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Recently Lost Your Job? 3 Tips for Managing Your Mortgage When You Are Out of Work
By Peta-Gay
August 28, 2017

The financial responsibility of a monthly mortgage payment can be stressful on its own, but you may be even more concerned about your home investment if you've recently lost your job. Fortunately, there are some things you can do and places you can turn if you're not yet certain where your next paycheck will come from. If you're struggling with newfound unemployment, here are some important steps to take.

Shake The Piggy Bank

Most people struggle to save, and that means they don't necessarily want to dip into savings when it comes to financial difficulties. Unfortunately, if a job does not appear quickly, you may have to rely on the money you've accrued to help you out. It's important to look at how much savings you have and determine how long it will last. Instead of just calculating your monthly payment and leaving it at that, be realistic and include all your applicable living expenses to see how much leeway you have.

Reach Out To Your Lender

It may seem like mortgage lenders will not be concerned with your plight, but it can be to your benefit to reach out as soon as you think there might be a lapse in payment. While it's possible your lender may be able to offer you some type of payment plan if they're provided with a timeframe for payment, they will be impressed with your ability to communicate effectively. If you have a solid credit history and have made all your payments on time, contacting your lender may buy you a little bit of more time.

Contact Your Government Agency

If you've used a government agency to secure your mortgage, there's a good chance there may be a program available that will assist you in getting through this financial time. Whether you've worked directly with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you may be able to find an opportunity in your unemployment that will cover your loan amount for you. It's just important to be aware of any financial consequences once you're back on your feet.

It can be very stressful to pay down your mortgage while you're out of work, but you may be able to get through it by being aware of your financial picture and communicating with your lender. If you're currently struggling with your mortgage, you may want to contact one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Going Green(er): 3 Common Waste Items You Had No Idea You Can Recycle
By Peta-Gay
August 25, 2017

It has never been more popular to abide by a green lifestyle and develop sustainable living practices that will help the planet. Fortunately, while you may be used to recycling cardboard boxes and giving away your clothes, there are probably a few household items you didn't even know you could recycle! If you're wondering what to do with some of your old, used items, here are a few things that may be ready for re-use.

Re-constituting Your Lenses

It's common to think your eyeglass prescription only works for you, but an easy way to re-use old eyeglasses is to take them to your local eye glass store or even to the doctor's office so that they can make use of them. Not only will someone in need be able to use the frames that you've provided, your lenses may be donated to another person with a similar prescription who will truly appreciate what they've been given!

Old Phones & Electronics

It can be tempting to throw out an old phone with a shattered screen or an aging laptop that no longer turns on properly; however, with technology being obsolete as soon as it hits the market, it's more important than ever to recycle these items. Old technology like iPods, iPhones, cell phones, chargers and digital cameras can be taken to your local Staples and recycled as part of their e-waste program. Before discarding any electronics, you may want to consider other local places that offer recycling for your old toys.

Improving Your Oil Change

While there are many renewable solutions on the market, oil is still the most common resource when it comes to powering the transportation of the world. Fortunately, while an oil change may be necessary maintenance on your car now and then, you can be more environmentally friendly by going to an auto repair place that recycles and re-refines your oil. Before you make a trip to your old auto body shop, look at Motor Oil Recycling Locations on Earth911 for some options in your area.

It's easy enough to compost food and throw your cardboard boxes in the bin, but there are many common waste items that can be re-used in your local community. If you're looking for ways to go greener as you plan a move to a new home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge Headaches
By Peta-Gay
August 24, 2017

Many people all over the world are dealing with issues involving debt or poor credit history, but most aren't necessarily aware of what exactly makes up their credit score. Unfortunately, it might seem like it's the big stuff that counts when it comes to credit, but little things can have a significant impact on your financial health. If you're looking to improve your understanding and your finances, here's what you need to know about small mistakes and your FICO score.

Making Late Payments

The due date on your bills might seem like an advisory, but whether we're talking about a student loan, a credit card payment or your telephone bill, late payments can add up. Your payment history constitutes 35% of your total FICO score, which means that even a couple late payments can have a marked impact on your overall credit. Instead of leaving this to chance, set aside a day each month before your bills are due to ensure they're all paid.

