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Life

Four steps to buying your first home

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Sunday, 14 August 2016 13:27
  • Written by Jodie Chandler

Outgrown your rental? Tired of those dated appliances? And lets not even start on those neighbors partying upstairs at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.
You’re tired of renting and ready to buy your first home. Its scary and exciting. But where do you start?
A home purchase is your biggest investment of your life. Lets talk about where you should start, and steps to do to help take the stress out of home buying and make it one of your greatest experiences.

Step One
We know what we want, but can we afford it? This is the first question that needs answered.
First step is to contact a mortgage lender. Whether you know a lender or need a contact for one, you can always contact me for a great trustworthy lender.
After choosing a lender, you will meet with them and go over your credit, salary, etc. (the lender will let you know everything you need to bring for a preapproval) which will help determine how much you can afford.
Just remember, because you can afford it on paper, doesn’t mean you have to spend that much on a house. Please take into consideration your lifestyle, hobbies and what you like to do with your free time. You don’t want to be house poor.

Your lender will give you a pre-approval letter, which states you are pre-approved for a certain amount to spend on a home.
Some other things to consider are down payment and your spending. When you are in the market to purchase a home, think of it as a time to be frugal with your purchases - that new iPhone that just came out may cost you your pre-approval. Be careful on your spending. Charge card purchases or financing “something you need for the new home” can really impact your credit.

Step Two
You have your pre-approval in hand, and a realtor (hopefully me) to show you some homes. When shopping for a home, the chances of getting everything on your list just might not happen, but remember the core items you need in a home. If you want a four-bedroom home, don’t setde for a two-bedroom because you love the kitchen!
My advice to you is to shop around, look at all the homes on your list, and remember to exercise patience - the house you want and need may not happen on your first trip out to look at homes. Take your time to find the perfect house, it will happen!
Also something to consider, if there are a few homes that interest you: Take some
time in the evening, or leave a little early for work, drive by and get the feel of the areas you are looking in. Also, remember your work commute, this will be something you do every day.
You’ve found your dream home - offer accepted! I know that you are on cloud nine, it is all you can talk about, and your friends and family are happy for you (but at the same time, tired of hearing about it).
Don’t forget to have an inspection done. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things in the homebuying process. Let your realtor suggest a top-notch inspector for you. I know cousin Bob is an inspector, but Aunt Mary has already told him how much you have to have this house. Sometimes having a biased opinion could save you thousands.
After you get the inspection report back, sit down and chat with your realtor and go over the report together. In most cases, a seller will not repair everything that needs repaired on an inspection report. A good realtor has been through this multiple times, and can help answer questions you may have, as well as the “needs” of repairs that you should have done to have your home as close to move-in ready as possible.

Step Three
Now is the time to turn that preapproval letter into a mortgage. Finalizing this step is key, and there are more to-do’s now. Your lender will be able to go over everything you need to close on
your new home.
You will have to pay PMI - Private Mortgage Insurance - monthly with your mortgage if you do not have 20 percent down payment. Also, you will have closing costs, which are fees the lender charges to close your loan. In addition to these fees, most lenders require a full year’s home insurance policy to be purchased up front. So remember to include all these fees in addition to your down payment.

Step Four
Time to call the movers. It is almost the moving date, but first you have a lot of paperwork to sign.
Your tide company, which will be handled by your realtor, will be holding the closing. The closing is where you “sign your life away,” so to speak, but this is the process of signing the mortgage papers, tide, and - most important - getting the keys to your new home !
You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing, and gone to closing. The home is yours.
Is there any more to the home-buying process?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps. The best start is to contact a realtor. We can go over these steps more thoroughly and make sure that your home purchase goes as smoothly and painless as possible.

Some like it hot: Phoenix a bargain

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Wednesday, 20 July 2016 21:00
  • Written by Bill Malcolm

Do you like paying just $89 for a luxury hotel? Then Phoenix is perfect for a summer trip.

Try the Sheraton Grande at 340 N. 3rd in downtown Phoenix, complete with rooftop pool and bar. The Arizona Center outdoor shopping mall (complete with restaurants) is across the street. Other nearby downtown Phoenix hotels includes the Hyatt and a Kimpton offering.

Yes, it’s hot during the day but if you get up early or go out late, it is manageable. Plus it is a dry heat.

Like baseball? The Arizona Diamondbacks play at nearby Chase Field.

Take the new light rail from PHX (aka Sky Harbor, the Phoenix airport) for $2 to the downtown hotels ($4 for an all-day pass). You can also ride it to the museums as well as Charlie’s (a country western bar). Details at www.valleymetro.org. Read more: Some like it hot: Phoenix a bargain

Should pets come along? Think it through

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Monday, 29 February 2016 14:50
  • Written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams

When making travel decisions, choose what is safest and most comfortable to your pet.dog-in-crate.jpg

For instance, unless you’ll be able to spend a lot of time with your dog, he’ll probably be happier at home than tagging along on your trip. As a rule, cats are almost always better off in their own home.

