How to Build Credit

The whole point of credit is to show that you are a responsible adult who will be able to pay a lender back when applying for a loan. Applying for a loan is especially difficult if you do not have credit. It is a good idea to start building credit at a young age. The sooner, the better. It is something that is definitely not taught in school but it should be. This information would have been so much more helpful than geometry in my personal opinion. You will need a few nuggets of advice first before you start your financial journey.

 

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Get a credit card. There is a lot of negativity associated with credit cards and I understand. They are a quick way to debt before you realize it. Despite this, they are also a good way to build credit. The trick is to start off buying small things like gas and then paying it off completely each month. It will show the lenders that you are great at paying back debts. It’s important that you use the credit card every month, not that you have it and it sits in a drawer otherwise it defeats the purpose of having it.

 


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Once you have one credit card, then get another. One line of credit is okay but two are amazing. This can be something small like a clothing store credit card. Get your work clothes from the store and pay it off every month as well. Different lines of credit create variety in your hypothetical portfolio.

 


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Get a small loan. This can be as simple as a student loan. Paying back a little loan will open the doors for you to qualify for large loans such as a loan for a car or house. It may even be beneficial to take out a menial loan just to pay it back almost immediately. This is a quick way to build credit fast if you’re in desperate need of good credit.

 


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Get something in your name. Whether it is a gas bill or auto insurance, a bill with your name on it signifies you have been paying someone consistently. Rent, utilities, and phone bills are all included in helping your credit score grow.

 


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Credit building can be intimidating. Don’t let the details bog you down. Start with these few simple tricks and you will have an amazing credit score in no time.

 

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Interested in building your credit to buy or invest in a home?
Tom Davies with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
can guide you to methods or resources that will work best for growing YOUR credit score.

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Life Hacks for Energy Conservation

Energy conservation in the home is often overlooked when it comes to budgeting. When done the right way it can be an effective tool to help you unexpectedly save in everyday finances. Here are a few of our recommendations to get you started in cutting those energy costs.


 

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To start small you can invest in energy efficient appliances. This can mean replacing your old washer, dryer, or dishwasher with new energy efficient lean and green machines. Instead of replacing the dryer, you can at least remove the lint from the lint trap every time you dry a load of clothes. A full trap can use up to 30% more energy than an empty one. Two or more loads in a row can also take advantage of an already heated dryer.


 

pexels-photo-256307.jpegIf that’s a little out of your price range at the moment, another significant step is to replace your light bulbs. Most labels at the office or home supply store can tell you which are the bulbs that will last you for several years and the most energy friendly. They usually consist of LED or CFL bulbs. Don’t forget the outdoor lights as well. It may be a small step but you’ll notice a great change on your bill.


 

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Saving on water can be as simple as changing your shower head. On average it takes a shower 20 seconds to release a gallon of water. Choose a new shower head that flows about 2.5 gallons per minute. If you reduce the temperature of your water by 10 degrees then you can save an additional 3-5% in energy costs.


 

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A little caulk never hurt anyone. Windows and frame caulk can crack over the years leaving your house drafty. A fresh round of caulk is a great way to seal out the draft. This will prevent heat and air conditioning loss thus saving you dollars in the long run.


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Replacing the air filters consistently and cleaning the heater filters is another way to lower your out of pocket expenses over time. As well as replacing the thermostat with a programmable one so that when you’re away you can set the temperature to 7 degrees lower or higher since you don’t need your home to be warm or cold if you are not in it.

We hope that some of these really drive home some ideas to more energy consciousness and financial savings. “Why would I want to save money?” Said no one ever.

 

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Upcoming Event: 2/17/18 – Free Homeowner’s Q+A Sessions – FB Event Link

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Homestead Exemption

Every tax season is a nightmare. This little tidbit of knowledge can help ease the burden of taxes this year. This tax season save money on your home with the Homestead Exemption. It is an exemption of the assessed valuation.

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A homestead is any structure, condominium or home located on owned or leased land as long as the individual lives in it. It can include up to 20 acres as long as it is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to residential use. The exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation thus lowering your taxes. Not all homes qualify; only the principal residence of the homeowner.


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To qualify you must be a resident of Oklahoma and the homeowner that resides on the property by January 1st with the deed executed before January 1st and filed with the County Clerks Office before February 1st. You may file it for two years up to the delinquency date. Once you have applied for and granted the Homestead Exemption then you do not have to continue applying as long as you continue to occupy the homestead home.


pexels-photo-296886.jpegYou may even be able to apply for an additional exemption if you qualify for the original homestead exemption and are head of the household. There are several options including county, school, disabled, optional percentage and senior tax exemptions. This is potentially another $1000 if your total annual income did not exceed $20,000 the previous year. Apply today from our Oklahoma County Assessor site.

