll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less that 20% of the purchase price. If you’re in a buyer’s market, you may even be able to negotiate for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers.

Let Great Lakes Home Team walk you through the home buying process. It starts with a pre-approval with a credible lender and sitting down with us for a buyer consultation. Don’t let online myths persuade you into thinking you can’t qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house.