But if you have decided it’s best to bring your pet along, follow our tips for a safe and low-stress trip.

The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seat belt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash. Most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, so for their safety as well as yours, keep them in a carrier.

It’s important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and hurt your pet. Do this by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier. Keep your pet in the back seat of the car. If an airbag deploys while your pet is in the passenger seat (even in a crate), it might injure your pet.

Dogs and cats should always be kept safely inside the car. Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.

A quick pit stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it’s too long to leave your pet in a car by himself. One hazard is heat: When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. Read more: Should pets come along? Think it through

Four ideas for spring break getaways

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Monday, 29 February 2016 16:48
  • Written by Bill Malcolm

It’s time to plan your spring and summer travel.

Here are some ideas:

Denver

You can’t beat the mile-high city. I like the Warwick Hotel in trendy uptown. It offers free bikes and is just steps away from the bars and restaurants.

Southwest, United, and Frontier airlines all fly from Indy to Denver. Starting April 23, you can hop on the new light-rail line into the city. Until then, you are stuck with the RTD bus ($11, exact change required, no credit cards accepted).

Don’t miss the new Art Museum, the trendy Highlands District (west of downtown), and of course Capitol Hill and the Botanical Gardens. The Mall on 16th Street is a must, as is the newly remodeled Union Station, which features a hotel and trendy new restaurants.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay – winter is a perfect time to visit, as the hills are green and temperatures are in the 60s.

Stay in the Upper Market/Castro at the newly remodeled Becks Motor Lodge. Hike the hills of the city to enjoy the spring wildflowers and emerald green hills. Hike with the San Francisco Hiking Club or meet up with the Frontrunners in Golden Gate Park (Saturdays at 9 a.m. at Stow Lake Boat House). Don’t miss the farmers market at the Ferry Building, which also has a lot of trendy new restaurants and shops.

Chicago

Stay at the Days Inn on Diversey/Clark/Broadway (Diversey station on the Brown Line), which allows a free workout at the Century complex next door. It is a bargain and very handy. Steps from the Halsted attractions. Don’t miss the new Andy Warhol exhibit at the Art Museum.

Washington D.C.

The cherry blossoms started blooming in December, as it was so mild, but there still will be a few to be enjoyed in April. Stay at the Beacon House, Comfort Inn, or Washington Plaza Hotels in Dupont Circle/Thomas Circle area. The Beacon House features free use of the Y across the street. All three are steps from the new trendy 14th Street shops and restaurants.

Bring your bike helmet for the shared bike system. D.C. is always a great place for a long weekend. Winter ends March 1 in D.C., so it’s a great time to consider a trip.

Hop on the Metro to downtown ($2.25 off-peak).

And all the museums are free.

Read more: Four ideas for spring break getaways

Working through the stages: Friend’s death brings unexpected gift of personal renewal

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Friday, 26 February 2016 15:54
  • Written by Chas M. Navarra

With the publication of her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross began a worldwide discussion about death and grief.

The author presented her theory that people grieving the death of a loved one experience common emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Dr. Kübler-Ross proposed these five stages of grief could be used to counsel clients to work through their sorrow.

The Huffington Post reported Dr. Kübler-Ross later regretted presenting those five stages in the way she wrote them because people mistook those stages as being linear and universal; grievers negotiate the stages in ways unique to their psychological makeup. A recent event reminded me of the five stages of grief, and of my “Death and Dying” university courses when I was completing my baccalaureate degree.

Last week, my heart breaking, I wrote the following in my journal:

“My dear friend is gone. She died two days ago, sometime in the morning. The call came shortly after she passed to the next World. The pain I feel is just indescribable. Could eyes be more swollen, the ache of the head almost as heavy as the ache in my Heart?”

In the middle of my deep grief, I became calm as I realized the foundations of my feelings. My friend taught me so much during the years we shared our respective journeys on this Earth; I could almost hear her comforting and supporting me as she had always done, countless times, when I was most in need of someone believing in me or hearing my burdens.

When Death forces its calling card upon our psyche, our sorrow is as much for the dead as it is for the living. What we see in a loved one’s death is our own mortality. The tears we shed for our loved one are tears spent for ourselves; the musings of how a good and loving Creator could allow such sorrow and pain can be self-questioning about how we treat others. In my friend’s passing, I learned again that death is an opportunity to create a new way to approach living, as I worked to move out of grief to acceptance and to a tentative truce with the knowledge of my own mortality.

Read more: Working through the stages: Friend’s death brings unexpected gift of personal renewal