Thursday, January 2, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
Like what to do when a tree falls.
You know what to do if someone is having a heart attack, or you hear an intruder — call 911!
But what about those other *emergencies* — the ones where you're not sure who to call?
Here are five home- (and sometimes life-) threatening emergencies that often baffle new homeowners. (Plus, if you fill out this worksheet and post it somewhere visible — as well in your phone contacts — you'll be super prepared).
#1 Skillet Grease Catches Fire
DON'T. THROW. WATER.
It'll only feed the fire. Instead, the National Fire Protection Association recommends smothering skillet flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave it covered until everything's cool; removing the lid too quickly can allow the fire to spark back up.
If you reach for a fire extinguisher, make sure it's Class B or ABC — using the wrong type could spread the flames. And if you have any doubt about ...
Monday, December 16, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Kelley Walters
The credit score to buy a house can be as low as 580.
A low credit score doesn't have to lock you out of home ownership. A mortgage will probably cost you more (both in dollars and angst) than someone with stellar credit, but many lenders are willing to work with you.
Here's what you need to know about low-credit score mortgages:
What Counts as "Low Credit" Anyway?
First, let's debunk the home-buying myth that you have to have a gold-plated credit score to buy a house. Lenders review your whole financial picture. If you have a steady income, a regular payment history, and some cash in hand, that will help balance your less-than-perfect credit.
Here's how FICO generally categorizes credit scores:
800+ = Excellent credit score
740-799 = Very good credit score
670-739 = Good credit score
580-669 = Fair credit score
Below 580 = Poor credit score ...
Friday, December 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
How not to make money mistakes as a fledgling homeowner.
The negotiations are over. Your mortgage is settled. The keys to your first home are in hand.
Finally, you can install your dream patio.
You can paint the walls without losing your security deposit.
Heck, you could knock out a wall. You're soooo ready to be a homeowner.
So ready in fact, you're about to make some costly mistakes.
"You have to rein it in and be smart," says Daniel Kanter, a homeowner with five years under his belt. Especially in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these eight mistakes:
#1 Going With the Lowest Bid
The sounds your HVAC system is making clearly require the knowledge of a professional (or perhaps an exorcist?).
But you've been smart and gotten three contractor bids, so why not go with the lowest price?
You might want to check out this story from a Mich ...
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Stacey Freed
Kitchen cleaning tips so you'll never be embarrassed by cooking odors.
You love, love, love cooking in your very own kitchen. It's the kitchen of your dreams, where you can crank up the tunes while trying out that teriyaki recipe you saw in a "Tasty" video.
And it's tons more fun if you've got guests coming over. You love to greet them with the aroma of something delicious.
But what if instead of smelling teriyaki, your guests smell something else? Some lingering, foul odor from meals long gone? It happens — especially if you cook often.
Don't let stale, icky cooking odors ruin your dinner party. Give these kitchen spots a good detox treatment, so stinky smells won't have a place to feed.
#1 Disposal Flaps: Scrub Those Suckers
Flip the flaps in your disposal and prepare to be as grossed out as a sixth-grader in health class. Yucky slime left over from food proteins line the flaps, treating you to a greasy and grimy stink.
"Use a sm ...
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Leanne Potts
Published: July 12, 2018
Real estate negotiation tips so you can buy your dream home — and not overpay.
You've looked at enough houses to fill an entire season of House Hunters and finally picked one to buy. Now you're ready to make an offer.
Your agent can help guide you through this nail-biting phase of negotiating a house price, but ultimately, you call the shots. Here's how to negotiate like a boss.
Fail #1: Thinking House Price is All That Matters
That house with a price point $15k below your budget? It may seem like a deal — until you add on the costs of maintenance and replacing the aging appliances.
Planning on repainting, remodeling, or landscaping, too? Suddenly the price looks a whole lot higher.
When developing your offer, calculate in the costs that will go above and beyond a mortgage payment. Then you can negotiate with an eye on the total cost of owning the house, not just the sticker price. ...