 

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New Year, New House

It’s already the New Year people and it’s time for big ideas and big changes. There is the one thing that has been on your mind for a while now but can’t seem to get started. Now is the time. Those homes you have been eyeballing secretly, following the buyer’s apps, and drooling over those historic district houses, well now is the time to act.

Make your New Year’s resolution to treat yourself
to a well deserved new home.
You’ve survived through 2017 so you’ve earned it.


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Why is the New Year a good time to buy? Tax Deductions. Start this year off right with huge tax deductions that are ready to be taken advantage of. Next year you will thank yourself while filing in February. I know it seems like a long way off now but so did the end of 2017, am I right?


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In addition to the usual perks of buying, the holidays and New Year make everyone a little more jolly. The freshness of the New Year may make people nicer as you start your journey into purchasing. Your real estate agent will be more attentive due to slow traffic; the seller may be easier to negotiate with in the spirit of the season. YOU will be less stressed and more easy-going in light of the exciting prospects of ownership.


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Not many people shop for houses this season so many sit on the market for a long time. This will save you money by getting a great deal in a slow market. Sellers will be thrilled to negotiate and sell to you after waiting a spell on a bid.


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It’s better than renting. On rentals you are essentially burning your money each month. Buying is an investment that will eventually make you money if you ever decide to sell your home.

Make your New Year work for you, make your new year’s resolution to own.

 


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time to Buy

Winter gets a bad rap. It’s known for the cold, bad driving weather and terrible hair days from the elements. Despite the negative connotations, it does have some upsides and one of those include a great time to purchase a home. If you are toying with the idea of purchasing then consider these points.

First of all, someone moving in winter probably needs to leave his or her property quickly for job relocation. These owners are more willing to negotiate which benefits the buyer because the buyer can get a better deal. To say what everyone is thinking, they are desperate. Which is good news for you. On the flip side, do not list your house in the winter if you are trying to get the most out of the sell. Bargain hunters are on the prowl for a good fixer upper.

House prices are annually at an all time low in the winter season. The buyer will get more purchasing power and get more bang for your buck by purchasing at the end of the year. This is due to lower level of listings and preoccupation with more pressing motives such as holidays and family.

Touring homes in winter can be rewarding. Right away you can tell if the windows are drafty, if the central heating and AC are working, or if your feet are already freezing on the hardwood floors. This can save you costs in the future and make huge impacts on your future daily life.

Winter may just be your season this year.

 

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Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


 

The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.


 

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The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.


 

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Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.

 

 MelissaBarnett.com

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Feng Shui Your Day

Our homes are a place where we go to relax, unwind, and get away from the world for a bit. We want it to be as welcoming and warm as possible to ourselves and family. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice to balance the energies in your house. Rearranging your home is a perfect way to have a refreshed space and attitude. Maybe your annoying Aunt Linda will have a better attitude during visits after she sees this transformation.


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Kitchen: The kitchen is a place for gatherings. It is the most important room in the house according to Feng Shui. Use a warm accent color to promote socialization during meals and parties. If possible hone as much natural light in the kitchen. If no natural lighting is available then layer various light fixtures to encourage positive energy. Free your kitchen counters of cumbersome gadgets or dirty dishes for a simplistic open flow.


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Living Room: The living room is a communal room for family and friends. Again, you should optimize the natural light and any large windows. Hang sheer airy curtains instead of heavy ones to accomplish this. Live plants, mirrors, and fresh cut flowers encourage liveliness in the room. Neutral colors should be present to allow coziness with pieces of red for color to bring wealth and add interesting pops of color.


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Bedroom: Choose calming colors for the walls like blue, green, and chocolate brown. Keep electronic stimulation out of the bedroom. Leave televisions, computers, and gaming systems in the family room. This promotes relaxation without distractions. Remove any storage you may have cluttered under your bed in order to provide positive energy flow and deeper sleep.


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Bathroom: A bathroom should be clean and clutter free at all times to create positive energy. This is especially true for mirrors to prevent distortion. Soothing artwork is advised for a spa like feel. Display quality soaps, thick towels, and candles to increase luxury and beauty. A bathroom is meant for cleansing as well as indulgence.

These are just a few starting pointers to start the process of how to Feng Shui your day with positive energies.

 

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Fall for These DIYs

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we’re not talking Christmas. The only thing missing is a few decorations in the home for some true fall inspiration. These DIY’s may seem like you got them at an expensive retail store but we know the truth. The best part is that they are so easy you won’t have to spend but a few minutes to hours creating these cute quick works of Autumn art.


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Got a pine tree close? Pick out the prettiest ones and paint the tips or dip the entire cone in yellows, purples, and reds. Tie the ends to twine and you have a gorgeous hanging bouquet. They can also be place in a bowl on the table for a centerpiece. Cheap and easy, just how we like our projects.


