Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

Aside

Credit Score - Good to Know

Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

If you’ve seen a change in your credit score recently, you may be wondering why. There are a number of factors that contribute to a dropping credit score and it is important to know what may be causing that! When buying a home, it is important to maintain your credit and not make any major purchases that could impact your score. Here are the top 5 reasons for a drop in credit:

YOU MADE A LATE PAYMENT

Accounting for about 30% of your total rating, your payment history has a big impact on your credit score. If you make a loan or credit card payment more than a month after the due date, it could cause your credit score to drop. A payment 60-90+ days late will have an even greater impact on your score.

YOU MADE A LARGE PURCHASE

Your credit utilization ratio can largely impact your credit score. Your ratio is how much of your credit you use in relation to your total available credit. The goal is to have a lower ratio so if you’ve been using more of your available credit lately, you may see a drop in your score. If for any reason your credit limit is lowered, it can impact your credit utilization ratio and impact your score.

AN ACCOUNT GOES TO COLLECTION

Timely payments on all accounts is an important part of your credit journey. Late payments on credit cards, loans, to medical facilities, student loans and utilities can be sent to a collection agency, which could in turn show up in your credit report.

YOU OPENED A NEW LINE OF CREDIT

When you apply for new credit, you are giving lenders the permission to access a copy of your credit report, which is known as a hard inquiry on your credit. If your credit report indicates that you’ve applied for multiple new credit lines in a short period of time, your credit score may be impacted.

YOU CLOSED A CREDIT LINE

Closing a card means losing available credit, which could increase your credit utilization ratio. As a result, your credit score may drop. If closing a card helps you stop spending, it may be a good idea. Otherwise, it is usually wise to keep lines of credit open. The length of time you’ve had accounts open shows that you have a solid payment history, so that could be another reason to keep that card you’ve had awhile open if you are using it wisely!

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!

 

Get Your House Ready Now, Sell Later

Aside

Get your house ready now, sell later

Get Your Home Ready

  1. Embrace Spring Cleaning

Now is that special time of year when baseboards and ceiling fans finally get the attention they deserve. Details like these may seem tedious, but a pristine home is guaranteed to grab your buyer’s attention.

 

  1. Unleash the Power of Paint

Whether you redo an entire room, touch up some scuffs, or add some pizzazz to your outdoor planters, a paintbrush can revitalize your living space like a magic wand. Best of all, it’s fun for the whole family.

 

  1. Tile Around

From backsplashes to bathroom accents, tiling is a simple and affordable way to add value to your home. Just find a pattern you like and start putting the pieces together.

 

  1. Fix Your Fixtures

If you’ve been contemplating a new kitchen faucet or fresh set of shutters, give in to your impulses and install them yourself. In less than a weekend, you can add another upgrade for buyers to rave about.

 

  1. DIY Furniture

You don’t have to be a master carpenter to build some of your own furniture. The internet is loaded with tutorials for everything from headboards to closet shelves. All you need are a few easy-to-find materials.

 

List inspired by tips from KW Research and the National Association of REALTORSⓇ.
Good luck with your home improvements, and feel free to send us your before and after photos!

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!

 

 

The secret to good gardening is . . . lasagna?


If you’re considering putting in a new garden and want to keep it as environmentally-friendly as possible, you might want to consider prepping the ground this year and plant next year.

Creating a great garden space can’t just happen overnight. Getting the soil ready for planting a garden takes some time, work, and organic matter to make some garden lasagna.

What is lasagna gardening?

Building your garden soil through a process similar to composting lies at the heart of lasagna gardening. Made popular two decades ago by a book written by Patricia Lanza called – what else? – “Lasagna Gardening.”

Rather than bringing in yards of soil, Lanza reasoned, you build the soil from the ground up by adding alternating layers of nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) organic matter. The green layer can include grass clippings, kitchen compost, coffee grounds and herbivorous manure. The brown layer includes fallen leaves, straw, newspaper and even shredded cardboard. Each layer should be at least an inch thick.

Making garden lasagna

This is the perfect time of year to start your soil for a new garden. It will take about a year for your soil to be completely ready. The process is simple.