Applying For New Credit

It's often the case that a store will offer special deals if you sign up for their own in-house credit card, but this can cost you big since the amounts you owe make up 30% of your credit score. Because lenders will often assume that you've run out of credit if you apply for a new card, new credit can be a red mark against your FICO score for a time. It's also important to realize that closing off an old, unused credit card can bump up your owing balance, so you may want to keep them active temporarily. 

Forgetting Credit Altogether

It might seem like the best possible option for avoiding credit issues is to avoid using credit altogether, but your credit history constitutes 15% of your FICO score. This means that you should have at least one credit card in your possession so that you can use it to build a history of lending success. While you won't want to use more than 30% of your credit limit, it's important to have proven experience with paying back your lenders.

Many people think that bad credit is the result of overspending and huge debt amounts, but your FICO score is largely determined by your payment history and your available credit. If you're trying to improve your financial outlook in preparation for buying a home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Thinking About a New Home? 3 Reasons Why a Mortgage Will Be the Best Money You Ever Borrow
By Peta-Gay
August 23, 2017

In these days of low interest rates, it can be a great idea to get into the real estate market and invest in a home. Unfortunately, if you don't have the funds saved up for a down payment, it can seem like more of a burden than it's worth to buy now. While borrowing the money for your down payment might seem like the road backward, here are a few reasons you may want to consider acquiring your mortgage funds from someone else.

Taking Advantage Of Low Interest

Interest rates have been relatively low for a few years, which can be a definite financial boom when it comes to your monthly mortgage payment. Unfortunately, though, the predictions forecast that rates are on the rise and that means home ownership may be a more difficult dream in the coming years. If you're interested in getting a home at a lower price with a better interest rate, it may be worth getting a short-term loan for the long-term gain.

Begin To Invest

It will certainly improve your financial outlook if you have a financial plan and a monthly budget you stick to. Fortunately, real estate is still one of the best investments you can make in terms of helping your money grow and ensuring your future fiscal success. While RRSPs and mutual funds can be a bit topsy-turvy if you're not knowledgeable about investing, real estate can be a more reliable asset that's easier to understand.

Giving Up On Rent

When investing in a home, there are few things more rewarding than not having to pay rent anymore. Not only that, instead of effectively tossing away money each month that you'll never see again, you will be able to see your equity grow in the property you purchase. This cannot only be used as leverage for investment in another home, it also means that no matter the downturn in the market, you'll have a solid investment in something.

You may not like the idea of borrowing money for your mortgage, but it can be a good fiscal choice with interest rates on the rise and the opportunity to say goodbye to rent forever. If you're currently considering borrowing and are planning to buy a home in the short-term future, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Selling Your Home This Summer? Here Is Why You Will Want to Recruit the Neighbors to Help
By Peta-Gay
August 22, 2017

With the power of social media, it's easier than ever to use Twitter and Facebook and your own home website to sell your home online. However, there are a lot of different buyers on the market and that means it's important to keep all your options open when it comes to marketing your home. If you're wondering how you can harness the power of your neighbors to get the word out, here are some things you may want to consider.

It's Extra Marketing

If you have a good relationship with the people in your area, it's possible that they'll be happy to get the word out for you and assist you in the sale of your home. Whether they happen to have friends who might be interested in a property in the area or are happy to place signs on their yard pointing to your place, a positive relationship can lead to opportunities that may come from the most unexpected places!

Selling The Home's Reliability

Likely, your neighbors will be aware of situations adversely impacting the community or any past situations that have affected your home, whether there's been a break in or a roofing issue. It's often the case, too, that potential buyers will consult with your neighbors to hear more about your home's history. Since you won't want an interested party to hear any bad news from your neighbor, it's important to be upfront and discuss any adjustments or renovations you've made with your neighbors so you can be on the same page if an issue comes up.

Keeping Them In The Loop

In the sanctity of your own home, it can be easy to forget about the neighbors just next door, but the stream of people coming to look at your home can have an impact on those who live around you. Instead of forgetting to prepare your neighbors for additional visitors, go door-to-door and bring some baked goods or other treats to inform them of upcoming open houses. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, they might be happy to push some interested parties in your direction.

There are many ways to market a home nowadays, but it's important not to forget about how your neighbors can assist you in getting your home off the market. If you're currently preparing to sell your home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com