Our military veterans have given so much to this country. To make it easier for these special families to qualify for and purchase a home, Veteran Affairs has a unique loan offer reserved only for retired and active military.
The VA loan offers mortgage options unavailable to the general public.
• No Down Payment – While zero down loans disappeared in the real estate bubble of the last decade, VA loans allow our military to buy a house without the stress of trying to save the down payment.
• Easier to Qualify – Most loans require a credit score of 650 or higher. Qualifying for a VA loan only requires a FICO score of 620.
• No PMI – PMI (private mortgage insurance) is required for any loan where the loan-to-value falls below 80%.
• Limits on Fees – VA borrowers are protected by strict limits to fees and closing costs. Lenders financing a VA loan cannot charge more than 1% for loan costs whereas typical financing can run as high as 2.4–3%.
• Appraisal Assistance – At times homebuyers run into problems when the appraisal does come back high enough to purchase the home at the agreed-upon price. When this happens, the VA can help by diligently reviewing the report and comparable properties and then asking the lender to adjust the appraisal if it determines that the value is not accurate.
The VA loan is a special loan program offered only to our active and retired military. These families have sacrificed so much for their country, the VA loan might be the only way these families can buy a home of their own.
So many businesses have been affected by the events of 2020, causing permanent and temporary closures of many of our favorite spots—including the corner bar. The local watering hole has always been a great place to meet friends, watch sports, and unwind after work. Many homeowners have used this time at home to work on home improvement projects. Why not consider adding or improving a home bar to the list? Making simple changes can have a large impact.
1. Moody Paint – Carve out an unused nook and paint it a dark, masculine color. Think of the old speakeasy with dark wood and soft lighting.
2. Sophisticated Seating – If your space allows, create a lounge-style atmosphere with barstools or a bistro set. A black or wood finish will emphasize the feel of a bar.
3. Stock Up – The key to a great bar is having the right tools and ingredients. Retailers offer a variety of styles for such items as shakers, muddlers, corkscrews, among others. Don’t forget the alcohol and mixers.
4. Open Up – Open glass shelving will showcase your style. Save money by displaying the liquor bottles themselves instead of decanters.
5. Make It Mobile – If you don’t have extra space for your bar, there are a multitude of bar carts to not only suit your style but allow you to go where the party is.
If you’ve exhausted your weekend honey-do list, consider spending a little time to create a home bar. With a little thought and attention, you can entertain in style, even if you’re alone.
If you have your home on the market, it’s natural to want to create the perfect environment for potential homebuyers. This includes not only professional staging services but also time-honored tips like freshly baked treats and seasonal décor. As we transition from summer to the holiday season, however, it’s interesting to note that fall decorating is the least appreciated by home visitors.
The cinnamon scents and pumpkin-everything that greets the senses in stores and coffee shops can be overwhelming in a home environment. You may enjoy a nice cookie-dough candle, but many people don’t agree. A tasteful, welcoming fall wreath on the front door is fine, but in general, fall is a time best ignored by home sellers.
The holiday season can bring family challenges as well. When your house is on the market, this is not the time to continue the tradition of the neighborhood Haunted House with cobwebs hanging from every gutter. Far better to place a strategic jack-o-lantern or tasteful pumpkin pile. Talk about these kinds of changes in advance with younger children who may not understand the need to keep the house fully accessible and de-personalized.
Having your home listed for sale is a special time and requires some sacrifice. The holiday season can bring more emotional challenges as well. A sense of nostalgia is only accentuated by the lack of family traditional décor. Consider carefully what to include and exclude. Scale back the unnecessary decorating extras and concentrate on the special few items. In this way, you can still celebrate your family traditions while appealing to homebuyers looking for their own place to call home.
Tight labor markets are affecting industries across the country. Skilled and unskilled jobs remain unfilled as employers struggle to find prospective employees. For anyone ready to hire a contractor or handyman to perform home improvement projects, this shortage is causing frustration. As more people embrace the “staycation” and seek ways to upgrade their homes, many are finding few tradesmen to even come to provide estimates, much less schedule the work. If you are trying to find good people to help with home improvement projects, there are still a few ways to achieve your goals. Here are a few tips to help you find a professional to help with your project.
• Social Media – One great way to find reputable laborers is to ask for help from local social media groups. Apps like Facebook and Next Door have local groups where you can ask for help. Make sure to mention where you got the referral; the tradesmen will want to live up to the referral and are more likely to provide good, timely service.
• Big Box Stores – Home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer a wide variety of in-home services. They also have referral services for projects outside their scope and these contractors keep the stores happy by providing good service to homeowners.
• Online Service – There are sites like Angie’s List and Home Advisor where professionals pay for leads. Because they have paid for the contact, they tend to be more likely to follow through on the project.
The labor shortage is affecting all aspects of life right now. If you have a home improvement or upgrade project, there is no reason to put off the work. Try these tips for finding qualified and vetted help.