  1. Mark off your garden plot.
  2. Using a shovel, turn over the soil about a foot deep and break up the sod.
  3. Rake all your leftover leaves from the winter into the spot. Better yet, mulch them to create your first brown layer. Save a week’s worth of newspapers and add a bale of straw and you’ve got a pretty good first layer.
  4. Ask your neighbors to catch their first mow grass clippings to add to your first green layer. You may have to buy a couple of bags of manure to get enough to make a good layer.
  5. Don’t compress the layers. You want to make sure your lasagna is getting enough air and water to aid in the breakdown.
  6. PRO TIP: Don’t add more green than brown; your soil will turn acidic.
  7. You can make as few or as many layers as you want.
  8. When you get to the last layer, cover it in brown matter or soil.
  9. Water it down to start the process.
  10. Walk away – for a year – and let nature take its course.

It’s perfectly fine to plant in the decomposing mulch in the first year. By next year, the soil will be perfect.

Looking to buy or sell your home, visit my remax website…and remember I am only a phone call away. Jody Finucan, REALTOR  440 221-6383

Serving Lake County, Geauga County and Cuyahoga County and relocation services around the world.

The art of cleaning quickly


Have you ever been relaxing on the weekend or after work and thought, “I really need to clean this place up?” At that very moment, the phone rings and it’s your friend/Mom/sister who wants to pop by for a moment to return that thing they borrowed/have coffee/talk about what’s happening. And they just won’t take no for an answer.

The panic clean doesn’t have to be a frenzied battle. There are some steps you have to take to make your home look presentable quickly and efficiently.

Prioritize

You don’t need to give your entire home a deep cleaning in 10 minutes but you don’t need to. Focus on the rooms where you and your guest are likely to spend the most time: bathroom, kitchen and living room.

Prepare

If you are a professional procrastinator or cleaning avoidance master, you should gather what you’ll need into one caddy: cloths, magic erasers, spray glass cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner. Keep it at the ready for just such an occasion and stash it under the kitchen sink.

Plan

Use a systematic approach to guarantee that all areas of each room are cleaned without having to retrace your steps. Clean clockwise starting at the left of the door and go from top to bottom.

Proceed

Spray down toilet bowls, countertops, stovetop and sinks first to give it time to loosen surface stains.

Pick up

After you’ve sprayed everything down, take a couple of minutes to fill an empty laundry basket with all the random stuff lying in the living room and entryway. Keep a box handy for collecting mail and magazines separate. Dust the surfaces as you go.

Polish the bathroom

Focus on the toilet, sink and mirror. You’ve already sprayed the toilet and sink; wipe them down and then work on the mirror. Store bathroom products in a small basket under the sink, just while your guest is there.

Plates and bowls

Time to make the kitchen presentable. Wipe down the surfaces you’ve already sprayed, then put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher if you haven’t had time to run a load. Don’t worry, you’re only using it for temporary storage.

Perfect

The details will make it look like you didn’t just spend 15 minutes frantically cleaning. Arrange magazines and fluff pillows and put them neatly on the couch and chairs to give your room a finished look.

Power vacuum

Running the vacuum will not only catch any dust that fell on the floor, it is the best way to give the most noticeable thing in your home – the carpet – a quick refresh.

All you need is some planning and preparation and 10-15 minutes to give the major rooms in your home a quick cleaning to make it look more presentable for your guest.

Have a question about real estate? Looking to buy a home?  Looking to sell your home?  I am here to help. Visit my RE/MAX website for more information.

New Year’s resolutions for homeowners

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Many people signify this fresh start with a New Year’s resolution. If you’re a homeowner, here are a few resolutions you may want to consider for your home.

Save energy

There are some simple ways to save energy (and a few bucks). Turning down your thermostat when you’re at work or sleeping is a great first step. A better option is to replace it with a programmable thermostat that will remember to do it for you.

Keep your home safe

Many people install new batteries in their smoke detectors on the day the time changes in the fall and spring. Did you forget? Make it a point to ensure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? They are fairly inexpensive and as easy to install as a smoke alarm. While you’re at it, check to make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order.

Help the environment

Whether your community requires it or not, recycling helps the environment and is everyone’s responsibility. Save water by repairing dripping faucets, installing low-flow showerheads, and replacing old toilets with new water saving or dual-flush models. When buying new appliances or electronic equipment, be sure they carry the federal Energy Star seal for energy efficiency.

Save money

Home maintenance projects can help you prolong the life of your home and make things more efficient, and therefore, save you money in the long run. Changing the air filter on your central air unit every month or two helps you save energy and allows your system to run more efficiently. If you still have a standard water heater, draining the tank once a year removes any sediment buildup, which can make it last longer and work more efficiently.

Outdoor holiday decorating safety tips for homeowners

Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect opportunity to decorate the landscape and exterior of your home for the holidays. If you plan to decorate this year, it’s important to remember that doing so presents some fire and safety hazards.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 12,500 people go to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries, such as falls, cuts, and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Accidents do happen; but many are preventable if we just take some time and a few precautions while decorating outside.