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Pumpkins don’t have to be just for carving. Think outside the jack o’ lantern and give new meaning to pumpkin spice. Take a white pumpkin and place unwrapped crayons around the top. Turn a hairdryer on hot and high to melt the crayons over your pumpkin. Now you have a colorful work of art with a splash of color to your space.


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Reuse old wine bottles to create candy corn colored vases. Spray paint a set with white and let dry. Then repeat with orange and yellow layers. This one may take some practice so the colors don’t run together so make sure it is completely dry before adding another layer. You could use orange and green for pumpkin vases if not a huge candy corn fan. What a sweet display of flowers or wheat stalks.


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Give those boring tiered candles a makeover. Buy cinnamon sticks or pick up twigs and leaves in the yard. Hot glue the sticks, twigs or leaves around the candle. Then place the finishing touch tying a twine bow around it. Candles and twine can be found at the dollar store and cinnamon sticks at a local grocery store. They add spunk and delicious scents to your candle.


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Use decorative gourds or small logs for tea light holders. This one is the simplest yet. Just carve a hole large enough for a tea light and enjoy its ambience. You can decorate the logs or gourds but they are already pretty cute on their own.

All projects above were found on Pinterest. Now you can bask in your own craftiness.

 

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Benefits of Buying

Renting is overrated. The money is being thrown into the wind while your landlord is rolling in your hard earned cash and paying off their mortgage while telling you they’ll get to that leak under the sink “soon.” I remember renting one year when I didn’t even see the landlord. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like. My dishwasher was broken and the maintenance man told us to not use our health hazard heater because it was outdated. Needless to say it was a cold winter and we moved out of there quickly as possible. Does this sound like a familiar situation? Then you may be ready to sail into the sea of ownership where you are the Captain and that ship is under your control.

Buying a home comes with certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is not having a landlord. You are able to paint, hang wall art, and landscape as you please without the risk of not getting a deposit back. There are no noise restrictions, pet deposits, or remodeling. Butters, the hound, can run and be free in his house without his human worrying about what the landlord will say about his accident on the carpet. Renting stifles this ability to truly make a space your own. A home is yours to customize into a beautiful space that mirrors your personality with no guilt.


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Taxes are a big stressor. Who doesn’t want a little relief when April comes around? Homeowners are offered several tax breaks. Some of those include Mortgage Interest, Tax and Penalty Free IRA, Home Improvements, Energy Credits, Home Equity Loans, and Real Estate Taxes. There is even a Home Office credit if you work from home. So many deductions, so little stress.

A homeowner’s net worth is 45 times that of an average renter. While rent is never recovered, mortgage payments build equity. It is an investment in the future by increasing an individual’s net worth. Not to mention it is cheaper to buy than rent. The average mortgage is lower than a rental payment and over time the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases therefore the interest that you pay will be lower than a rental cost.


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Having a home in a neighborhood provides a sense of community. You know your neighbors. You know where your children will grow up and go to school. You know that you can walk your dog every night with a peace of mind. One doesn’t always get that when renting because you never know when the rent may be raised depending on your lease. You may not even be able to renew your lease when the time comes. Community is a sense of stability and security.

Free yourself of the waves of rent, buy your dream boat.

 


Come to our First Time Home Buyers Workshop if you would like to learn more on August 26th:

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Small Home Updates that Make Big Changes

Many people want to add a little pizzazz to their homes but don’t know where to start. Whether it be to prepare to sell or for the owners personal appeal, these small updates can turn around an entire vibe to make a house a home.


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Never underestimate the power of a can of paint. One can completely revitalize a room. If you still have that pea green wall color that your friends complimented you on in the 1970’s then it may be time to change up your style. Fashions change and our tastes change with them. If you are selling then choose a neutral color even if they all look the same to you and are only slight variations of “baguette” or “camel.” If you just want to spice up your life then choose a hue that shows your personality.


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Replace old hardware on cabinets and drawers. I remember when my mother inherited our grandparents’ house. I had never really thought much of the handles to cabinets. My mother changed them because I am pretty sure they were the originals from 1955 when my grandparents bought the house. I immediately noticed the change even though I had never given them thought before. All her family members commented on them as well. It was such a little thing that made a large impression. Along with hardware, light fixtures and faucets are the next items that can really date a room. Replacing these with a more sleek look will instantly modernize the space.


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Give the outside love. The inside of a home is important, but the outside can be just as inviting or uninviting. Simple ways to add curb appeal is to add a small flowerbed around that tree in your front yard. You can paint your rusty mailbox to a nice warm tone. Of course, don’t forget to mow and edge the lawn. It is an easy and cheap fix to spruce up the yard. Placing flower pots around the porch and a few decorations can really increase the visual appeal and make you want to come home after a long day to sit on your relaxing porch.

 

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