22. January 2010 10:10
Q. We are having our house appraised next month. What do I need to know beforehand, especially if the appraisal is too low?
A. The purpose of a real estate appraisal is to establish a property’s value for financing purposes. This is different from a comparative market analysis (CMA), which real estate agents use to estimate a true market value. Professional appraisers are licensed and regulated by each state and follow federal guidelines.
The appraisal is a detailed report that is required by a lender to secure a loan. The appraiser’s job is to determine the valuation of a property by inspecting the property, taking measurements, examining the location of the property, comparing it to at least three similar properties, and evaluating the real estate market in the area. It’s important to note that an appraisal is not a home inspection.
If the appraisal comes in too low…keep your cool. If the house appraisal is lower than the sales price, the loan may not be approved. Many times there are several things you can do to fix or correct any problems and flaws that may have been found.
Learn How To Maximize The Value Of Your Home!
Did you know there’s a free consumer report showing which repairs and fix-ups will net you the most value for your home? It’s call the “Homeseller’s Guide To Money-Making Fix-Ups,” and it’s great even if you’re not planning on selling soon. You can get a free copy by visiting our webstie at…
19. January 2010 06:10
Saving money is easier than you think. In fact, you can find “66 Ways You Can Save” (from transportation, mortgages, banking, housing, energy, to insurance and more) at www.ftc.gov - Facts for Consumers. Here are a few simple ideas you’ll find:
- Skip the ATM. It’s amazing how many people burn up cash in a short time using the ATM.
- Track Your Monthly Spending. When you know where you’re spending your money, you can make adjustments where necessary.
- Pay Cash. You’ll save money by not paying interest on credit cards, and when you’re out of cash…you’ll stop spending.
- Reduce Your Debt. Pay off your smallest balance first, then move to the next smallest debt, double the payment, and continue on until you’ve paid off your debt.
- Lower Household Expenses. Combine trips to save on fuel, and eat more meals at home. Turn the thermostat down in the winter to save on home heating bills and you can save a bundle.
- Look for the Deals. Shop discounts and closeout sales, and keep an eye out for coupons and rebates on items you plan to purchase.
More Free Real Estate Tips!
Find TONS of free information about our local Richmond real estate market. Visit my site at:
21. December 2009 08:18
The human mind is an amazing thing, and the words we use in our day to day lives can be powerful tools for how we affect it. By changing the words you use, you can change your perception of yourself, those around you, and even how you look at situations, say psychologists. You be the judge. Does your mother (or someone else) call too often to check on you? Do you call it nagging? Here are just a few examples of how you can shift your perceptions:
• Nagging or Connecting? So your mother calls too much. Instead of calling it nagging, call it connecting…she wants to connect with you. You call her first, make her feel good, and control the conversation.
• Pushy or Direct? You think a co-worker is pushy. Change the word to direct and you can react to the person in a straightforward manner.
• Impulsive or Spontaneous? Are you irritated by your mate’s impulsive behavior? Choose to admire his or her spontaneity.
• Moping or Coping? Moping is a way of coping when someone needs help rebuilding confidence after a difficult time. Give a helping hand.
9. December 2009 12:06
Would you like to live a happier, more fulfilled life? I don't know a single person who would answer "No." I recently came across an article that had some simple ideas about how we can all achieve greater happiness in our lives... just by following a ver simple formula.
In a recent study by Professor Ed Diener, psychologist at the University of Illinois, people rated how happy they were based on a number of questions. Diener compared the answers across the spectrum of age, sex, marital status, income, and health. Strong evidence showed that happiness leads to better health and a longer life – no surprise there.
But what did come as a surprise is that levels of happiness changed based on age and social involvement. Here are a few of the specific factors researchers found that made people feel happier:
• Family and Friends. The better and more fulfilling the relationships with family and friends, the happier people felt. Having friendships was shown to have a protective element against illness. Researchers found that friendship actually had a bigger effect on the average person’s happiness than a person’s income.
• Marriage. Being married also seemed important. Marriage added an average seven years to a man’s life, and four years for women.
• Meaning in Life. People who felt there was a larger purpose to their life - religion, philosophy, or spirituality were happier.
• Goals. Happier people had pleasing long-term goals they worked toward and enjoyed achieving.
In several supporting studies, Dr. Martin Seligman, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that practicing simple exercises can increase a person’s level of happiness and decrease depression. Dr. Seligman has designed “Happiness Building Exercises” to increase people’s happiness and well-being. You can find out more information about these exercises at www.reflectivehappiness.com
2. December 2009 11:50
Most of the team members here on the Marc Austin Highfill Team are parents. We all love our families, but its not always easy to know if we're doing a good job. Helping kids grow up successfully is every parent’s goal, especially with such a bright and amazing future ahead of them. Here are 7 valuable tips we found to help parents prepare their children to reach their fullest potential and enjoy that future:
- Let your child work things out without your help. At an early age, let your child find solutions to challenges he or she may face.
- Support your child’s interests and passions. Praise your child for who he/she is becoming…not what you want them to be.
- Teach your child how to manage money. Teach them about saving (start with piggy banks and savings accounts), allowances, and earning money from doing household jobs.
- Let your child learn how to deal with disappointment. Playing sports and board games teach kids how to handle disappointment.
- Teach your child how to negotiate conflicts. Teach your kids how to negotiate using words and how to resolve conflicts.
- Encourage your child’s dreams. Be supportive of your child’s dreams, but help them set achievable goals along the way.
- Support their independence. Increase your child’s responsibility a little bit each year. It’ll build a strong foundation for their lifetime.
30. November 2009 16:14
The next time you hear a politician use the word “billion” in a casual manner, think about whether you want the “politicians” spending your tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no one walked on the earth on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
Yikes! Certainly makes you think!
4. November 2009 06:26
With Halloween now behind us and the holiday season suddenly looming closer, another name for this season comes to mind: the STRESSFUL Season. Even if the holidays don't phase you, everyone sometimes finds themselves wound up tight and ready to snap in work or life once in a while. A little stress in life is OK, but if you’re finding yourself on overload, you can try these simple rules:
- Learn to say “no.” Are you a people pleaser? How many times have you volunteered to do something you didn’t have time to do, brought something to party you didn’t have time to make, or took on more responsibility than you could handle? Just say no.
- Stop multi-tasking. Do you feel a constant need to achieve? Doing more than one thing at a time raises your stress level.
- Let go of worry. Are you a perfectionist? Do you find you criticize yourself when you’re not perfect? Change your negative thoughts to positive beliefs about yourself.
- Schedule time for yourself. Do you deny yourself time off? Allow yourself to be a kid again —give yourself special “you time.” Get outdoors, paint, get a massage…relax and enjoy yourself.
Next time you're feeling a little stressed out, take a deep breath and try to implement at least one of these tips. Your state of mind will thank you for it!