1. Only use lighting sets and extension cords that are specifically made for outdoor use. They’ll have the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label.

2. Know how many sets can be strung together. It will usually be printed somewhere on the package, on a tag on the cord itself, or on a paper within the package. Usually, it’s 3.

3. Before you start, check all light sets for fraying, aging, and heat damage and throw out sets that show any signs of damage. Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses or making any other repairs.

4. Always test your light sets before starting. Replacing broken and burnt-out bulbs is much easier on the ground than on a ladder or roof.

5. Connect sets of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet. Be careful not to overload extension cords.

6. Use hooks or insulated staples to hold lights in place. Do not use nails or tacks.

7. Never pull or tug lights to remove or disconnect them.

8. To avoid potential shocks, plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection.

9. Make sure to observe all safety precautions for the ladder. Know the weight limit restrictions. Avoid contact with overhead power lines when setting up your ladder. Make sure that it is set on solid ground. Have someone working with you to steady the ladder as you climb up or down.

10. Keep any connections between light sets and extension cords dry by wrapping them with electrical tape or plastic.

11. Check the wire on the Christmas lights occasionally to make sure that they’re not warm to the touch.

12. Always turn off all Christmas lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. You can hook up a simple timer so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

For more holiday decorating safety tips, check the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission website. (link to http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2004/CPSC-Announces-Holiday-Season-Decorating-Safety-Tips/)

Holiday party cleanup tips

The holidays aren’t quite in full swing, and that means it’s time to start planning for holiday parties. As you probably already know, when you host a holiday get-together, the worst part is the cleaning, of course.

Here are some tips to help you with the chore that you face after the party.

Clean up the prep work

Starting with an empty dishwasher is always a good idea. Make sure to clean up the pre-party prep work before the party begins. As the party progresses you can load at least some items in your dishwasher. Out of sight, out of mind.

Keep the boxes

If you buy holiday dishes, glasses and tableware, make sure to keep the boxes handy for quick cleanup and storage.

Less is more

When it comes to party decorations, keep it to a minimum. Remember that banners, balloons, streamers and centerpieces add to what you have to clean up and put away later.

Cutting down on cleaning

If you plan to cook anything in the oven, line your pans with parchment paper and you can avoid having to scrub them after your guests leave.

Disposable

Sure, it’s not as elegant, but if you’re having an informal gathering, using disposable utensils and dishware means you’ll have more going into the trash and recycling, but less going into the dishwasher.

Party favors/decorations

If you choose decorations that also serve as party favors, your guests will take them home!

Pick up while you party

Stay on top of the cleaning as the party goes on, but not to the point where you’re not able to be social and enjoy your guests. Speaking of guests, one or two will ALWAYS volunteer to help you.

Plan for spills

Cleaning spills as soon as they occur – and they will – is important to keep them from setting in. A solution of white vinegar, dish soap and water in a spray bottle is a good, all-purpose cleaner.

Water rings

No matter how many coasters you have, you’ll still end up with a water ring or two. Rub a dab of non-gel toothpaste onto the spot then buff with a clean cloth.

Tissue paper

Help prevent wrinkles when you travel; save gift-bag tissue to separate layers of clothing in the suitcase.

Ribbon

Save ribbon to tie clusters of silverware or hang ornaments.

Replacing the driveway: asphalt vs concrete

Whether you’re building a new home or have made the decision to replace your existing driveway, you’re going to face a decision as a homeowner: asphalt or concrete?

Although they are similar, the key differences will tell you whether you should choose asphalt or concrete. Here are the key points to consider what material your new driveway should be.

Price

Asphalt tends to be cheaper, but because it’s made of oil, when the price of oil is high, the cost of your asphalt driveway will be more. That being said, asphalt is more cost-effective than concrete, which means it could be a better choice if your driveway is very long.

Weathering

Asphalt is more desirable in areas where it gets cold because it’s less susceptible to cracking. Concrete offers advantages in warmer climates because it doesn’t get soft like asphalt does.

Longevity

Concrete driveways can last as long as 50 years when proper maintenance is performed. Asphalt, on the other hand, will typically last about 30 years.

Staining

Concrete and asphalt are both prone to staining; however, any discoloration is much less noticeable on the asphalt because it’s dark. The downside is that the oils in an asphalt driveway can be released and stick to the soles of your shoes, which can damage the carpet in your car or the rugs and furniture inside your home.

Aesthetics

Concrete comes in several decorative options. It can be stamped and can come in different colors. Asphalt comes in black.

Installation

Asphalt has the advantage over concrete. Asphalt driveways take about two days to install and you are able to drive on them the day after installation is complete. Installation of concrete driveways can take up to four days to install and you’ll have to wait 5-7 days after the installation is complete to drive on them.

A new driveway is not only functional, it increases the curb appeal of your home. When you make the decision to replace the driveway, make sure to check with the city codes administrator to determine what permits and licenses are necessary. Do your research before choosing a contractor and get several estimates before hiring one

Reasons to List Your Home During the Holidays

Less Competition – Most people will wait until spring and summer to list their home, which means during the winter you will have far less competition than any other time of the year.  Less competition could be more money.

Fewer Showings – Yes, there may be fewer showings, but those buyers that are looking are usually very serious about making a purchase.

The Market –  Today’s interest rates are still very good.  This gives buyers more spending power.  And you as well.

More Time to Get Top Dollar – By marketing your home now you may be able to secure a higher price due to limited homes on the market.  We are seeing more multiple offers than we have in years.

Tax Benefits – By selling now you can have a closing before or after the new year for tax purposes.

Loan Commitment  – During the winter months you and the buyers may be able to obtain a loan commitment quicker.

More Time – Buyers may be looking at homes more during the holidays because of their vacation time.

Bottom line, it is all about supply and demand.  There isn’t a bad time to sell. Home sales take place every day twelve months of a year.  We don’t have a crystal ball to know what inventory levels will be in 3 months, 6 months etc.  We do know that typically many sellers will wait until spring to list their home and with that will increase competition.

Have a questions? Want to know is going on in your market? I am only a phone call away!

Search for a home in the privacy of your home.

What are people saying about Jody’s Service? 

Love Your Home

Homeowners who are ready to move sometimes think that they need to make some quick improvements to either add value to the home or increase the likelihood that it will sell quickly.

Although it may add perceived value to the current homeowner, prospective buyers are not likely to be impressed with the new renovations and sure aren’t going to pay for your sweat equity and monetary investment. Click here for more information.

Here are some projects that you think add value to your home, but don’t.

Adding a pool

Swimming pools are expensive to build and maintain, will add to your insurance premiums and can be a deterrent to families with young children. Sometimes, the buyer will write in a contingency that the pool be filled in or dismantled.

Overbuilding for the neighborhood

Some improvements and additions will not add value if it causes the home to stand out as “too good for the neighborhood.” If the average home in the area is $150,000, potential buyers aren’t likely to pay $225,000 for yours if you’ve added a major addition. The house will seem overpriced even if it is more desirable than the surrounding homes.

Speaking of a new addition

If you need an addition to improve your life in the home, then go ahead with the project. If you’re only doing it to increase the value at the time of the sale, you’ll never recoup the investment. Buyers are unlikely to increase their offer to cover the amount that you paid for the major renovation.

High-end upgrades

Remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms will add to the value of your home and the expense and effort of doing so are worth the investment. However, many prosepective home sellers make the mistake of overdoing it by installing new stainless steel appliances, imported ceramic tiles, or state-of-the-art electronics in the media room.

New carpeting

Removing the carpet and restoring wood floors to like new condition is usually a more profitable investment than putting in wall-to-wall carpeting. It may clash with the new owners’ tastes and furniture. It’s expensive and you’re unlikely to recover your investment.

Green improvements

While making your home more environmentally friendly is a good thing, prospective buyers will not care that you’ve made the improvements unless they find eco-friendly homes as important as you do. You’re better off sinking any investments on green renovations into your new home.

Invisible improvements

Invisible improvements are usually costly and usually expected to be up to snuff by any new owner. (Think plumbing, HVAC.) A buyer is unlikely to pay extra just because you did this type of project.

Upscale landscaping

A lush, green lawn with nice landscaping is one thing; shaped bushes and ornate trellises are another. It’s best to keep it simple with native plants, adding a little color so the new homeowners can see how good the yard can be by adding plants and bushes that fit their tastes.

Driveway expansion

A common mistake made by homeowners is tearing up the front lawn to make room for another automobile. Not only is it expensive, it actually detracts from your home’s aesthetic.

If you’re considering a renovation and plan to stay for several years to enjoy it, that’s one thing. Making home improvements to increase the likelihood that it will increase the value of your home is another. You’re unlikely to recoup your investment and could actually hurt your home’s value to a prospective buyer.